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Arrow / Tropes T to Z

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Arrow provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Take a Third Option: Oliver has begun vehemently insisting on exploring all possible solutions to the problems Team Arrow faces, and explicitly states he will take a third option if possible in "Sins of the Father".
  • Take Over the City: In season 3, Brick does this to The Glades. He forces the mayor to remove all police presence from the district, allowing him and his thugs to rule it as their personal fiefdom.
  • Take That!:
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    • In the pilot towards Twilight.
      Oliver: What's Twilight?
      Tommy: You're so better off not knowing.
    • Also to the famously confusing end of Lost
      Tommy: They were all dead... I think.
    • In "Honor Thy Father" Oliver makes a knock against the Kardashians, after seeing a news report about the vigilante on TV.
    • A subtle one; in the Huntress' second appearance, she wears her classic DC outfit for the opening scene... where she's undercover as a stripper.
    • Constantine asking for a dead peacock feather for a ritual, and ends up using it as a back-scratcher.
  • Take That, Critics!:
    • In Canaries Laurel's injected with Vertigo, she hallucinates a vengeful Sara, who delivers a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech calling Laurel out for her selfish and deceitful actions while beating the crap out of her — twice, no less, with a hallucination of Quentin joining in to verbally rip Laurel apart for lying through her teeth to hide Sara's murder from him. All of the lines by the villainous hallucinations are common criticisms of her character and in the end, she rallies and wins the fights against them: A clear take that against Laurel detractors. Fans weren't that impressed as hallucination Sara's points that 'she didn't have to die' and that Laurel couldn't possibly match her fighting skills, were actually true and Laurel beating a hallucination didn't change that.
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    • The final lines of Schism & the fourth season are Felicity asking Oliver if he thought she was leaving with Diggle & Thea, before reassuring Oliver that she's not going anywhere. For the significant portion of the fans who had turned against the character over the course of the season, it felt like a blatant middle finger from the show's writing staff.
  • Take Your Time: Averted. Oliver taking his time to get down from the rafters is what allowed Firefly to kill another firefighter.
  • Taking Over the Town: Combined with Take Over the City in Brick's plan to rule The Glades. Although his goal is to totally control The Glades, he uses many of the traditional tactics for isolating an area to do so: destroying all the cell towers, disabling the video feeds, etc.
  • Tears of Blood: The first effect of being injected by Mirakuru. If you survive it, you'll gain Healing Factor and Super Strength.
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  • Tempting Fate: Tommy suggests that he and Oliver go to a new night club but Oliver thinks this is a bad idea because Oliver once slept with the club owner's fiancée. Tommy brushes this off since the guy must have gotten over that by now. Turns out the club owner is still carrying a major grudge and has no problem sending his bodyguards to beat Tommy and Oliver up.
  • Technical Pacifist
    • Averted. In his first demonstration of his combat abilities since returning to Starling City in the pilot, Oliver not only kills the mooks who kidnapped him, he also murders one of them in cold blood in order to keep his fighting skills secret. Later, when going after various crime bosses, it's noted that he's shooting to stop and potentially kill their mooks (aiming for chests and stomachs) rather than shooting to wound.
    • In the second season Oliver has committed to avoiding killing but he doesn't really treat this decision as pacifism and he ends up killing Count Vertigo.
    • Deadshot serves as a way of point this out. Oliver's annoyed that Deadshot doesn't give the targets a fair shot, but he doesn't exactly lose sleep over Deadshot killing one of his targets either (crossing said target off his list).
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Oliver stops being the Hood for a couple months between "Year's End" and "Burned" while recovering from his fight with Dark Archer.
    • He also took a five month break after the Undertaking and Tommy's death.
    • Oliver and Felicity retired from crime fighting at the end of season 3, and managed to stay away from it for 5 months before the team needed their help. Or at least Oliver did, Felicity helped the gang behind his back. Oliver only get back in to it due to the threat Damian Dark poses.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Pretty much whenever Felicity opens her mouth in front of Oliver.
    • From "Dodger":
      Felicity: Speaking of, have you given any thought to what might happen if this doesn't work and the Dodger absconds with your family jewels?
      Oliver & Diggle: ...
      Felicity: I'm sorry, that came out very wrong.
    • From "The Undertaking":
      Oliver: I'll be with you the entire time.
      Felicity: Thanks. It feels really good having you inside me. And by you I mean your voice... and by me I mean my ear... I'm going to stop talking now.
      Oliver: That would be my preference.
    • From "Darkness On the Edge of Town":
      Felicity: No! The last time the vigilante paid your mom a visit, you got shot and I got to play doctor with you! Agh, my brain thinks of the worst way to say things...
    • In Season 2 it seems to be slipping into more Freudian Slip territory. In the first episode she mentions the reasons she kept the pull up bars was because she liked watching him work out on it, then in the next episode she comments how she likes spending her nights with him.
    • It's pretty much whenever Felicity opens her mouth. Mentions Australia - you get a very long spiel about how horrifying kangaroos are. Even when it doesn't come out wrong it still comes out wrong.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Bear McCreary's theme for Constantine is used several times in Blake Neely's score for "Haunted," what with the man himself appearing in the flashbacks. And the present.
