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Arrow provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • Did anyone really think a guy named Blood was gonna turn out to be benevolent?
      • Lampshaded by Felicity Smoak when Laurel asks them to investigate Blood
    • As expected, Ra's al Ghul is this even before being mentioned by name. Merlyn gets an Oh, Crap! when he is mentioned.
    • Damien Darhk.
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  • Near-Rape Experience: When she's pulled out of a cage on the Amazo in the second season, it's strongly hinted that this is the fate intended for Sarah Lance before being interrupted by Ivo.
    Mook: The more you struggle, the more it'll hurt.
  • Nebulous Evil Organization
    • Tempest, the secret society to which Malcolm and Moira belong. They compiled the List, and manipulated the people on it first to try and improve the city, but now as part of the Undertaking.
    • And now in season 2, we get a dose of Ra's Al Ghul and the League of Assassins, which trained Malcolm Merlyn during his mysterious year in the East.
    • The H.I.V.E. was been namedropped by a few of its representatives early on, and eventually became a major player in the story's events in season 4.
    • Shadowspire is also introduced in season 4, potentially forming a Big-Bad Ensemble with H.I.V.E.
  • Neck Snap: Oliver's preferred method of murdering people if arrows are unavailable.
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    • How one mook in the first episode meets his end.
    • As of episode seven, another mook and the episode's Dragon have been added to the count by Helena no less, echoing Oliver's line of "No one must know my secret" upon killing The Dragon.
    • In Sacrifice, we see him practice it again to silence two of Malcolm's thugs (the third is shot by Diggle), as well as find out he learnt it from Shado.
    • Sara does this to prevent one of the League of Assassin ninjas from coming after either Oliver or Quentin in "League of Assassins".
    • Cyrus Gold can do this with one hand, as Barry Allen explains to Oliver.
      Barry: I don't suppose you've had much experience with snapping necks.
    • In "Unthinkable," this is how Isabel Rochev (by Nyssa) and the District Attorney (by a Mirakuru goon) both die.
    • In Season 3's "The Climb," we find out that Ray Palmer's fiancée Anna met this fate during the Mirakuru siege, as well.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
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    • The trailer for "Suicide Squad" would have you believe the Squad is formed to combat Deathstroke. Turns out their real intention is to locate stolen chemical weapons in Markovia, with Oliver's hunt for Deathstroke forming a side-plot in the spisode. Additionally, it shows cut footage for an even longer Harley Quinn cameo. In the actual episode this amounts to a single one-liner.
    • The trailer for "Seeing Red" would have you think it's all about Roy and how the Mirakuru has further corrupted his mind.
    • Justified somewhat with the Season promos, because they typically tend to include only footage from the first episode or two of the season (usually the only ones filmed at the time), and as a result are hardly reflective of the overall season arc. For instance, the Season 2 promo would have you believe that the Hood Copycats will be a major focus of the season, whereas in fact they are just the antagonists for the premiere and are seldom mentioned again thereafter.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • An impressive combo from Oliver in "Dead to Rights" : He saves the life of Malcolm Merlyn, fixes the relationship between him and Tommy and betrays Tommy's trust by revealing himself as the Vigilante - and admitting he didn't want to.
    • Oliver Queen has a knack for saving people who secretly want him dead. In Season One, He saved Malcolm Merlyn, the architect of the Undertaking. In Season Two: He saves Alderman Blood, from a shoot out. Turns out, he's just as bad, injecting criminals with Mirakuru and killing most of them as a result. He also sent the Count to draw out Arrow and kill him
    • Also, by continuing to keep his double-life as the Arrow secret from Thea, and exhorting Roy to do the same, Oliver ends up directly and indirectly making Thea feel alienated from all those around her, especially himself and Roy, and this leads to her deciding to leave Starling City with Malcolm Merlyn at the end of Season 2. This results in Thea being brainwashed into killing Sara and Team Arrow thus being drawn into a season-long conflict with Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins.
    • Lets not forget that for some reason, Team Arrow decided to fix the Khushu Idol, minus one critical piece, making it easy to steal.
  • Ninja: The League of Assassins, per usual.
  • No Badass to His Valet: Diggle has so many layers of Badass. His initial role is to protect Oliver as a bodyguard and he quickly picks up on Oliver's skills. Flash forward a few seasons and he is as valued a fighter as Oliver and frequently calls him out on his B.S.
  • No Escape but Down: In "Public Enemy", Arrow, Arsenal and Canary escape from the Vigilante Taskforce by leaping off the roof of the building where they are cornered; firing grapple lines to slow their descent as they fall.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The series seems to love doing this to Quentin Lance. His reward for being the only competent cop in Starling and saving a fair chunk of the city? Getting busted down to beat cop. Averted in Season 3 where he is awarded the high rank of a Captain as a reward for helping save Starling City during the Siege in the previous season's finale.
  • No Kill Like Overkill:
    • The death of Count Vertigo has him shot several times and then thrown out of a skyscraper. Shouldn't have threatened Felicity.
    • Laurel shoots Officer Daily, who was disguised as Brother Blood, five times. Admittedly he only keels over after the fifth.
    • Amanda Waller decides to bomb Starling City into oblivion, along with its 500,000 inhabitants in order to deal with Slade’s Mirakuru-enhanced goons.
  • Nominal Hero: What Malcolm becomes in Season 2; he saves Moira from the death penalty but only so he can blackmail her into letting him spend time with Thea, his daughter. Later he returns to help fight the Mirakuru-enhancd Blood Cult, but only so he can stop Thea being killed.
  • Non-Action Guy:
    • Tommy. Mostly stands out since all the other male characters are at least somewhat skilled, but Tommy only engages in one fight in the season, which he loses. Badly.
    • Walter tends to rely on his smarts and his resultant wealth more than anything else.
    • Sebastian Blood. Despite being the secondary antagonist in Season 2, he relies mainly on fear, mob rule, and the aid of Slade Wilson to get what he wants.
    • Felicity is the only untrained combatant on Team Arrow, although she gets some self-defense training and is able to disarm herself in desperate situations she doesn't go out into the field to fight.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Oliver, of course, but Walter Steel as well. When he suspects someone may be embezzling from Queen Consolidated, he personally investigates. Later, Moira Queen and Thea join the club.
  • Non-Powered Costumed Hero: Oliver never misses a shot, is an expert fighter, is fast and incredibly agile, and can beat the bad guys without breaking a sweat, but he is still a regular non-powered human being.
  • Non-Residential Residence: During Season Two, Sara Lance lived at the top of a clock tower out of fear that returning to her family would endanger their lives, since the League of Assassins kept sending members to retrieve her.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Oliver, is it really necessary to leave your arrows exposed and pointy end up in your warehouse? Anybody trips or isn't watching where they're going and they'll stab themselves.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup:
    • Subverted. Detective Lance, with Felicity's help, deactivates the Markov device just in time... only for it to turn out Malcolm built two. The second proceeds to fulfill its purpose and level half the Glades in the first season finale. In season 2's "Blast Radius, this is further subverted by the fact that the Bronze Tiger was broken out of Iron Heights for the sole purpose of stealing the prototype of the Markov device from Merlyn's mansion.
    • Averted also with Oliver, who realised from the very beginning that he might need a new hideout if the Foundry was compromised.
