Arrow—Season 1

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8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Nice thriller for action and comic book fans

Hard to find a balance with the flashbacks, sometimes feels derivative of Smallville

 
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Starling City has a new protector!

Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is a spoiled, entitled rich boy.  When he, his father (Jamey Sheridan), and his girlfriend’s sister Sarah (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) are believed dead after their yacht sinks, Oliver finds himself fighting for survival on an island where he learns the skills to fight.  Returning to Starling City, Oliver is a changed man and trying to right the wrongs his father and his associates did by taking up the mantle of the Hood.  The Hood has help in the form of Oliver’s bodyguard Diggle (David Ramsey) and computer expert Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), but he’ll need all the help he can with the enemies coming out to stop him in addition to his former girlfriend’s father Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne).  Oliver is returning to life with his sister Thea (Willa Holland), his mother Moira (Susanna Thompson), and her new husband Walter Steele (Colin Salmon), but reconnecting with his friend Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) and his girlfriend Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) could be as challenging as fighting the bad guys…and something called the Undertaking is coming that could change Starling City forever.

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Grizzled island Oliver is probably as close as we’ll get to ’90s Oliver

Arrow—Season 1 aired from October 10, 2012 to May 15, 2013 on the WB.  The TV series is a Warner Bros. venture that brings the DC Comics hero Green Arrow to the screen.  The series was well received by fans.

I was a big fan of Smallville.  As Smallville was wrapping up, the Green Arrow character from the series was considered for a spin-off series.  When it was announced that a new Green Arrow series was going to be released, fans were angry that Justin Hartley wasn’t given the opportunity to reprise his role as Oliver Queen.  While it seemed like a mistake at the time, I think Arrow proves it was a smart move.

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I look forward to seeing Shado and Oliver’s meeting again off the island

The series does however borrow a lot from the Smallville format (which in turn borrowed a lot from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).  The show does have a lot of villain-of-the-week episodes, but it does quickly segue into an overall series theme much quicker than both Buffy or Smallville (which were less sure of renewal when they began).  The overall season theme of the Undertaking does leave you questioning what Oliver will be up to following the season since it felt like this could have even been a standalone season.

The story frequently cuts back and forth between Oliver’s present day and Oliver’s time on the island.  While I enjoy the story and especially Slade Wilson (played by Spartacus’ Manu Bennett), it sometimes feels unbalanced.  It feels a bit too fragmented with not enough story to fill the flashbacks, but it also sometimes interrupts the flow of the present day events.

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He’s too bad-ass not to come back…

Stephen Amell is a better actor than Justin Hartley.  While Hartley wasn’t bad, I don’t know if he could have carried the whole series.  Here Amell does a nice job with the physical aspects of the role.  He’s backed by a good supporting cast that has lots of players.  These characters seem to follow the WB format and have lots of parallels to other series characters.  I do look forward to other DC characters showing up and unlike Smallville, we don’t have to wait so long.

Arrow is a fun series and a great replacement to the void left by the end of Smallville.  The series looks great, has a lot of action, and a decent story.  It sometimes feels a bit formulaic, but it is forgivable since it does provide the promised action and superheroes you anticipate.  The season cliffhanger also works and makes you want to check out Arrow—Season 2 as soon as possible.

Arrow—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

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“Pilot”

1.1       Pilot Airdate:  10/10/12

Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is found alive on an island known to the natives as Lian Yu or Purgatory five years after the sinking of the Queen’s Gambit.  Returning to Starling City, Oliver sets out on a secret mission to right the wrongs his father Robert (Jamey Sheridan) as part of his last promise to him.  Oliver discovers his sister Thea “Speedy” Queen (Willa Holland) is following in his party footsteps, his mother Moira (Susanna Thompson) has married his father’s former business partner Walter Steele (Colin Salmon), and his ex-girlfriend Dinah “Laurel” Lance (Katie Cassidy) blames him for the death of her sister Sara (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) who Oliver was secretly sleeping with at the time of the boat wreck.  Oliver and his best friend Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) are kidnapped by unknown assassins and Oliver is having to dodge a new bodyguard in John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Sarah and Laurel’s father Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) while he sets out on his mission to save Starling City…and his first target :  Adam Hunt (Brian Markinson).