  • There Are No Therapists: No one seems to suggest sending Oliver to one after he gets home from the island, even though his behavior is clearly erratic and he's literally covered in scars. Also, no one thought to send Thea to one to deal with the fact that her beloved father and brother died. Also, after his wife died, Tommy's father literally vanished for two years, leaving Tommy completely alone.
    • Played with when The Arrow interrogates a therapist for the villain of the week in season 3, who remarks as he leaves that he could probably use some therapy himself, considering "the mask and Robin Hood costume". When he gets back to the Arrowcave, he snarks to Diggle that the interrogation reminded him why he doesn't have a therapist.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Laurel and Sara. In flashbacks set both before and after The Queen's Gambit was lost, the Lance sisters seem at odds with one another. Later on, Sara revealed to Oliver that she'd once sneaked out to a party to meet him, during which Laurel tipped off their father of, which resulted in Sara being grounded for a month. Not long afterwards, Laurel started dating Oliver. Sara uses this as a reason for going on the yacht with Oliver.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You:
    • In "Identity", China White is glad to see that the Hood didn't die in the earthquake, as it would have deprived her of the chance to kill him herself.
    • Slade enforces it. He warns Blood not to go after Arrow yet, so that when the time is right, he can be the one to finish him, after destroying everything he cares about.
    • Slade also does it in "The Promise," telling Oliver and Sara to leave Ivo alive for him.
  • The Reveal:
    • Merlyn is the Dark Archer, leader of the Tempest, and also had a second earthquake machine.
    • Merlyn is Thea's biological father.
    • Slade survived the island, by swimming through the South China Sea.For a man who lost an eye, and where ocean currents are very strong, [[Determinator that takes guts]].
    • Exploited by Oliver in "Tremors": he realises he can't tell Roy to control himself as the Arrow, so he reveals his secret identity to him in an attempt to focus his strength on disabling the earthquake device.
    • Helena want to be the one to kill her father, so much that she goes into full Villainous Breakdown when he dies by a stray bullet.
    • Isabel Rochev is not just a pretty face, she is also known as the Ravager, and in leagues with Slade. She took over as CEO to break Oliver, as ordered by Slade.
    • Thea killed Sara, under the influence of drugs, by Malcolm.
  • They Died Because of You:
    • The Lances initially blame Oliver for Sara's death. However, Laurel got over it and moved on while her dad is still pretty hostile towards Oliver. However, Laurel's mother Dinah admits that she was the last person to see Sara before she left for the Queen's Gambit. Dinah let her go, and now she blames herself for getting her killed.
    • Slade blames Oliver for the death of Shado because he chose Sara over her, even though it was Ivo who pulled the trigger.
    • Quentin loved to rub in the fact that his mother, Tommy and his father died due to him and the troubles he brought with him. Also blaming him for Sara's second death as well.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: Most episodes feature a flashback to The Island, which is, of course, applicable to whatever is going on in the A and B plots. In season 3, this switches to post-island.
  • They Do: Oliver and Felicity in Season 3.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted at the start, but by Season 2 Oliver has picked this up. But, unlike Batman, Superman, or Spider-Man, or other typical versions, he knows that sometimes he has to go for the kill shot if it means saving lives. He also has no problem killing members of the League of Assassins, especially when he thinks it's Malcolm or a follower of him, and those with Mirakuru he holds no qualms about killing, since there really isn't a way to pacify someone who's both mentally damaged and physically strong, at least until there's a cure. Generally speaking, he doesn't believe in taking lives if it not needed, but has no qualms offing those he sees as irredeemable. That said, he's become almost too merciful in-universe to the point where Diggle and even Felicity have asked him to kill an irredeemable person out of fear they'll use Oliver's humanity against him and more lives will be lost.
  • Thunder Equals Downpour: Done in "Home Invasion." In the pilot, Sara times the lightning/thunder to inform the audience that the storm is getting closer to the yacht.
  • Title Drop:
    • Subverted in season one. Detective Quentin Lance is told of a vigilante in a green hood who uses arrows, and says to put out an APB for this...Robin Hood. Then possibly played straight in "City of Heroes" when Oliver decides he needs a new name, other than the Hood given recent events. When asked what he wants to call himself, the camera zooms in on the arrow in his hand...which is green. Definitely played straight in subsequent episodes when Quentin and Laurel refer to him as 'The Arrow'.
    • This is also used in commercials for the show, with the subversion intact.
    • In the episode "Trust But Verify", Malcolm asks if Moira doesn't trust him, and she responds by asking if he heard of the phrase "Trust, but verify". He responds with "words to live by."
    • In Burned, Firefly responds to Oliver's offer for help that he's already, well, Burned.
    • "Unfinished Business": Oliver's final words of the episode.
    • The title of "Sacrifice" gets dropped multiple times throughout the episode. Two examples are Malcolm explaining that he is able to beat Oliver because he knows what he's willing to sacrifice, and then later Felicity tells Detective Lance that the vigilante is willing to sacrifice a lot to save innocent people.