  • No-Sell: Oliver's reaction in "The Undertaking" when a man tries to stop his Roaring Rampage of Rescue through the underground casino by hitting him with a pool cue.
  • No Smoking: Thea (and presumably Diggle) smokes, but we never see it.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: Oliver doesn't want baby Sara down in the secret lair.
    Diggle: Why not, Oliver? Who's she gonna tell?
    Oliver: I'm just not comfortable having her down there.
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • Deadshot gets an arrow through the eye and is seemingly killed, but returns later still very much alive (albeit half blind) in "Dead to Rights".
    • Malcolm is seemingly killed in the Season One finale, but returns in Season Two, having somehow survived.
    • Sara pulls this off twice. Oliver watched her pulled out of the Queen's Gambit and believed she drowned - only to find out she'd been picked up by pirates and Doctor Ivo. He later seems to have believed her killed before he left the island- but she turns up in Starling City at the start of Season Two as the Canary.
    • Like with Sara, Oliver seems to believe that Slade is dead. However, as the audience is aware, Slade is alive and well as the big bad of Season Two.
  • Not So Different: Several bad guys try to pull this on Oliver but he disagrees.
    • Deadshot calls Oliver out, reminding him that he's taken lives. Oliver defends himself by stating that he did it for the greater good, while Deadshot is just out for money.
    • Helena Bertinelli says she and Oliver are the same, with somewhat more justification. Oliver insists that what he does is about justice not vengeance.
    • The Dodger tries this on Oliver by saying they both only steal from the rich. Oliver replies by knocking him out.
    • The Saviour has goals that are reasonably close to Oliver’s, but his targets are mostly ones who don’t deserve their fates.
  • Not Wearing Tights: Oliver's costume is essentially a dark green leather hoodie. In episode 2 it's expanded to basically a full-body leather outfit, with hood.
  • Odd Name Out: Oliver is notably the only person in his family and friends/allies whose name starts with a vowel. This is so obvious in the first two seasons' flashbacks where he was accompanied by Slade, Shado and Sara. More egregious is that this is also the case with his show Arrow in the entire, ironically enough, Arrowverse.
  • Official Couple: Oliver and Felicity after season 3.
  • Offing the Offspring: In "Vendetta", Frank Bertinelli shoots at his own daughter for ruining his businesses and causing a war between his gang and the Triads. He would have done worse if he learned that Helena was the informant for the FBI.
    • Inverted when Helena comes back with a (extra helping of) vengeance to trying kill her father. Ironically, she's (even) more pissed off because he became an informant for the FBI and thus gets witness protection instead of life imprisonment.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Oliver, as the Hood/Arrow. Apparently he learned this on the island, as he is capable of doing this after having spent a year there.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: Canary's sonic grenades are glorified air fresheners or portable speakers.
  • Oh, Crap!: Brother Blood gets one toward the end of the second season when one of his men storms the Mayor's office, slaughtering his staff and the District attorney, saying "I don't take orders from you." Then it gets worse when he tracks down Slade, who tells him they didn't actually share a vision; Slade intends to raze the city.
  • Once a Season: The penultimate episode of each season is named after a Bruce Springsteen song.
    • Season 1: "Darkness on the Edge of Town".
    • Season 2: "Streets of Fire". It also has episode 15 titled "The Promise".
    • Season 3: "This Is Your Sword".
    • Season 4: "Lost in the Flood".
    • Season 5: "Missing".
    • Season 6: "The Ties That Bind".
    • Season 7: "Living Proof".
    • Season 8 was suppposed to be "Livin' in the Future", but was changed to "Green Arrow & the Canaries" at the request of Warner Bros since it was also a Backdoor Pilot. Though Season 8 still has episode 3 follow the tradition, titled "Leap of Faith".
  • Once per Episode:
    • Oliver has so far had a Shirtless Scene in every episode.
    • Oliver gets a speech about something every other scene.
  • One Degree of Separation:
    • Oliver happens to know TWO people who were trained by the League of Assassins - his partner/one-time girlfriend Sara Lance, and his best friend's father and arch-nemesis Malcolm Merlyn...both of whom became League members due to completely unrelated circumstances, decades apart. In season three, it's now three, as Oliver's handler while he was an ARGUS operative/captive in Hong Kong, Maseo, appeared as "The Phantom" in episode 9.
    • Diggle's ex-wife Lyla is an agent of ARGUS who works for Amanda Waller. Diggle's boss and friend Oliver Queen, unbeknownst to him, also served as an (unwilling) agent for Amanda Waller in Hong Kong.
    • In "Dead to Rights", Moira Queen hired China White to kill Malcolm Merlyn. China White in turn hires Deadshot. Not only has her son Oliver fought Deadshot and China White as the Arrow, but he has other connections to both of them (his bodyguard's brother was murdered by Deadshot, and he had some dealings with China White in Hong Kong during his years away.)
  • The One Guy: The show just loves this.
    • Oliver is the only male in his family after his father died.
    • Quentin is the only man in the Lance household consisting of his (now ex-)wife and two daughters.
    • Roy is the guy in his Two Girls and a Guy dynamic with Thea and Sin. He's also the only male new addition of the original Team Arrow so far, the others being Sara, Laurel and possibly Thea. Malcolm Merlyn isn't exactly a welcome addition to The Team.
    • For a brief stretch late in S3, Diggle was this in Team Arrow after Roy left the team and city, and Oliver joined the League.
  • One Steve Limit: Played straight with many, more common, names in the show (even enforced in the case of Laurel), yet weirdly averted once with Oliver taking on two different guys called, of all names, Cyrus.
  • One True Love: Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak.
    • During the episode "Invasion!", Oliver hallucinated an alternate universe where the Gambit never sunk. The illusion started crumbling the moment Oliver saw the Smoak Technologies building, but he was certain that world was wrong when memories of his past relationship with Felicity flashed in his mind.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Largely averted.
    • Oliver’s first fight with the Dark Archer leads to him being hospitalised.
    • Oliver takes a shot in the shoulder and it's presented as a life or death situation. Of course, by the end of the episode he's up and about and seemingly not even in any pain as his mother hugs him and rests her head on his injured shoulder.
    • Roy gets cut in a fight from a knife and the next scene is of them in a hospital getting stitches and antibiotics.
    • Oliver's leg is broken by Roy, and he spends the next two episodes limping.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The usual collection of minor slippages that come from Vancouver based productions are present.
    • Stephen Amell's Canadian accent occasionally makes an appearance.
    • Paul Blackthorne seems unable to maintain his American accent for more than a couple of sentences at a time.
    • Alex Kingston has trouble with certain words like "island" or "Sara". It also seems downright cruel to force two English actors to try and maintain American accents while talking to a character named "Laurel".
  • Only Good People May Pass: The episode "Haunted" had Oliver and John Constantine finding a mystical place with a seal that warned only those pure of heart could pass. Constantine was under the impression that Oliver was a bad person so hand cuffs him and leaves him outside, but Oliver escapes and enters the room, proving he's actually good.
  • Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: Played with in Home Invasion.
    Thea: ...do you have a police radio in your pocket?
    Roy: No, I'm just happy to see you.
  • Out, Damned Spot!: In "Salvation", Moira, after Chen - whom she made the scapegoat for their failed attempt on Malcolm's life - is killed in front of her by Dark Archer, notices that she literally has his blood on her hands and quickly tries to scrub it off.
