Oliver Queen - Stephen Amell
Laurel Lance - Katie Cassidy
Tommy Merlyn - Colin Donnell
Dana Faraday - Jennifer Ferrin
John Diggle - David Ramsey
Quentin Lance - Paul Blackthorne
Thea Queen - Willow Holland
Moira Queen - Susanna Thompson
Felicity Smoak - Emily Bett Rickards
Malcolm Merlyn - John Barrowman
OTHER ARROW SEASONS
OTHER SUPERHERO SHOWS
Birds of Prey
Oliver Queen is discovered alive on a remote island five years after the yacht carrying him, his father and his girlfriend sank in a storm. Now endowed with almost supernatural agility, strength and aim with an arrow, he sets about taking down a criminal whilst dealing with those he wronged.
Marvel Comics' superheroes reign supreme on the big screen and the DC Comics efforts have been pretty dismal. ARROW is an attempt to turn that tide around on the small screen. Things, however, do not get off to a good start with this origin story. Oliver Queen is a terribly unoriginal character. His playboy alter-ego is Bruce Wayne all upset and his origin on the island and his subsequent desire to right wrongs has more than a whiff of The Count Of Monte Cristo about it. Love interest Laurel Lance, crusading lawyer, is straight out of BATMAN as well.
Still, if you're going to borrow then borrow from the best. Sadly, this opening effort has a lot of ground to cover storywise as well as covering the action and acting standard that we're going to expect from the show. There's a good deal of moodiness as all of the characters have been affected by the loss of Queen Sr and the return of Queen Jr, but little of it comes across as being convincing.
Stephen Amell is nicely square-jawed as the hero, but his range in tortured glances is sadly lacking. The rest of the characters are likewise not very deep. As for the action, there is some, but whilst there's a lot of running and jumping and shooting arrows, it really doesn't add up to very much.
Arrow has arrived, but he's going to have to hit his targets better than this if he is to stay around for long.Top
Honor Thy Father
The Green Arrow has a new target when a corrupt businessman with links to the triads and drug smuggling goes after Laurel, who is taking him on in court.
There's more angst as everyone continues to try and sort themselves out after Oliver's return, but the central relationships continue to lack resonance and fail to convince, which means that the brooding comes off as a bit peevish at times.
There are some serious issues (why is the bodyguard still there after Ollie knocked him out last week?) with the plotting and the fact that the central crime story is dull, dull, dull doesn't help (though it does introduce a kick-ass triad female killer we will no doubt be seeing more of).
More interestingly, the flashbacks to the island provide a glimpse of the character who is going to transform Oliver into the Green Arrow. Hopefully, he will liven things up a bit.Top
Oliver learns that he's not the only one killing off the city's residents. A hotshot assassin known as Deadshot is killing rich would-be bidders at an upcoming auction and Oliver's step-father might be in the firing line.
A game of cat and mouse between two killers, this improves matters by having a more interesting storyline and introducing the realisation that Oliver can't do it all alone.
The action is fine, though over-edited as usual, and the twists leading to Oliver revealing himself to someone are OK. It is improving, though.Top
An Innocent Man
The Green Arrow enlists the aid of Laurel to free a man framed for murder and about to be executed.
There's nothing in the plotline here that is interesting. The against the clock race to free an innocent man, the prison riot, the conflict between father and daughter over who is innocent and who isn't ... it's all been done dozens of times before in any number of cop and lawyer shows.
John Barrowman shows up as an overarching bad guy running Oliver's mother, who is shadier by the episode, and Walter's digging into her activities comes up with a surprising conclusion.
This, though, sets up the Oliver/Laurel/Green Arrow love triangle so familiar from Superman and Batman.Top
Guns are about to flood the city streets, but Oliver has been arrested as being the archer vigilante and cannot act. He needs some new friends, and quickly.
Every lone vigilante needs a support team and Oliver gets the first member of his as that strand of the storyline takes a very straightforward route.
Surprisingly enough, the Arrow himself doesn't do all that much in this episode, Oliver being tagged and bagged, but the island flashbacks tell a good deal more about what happened to Oliver and introduce a pointlessly masked bad guy.
It's all solid enough without being inspiring.Top
Diggle makes Oliver reassess his priorities when a band of bank robbers puts a cop in the hospital.
The bad guys in this episode are deeply uninteresting and so a backstory linking their motivation to Oliver's father is built in, but neither that nor the general story are very effective or affecting.
Nor is the personal story of the people in Oliver's life, since the character seems to be relatively unaffected by the supposed emotional issues. This is more down to Stephen Amell's limited acting ability than anything else, but it does render that side of the drama pretty dull and uninspired.Top
Muse Of Fire
Oliver looks into a mobster and finds himself drawn to the man's daughter, Helena, a woman who seems to have much in common with him.