  • Tone Shift: Actually generally averted from season to season; overall, the show is quite consistently a dark take on the superhero genre, and this doesn't typically shift between seasons. Each season typically follows the formula of being relatively lighthearted early into the season in the fall, before getting much darker later in the season in the winter and spring as the Big Bad tends to gain ground against the heroes and get ever closer to fulfilling their Evil Plan. Rinse and repeat.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: Not in a commercial, but the end of the Season 4 premier includes a Flash Forward to six months in the future, where Oliver and Barry are standing in front of a fresh grave. The name on the tombstone isn't shown, of course, so good luck guessing who it's going to be- but whoever it is, their death has hit Ollie pretty hard.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Oliver was a spoiled, selfish rich kid with no discernible skills in combat or parkour. Coming back from the island he is in good physical shape but has abilities in other areas that go beyond what you would pick up in survival training, as such he is careful not to show everyone what he can do. Thea did something similar in the time between the second and third season, after training with Malcolm Merlyn. During the third season, Laurel decides to expand on her combat training to become a vigilante like Oliver, to his disapproval.
  • Toplessness from the Back:
    • The audience thinks they're going to be treated to this as Oliver stitches a wound on Sara's back... then the camera lingers over the many scars on that back.
    • Shado when she removes her shirt for her Intimate Psychotherapy with Oliver on the island.
    • Felicity gets this in moments of intimacy: consummating her relationship with Oliver, asleep in bed with Ray Palmer, and putting on a shirt post-coitus with Billy Malone in season 5.
  • Tracking Device:
    • After Oliver is captured by Malcolm Merlyn at the end of Season 1, Diggle comes to his rescue thanks to a tracking device Oliver keeps hidden in his boot.
  • Tragic Mistake: For Derek Reston, aka King in "Legacies." The bank robberies he's committed as part of the Royal Flush Gang have been going badly of late, culminating in Oliver interfering with his latest robbery and keeping him from getting away with the money. He knows he needs to quit, and is even offered a job by Oliver so he doesn't have to steal anymore. He chooses to continue robbing banks anyway. As a result, he gets shot to death by a security guard.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: A Flash promo spoiled that Oliver is in a league of Assassin's uniform, indicating he eventually goes to join or take over well before that happens.
  • Training Montage:
    • "The Promise" has a montage of Oliver training as he prepares for the assault on the Amazo. It shows how muscular he has become and the beginning of his signature move-and-shoot combat style. Afterwards he lampshades the fact that it was just training against stationary targets that do not shoot back and he is going to much worse against live opponents in real combat.
  • Trash the Set: CRNI is destroyed in "Sacrifice" by Malcolm's earthquake.
    • In "Unthinkable", the Arrow lair is trashed by the Mirakuru soldiers, and in the flashbacks, the Amazo is sunk.
  • Trick Arrow
    • The explosive arrow, and the first shot fired in the series.
    • The bank account hacking arrow.
    • The line launcher arrow.
    • The audio recorder arrow.
    • Trick darts and flechettes too. Powerful enough to knock a gun out of a trained police officer's hand, pin it to a metal shipping container and play said audio recording. He even uses it to sever the Dodger's nerve at one point.
    • Season 2 sees a lot more of these with Oliver's new non-lethal policy. Most notably, bola-type arrows that can tie a target's hands or feet together when fired.
    • Oliver improvises a boxing glove arrow to non-lethally take down Wildcat.
  • Triple Shifter: Oliver becomes one in Season Two when he is still being a vigilante and now running the company as its CEO. As is Felicity, who is Technical Support and his E.A. Digg's job is moderately easier as the bodyguard/driver of someone who he also has to support during his off hours.
  • True Companions: Oliver starts out the series alone. In Season One and first half of Season Two, he has Diggle and Felicity working with him. By mid-Season Two, Roy and Sara have provisionally joined Team Arrow. By Season Three, Laurel knows his secret and is trying to join the team and by mid Season 3 Oliver has let Thea in as well and she joins the team at the end of the season, while Team Flash becomes the group's outside ally this season.
  • Two Girls and a Guy: Thea, Sin and Roy have this dynamic in Season 2.
  • Two Girls to a Team: The group's dynamic starting Mid-Season 2, with Sara's arrival. After Sara dies in the Season 3 premiere, Laurel starts pushing to take over her place. Mid-way through the Season, Thea sort-of joins thus balancing the genders.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Oliver loves being in this dynamic.
    • Oliver, Tommy and Laurel, with them being friends since high school.
    • Oliver, Slade and Shado in the flashbacks. They briefly became a Four-Temperament Ensemble when Sara joins, but becomes this again after Shado's death up until Slade's Face–Heel Turn.
    • The original Team Arrow consisting of Oliver, Diggle and Felicity.
    • Oliver, Maseo and Tatsu while in Hong Kong.
  • Two-Person Pool Party: In a flashback to the island in "Identity", Oliver and Shado get it on in a lake.
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • An Invoked Trope that is Played for Laughs twice by Diggle:
      • In one instance he goes undercover in an attempt to ambush drug dealers as a potential customer. They couldn't send Oliver since he's a figure in the public eye, and Oliver and Diggle refused Felicity's offer to go undercover. Wonderfully lampshaded upon Dig's return:
        Diggle: Okayyy, person of color has bought you drugs.
        Felicity: For the record: I offered.
      • Hilariously riffed on in a Season Two episode. Felicity chews Ollie out for her being "promoted" to his "personal assistant", to which Diggle replies:
        Diggle: Could be worse. My secret identity is his black driver.