  • Outrun the Fireball:
    • Oliver does this after he is trapped in a warehouse with a bomb by the rival archer in "Year's End".
    • Combined with Super Window Jump in "Canaries" when Oliver and Roy do this to escape from a bomber by leaping through his apartment windows just after he presses the detonator.
  • Overarching Villain: The League of Assassins. With the exception of Slade Wilson, every major villain in the series has ties to the League in some way, and their impact on the series is always present. The League itself were the main antagonists of Season 3, with Ra's al Ghul at the helm.
    • Malcolm Merlyn: Fled to Nanda Parbat after the death of his wife and joined the League, eventually becoming The Enforcer to Ra's al Ghul.
    • Damien Darhk: Former co-protégé of the previous Ra's al Ghul with the series' main Ra's. Darhk would flee the League to start his own organization to oppose his rival.
    • Prometheus: In pursuit of his revenge against Oliver, he deliberately sought the tutelage of Talia al Ghul, the eldest daughter of Ra's and a former mentor of Oliver's. Talia, seeking her own vengeance after the death of her father, agreed to teach him and aligned herself with him when he finally began his vendetta.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome:
    • Diggle is former military and an above average fighter in his own right, but easily outmatched by Oliver and most of the elite enemies they face against. On occasion he has put on Oliver's costume and is capable of emulating his style effectively enough, but a person could easily tell he isn't Oliver if they knew what to look for.
    • Quentin is an amazing detective and a decent shot, but he's nothing compared ro Diggle, let alone Oliver.
  • Panacea:
    • While on the island, Oliver sustains a nasty arrow wound, and the treatment he receives consists of... a handful of grass, stuffed into his mouth? Flash forward to his return home to Starling City, and we find that he apparently brought a goodly supply of this miraculous plant back with him. Thus far, it has been shown to neutralize at least some poisons, and work effectively as a treatment for shock and blood loss.
    • In "Dodger" Oliver uses it to treat Slade's infection in an island flashback. He explicitly refers to it as "super herbs... that heal anything."
  • Parents as People: There is a lot of emphasis placed on relationships between parents and their children in the show. None of those relationships are perfect and none of the parents are portrayed as being wise or all-knowing but you never doubt they love their children.
  • Le Parkour:
    • Oliver tends to use free running more than true Parkour.
    • Roy is probably a better example.
    • Sara, who also uses the skill for combat.
  • Passing the Torch: When Sara leaves to return to Nanda Parbat, she presents Laurel with the leather jacket she wears as Black Canary. Laurel happily notes that it fits her. Lampshaded by Quentin.
    Detective Lance: Hey, about that jacket - don't get any ideas.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish":
    • Moira uses her late husband's name as a password.
    • And Oliver uses 141 as the entry code into his secret lair.
    • The secret casino run by Dominic Alonzo, has the password "snapdragon", which Oliver gets by spying on someone else going in ahead of Felicity.
    • In season 3, Felicity locks Ray out of his systems with the caveat that he can either take six hours to crack the super high quality encryption she set up to hide his new password, or he can spend that same amount of time getting food and a few hours sleep after which she'll just give him the new password. He takes the second option... and the new password turns out to be just "password".
  • Perma-Stubble: Oliver always maintains about a day or two worth of beard, even on the island flashbacks. When he gets off the island he had a fairly impressive beard. It's lampshaded in season 3 when Captain Lance officially sets out to arrest Oliver as The Arrow where they bring up a very old, pre-island, picture of him clean shaven (he is almost unrecognizable). Lance dismisses it, demanding something recent "with the scruff he's always wearing."
  • The Plan: The Undertaking. Malcolm plans to save the city from its crime problem by leveling the Glades, which, as Moira points out, will kill thousands.
  • Plot-Triggering Death:
    • The murder of Rebecca Merlyn in the Glades twenty years prior to the start of the series is where everything began. Had she not died, everyone's lives would be vastly different.
    • Sara's death at the start of Season 3 kickstarts the main plot line of that season. Finding her killer is imperative to preventing the League of Assassins from attacking Starling City in retaliation for her death.
  • Pocket Dial: Subverted. Oliver's friends receive a call from him and assume that he butt-dialed them because they hear him having a conversation with his mother and another person. Then Sara recognized the other voice and realizes that it is actually a call for help and Oliver and his family are in grave danger.
  • Police are Useless: Oh so very much, but particularly in Season 2. As they seem to be more interest in catching the vigilante than the people stealing supplies from the hospital. Then show they rather not let the public know a serial killer is on the loose and arrest Lance for getting involved.
    • Arguably becomes worse in the middle of Season 3, where after only a few weeks of Oliver being absent, Central City's crime rate skyrockets and the city government withdraws the police from the Glades after being threatened.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Their many, many secrets and lies tore the Queen family apart in the second season. As of the third season, Oliver clearly hasn't learned the lesson.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Averted in one instance. Oliver comes back from the island with a wide variety of skills, extended beyond just his bow and arrow. But in season three, his duel with Ras Al Ghul with swords ends badly for him. The previous season Slade suggests Oliver learn to train with a sword, and after his loss Oliver takes the opportunity to train with swords so his next fight is more even handed.
  • The Power of Love: During "Invasion!", the memories of his relationship with Felicity breaks through the hallucination caused by the Dominators, making Oliver sure that they were in the wrong world.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
    • Diggle can be fond of them.
      Diggle: You forgot one thing: I'm the guy with the grenade launcher.
    • Oliver's "You have failed this city" also counts.
  • Present-Day Past: Averted. Indeed, the show makes a point of emphasising everything that has changed since 2007 and is therefore new to Oliver.
  • Prison Episode:
    • The Season 1 Episode "An Innocent Man" features Laurel aiding a man falsely accused of murdering his own wife. The climatic battle for that episode has the actual murderer (his wife's Bad Boss) planning to silence him via Prison Riot but was foiled by The Vigilante.
    • The first seven episodes of Season 2 has Oliver and Thea frequently visiting Moira in Iron Heights after she confessed on aiding The Undertaking during much of the previous season.
    • Much of Season 3's "Broken Arrow" is set inside Iron Heights and focuses on Roy's attempts to survive in prison after he confesses to being the Arrow.
  • Product Placement: Microsoft Windows.
    • In "Vertigo", Laurel is shown putting together a Windows 8 tablet and browsing on it, complete with clear shots of the logos.
    • Felicity Smoak is also shown using Windows 8 on her computers.
    • She also uses Internet Explorer and Bing, which detracts slightly from her tech-wizard persona.
    • Every screen has the Windows logo on the back. This is a bit weird, because Microsoft don't manufacture screens.
    • The Roy-and-Felicity-centric webisode miniseries "Blood Rush" is heavily focused on Bose speakers and headphones.
    • In "Suicide Squad", Deadshot hands Diggle a Windows tablet for their work... and doesn't bother opening the app, just in case viewers didn't know what the home screen looks like yet, somehow.
    • Pretty much anytime a tablet is used, we get a brief shot of the Windows home screen before the character opens an app. Even when they're in a hurry and the tablet has been in their hands for several seconds.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Felicity becomes Oliver's love interest at the end of season 2.
