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Recap / Arrow S1 E1 "Pilot"

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The episode opens with Oliver on the island, rushing towards the shore to alert a passing boat that he is there. While on the island for five years, Oliver Queen, billionaire playboy, forged himself into a weapon to seek vengeance on the corrupt and right his father’s wrongs. After he returns home, Oliver is continually plagued with flashbacks of the shipwreck and the island, including one vivid memory of his father sacrificing himself so Oliver could survive.


In present day Starling City, three masked men capture Oliver and Tommy Merlyn, Oliver’s long-time friend. They interrogate Oliver about his father, but he soon frees himself from their restraints and takes them out. Oliver insists to Detective Quentin Lance that a man in a green hood saved them, starting the legend of his own alter ego. Moira Queen, claiming that she needs peace of mind, introduces Oliver to his new bodyguard, John Diggle. While Diggle drives him around, Oliver sneaks away and begins building his home base and training on the infamous salmon ladder.

As Laurel Lance and her co-worker, Joanna, discuss their case against the criminal Adam Hunt, Laurel learns that Oliver is alive and is less than pleased. Oliver beings looking into Adam Hunt, having Hunt’s name in his little book. Oliver, as Arrow, orders Hunt to wire $40 million into an account, but Hunt refuses. Oliver slips out of his “welcome back” party and into Hunt’s office, completing his task and zip lining out the window before the police can catch him. As Oliver crosses out Hunt’s name, the $40 million is distributed to Laurel’s clients. In the end, we learn that Moira was responsible for Oliver’s abduction.


Tropes applying to this Episode:

  • Arrow Catch: Adam Hunt's body guard is able to catch arrows in mid-air; too bad Oliver's come with explosive ones.
  • Arrows on Fire: How Oliver lights-up the bonfire to catch the fishermen's attention.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Tommy lists to Oliver all the things he's missed: the teams winning the Superbowl, a black president, "And Lost? They were all dead. I think."
  • Back from the Dead: Oliver was presumed dead for five years before he was found.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Ollie gives Tommy the stink-eye when he mentions how hot Thea's gotten, and also pickpockets Thea at the club to keep her from doing drugs.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Poor Diggle...
  • Book-Ends: The pilot begins with Oliver leaving the island, and ends with a flashback on how he drifted there.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Ollie uses one during his kidnapping.
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  • Chekhov's Gunman: Some of the people whose names are on the list will gradually appear throughout the show.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Oliver speaking Russian will be of use in a few later episodes.
  • Chilly Reception: The Lances are not thrilled to see Oliver alive which is Lampshaded by Tommy. Laurel apologizes though, before Oliver pushes her away.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The Queens' Russian maid (who is also implied to be Oliver's nanny) disappears for good after this episode.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: During Ollie's kidnapping, to learn what Robert told him.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • Robert Queen's birth year is stated to be 1948. Starting the following episode, it will be rectified as 1958.
    • Sara Lance is portrayed as a tall (5'8) brunette and her first name ending in "h". Season 2 onwards will later establish her as a 5'6 blonde.
  • Damselout Of Distress: Gender Flipped with Oliver. He ends up killing his kidnappers.
  • Death by Secret Identity: The last of Oliver's kidnappers, who gets his neck broken despite being disarmed and no longer a threat. Oliver does this specifically so his fighting skills will remain a secret.
  • Demoted to Extra: Constantine Drakon's a recurring and highly dangerous opponent to Green Arrow in the comics. In the show, he's nothing more than a Starter Villain and Villain of the Week for Oliver to overcome by the episode's end.
  • Deserted Island: Lian Yu, which means Purgatory.
  • The Dragon: Adam Hunt has Constantine Drakon, a powerful bodyguard who puts up a decent effort against Oliver.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Ollie's Private Eye Monologue, which persists for a couple more episodes.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Oliver does a little construction work in an abandoned Queen factory. It's surprisingly elaborate, given he's working alone.
  • Emo Teen: Thea tells Oliver how hard it was for her to cope up with his and their father's disappearance.
  • Evil Matriarch: The Stinger reveals that Moira Queen was the one who arranged for Oliver (and Tommy) to be kidnapped.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Adam Hunt was too arrogant to realized that the arrow he dodged wasn't meant to kill him, but rather a wireless encryption key to drain out his illegal fundings. Which leads to his Villainous Breakdown as seen below.
  • Female Gaze: Oliver's Training Montage.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The Deathstroke mask with an arrow in its right eye is not just there for display.
    • Oliver calls Thea "Speedy". She also has archery trophies in her room.
    • Tommy waking up just as Oliver chases down their kidnappers. He also paused for a while before answering he was "knocked out" when Quentin asked him about what he saw at the ordeal.
    • Some names in the list (see Chekhov's Gunman above).
    • In the final scene before The Stinger, Tommy and Laurel end their conversation with prophetic lines.
    Tommy: Dinah Laurel Lance. Always trying to save the world!
    Laurel: Hey, if I don't save it, who will?
    • The fact that Oliver knows how to speak Russian (see Chekhov's Skill).
    • The fact that Oliver being most happy when he sees his mother.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Robert Queen kills himself (and a sailor) so Oliver will keep all the supplies and rations for himself.
  • It's Personal: Despite doing his job, Quentin doesn't hide the fact that he utterly hates Oliver.
  • Kill All The Witnesses: "No one can know my secret."
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Tommy blatantly spoiled the ending of Lost.
  • Le Parkour: Oliver shows off some basic Parkour moves.
  • Looks Like Jesus: How Oliver looks like when the fishermen found him.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Oliver begins a tradition of wearing tight T-shirts (when he can be bothered with a shirt at all), doing construction work, and working out.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Deathstroke's mask is seen briefly on the island where Oliver is shipwrecked, with an arrow in its right eyehole.
    • Ollie calls Thea "Speedy", the name of Green Arrow's sidekick (Roy Harper, usually) in the comics. She also happens to have a drug problem.
  • Neck Snap: How Oliver killed one of his kidnappers.
  • Poisonous Friend: Thea's friends are not so subtly implied to be bad influences to her.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech/You Should Have Died Instead: Both Quentin and Laurel Lance to Oliver.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Oliver and Tommy's kidnappers are dressed in black outfits and red masks.
  • Running Gag: Oliver begins his streak of ditching Diggle.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Adam Hunt's bodyguards wear pretty decent clothing, a sharp contrast to Oliver's dirty hood.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Oliver has shades of PTSD after coming home.
  • Sherlock Scan: Oliver is able to detect that his mother remarried during his absence.
  • Shout-Out: Tommy mentions Lost and Twilight, the Super Bowl winners from 2007-2012 and Barack Obama.
  • Sibling Triangle/Your Cheating Heart: The main conflict between Oliver and Laurel is when he cheated on her with her sister before his apparent death.
  • Slipped the Ropes: Oliver frees himself from his zip-cuffs without his captors only noticing, only revealing his hands once they've set him up for a decent one-liner.
  • Starter Villain: Adam Hunt.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Oliver pulls one from the back seat of a moving car, also initiating a running gag.
  • Take That!: Tommy tells Oliver he is better off not knowing what Twilight is.
  • Training Montage: The closing scenes of Oliver creating his Elaborate Underground Base features him doing the now infamous Salmon Ladder, hanging sit-ups and testing his archery skills.
  • Tuckerization:
    • Oliver's bodyguard John Diggle is named after Andy Diggle, a Green Arrow writer.
    • The crooked judge named Grell is a nod to Mike Grell, an acclaimed writer/artist of the Green Arrow comics.
    • One woman wronged by Adam Hunt, Danielle DiDio is a nod to DC Comics co-publisher, Dan DiDio, another is named for science fiction writer Nancy Kress.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Adam Hunt has one at the end when he learns that his money is gone:
  • Wham Shot: Moira being revealed as the one who arranged Oliver's (as well as Tommy's) kidnapping.
  • Wretched Hive: Starling City, which begins Oliver's journey into "cleansing" it.


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