  • Unit Confusion: Normally averted in this series, but most notably, Felicity inaccurately refers to a "teraflop" of information. A teraflop note  is a measure of processing speed; the proper unit in this case would be a "terabyte".
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Oliver and Felicity for the better part of season 2 and season 3.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Danny Brickwell, whose greatest achievements on the show were briefly taking over the Glades during Oliver's disappearance from Starling City following his duel with Ra's al Ghul and becoming a thug for HIVE and Damien Darhk, was the one responsible for the Arrowverse as we know it. Why? Because he killed Rebecca Merlyn. After that, it was just one domino after another.
  • Up to Eleven: Since the season 1 finale, fans have always speculated how the writers would top themselves in the following season. By season 3, Starling City has been attacked on a grand scale twice in 2 years, and the city is suffering as a result of it. People are leaving out of fear of another terrorist attack. The 3rd season's premiere, "The Calm", manages to raise the stakes even higher than what the two previous finales have managed combined by virtue of killing Sara off at the end of the episode, with the murderer still at large and having used 3 black arrows to do it. And then in "The Climb" the killer is revealed to be a Brainwashed and Crazy Thea.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: It's kinda notable that between the Lance sisters, they choose to kill off the one who's the show's most prominent Action Girlnote  rather than the one who has a tendency to become a Distressed Damsel.When the said Distress Damsel becomes a Badass in her own right, she promptly gets killed off as well.
  • Vice City: Starling City, all the way. In the first season, the writers mine the heck out of the "wealthy bastard commits crime, bribes way out of accountability, the Hood must avenge!" plot.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: In "Trust but Verify", Thea tucks the capsules of Vertigo into her cleavage. Not that there was anywhere else to put it in that dress.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The only time Malcolm shows real anger is in the first season finale, when his plans are exposed publicly.
  • Villainous Vow: Mostly seen in flashbacks, Slade Wilson made a promise to Oliver Queen in the time they were stuck on the island after Shado was killed because of Oliver. Basically the "promise" is that he will come back to make him suffer and kills everyone he loves, including his mother, his sister and even their love interests, all of that becuase the death of Shado, which make him crazy, not just because of the Mirakuru in his system.
  • Villain of the Week: The show starts out with the Vigilante selecting and dealing with a different name on his list every episode (And if that little book is full, there's enough there to keep him busy for at least twenty seasons), but eventually grows into a Myth Arc.
  • Villain Over for Dinner: Slade pops in to have a little chat with Moira, which Oliver walks in on. Oliver is totally disarmed, as can be expected.
  • Villain Reveals the Secret: In Series Two, this happens three times. Firstly, it is Merlyn who reveals to the audience that Thea is really his daughter as a result of an affair with Moira. Later, Slade Wilson tells Thea her parentage so as to drive a wedge between her and her family as part of his plan. Finally, he reveals to Laurel that Oliver is the Arrow, though this bites him in the arse.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Malcolm, widely viewed as a philanthropist and humanitarian, is actually the Big Bad of Season 1, with a plan that will kill thousands.
  • Villain Protagonist: Oliver as of the end of The Fallen, or not.
    • Sebastian Blood is a popular man of the people, to the point of being able to viably run for mayor. He's also a Dark Messiah who wants to use Super Soldiers to wipe out the elite of the city.
  • Villain Respect: Count Vertigo in "Canaries"
    Count Vertigo: "You should be dead. I salute your persistence."
  • Voodoo Shark: The in-universe explanation for why Oliver doesn't wear a mask under the hood is that it interferes with aim, but there are tactical masks and balaclavas with really large eyeholes used in real life and in the show itself that don't mess with aim, be it from gun or bow. His large hood, on the other hand, would get in the way (see the hood example under Reality Is Unrealistic). And despite said explanation, the mask he does eventually get has relatively small eyeholes.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Oliver's reaction to encountering his father's sunbaked corpse being devoured by seagulls, in addition to the original damage caused by the suicidal gunshot to the head. Mercifully, a Gory Discretion Shot spares viewers from the same sight.
  • Waif-Fu: Generally averted; most of the women who qualify as an Action Girl tend to fight with speed, agility, and brute force (the Canary in particular averts this, as her well-defined abs and biceps make her decidedly un-waifish). Played straight with Nyssa al Ghul, whose fighting style is very flamboyant - justified in her case since the League of Assassins typically employ theatrics in their fighting style. Isabel Rochev, being Summer Glau, also demonstrates this, though downplayed as she's also easily overpowered by men with similar fighting abilities and greater strength until she gets Mirakuru'd; then she's a One Woman Army.
  • Watching the Reflection Undress: During the flashback in "Public Enemy", Mei happens to glance at Oliver's reflection as he is undressing in her room to take a shower. This reveals the incriminating tattoo on his back.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: One of the flashbacks to the island where Oliver was stranded shows a similar training. In order to strengthen him enough to draw back the string of a bow, he is forced to keep slapping water in a bowl. This is based on an old apocryphal story about a boy who went to a monastery to learn martial arts, and spent a year slapping water into and out of a bowl at the edge of a river (unlike Ollie, the boy didn't know there was a point to what he was doing). Shado tells this story, which is actually older than the show.