  • Protagonist Title: Yes, the title refers to Oliver (or rather, his vigilante identity), not his weapons.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Happens to Laurel in "Midnight City" as she tries to rescue the aldermen from Brick's van. She throws several punches at Brick which he shrugs off with no effect, before announcing that he doesn't like hurting women and casually tossing her aside.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Used by the Arrow to sound intimidating. Sometimes his catchphrase becomes "You! Have failed... this... city."
  • Put on a Bus: Played straight with McKenna who left for Coast City.
  • Race Lift: Sin in the comics is canonically Asian. In Arrow, she appears to be white.
    • Sandra Hawke, the mother of Oliver's child, is canonically of mixed African-American and Korean heritage. Her show counterpart, named Samantha Clayton, is Caucasian. Naturally, this extends to their son as well, though since said son is named William, we can't yet say for sure whether his canonical comic counterpart Connor Hawke has also experienced a Race Lift or not.
    • Walter Steele, in his one brief appearance in the comics, is a white, blond man. On the show, he is black.
    • Simon Lacroix/Komodo was white in the comics, and is black on the show.
    • Danny "Brick" Brickwell is a black metahuman in the comics, and a normal (if ridiculously bullet-resistant) white guy in the show.
    • Baron Reiter is not only white but an actual Nazi in the comics and black on the show.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: A Japanese submarine that's supposed to be from WWII is in far better shape than many real life museum pieces even though it's found unattended in the middle of a salt-water lagoon. The high saline content should've corroded the sub and damaged all the perishables in it decades ago.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Moira tells Walter that his investigation is angering dangerous people. Walter is kidnapped and spends months locked in a bare cell. Walter is rescued by the vigilante. Walter hands Moira divorce papers.
    • In Season One finale "Sacrifice", Det. Lance finally tells his superior that over the past several months he had been in-contact with the Hood and tries to explain that the Hood is trying to stop Malcolm's attack on the Glades. The chief don't buy it and suspends him, asking for his badge and gun. It doesn't seem to matter afterwards, although he is still demoted to beat cop for his trouble.
    • After Sara's attempted suicide fails and she recovers, she is reunited with her family. After she had an affair with her sister's fiance, nearly got them all killed, and caused them so much avoidable grief that it destroyed Quentin's and Dinah's marriage and turned Quentin into an alcoholic. And then, to put the cherry on the cake, Sara resumed her relationship with Oliver. Her parents might be more forgiving, but Laurel is understandably pissed.
    • Numerous characters take rather awful beatings from the Deathstrokes in Season 2, but they're mostly costumed vigilantes, who are likely prepared for when they get the stuffing kicked out of them. In the season finale, Quentin is hurled into a table by a goon, and he coughs up blood and passes out due to a collapsed lung.
    • Also in Season 2, Roy is dosed with Mirakuru and has difficulty controlling the insanity. The Arrow takes him on as his apprentice, and he manages to get Roy to snap out of it as a critical juncture by revealing his identity. This does not magically cure his rage issues; only the removal of the drug from his system does that.
    • In Season Three, Oliver has finally gotten the crime rate down. Problem is that after two massive terrorist attacks, the population is still dwindling as not that many people want to live in Starling City anymore.
    • Despite being the son of the former CEO and caring much more about the company, the board of Queen Consolidated are resistant to the idea of Oliver taking over the company given his detachment from it and his general inexperience. So as soon as Ray Palmer enters the scene, they gladly give the job to him instead. Oliver even acknowledges soon after that it was probably better for Palmer to become CEO and even thought it was selfish of him to try to get the company back after his behavior in the previous seasons.
    • Laurel's first outing as a vigilante goes like this. She ambushes a wife-beater with a baseball bat. After getting a couple of shots in, the guy takes the bat from her and beats her badly enough to put her in the hospital. Afterwards, Laurel seeks training.
    • In Season Four Samantha demands Oliver keeps his son a secret from everyone he knows. Although he could have told Felicity the truth and lied to Samantha, Oliver goes along with it. Unsurprisingly Felicity isn't happy to discover her fiance hid his son from her, risking making her a step-mother without her consent, and breaks off the engagement.
    • Damien Darhk regularly kills members of his organization for failure, and threatens the board providing his funding. When his backers see a chance to get rid of him they quite naturally take it.
    • In Season Five, the chickens have come home to roost for Oliver in the form of Prometheus, a supervillain whose father was killed by Oliver in the first season. Granted, most of people on the list Oliver killed off were Corrupt Corporate Executive characters who were never meant to be sympathized with. However, just like in real life, even those people have their loved ones, be they wives or children, who will want revenge on you for killing their relatives. It was practically inevitable that Oliver would create a Prometheus sooner or later through his actions in the first season because chances are, not every person on the list that Oliver removed would be a lone miser whom nobody would miss.
    • Oliver may be a certified badass and hardened killer but he is still regularly beaten by opponents with superior training, more experience, or actual powers. Forcing him to get better training himself or seek outside help.
    • Considering The Ninth Circle is a massive evil organization as well as an ancient one, it's not really surprising that they turn on and try to kill Emiko after she has not only been wasting so much time and resources trying and failing to get petty revenge on her brother, but also wasted so much time away from the organization and killed the previous leader of the circle. If anything, it surprising they didn't do it sooner.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic:
    • Despite the lethal nature of arrows, the fact that some of the mooks that Oliver hits survive is not unrealistic. It might help that he appears not to pull the arrows out, improving their chances of not bleeding to death from an open wound.
    • A submachine gun is difficult to aim with than any other weapon unless you use controlled bursts. Everyone Oliver comes up against is firing from the hip and shooting rapidly. In real life, their chances of hitting a fast moving target in the dark are as bad as they are here.
    • The reason Oliver's hood seems to magically stay on even during intense fights is because, according to Stephen Amell, the hood 'actually does stay on during all the fight scenes. He has more of a problem with it going too low than coming off. His haircut probably helps; if hair is cut short enough, it can somewhat "grip" the fabric of the hood not unlike Velcro.
    • While he's probably not capable of fighting as many people as he does, Stephen Amell actually is a highly skilled martial artist and free-runner, just like Oliver. He's not got his other skills though. Caity Lotz (Canary/Sara) is similar.
    • There was criticism concerning the excuse for Oliver surviving police gunfire in the finale was due to the League of Assassins' armour he was wearing, given that this did nothing to stop Ra's being fatally stabbed or previous times League members were shot down by gunfire. In the former case, body armour is typically designed to stop one particular attack, not all (ie, a bullet vest can stop bullets, but would be useless against a knife or an arrow), meaning it would be similarly useless against swords. Meanwhile, in the latter case, though it stops the bullet, typically the armour doesn't do anything to stop the resulting concussive force, meaning its likely to still knock you out or at least hurt a lot. Which, combined with Team Arrow being largely non-lethal at this point, would indicate that they didn't actually kill the League members they'd previously shot at.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Oliver is delivered more than a few throughout the series, especially at first, leading to some criticism that he got too many. As the series goes on, this dials down and he gives a few himself to others.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Employed by a number of villains, such as Brother Blood, Nyssa al Ghul, and both Deathstrokes (downplayed since the mask both of them wore is actually black and orange).
  • Red Herring:
    • Neither Laurel Lance nor Dinah Drake are the Black Canary - that designation goes to Sara.