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“Honor Thy Father”

1.2       Honor Thy Father Airdate:  10/17/12

Oliver tries to adjust to life back in the city as he has his death certificate repealed as he remembers his first days on the island.  With another reencounter with Laurel, Oliver questions what type of man he must be to honor his father’s wishes.  Oliver’s mother pushes Oliver to claim his place in Queen Industries but hides a dangerous truth from Oliver about the boat wreck.  When Laurel works to prosecute Martin Somers (Ty Olsson) for the killing of her client’s father, she makes herself the target of the Chinese Triads and China White (Kelly Hu)…leading to a showdown for the Hood and a decision by Oliver.

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“Lone Gunmen”

1.3       Lone Gunmen Airdate:  10/24/12

The Hood’s attempt to take out James Holder leads him in conflict with Deadshot (Michael Rowe) who gets to Holder first.  Oliver recalls meeting a strange man (Byron Mann) on the island and discovering that he was not alone.  Oliver tries to get his mother to take control of Thea’s crumbling world and gets the truth from Tommy and Laurel about their relationship.  With the help of a computer tech named Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) and the Russian mob, Oliver discovers Deadshot is taking out bidders on a company that Queen Industries is considering…and to save his family, he might have to trust the man trying to capture him.

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“An Innocent Man”

1.4       An Innocent Man Airdate:  10/31/12

John Diggle knows that Oliver is the Hood and now must decide what to do with that information.  Oliver learns of a plot by Jason Brodeur (T.J. Ramini) to frame a man for murder named Peter Declan (Lane Edwards).  With time running out, Oliver must find the evidence to prove Peter Declan is innocent before his execution, but Detective Lance might have the information he needs to bring in Oliver.  Walter begins to suspect his wife is plotting something and makes a big discovery in a secret warehouse.

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“Damaged”

1.5       Damaged Airdate:  11/07/12

Oliver has been arrested and accused of being the murderous Hood.  Now with Laurel as his attorney, he sets to prove he isn’t the man he really is which includes facing a polygraph.  As Oliver’s scars are revealed, Oliver remembers learning to shoot with Yao Fei and being captured by men employing a trained killer and torturer.  Walter’s discovery of Robert Queen’s boat leads him to wonder what his wife is up to and why she lied.  Oliver’s foolproof plan involving Diggle and a party to clear his name leads to a problem when a killer is sent after him…leading Oliver’s mother to question her partnership with Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman).

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“Legacies”

1.6       Legacies Airdate:  11/14/12

The Royal Flush Gang is in town, and Diggle tries to encourage Oliver to leave his list behind and go after them when they shoot a cop in a robbery.  Thea’s attempt to get closer to Tommy backfires as Tommy tries to get back Laurel means a fundraiser for her law office.  Oliver’s behavior leads his mother to question Oliver’s real actions.  Oliver learns his father’s actions might have led to the Royal Flush Gang’s formation…and Oliver decides he has to try to step in.  Oliver recalls visions of his father on the island and his decision to right his wrongs.

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“Muse of Fire”

1.7       Muse of Fire Airdate:  11/28/12

An assassination that almost kills Oliver’s mother leads Oliver to infiltrate the mob by using his business connections.  Oliver’s actions lead him to meet Helena Bertinelli (Jessica De Gouw)…but Helena has a secret of her own as the Huntress.  Oliver’s relationship with Helena raises the concern of Diggle.  Tommy finds that his father has cut him off.

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“Vendetta”

1.8       Vendetta Airdate:  12/05/12

Oliver thinks he’s found a kindred spirit in Helena, but Helena’s quest for vengeance against her father could be dangerous to Oliver’s mission.  Diggle worries that Oliver’s plans to save Helena could interfere in his mission, and Tommy tries to deal with not having any income.  A discovery by Felicity leads to more searching by Walter now that he has returned.