  • Weapon Twirling: China White seemingly cannot use her knives on someone without twirling them first. This is the sole reason Diggle survives meeting her, as her twirling windup before ending him gives Oliver the time he needs to perform an amazing long-range disarm.
  • Weapons Understudies: Fyers owns a SAM system described as a Russian S-300. It doesn't look anything like one, considering S-300 missiles are larger than a telephone pole and come in quad packs on special 8-wheel flatbeds.
  • We Help the Helpless: Diggle tries to get Oliver to take up this trope and show him that there is more ways to help the city than just going after The Syndicate. Despite Oliver wanting to avoid this because small crimes happen all the time and going after that will not do much, he seems to slowly accept this.
    • And it also seems to help in the fact that the police aren't as gung ho to capture him anymore due to all the good publicity surrounding him while doing this.
  • We Will Meet Again:
    • During his final fight against Slade Wilson, an intertwining flashback looks back to the sinking of the Amazo on Lian Yu, which was where Oliver also fought Slade after injecting him with the Mirakuru. After Slade is pinned down by falling debris, Oliver has the cure to the Mirakuru in one hand and an arrow in the other. As Oliver stands before him, Slade vows to take everything and everyone he loves away from him, whether Oliver cures him or not. When he threatens to go after Oliver's family, Oliver stabs him in the eye with the arrow.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • A flashback in "The Undertaking" reveals that Malcolm Merlyn considers himself one, complete with Freudian Excuse, and a little dash of A God Am I for seasoning. He feels that the crime-infested Glades are corrupting Starling City as a whole, and is planning to level the whole area, killing thousands in order to start fresh. "Let's slaughter thousands of have-nots to make life better for the haves" really stretches the definition of "Good Intentions".
    • The Savior.
    • Oliver himself is this. Season Two sees the start of his transition from vigilante to hero.
    • Ra's al Ghul sees himself, and the League of Assassins, as this. In "The Climb" he has a nice monologue about his first kill, talking about how he replaces evil with death.
    • Arguably, Amanda Waller counts as one. She is prepared to destroy Starling City in the Season 2 finale when it is ravaged by Deathstroke's Mirakuru soldiers, in order to prevent the chaos from spreading to the outside world.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Home Invasion has Diggle quit, Roy and Thea trying to find the Hood, Tommy breaking up with Laurel, and Yao Fei betraying all the others in the flashback.
    • In "The Undertaking", we see what the Undertaking really is about, the events that led up to the sinking of the Queen's Gambit, Oliver learn that Malcolm Merlyn is the Big Bad and that his mother is involved, Oliver rescue Walter from his kidnappers, Oliver admit he still has feelings for Laurel, and Oliver and Dig reconcile.
    • In Darkness on the Edge of Town, Felicity has been found out hacking by the police, Tommy spots Oliver making love to Laurel, Malcolm Merlyn exposes himself as the Dark Archer and finds out Oliver is the Hood after he defeats him, Walter is divorcing Moira, and Yao Fei is killed in the flashback.
    • "Sacrifice" (Season One finale): Moira goes public with the Undertaking and is arrested for her part in it; Oliver kills Malcolm but is unable to stop the destruction of the Glades; Tommy manages to save Laurel from the collapsing CRNI building but is mortally wounded in the process; and in the island flashback, Oliver, Shado and Slade manage to stop Fyers' plan, destroying his base and killing him and his men.
    • "State v. Queen": Moira is acquitted, but then finds out Malcolm is alive (and is the one responsible for bringing about her impossible acquittal) and knows Thea is his daughter.
    • "The Scientist": Barry Allen (the man who will become The Flash) comes to Starling City and gets to meet his hero, the Arrow. He discovers that Felicity is working for him, and it will be his job to help save Oliver's life.
    • "Three Ghosts": Not only did Slade survive the island, he's the one orchestrating Sebastian Blood's campaign on Starling City (and he has a cool eyepatch now). Barry gets struck by lightning as the particle accelerator in Central City gets turned on, giving him superpowers. On the island, Slade is now superpowered by the serum from the submarine. Shado is shot and killed by Ivo, after he tries to make Oliver choose between her and Sara. Oh, and in the present day, Oliver now wears a nifty DominoMask.
    • "Tremors": Oliver reveals his identity to Roy and fully brings him onto Team Arrow, Amanda Waller recruits Bronze Tiger for a "squad", and Laurel's drug addiction gets so bad that Oliver has to bring Sara back to town to help her at the risk of bringing back the League of Assassins as well.
    • "Deathstroke": Thea finds out that Malcolm Merlyn is her father, Quentin is placed under arrest for helping the Arrow, Isabel Rochev is revealed to be working with Slade and takes Oliver's company from him, Roy quits Team Arrow and leaves the city, and Laurel finds out that Oliver is the Arrow.
    • "Seeing Red": If there was a crowner for wham episodes, it would be this. Roy's psychosis worsens to the point where he hallucinates Thea telling him to kill her; Sara leaves Team Arrow after realizing she's still too bloodthirsty when it comes to the people she cares about; it's revealed that Oliver sired an illegitimate child with an unknown woman seven years prior, who was then bribed by Moira to tell Oliver she miscarried before leaving for Central City; Moira is ready to drop out of the mayoral race to put more focus into repairing her relationship with Thea, and as Oliver convinces her to stay in the race, she reveals she knows Oliver is the Arrow after dismissing his claim that he broke his leg in another motorcycle accident; in the end, just as Moira is about to reveal something important about Malcolm Merlyn, Slade crashes into their limo, kidnaps them, and forces Oliver to make the same Sadistic Choice as with Sara and Shado, only for Moira to take the choice out of his hands and have Slade kill her instead.