      • In the third season, thanks to Sara's sudden death, it appears that the mantle is being taken by Laurel. And since Sara (blonde) was the Canary, Laurel (brunette)...
    • One of the Green Arrow's earliest enemies was Merlyn the Archer, whose first name was Thomas. Oliver's best friend in-series is Tommy Merlyn. Who is the Vigilante's nemesis in Season One? Not Tommy. It's his dad, Malcolm Merlyn. Tommy dies as a result of Malcolm's Undertaking.
    • Deathstroke's identity. There is, indeed, a mercenary who wears the Deathstroke mask and fights with swords, guns, and martial arts: however not once is he referred to as Deathstroke, his name is not Slade Wilson, and the mask shown in the pilot with an arrow in its eye can't be his - he was killed with a sword by the real Slade Wilson. Slade is henceforth shown as Oliver's friend and ally on the island, up until we learn of his Face–Heel Turn, and that Oliver put an arrow in his eye.
    • Thea Dearden (Queen), nicknamed "Speedy", has yet to show any indication that she will be a crimefighter like her brother. She may well be on her way here starting the second half of Season 3.
    • How Malcolm Merlyn survived getting shot by Thea. Because he's a former League of Assassins member, and he returned with a mysterious green amulet, we assume he survived thanks to Lazarus Pit mumbo-jumbo. Turns out it's called kevlar.
  • Related in the Adaptation:
    • Yao Fei and Shado are not father and daughter in the comics. In fact, they had zero interactions in the source material.
    • While adopted, Mia is not related to the Queens by blood unlike Thea. This also extends to Malcolm Merlyn, who is her biological father in this version.
  • Retcon: Mild examples.
    • In "Honor Thy Father", the second episode of the series, Oliver visits Laurel's apartment for the first time since he returned from the island and makes comments to the effect that he's been there before. But in "The Undertaking", there is a flashback set just before the ill-fated yacht trip in which Oliver and Laurel were looking for apartments, and Laurel clearly didn't have a place of her own at the time.
    • In the aforementioned "The Undertaking" flashback, Laurel refers to "Ray and Jean" as peers of hers and Oliver's. At the time, this was clearly a Shout-Out to Ray Palmer and Jean Loring, from the comics. However, the two characters have subsequently been introduced and they certainly aren't peers of Oliver and Laurel's. Jean Loring was Moira's lawyer in Season 2, and seemingly a contemporary of Moira's; while Ray Palmer is introduced in Season 3 as someone Oliver is clearly meeting for the first time. (We also have Ray mention his wife who died. Her name is not Jean. Of course, in-universe, it could have been other people with those first names.)
    • Early in Season 1, Oliver tells Diggle that Yao Fei trained him. But as the flashback storyline progresses, we learn that Yao Fei in fact never actually trained Oliver; his daughter Shado, and Slade Wilson did. Of course, this CAN be chalked up to Oliver's general reluctance to candidly discuss his island experiences with others, and perhaps his unwillingness to talk about Shado and Slade, given what happened to them, as we learn in the Season 2 flashbacks.
    • Season 4 has Laurel confessing that Oliver has always been the love of her life, despite the fact she hasn't shown any interest in him since Season Two and seemed to regret choosing Oliver over Tommy.
  • Retirony: In Eleven Fifty-Nine, Laurel Lance/Black Canary wanted to do one final mission before retiring from superheroics to become the city's District Attorney. She was killed on that mission.
  • Reusable Lighter Toss: Arrow shoots one out of the air before it can do damage from a pyro that tossed it.
  • Revolving Door Casting: Not as bad as other examples, but there is a significant cast turnaround from season to season. At least one or two named, important characters are added (typically via Ascended Extra) or taken away (typically via Comic Book Death) each season. The most consistent cast has been Oliver, Diggle, Thea, Laurel, Detective Lance and Felicity. At least five others have come and gone for a season.
  • Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Oliver invokes this to hide his activities as the Arrow. Really comes into play in "Honor Thy Father" when he decides that in order to honor his father's wishes he has to dishonor his father's memory by acting like his old self. Ironically, it works not because he's really pulling off the playboy lifestyle, but because the people close to him think he's still suffering the trauma of the island and trying to pull off the lifestyle as a coping mechanism.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Thea assumes that her mother and Malcolm Merlyn have been having affair based on his constant presence after her father's death, when his presence is actually due to the Initiative Moira has reluctantly been made a part of. But her conclusion that they'd started an affair before Robert Queen's death turns out to be dead-on.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: In the climax of "Suicide Squad", Amanda Waller plans to destroy Gholem Kadir's mansion with a drone strike. In response to reports that he has chemical weapons, no less.
    Deadshot: Ugh, how contemporary.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Oliver doesn't seem picky about whether his targets live or die as long as they pay somehow for what they did.
    • Helena takes it Up to Eleven. She flat out doesn't care who gets in her way as long as her target ends up dead. Subverted when Frank gets killed by someone other than her, after which she realises how pointless her RROR truly was.
    • And then Oliver goes to rescue Walter in "The Undertaking".
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • Since Sara told Oliver he needs "someone who can harness that light that's still inside of you", many of Olicity's scenes featured an intense flash of light. The most noticeable ones being their hug at the end of s02, their first kiss, their goodbye kiss in Nanda Parbat and Oliver saying that Felicity "is the one who lights my way" during his proposal.
    • The fern became a symbolism for the state of Oliver and Felicity's relationship through season 03 after Felicity gifted Oliver with one, to the point that the producers made a video for the fans of the fern rising from Lazarus pit after being destroyed.
  • Rule of Three: Oliver fights the Dark Archer on three separate occasions. He only wins the third time.
  • Running Gag: Felicity trying to talk seriously about work or to Oliver on missions and it coming out as sexual innuendo. Doubles as a little comic relief.
  • Ruritania: Markovia has become the show’s go-to fictional country for miscellaneous shady dealings.
  • Sadistic Choice: Oliver has to make a number of difficult choices while on the island.
    • In "Dodger", Island!Oliver encounters what appears to be a tied up stranded student beat up by Fyer's men. He can either free the student despite the suspicious circumstances or leave him behind. In the first case, if it's not a trap, then Oliver then risks his and Slade's life due to someone who is even less prepared to survive than Oliver was. In the latter case, if it's not a trap, he condemns the student to death. In Darkness on the Edge of Town, it turns out that this particular instance really was a trap.
    • "Three Ghosts" has Oliver make a choice that sets the events of Season 2 in motion, as Ivo pulls a gun on Shado and Sara and forces him to choose which one he will shoot. Ollie picks Shado, prompting Slade's Face–Heel Turn and his decision to destroy everything Oliver holds dear.
    • Slade recreates the choice forcing Oliver to chose between his mother and his sister. This time, he refuses to move at all or chose either, begging Slade to kill him instead. Moira volunteers and Slade kills her.
  • San Dimas Time: A non time-travel example. Time passes in Oliver's flashback storyline at roughly the same rate it passes in the present-day storyline. For instance, the five-month Time Skips between seasons in the present-day story is complemented by similar Time Skips in the flashback story. As a result, 1 year/season in the present = 1 year of Oliver's time away (with the flashback storyline slated to end at the end of the fifth season).