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“Year’s End”

1.9       Year’s End Airdate:  12/12/12

Christmas is coming and Oliver notices that the family isn’t celebrating like it used to.  Walter investigates the names found by Felicity in the book and learns that the Hood might be picking men off the list.  When Adam Hunt (Brian Markinson) is killed by someone imitating the Hood’s MO, the police and Oliver realize that there is a copycat killer…who is willing to do anything to bring in the Hood.  Oliver clashes with Thea about the past finds that he might not be the scariest man in Starling City.  Oliver recalls learning more about the island and its original purpose and why Yao Fei is alone on it leading to another confrontation with Billy Wintergreen (Jeffrey Robinson).

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“Burned”

1.10     Burned Airdate:  01/16/13

Walter has disappeared for six weeks as Oliver tries to recover from his beating by the Dark Archer.  Laurel’s friend Joanna (Annie Ilonzeh) finds her brother has died fighting a fire, and Laurel learns that the death might not be an accident…leading her to seek out the Hood for help.  With Walter gone, Thea tries to push her mother leave the house.  Now, Oliver finds he might have to trust himself to hunt down Firefly before he kills again…unfortunately, a fundraiser at Oliver’s club could turn into a fiery deathtrap.  Oliver recalls Yao Fei capture and having to fight to survive on his own on the island.

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“Trust but Verify”

1.11     Trust But Verify Airdate:  01/23/13

A truck robbery puts Ted Gaynor (Ben Browder) in the eyes of the Hood, but an old alliance with Diggle pits Diggle against Oliver.  Malcolm tries to renew his relationship with Tommy, and Tommy and Laurel find Malcolm has an alternative motive for reaching out.  Thea celebrates her birthday, but her discovery that her mother has a clandestine relationship with Malcolm leads to an event with consequences.  Oliver recalls his attempts to rescue Yao Fei on the island and a shocking discovery.

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“Vertigo”

1.12     Vertigo Airdate:  01/30/13

Thea is under arrest for her accident while under the influence of Vertigo.  Determined to make a symbol of her, Oliver must locate the legendary Count (Seth Gabel) who is distributing the drug to get Thea off the hook.  Thea learns the truth about her father and finds she might have a second chance with Laurel.  A plot to meet the Count using his Russian mob ties is interrupted by a the police, and Oliver finds what an overdose of Vertigo can do…and getting Vertigo out of his system might be harder than he thought.  Felicity meets with Oliver and reveals her connection to Walter and the list.

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“Betrayal”

1.13     Betrayal Airdate:  02/06/13

Oliver tries to find out his mother’s ties to the book could mean that she’s hiding the truth.  The release of a criminal called Cyrus Vanch (David Anders) leads Laurel to call on the Hood for help…and unknowing putting her father on the Hood’s trail again using his bug in Laurel’s phone.  Diggle decides to do his own investigation in to Mrs. Queen’s actions.  Detective Lance’s decision to use Laurel leads to danger for Laurel when Vanch learns of her ties to the Hood.  Oliver recalls Yao Fei freeing him and his meeting of Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) on the island.

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“The Odyssey”

1.14     The Odyssey Airdate:  02/13/13

Oliver’s decision to confront his mother as the Hood leads to his shooting and decision to reveal his identity to Felicity.  As Oliver fights for his life with Diggle and Felicity trying to save him, he dreams of his training by Slade and their plans to escape the island on an incoming plane…but Slade’s plans could put him at odds with Oliver leading to another showdown with Wintergreen.

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“Dodger”

1.15     Dodger Airdate:  02/20/13

Felicity’s joining with Diggle and Oliver leads to problems, but the arrival of an international criminal named the Dodger (James Callis) could show her how Oliver works.  Oliver makes a move with McKenna Hall (Janina Gavankar) and Diggle makes a move with his brother widowed wife Carly (Christie Laing).  Thea’s working with Laurel leads to a meeting with a thief named Roy Harper (Colton Haynes).  Moira works with Frank Chen (Chin Han) to try to get out of the Undertaking and set Walter free.  With a plot to trap the Dodger, Felicity could become the target.  Oliver recalls trying to save Slade on the island and encounter a stranger that could have been a plant.