    • Befitting its position as the second season finale, "Unthinkable" has a fairly high HSQ: Sara worked out a deal to get the League of Assassins to help take on Deathstroke's army — she'll be returning to Nanda Parbaht; Detective Lance collapses with blood pouring from his mouth thanks to injuries sustained fighting one of the Deathstrokes; we finally see how Oliver saw Sara die a second time, and how he put an arrow through Slade's eye; Diggle and Lilah free the Suicide Squad so they can confront A.R.G.U.S., and it turns out Lyla's pregnant; Oliver confesses his love to Felicity — but it was a ruse to get the mirakuru cure right up on Slade... Dammit; Slade has been depowered and re-imprisoned on Li An Yu; Roy has been cured and is officially a full member of Team Arrow; Thea has left Starling in the company of Malcolm Merlyn to "learn how to be strong"; and in the flashbacks, Oliver has been mysteriously transported to Hong Kong and is in the power of Amanda Waller.
    • "The Climb", Season 3's midseason finale: Malcolm drugged and manipulated Thea to kill Sara but she has no memory of it, Maseo now works for the League of Assassins, Ray is building an Atom suit, Oliver finally confesses his love to Felicity, and, most shocking of all, Oliver takes the blame for Sara's death in order to protect Thea and is killed in a trial by combat by Ra's al Ghul.
    • "Public Enemy": Maseo (disguised as the Arrow) tries to kill Felicity but ends up shooting Ray, who nearly dies from this but was saved by his nano-machines. Quentin Lance completely turns against Team Arrow and orders a manhunt. Ra's al Ghul kidnaps Quentin and tells him that Oliver Queen is the Arrow, and Lance announces this knowledge to everyone in Starling. Oliver decides to turn himself in, on the condition that the rest of Team Arrow get immunity. Roy decides to go after the police van that Oliver and Quentin are in, while disguised as the Arrow, and announces himself as the real Arrow, turning himself in.
    • "Unchained":Roy comes back from the bus, albeit forced, by the pressure of the Calculator. The Calculator is none other than Felicity's estranged father as well. Meanwhile, Nyssa stages a coup in the League of Assassins, using her status as the rightful heir to the throne of Ra'as Al Ghul. Also, Thea falls into a coma following her bloodlust.
    • "The Sins of the Father": Oliver convinces Merlyn to relinquish his position, only to be double-crossed by him later on. Nyssa exchanges her position with Oliver, who promptly stomps Merlyn, only to spare him and take his ring hand in return. Nyssa becomes Ra'as Al Ghul, and uses her newfound authority to disband the League of Assassins, and honorably hands Oliver Thea's cure. Merlyn reveals he knows about Oliver's son, and promptly defects to H.I.V.E. with this information.
  • Wham Line
    • From "An Innocent Man":
      Quentin Lance: Oliver Queen! You are under arrest for vigilantism.
    • From "Betrayal": Oliver learning Moira having a hand in Robert's yacht being destroy which in-directly led to Sara's and Robert's death, and Oliver being stuck on the island. This revelation prompts him to speak to his mother again, this time as "the Hood". It leads to this:
      Oliver: Moira Queen! YOU HAVE FAILED THIS CITY!
    • And from the same episode's Island flashback, after Oliver has just proven himself to the mysterious ASIS soldier also stuck with him, what forever changes Deathstroke's role in the series:
      ASIS Soldier: Name's Slade, Slade Wilson.
    • From "Dead to Rights": Malcolm has been shot by Deadshot, and the Hood is trying to convince Tommy to do a blood transfusion to save his dad.
      Tommy: Why should I trust you?
      The Hood: Because you always have.
    • Also at the end of the episode, when Laurel's mother shows up, and explains why she's there.
      Dinah: It's about your sister... I think she might be alive.
    • From the season finale:
      Malcolm: If I learned anything as a businessman, it's redundancy.
    • In "Identity"
      Laurel: Well this is your last day—as a free man. [pushes a button that signals SWAT to surround the Hood]
    • In "Broken Dolls"
      Assassin: [to Canary] Ra's al Ghul has ordered your return.
    • "State v. Queen"
      Malcolm: Imagine my joy when I learned that Thea is my daughter.
    • "Time of Death"
      Moira: Oliver, I'd like you to meet Slade Wilson.
    • "Deathstroke"
      Slade: [to Laurel] Because I know Oliver is...The Arrow.
    • "Streets of Fire"
      Oliver: I... have failed this city.
    • "My Name Is Oliver Queen"
      Ra's al Ghul: Until then, kneel before Ra's al Ghul.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Malcolm revealing himself to be alive at the end of "State v. Queen".
    • The Third Ghost in "Three Ghosts" revealing itself to be Tommy Merlyn. And Slade Wilson being revealed as The Man Behind the Man.
    • Laurel collapsing on the floor of her apartment, only to see her sister, Sara right before the episode cuts to credits in "Tremors".