  • Scars Are Forever: Oliver's scars from his time on the island are a major plot point. See the page illustration to see what we mean.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale:
    • In one episode Oliver handles a longbow said to have "150 pounds of tension." After a few hours/days of pounding water he can draw it easily. In modern times 150 lbs of draw weight is usually only found in compound crossbows (which require special cocking devices). For those unfamiliar with what this means, pounds of tension (normally phrased as draw weight) is the amount of effort required to fully draw the bow’s string to the draw length which it was measured at. And for reference, 150 lbs is within the general estimates of historical English longbows.
    • 150 lbs is heavy even for an English longbow, and these were for archers who began training in childhood (actual saying: "start with his grandfather"). Modern archers call 60 lbs significant, while 70 is hard even on a compound bow with let-off, and in its 6 May 1957 issue, Sports Illustrated noted a $10,000 bet being won by killing an elephant with a Bear Archery recurve bow with a draw weight of 102 pounds[http://si.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1132308/index.htm].
    • Made even worse when Felicity is able to pick up Oliver’s bow and draw it back significantly in “The Ultimate ‘Odyssey’”.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Played with. It is implied that the Queens (and possibly the Merlyns, given Tommy's past) have generally been able to worm their way out of trouble. Certainly Oliver seems to have suffered no ill effects from any of his arrests. However, when Thea came across a particularly hardline judge, her DUI charges nearly landed her with a trial.
  • Secret Identity:
    • Oliver used to maintain one ruthlessly. He's gotten slightly softer, but still threatens to put an arrow through Barry Allen after Felicity brings him to the arrow cave.
    • Malcolm Merlyn/Dark Archer takes this to its logical conclusion, as not even his own organization is aware they're the same person, allowing him to act as his own Dragon.
  • Secret Keeper:
    • Oliver accurately predicted that Felicity (episode fourteen) and Diggle (episode four) would not go to the police before he let them in on his identity as the Vigilante.
    • In episode seven Helena Bertinelli worked it out on her own. She later reveals Oliver's identity to the police – but because of the way she phrased it they didn't notice.
    • In episode sixteen Oliver is forced to reveal his identity to Tommy. And while Tommy doesn't approve of the Vigilante's actions he doesn't go to the police.
    • Roy, as of "Tremors", when Oliver reveals his identity in order to get Roy to focus and use his Mirakuru-given strength to stop a prototype of the Markov device from detonating.
    • In Season Two, Quentin Lance becomes this for the Canary, his daughter Sara Lance.
    • It's revealed Oliver had connections to A.R.G.U.S while on the island, and they know exactly who he is back in Starling City.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Laurel learns that Oliver is the Arrow from Slade as an attempt at his intricate revenge plan, but she keeps it to herself for a few episodes until. In late season two, Moira reveals she knew Oliver's secret all the way back in season one, but kept it to herself out of respect to what he was doing, pride for who he became and Plausible Deniability. Not long later she is killed by Deathstroke.
  • Self-Deprecation: From "Year's End"
    Oliver: I think the vigilante needs a better name than "the Hood guy".
    Malcolm: How about Green Arrow?
    Oliver: Lame.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • As of the end of the first season, both Malcolm Merlyn and his son are dead, an the Undertaking half-completed, but Oliver's backstory is only just warming up, and he's grown into a more well-rounded hero so we know he's not going to stop in the present. The interesting part is that the only real mystery left is technically already resolved in that it will be told in flashbacks to the island. In the present, it's just unknown what will happen next.
    • In episode 1x16, Malcolm tells Tommy that he met a man in a place called Nanda Parbat, who was the one who trained him. In season 2, the man's daughter makes infrequent appearances and is connected with Sara Lance
    • In "Darkness on the Edge of town", Fyers reveals that he was hired to cripple China's economy. We also see an assistant telling a mysterious woman of Fyers progress.
    • In the season two finale, Oliver reveals he knows how to fly an airplane, making Diggle and Felicity wonder how he acquired that ability on the island. Cue flashback to Oliver waking up in Hong Kong and meeting Waller there.
    • In the last few episodes of Season 3, Ra's al Ghul mentions a rogue League of Assassins member named Damien Darkh, an individual who has managed to evade for centuries, and he attempts to kill the man during the season finale, but Darkh caught wind of his plan and escaped again, leaving the door open to return.
  • Series Fauxnale: If it weren't for confirmation of a season 4 literally right as it ended, you'd be certain that Season 3 was the show's last. Oliver retires to live a life with Felicity knowing that the city is in safe hands with the other superheroes around in Black Canary and Speedy, Diggle is hinted at becoming the new Green Arrow, Ray gets plenty of set-up for his spin-off show, Malcolm becomes the new Ra's Al-Ghul thanks to his deal with Oliver, and Nyssa returns to the League of Assassins in order to bide her time until she can avenge Sara's murder. Even in the flashbacks, Oliver is show to be capable of returning to Starling City when he wants but holds it off for his own reasons.. Essentially all the major players and plots are accounted for in a fashion that doesn't leave viewers hanging in case the show couldn't have gotten renewed.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: In the flashbacks of "Suicidal Tendencies", we learn that Floyd Lawton was one. Unable to adapt to civilian life after years as a military sniper, he is separated from his family after he almost shoots his wife during a traumatic episode. This is what leads to his being recruited by HIVE and becoming Deadshot.
  • Ship Sinking:
    • The Huntress/Oliver: She goes on a killing spree that makes the Vigilante look calm and reasoned.
    • McKenna/Oliver: She has to go and live in Coast City for a year so she can receive the best possible physical therapy for her injuries after being shot by The Huntress.
    • Sara/Oliver: She dies in the shipwreck. Only to survive and revive her relationship with Oliver. Then she's Killed Off for Real. Although she's revived again a season later she leaves Starling to travel through time
    • Laurel/Tommy: He died saving her life.
    • Laurel/Oliver: She feels guilty after Tommy's death and calls it off. Then she's killed in Season 4.
    • Tommy's death ended any chances for Tommy/Laurel and Tommy/Thea. Since season 2 reveals that Thea is actually Malcolm's daughter and Tommy's half-sister, there should be a sigh of relief for the latter ship sinking. The squick factor does not go unnoticed by Thea.
    • Sara/Sin by "Time of Death", as it's revealed that Sin is only seventeen, and that they see each other as sisters.
  • Ship Tease: It doesn't take long for Felicity to develop some feelings for Oliver in season 1, and their continued working relationship in season 2 takes this even further to where she's practically Promoted to Love Interest and Everyone Can See It. It doesn't help she has a terrible knack for going down the Freudian Slippery Slope and saying things That Came Out Wrong around him. After a faked love confession in the S2 finale to trap Slade Wilson, they profess their real feelings before Oliver withdraws, feeling his double life will never allow him to be with anyone, so they tearfully call it off. By the end of Season 3 they have a Relationship Upgrade and are going strong in Season 4.
  • Shipper on Deck: Several characters have observed the attraction between Oliver and Felicity and commented in some way about it, including John Diggle, Barry Allen, Moira Queen, Slade Wilson, Ray Palmer, Donna Smoak, Isabel Rochev, and the entire staff of Queen Consolidated (according to Isabel, anyway). It gets a bit funny and tearjerking when Ra's al Ghul cites it in his employment offer.