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“Dead to Rights”

1.16     Dead to Rights Airdate:  02/27/13

Moira has hired China White to bring in a killer to assassinate Merlyn.  The Hood stops a killer named Guillermo Barrera (George Tchortov), and he sets out to find out who the target is.  Malcolm’s finds himself being honored by the city and tries to reach out to Tommy.  When Deadshot is hired to kill Malcolm, the Hood must stop an assassination.  A call from Laurel’s mother (Alex Kingston) reveals a shocking discovery.

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“The Huntress Returns”

1.17     The Huntress Returns Airdate:  03/20/13

Laurel begins her own investigation in the possibility that her sister might be back when she worries her parents are getting too involved.  Moira learns that Merlyn is getting closer to finding who was behind the attack and must make a sacrifice to stop him.  Felicity finds it difficult to deal with failure when it could mean someone’s life.  A man targeting criminals in the Glades finds Roy and forces Oliver to take action as the Hood…leading to a major discovery.  Oliver remembers how he and Slade were caught in a double cross.

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“Salvation”

1.18     Salvation Airdate:  03/27/13

Laurel begins her own investigation in the possibility that her sister might be back when she worries her parents are getting too involved.  Moira learns that Merlyn is getting closer to finding who was behind the attack and must make a sacrifice to stop him.  Felicity finds it difficult to deal with failure when it could mean someone’s life.  A man targeting criminals in the Glades finds Roy and forces Oliver to take action as the Hood…leading to a major discovery.  Oliver remembers how he and Slade were caught in a double cross.

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“Unfinished Business”

1.19     Unfinished Business Airdate:  04/03/13

A Vertigo death becomes tied to Oliver’s club, and Arrow suspects the Count is back in charge of the city’s drug dealing.  When Detective Lance suspects Tommy might be behind the Vertigo, it threatens to drive a wedge between Laurel and her father and Oliver and Tommy.  Diggle sets out to bring down Deadshot but finds his side activities could cost Arrow his life.  Oliver recalls beginning his training with Shado (Celina Jade).

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“Home Invasion”

1.20     Home Invasion Airdate:  04/24/13

Oliver recalls Shaddo trying to teach him how to use a bow but discovering that they were in a trap.  Oliver has joined Diggle in searching for Deadshot, but when clients of Laurel are killed by an assassin named Mr. Blank (J. August Richards), Oliver much choose between his loyalty to Diggle or Laurel.  Tommy finds himself questioning his relationship to Laurel when he realizes the relationship between Oliver and Laurel isn’t over.  Thea and Roy set out to find the Hood.

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“The Undertaking”

1.21     The Undertaking Airdate:  05/01/13

The events leading up to the sinking of the Queen’s Gambit are revealed as the search for Walter continues.  When Oliver and Felicity get a lead on Walter’s location, they are forced to go it alone due to the fallout between Oliver and Diggle.  Laurel learns the reason for Tommy’s break-up with her as Oliver learns the truth about his mother’s relationship with Malcolm Merlyn.  The Hood is out to free Walter as the Undertaking gets closer to fulfilling their plans.

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“Darkness at the Edge of Town”

1.22     Darkness on the Edge of Town Airdate:  05/05/13

With Walter’s return, Malcolm is forced to speed up the plans for the Undertaking…which means a return of the Dark Archer.  Thea and Roy search for the Hood, but find a warning from Oliver.  Laurel knows Oliver’s feelings for her and Laurel and Oliver must decide what it means for the future of their relationship.  With time running out, Felicity, Diggle, and Oliver must hack into Malcolm’s computers to stop him but it proves more difficult than anything they’ve ever planned before.  Oliver recalls learning the plot of the terrorists on the island and losing a friend.

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“Sacrifice”

1.23     Sacrifice Airdate:  05/15/13

The Undertaking has arrived and Malcolm Merlyn is prepared to do it.  When Moira forces his hand by revealing the conspiracy to the public, a race to clear the Glades begins as Malcolm prepares to bring it all down.  Oliver recalls how he, Shado, and Slade faced down the terrorists as they planned to bring down a plane.  Detective Lance finds himself forced to rely on the Hood and Felicity while Oliver sets out to end the threat of Malcolm Merlyn once and for all.

Related Links:

Arrow—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Flash—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Legends of Tomorrow—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by

Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn’t afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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