    • "The Calm" is aptly titled, as a storm is definitely coming: at the very end of the episode Sara gets killed shortly after meeting up with Laurel, getting three arrows to the gut and thrown off of the roof by someone Sara recognized but the viewers don't see. And Laurel is still in the premises to have witnessed her sister fall to her death (if the arrows didn't already do it).
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After episode one Raisa is never actually seen again. No explanation is ever given for her absence, though she is mentioned about once a season in passing.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: In full effect in at least the first two episodes, and somewhat more sporadically thereafter.
    • Defied by Detective Lance in the second episode; explicitly raising that the 'green hooded vigilante' is "a killer" and "hurt a bunch of people" taking down Martin Somers and consequently is determined to take him down because of it.
    • Elevated to a nearly absurd level in "Betrayal." Oliver shoots his way through throngs of Mooks with breathtaking speed and ease, and no one, not even Vanch, their employer, is disturbed in the slightest. At the end, it turns out that Vanch surrounded himself with this small army of Mooks, not because he thought they could or would stop the vigilante, but because he wanted Arrow to use up all his ammunition while killing them... which is exactly what happened. Even for a villain, that is cold.
    • Averted by the Canary/Sara Lance, who seems to beat mooks unconscious with her bo staff but kills ring leaders and other criminal bosses.
    • Show signs of incompetence around Slade? Well, don't worry, you'll be let off with a caution, Sebastian, but the four lackeys you brought with you won't be so lucky.
    • Horrifically shown in Season 5 episode 9, Prometheus has recreated one of "The Hood's" kills from a flashback set early in Season 1, every single dead mook is replaced with another person, freshly killed in the same manner, the only one not dead at the new scene is the boss has been replaced by a very much alive Prometheus.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: In-Universe, Felicity has sometimes shown jealousy of what everyone else in "Team Arrow" can do physically, and her attempts to take combat training has gone very slow. No one questions her value to the team as Mission Control and The Smart Guy, but it is still a sore spot for her.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: So far, everyone who's actually seen Arrow in action and/or found out that Oliver is him has given him this. But there's more than enough lectures to go around.
    • Diggle delivers several of these, but the most notable are during his 10-Minute Retirement in episode four and again in episode twenty.
    • Laurel gave the Vigilante one when he nearly beat a man to death in Ironheights Prison.
    • Detective Lance gives the Vigilante one of these nearly everytime they cross paths.
    • Felicity gives one to Oliver when she believes he's going to hurt a young father.
    • Tommy points out that his anger is not about Oliver hiding the truth but because he's a murderer.
    • Thea gives one to Moira after Walter's disappearance – telling to act like her mother instead of making Thea acting like Moira's.
    • Tommy gives one to Laurel when she blows him off to meet with the Vigilante about a case.
    • Laurel gives one to father when he uses her as bait to try and catch the Vigilante.
    • Felicity give another one to Oliver when he gets myopic about dealing with being the vigilante and being Oliver Queen. And again when he has the audacity to insinuate that her head isn't in the game.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?
    • Averted with his headquarters. He installs lights, computers, a workshop and a makeshift gym: all things someone would realistically be able to do alone, especially with Oliver's resources.
    • Played straight with the contents of his quiver. Though we're shown that he either crafts or modifies his own broad head arrowheads, at least some of the more high-tech arrows and throwing darts he uses are unlikely to be "off the shelf" equipment, or anything that he himself could create.
    • The audio-recorder/playback dart is perhaps at the limit of what a talented amateur could plausibly MacGyver together himself, starting from a store-bought MP3 player and some various bits and pieces of arrows and plastic casing.
    • The "Hacking Arrow" seems to be the most implausible bit of gear shown so far. Though, as Queen Consolidated seems to have some specialized computer division, what with having a computer analysis like Felicity on payroll, it could just be assumed its some technology they've worked on that he's stolen and repurposed.
    • The grappling arrow is probably the most realistic. In Real Life, the only real issue with grappling guns is that, to get the momentum needed and hold the weight, they would need to be quite big. With an arrow though, it would eliminate the sizing issue as arrows are meant to be the size of a man's arm. Not that hard to imagine.
    • Oliver also makes use of explosive arrows when needed. How does he get a hold of explosives? Well, he is a Captain in the Russian Mafia.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: In a clear example of this trope, the shows gives out mutually contradictory indications about the location of Starling City.
    • During the season 2 mayoral race, both candidates wear American flag pins and have American flags behind them during speeches. This combined with other implications (black President, for one) place the city in the United States.
    • The first concrete reference to where Starling City is situated comes in season 2, when Felicity mentions that it’s 1,000 miles from Las Vegas. This, coupled with Robert's plans to go to China by boat would place it somewhere on the West Coast of North America, with a few more hints borne out by the show's Vancouver filming location (the overcast appearance, the concession of giving the actors heavy coats anytime they film outside, etc.,) potentially narrowing it down to the Pacific Northwest.
    • However in the season 3 episode The Climb, a map of the Americas is shown on-screen and Starling City can be clearly seen in the Midwestern US, near the Great Lakes region. While this fits well with the assertion in The Flash that Starling is about 600 miles from that series' Central City, which itself is usually portrayed as somewhere in the Midwest; it would place Starling City too far away from Las Vegas and makes the Queen’s Gambit sailing route incredibly convoluted.