    • Season 3 proves Diggle as hard-core shipper when he talks a nervous Oliver into finally asking her out.
    • Curtis Holt is the biggest supporter of Oliver and Felicity reconciliation during s05 and s06.
    • In season one, Oliver also gives Diggle a push into pursuing a relationship with a waitress who was once married to Andy. (Does it violate the Bro Code if he's dead?)
  • Shirtless Scene: Oliver gets a lot of these, usually while training, which is a lot.
    • Diggle gets a few scenes while he's training too.
    • The Arrowcave/Foundry has pretty much become a shirt-free zone. Out of the five permanent/semi permanent members of Team Arrow, Felicity's the only one who's managed not to go topless.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Diggle first learned of the existence of the League of Assassins when he heard about them from an Afghan tribal leader when he was with the US Army, but wrote them off as an urban legend.
  • Skeleton Key: Season 2 featured one. The Clock King attempted to acquire it, before Team Arrow got ahold of it. Later Slade Wilson breaks into the Arrowcave and steals it for himself.
  • Sibling Team: Oliver and Thea will become this in Season 4.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Laurel and Sara. Before the Gambit sank, Sara was a happy-go-lucky party girl who is implied to have often got herself into trouble, while Laurel was more straight-laced and determined to have a respectable career in law and a marriage with Oliver. Six years later, when the sisters finally reunite, Sara has had to do horrible things to survive, but has become a stronger and more loving person for it, while Laurel has stayed in Starling and lived a relatively normal life, but years of heartbreak and betrayal, as well as substance abuse, have turned her into a bitter and cynical person who's lost so many of the things she's cared about, including her family, her boyfriends, and her job.
  • Sinister Whistling:
    • The second Count Vertigo, Werner Zytle, is fond of whistling "In the Hall of the Mountain King", while going about his work.
    • Adrian Chase/Prometheus does this in "Disbanded", after murdering the guards tasked with protecting him, he drives back while listening and whistling to the tune of "It's A Beautiful Morning" on the radio.
  • Sixth Ranger: Season 1 establishes 'Team Arrow' the Power Trio of Oliver, Diggle and Felicity and they gain more members and allies throughout the series.
    • Quentin became the group's outsource and police intel starting Season 2 up until the mid-Season 3 due to a fallout. Said ally resumes this position in Season 4.
    • Sara comes on board as an on-off member in Season 2 and Roy later joins on a permanent basis.
    • Lyla Michaels becomes a recurring ally starting the Season 2 finale.
    • Laurel from the Season 2 finale onwards spends her time as an outsource and legal aid. Come mid-Season 3, she tries to take her sister's place against the rest of the team's objections. Oliver eventually takes her on board.
    • Thea becomes an ally partway through Season 3 and officially a member during the Season Finale.
    • Season 3 also introduced recurring allies such as The Flash and his team, The Atom, and Katana. Malcolm Merlyn also allied with Oliver briefly, though the relationship was more antagonistic. Nyssa Al-Ghul, though helped Team Arrow in an Enemy Mine scenario at the previous Season Finale, also officially becomes a recurring Friendly Enemy during this season.
    • Season 4 even has an episode lampshading this trope, with Oliver, Diggle and Felicity managing a mission with the just the three of them and commenting how long it's been since Original Team Arrow.
  • Smoke Out: Malcolm Merlyn does this in "The Magician"; escaping from Nyssa and Oliver by dropping a smoke bomb and vanishing under the cover of the smoke.
  • Soft Glass: People routinely go through broken glass none the worse for wear. The season two opener is rather egregious in that the copycat vigilantes assault the Queen Industries board meeting, which takes place in a room with glass walls. Then Oliver and Felicity jump through a window, then swing on a chain through a second on a lower floor.
  • Sonic Stunner: The Canary uses one of these to save Oliver from the cops in “Broken Dolls”. The weapon has remained a part of her (and her successor's) arsenal.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The series plays it mostly straight, although each individual enemy is not necessarily more powerful, but bring with them a different set of problems. Notably, as "Team Arrow" expanded in season two and three they actually find themselves better capable of handling wide-scale threats instead of being limited with only two field agents (Oliver and Diggle) and Mission Control (Felicity).
    • Season One: The Dark Archer is sufficiently badass to be the Big Bad, repeatedly defeating Oliver and leveling half of Starling City. In season two, we learn the Dark Archer was a minor, but elite, footsoldier in the League of Assassins.
    • Season Two: Deathstroke is technically the most dangerous character revealed on the show thus far, along with his mirakuru soldiers, but his overall goals is actually a bit more low key than the Dark Archer's, who was more interested in wanton, wide-spread genocide.
    • Season Three: Ra's al Ghul's threat is more in what he could do than what he actually does, he could either bring the wrath of the entire League of Assassins upon Starling City or Oliver accepts a Deal with the Devil.
    • Season Four: Damien Darhk brings with him more mystical edge and his overall goals are shrouded in secrecy, forcing the heroes to bide their time instead of confronting him directly. He eventually tries to destroy the world.
    • Season Five: Prometheus actually subverts the algorithm a bit. He is the first Big Bad that is outright less skilled than Oliver (he can keep up in a fight, but if they were to actually go at it one-on-one to the end, Prometheus would — eventually — lose, and he would probably lose a fight with every other Big Bad on the show as well), and his goals are, by far, the most low-key. He doesn't care about widespread destruction or anything of that sort; the only thing he cares about is ruining Oliver Queen's life. However, what he does bring to the table arguably makes him more dangerous than the previous four combined: psychological warfare, combined with almost clairvoyant planning abilities. Numerous times, Oliver either had Prometheus dead to rights, or was just about to capture or neutralise him, when Prometheus revealed a trap he'd prepared, or that an ally of Oliver's was being held hostage, or that a catastrophe would occur if Oliver didn't immediately leave to prevent it. Best exemplified by his most memetic quote:
      Prometheus: I'm ten steps ahead of you and you don't even know what game we're playing.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Moira Queen is a Posthumous Character in the comics along with Robert. She dies near the end of Season 2 though.
    • Frank Bertinelli's death along with the rest of his family is what pushed his daughter Helena to become The Huntress. Here, he's still alive by the time his daughter became The Huntress. He dies in the third quarter of Season 2.
    • Maseo Yamashiro's death, along with their twin daughters, is what pushed his widow Tatsu to become Katana. Here, he's still alive by the time she dons that superhero identity. In fact, she personally killed him while donning said identity for the first time during the penultimate episode of Season 3.
  • Spiritual Successor: In some ways, Arrow is this for Smallville, as Arrow has claimed Smallville's former place as the flagship show for The CW, as well as the title of being the main DC Comics adaptation on the network. Also, Arrow shares some of the same writers and producers, shares some of the same actors who played small parts on both shows, and most famously reuses Smallville's Luthor mansion as the Queen family home. Also, though it proved to be a separate continuity, The Green Arrow was, in Smallville, the first hero to don a costume and take a name (at least, until we find the JSA existed) and people had been wanting him to helm his own show for some time. It came as no surprise that Arrow would begin not long after Smallville ended, but it did come as a surprise to some that it wasn't Justin Hartley's version.
    • Averted as far as the actual show goes, which is much darker and grittier than Smallville, and more focused on characters inner struggles than on relationships.