    • In The Return, one of the flashbacks clearly showed snow-capped mountains within view of downtown Starling City which fits with its Northwest coastal location, not its potential Midwest map point.
    • And then come season 4 in Lost Souls the Star City building where Darhk has his headquarters is referred to as the safest in the West Coast, while Darhk himself welcomes the other H.I.V.E. leaders "to the West Coast" a few episodes later in Dark Waters.
    • And for the cherry on top, in Monument Point the episode's namesake city is shown to be somewhere in Maryland, near the D.C. area. However in Streets of Fire the city is said to be only 300 miles from Star City, which would place Star City on the east coast.
  • While Rome Burns: Invoked by Slade as Starling burns. He claims to understand why Nero enjoyed it so much.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "The Odyssey" inverts the show's usual set-up by mostly being a flashback to the island, with only a few scenes in the present. Justified because Oliver is unconscious for most of it.
    • This set-up is used again in "The Promise" when Slade Wilson finally reveals himself to Oliver with the present mostly shot at the Queen mansion.
    • And again in "The Return", which actually inverts the standard premise of the dual narratives. Instead of Oliver being in Starling City in the present-day and on Lian Yu in the flashbacks, in this episode, Oliver is on Lian Yu in the present-day and in Starling City in the flashbacks.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Many, many times, both heroes and villains. For the heroes it's often justified, because of "justice!" and all that. The villains however, should have no such thing holding them back, yet the Arrow is captured over and over again without getting executed on the spot, not to mention that there are dozens of scenes where a random Mook has his gun aimed for the head of a main character at point blank range, and doesn't pull the trigger.
  • Wicked Cultured:
    • William Tockman. In addition to his doctorate in Comp Sci, he will speak in Latin or quote War and Peace just before he brutally murders you.
    • Slade Wilson apparently knows his art history, and has displayed knowledge of Roman history as well.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Oliver and Felicity during Season 2 and better part of Season 3 until They Do at the end of Season 3.
  • William Telling:
    • In "Vendetta", Oliver demonstrates his marksmanship by shooting objects out of the air after Helena tosses them. When she picks up a tennis ball, he shoots it out of her hand while she is still holding it.
    • In "Vertigo", Oliver is suffering from the after-effects of being injected with the eponymous drug. Diggle holds a tennis ball next to his head and says that if Oliver can shoot it then he is fit to go out. Oliver nocks an arrow and sights on the ball before deciding his aim is too bad to risk the shot.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Diggle zigzags this. After an episode and a half of Oliver clowning him, Diggle takes out an entire squad of machine-gun-wielding thugs with a few well-placed shots. But then seconds later China White gets the better of him in a fight. A few episodes later he fills in effectively, as the Hood, for Oliver. But then when he and Oliver spar, Oliver is shown to be the more skilled.
    • Played straight with Oliver when his first fight against the Dark Archer goes very badly for him.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Oliver takes out male and female targets and mooks with equal violence. In fact he's sometimes more serious when facing women, for example China White or Nyssa.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Dark Archer is perfectly willing to shoot Frank Chen's daughter to help reinforce the message he's trying to send
  • Wretched Hive: Starling City's reputation as well as its main problem.
  • Writer on Board: Season 5's "Spectre of the Gun", which is basically an hour-long Very Special Episode about the gun debate.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy
    • Felicity Smoak deduces that Oliver is trying to get her involved in a Hamlet-like plot against his step-father. While Oliver's situation looks very much like Hamlet, they are actually in a superhero story and Oliver does not seem to hold a grudge against Walter for marrying his mother. On top of that, Walter really isn't the one she should be worried about.
    • Moira seems to believe the Arrow is a Robin Hood figure stealing from the rich to give to the poor. It has to be pretty much spoon-fed to her by someone else in the group that Arrow is going after the List of people they were pressuring to help the city.
    • Thea is convinced that her mother's suspicious behavior stems from an affair, which would put Thea in the middle of a family drama. She's technically right, kinda, but the affair happened years ago, and she was the result.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: It seems like anytime Merlyn compliments Moira, it has this effect on her.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Oliver was cheating on Laurel with her sister Sara.
    • Moira was cheating with Malcolm. Thea is actually his daughter.
    • Robert, in turn, was cheating with an intern, but broke up to save face with his stepdaughter. Neither of them took it well.
    • In order to get Thea to break up with him, Roy begins making out with a co-worker from the Verdant bar where she can catch them at it.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • This, combined with He Knows Too Much, is why Dark Archer kills all the scientists who built the device that will level the Glades.
    • Fyers kills Yao Fei as soon as he's done recording a message taking the blame for the plane Fyers is about to shoot down.
  • You Should Have Died Instead:
    • In the pilot, Laurel blames Oliver for her sister's death and tells him she wishes he had died instead. Even Oliver wished the same thing.
    • When Thea thinks that her mother is having an affair with Malcolm (and has been since before her father died), she tells her it should have been her on the boat.
    • Oliver does this to himself when Tommy dies
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me:
    • Helena to Oliver. He does... and then she catches it.
    • Damian Darhk makes the same mistake in season 4 finale when he assumes Oliver won't kill him since he spared the one who killed his mother.


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