  • Spoiled Brat:
    • Thea developed into one during Oliver's absence, both because of parental neglect from her mother and the trauma of losing her father and beloved big brother. Said brattiness mainly manifests as angsting and acting-out at Oliver to punish him for abandoning her, and some truly magnificent (and adorable) displays of whining.
    • Oliver was this before his disappearance, and is trying to maintain the illusion that he still is.
  • Squishy Wizard: Averted. If you use magic in the Arrow's world, you'll be a lot tougher than the average thug. Even a non-fighter like John Constantine had an easy time beating up mercenary goons with his fists.
  • The Starscream: Sebastian Blood. He starts off as a willing Dragon to Slade, but the latter's barely-disguised contempt for him, as well as the destruction he wreaks on the city Sebastian meant to govern, means that he eventually turns over the cure for Mirakuru to the Arrow and is murdered by the Ravager for his trouble.
  • Starter Villain: Adam Hunt, for Oliver in Season 1. In Season 2, the Copycat Archers are the first villains he takes on with his new approach towards crime-fighting.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: This incarnation of Green Arrow really, really loves this trope. Put on display when Oliver manages one out of a moving car.
    • Malcolm and the League of Assassins do this twice in the Arrow/Flash crossover. Lampshaded by Cisco the second time, asking if its the only way they know how to enter.
  • Stealth Pun: Diggle gets motion sick every time Barry carries him somewhere. In other words, it's a literal Running Gag.
  • Storming the Castle: The Arrow frequently breaks into bad guys' lairs/offices in his pursuit of them.
    • In "Sacrifice", Oliver and Diggle head to Malcolm's penthouse to confront him and stop him from leveling the Glades.
    • In "The Promise", Oliver, Slade, and Sara sneak onto the Amazo, releasing Ivo's prisoners and starting a riot, in order to take control and get off the island. Instead, Slade has his Face–Heel Turn and takes control of the ship for himself.
    • In "Unthinkable", Team Arrow and the League of Assassins assault the Queen Consolidated offices that Slade and Isabel have taken over and are using as a base.
  • Story Arc: The unexpected death of Sara Lance and whom killed her is the driving question and focal point since the start of Season 3.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge:
    • The main conflict of Season 2 is set into motion by Dr. Ivo killing Shado after forcing Oliver to choose between her and Sara.
    • Defied in "Seeing Red" Deathstroke is trying to invoke this, making Oliver choose between Moira and Thea to make him suffer like he promised, and to parallel Shado's death. But Moira confidently stands up and says that her children are going to live, and her bravery makes Slade kill her, acknowledging her courage.
    • In "Eleven Fifty-Nine" Damien Darhk fatally stabs Laurel Lance because he made a promise to her father that if he had betrayed him, he would kill his daughter. This then set in motion for Oliver to kill Damien Darhk in "Schism".
  • Superhero Monologue: Oliver really likes to inner monologue while in his headquarters. They got rid of this after a few episodes, coincidentally when he got a totally-not-a-sidekick in the person of Digg.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: During his "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Oliver (the normally unseasonably even-tempered and even-voiced Oliver) snaps and starts yelling. The sheer rarity of Oliver raising his voice leaves Laurel visibly shocked.
  • Sudden Soundtrack Stop: In the 9th Episode of season 3, entitled "The Climb", Oliver must face Ra's Al Ghul in a duel to the death using swords. The fight begins with Ra's unarmed while Oliver has two blades. Ra's dominates the fight, taking one of Oliver's blades during the battle. Oliver seems outmatched when music of worry starts to play as our hero is held to a standstill at the end of a sword at around 40:43... suddenly at 40:48 Oliver uses his remaining sword to parry Ra's blade and mount an offensive. The music of concern gives way to optimistic music. Oliver is mounting his comeback and the song has almost gone full-on Arrow theme music.... which is abruptly stopped when at 40:53 Ra's uses his bare hand to stop Oliver's sword mid-swing. Ra's punches him in the throat, slices his abdomen, monologues, stabs him through the chest, and kicks him off the side of a mountain. Oliver dies from his injuries.
  • Superhero Origin: The Series.
    • The continuing flashback story-arc of Oliver's five years away (on the island and Hong Kong, among other places) is basically a five-season long origin story, detailing Oliver's gradual transformation into the skilled fighter and warrior who eventually becomes the 'Arrow'.
    • The first two seasons also serve as an 'origin' of sorts, as Oliver begins his crusade and gradually evolves from the ruthless vigilante known as the 'Hood' into the heroic figure known as 'the Arrow'. By the start of Season 3, Oliver is very close to being the classic Green Arrow character from the comics.
    • A major sub-plot of Season 2 was Roy Harper's increasing involvement with the Arrow's world, culminating in him formally becoming the Arrow's sidekick in the season finale..
    • Season 3 is one for Black Canary.
    • It also seems like Season 3 is going to be one for Thea Queen as well.
    • According to Word Of God, a part of the show's formula is having character's go through some grueling and traumatic experience (analogous to Oliver's years on the island) that makes them stronger and prepares them for their destiny as superheroes.
    • Season 3 even gives us the episode "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak".
  • Superhero Paradox: Becomes a legitimate issue in season three. Starling City did not have to fend off yearly terrorist and superweapon attacks before Oliver started his mission. At least in the first season, the Undertaking was something set in motion long before Oliver came back. Seasons two and three have Big Bads who act in large part due to targeting Oliver, and that causes a Despair Event Horizon for him mid season three. Even the Big Bad of season four who has no direct connection to Oliver was drawn to the city by the continual destruction that befalls it.
    • Comes to a head in Season 5, in which the main villain, Prometheus, is motivated entirely by vengeance against Oliver for his actions as the Hood/Arrow/Green Arrow.
  • Super Serum: Mirakuru ("Miracle"). Originally developed by a Japanese military program during WWII, and somehow found by Brother Blood, it alters body chemistry to give the receiver enhanced speed, strength, and durability. Assuming they survive the transformation.
  • Super Window Jump: Combined with Outrun the Fireball in "Canaries" when Oliver and Roy do this to escape from a bomber by leaping through his apartment windows just after he presses the detonator.
  • Swapped Roles: Twice between Laurel and her father, Quentin.
    • In Season 1, Laurel supported the Arrow and occasionally worked with him, while Quentin considered the Arrow a criminal and wanted to capture him. By the start of the next season, Quentin has basically become The Commissioner Gordon to the Arrow, while Laurel leads a manhunt against him. This only lasts a few episodes though, as Laurel eventually admits she was only targeting the Arrow because she unfairly blamed him for Tommy's death, and ends her involvement with the manhunt.
    • In Season 2, Quentin kept the fact that Sara was alive from Laurel. In Season 3, Laurel in turn, keeps the fact that Sara has been murdered from Quentin.
  • Sweeps Week Lesbian Kiss: Between Sara and Nyssa in "Heir to the Demon".
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Quentin Lance spends a lot of time in a couple of different seasons as an antagonist to Team Arrow.
  • The Syndicate: Starling City seems to be run almost completely by Corrupt Corporate Executive types who are members of a secret society.
    • It later turns out only a handful, including Malcolm and Moira, are part of the society. The rest were being manipulated and coerced by them as part of their plan for the city.


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