The introduction of the Huntress (though she is never called this in the episode) perks things up considerably as it gives Oliver and the Arrow someone to connect with and puts into relief how easily he could slip into the darkness.
There are a couple of good action scenes and the story moves along nicely, though with almost no surprises, along the way.Top
Oliver attempts to show Helena a better way to channel her vengeful emotions, but finds that not everyone can be saved.
The continuation of the Huntress story (still not named as thus) keeps a focus to the episode provides some drama with a little more depth and without following the most obvious path.
The action ramps up as well, but the tedious romance subplot continues to drag everything down.Top
Whilst Oliver tries to celebrate Christmas, a copycat seems intent of setting up a fight to the death with the vigilante.
At last a villain who is at least interesting. A dark archer who is every bit as good as Oliver and willing to do whatever it takes to bring about an end to his vigilante ways, the final revelation of his identity is a let down, but the action sequence that leads up to it is the best that the show has come up with to date.
It makes up for the dullness of the surrounding stories.Top
Someone is killing firefighters. It's not a good time for Oliver to have lost his confidence and be hiding behind the needs of his family.
Elements of BACKDRAFT are carved up and reheated over an open fire to provide an opponent for the Hood who could not be more lame. Apart from being predictable, the superhero story side of things provides virtually no action worthy of note.
Instead we get Oliver's 'woe is me' routine and a flashback to the island that proves to be less than stellar.Top
Trust But Verify
Diggle gets drawn into danger when Oliver targets an old war buddy of his for a series of armoured car robberies.
It is a problem with shows like this that too often the principals have to have some sort of connection with the problem of the week. This time around it's Diggle. Wait long enough and the cops should figure it out just for the number of times that friends of Oliver's are involved.
It doesn't help that the back-up plot of Oliver's sister getting screwed up over her mother's apparent involvement with another man is too obvious for words and that the whole Tommy Merlyn thread is tedious and apparently irrelevant in the extreme.
Ben Browder (FARSCAPE) is criminally underused and even a twist in the telling of Oliver's past can't make up for the episode's failings.Top
In order to help Thea get a reduced sentence on her drugs charges, Oliver goes undercover as a drugs dealer to catch up with 'The Count', a supplier of a designer drug who doesn't care how it affects people.
Apparently, if you have a rich family who can track down your dealer then you'll get a good deal on sentencing. That's the message behind this episode of ARROW and if it weren't so dull then we might actually get a bit annoyed about that.
As it is, this is really just an episode to get through on the way to (hopefully) better things. Oliver apparently killing a man (not that anyone ever really believes that) is the high point.Top
A freshly-released crime lord sets about taking down the Hood to re-establish his credentials. He kidnaps Laurel and Oliver is forced to work with her father to get her back.
The villain of the piece here is rather dull and does nothing much other than figure out that the Hood has the hots for Laurel and kidnapping her. Not much of a plot, though it does lead to a nice assault on the bad man's hideout.
The real betrayal here, though, is Laurel's father using her as bait to catch the Hood. It's a nice character moment and certainly better than the repetition of Oliver ignoring Diggle's warnings that his mother is involved in something.Top
Shot by his mother, Oliver lies on the edge of death, hallucinating about his first chance of escape from the island.
The island flashback story takes up the whole of the plot for this episode and so the framing device is a total waste of time, especially as Oliver refuses to take his mother's shooting of the Hood as proof that she's no angel.
Fortunately, the flashback has a lot going for it as it gives some decent backstory and shows the point where Oliver made the first change to the man that he now is.
Bringing aboard Felicity the hacker as a more major character is a great idea as she is one of the most fun things about this increasingly po-faced show.Top
Oliver takes on Dodger, a jewel thief who gets others to carry out the crimes by putting explosive collars around their necks.
Exploding neck collars? Really? This old, old gimmick does nothing for the show and neither does the presence of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA's James Callis as the incredibly dull thief Dodger.
Getting Felicity caught in one of the collars makes it more personal, but hardly more original. The chase sequence, however, is one of the better moments of the show to date and the cold manner in which Oliver deals with the criminal once he has cornered him is admirable.
Even the flashback works, though it is not exactly new considering what has gone before it.Top
Dead To Rights
An assassin is hired to take out Tommy's father just as he is to be presented with an award for humanity.
Another party, another attack on someone close to Oliver. The show is in danger of repeating itself far too often. That said, when the action the finally kicks off, it's more fun than the rest of the episode deserves.Top
The Huntress Returns
The Huntress is back, still gunning for her father and determined this time to use Oliver to find him for her, no matter which of his loved ones she has to use as leverage.
Been there, done that. The Huntress is a nice character, but just does all the things that she's done before. She's supposed to be a dark mirror for Oliver and certainly the outcome of their battle is surprising, but then again not so much.
At least their kickbox duel is fun (if short).Top
Someone is kidnapping villains in part of the city and executing them live on the internet. The police are at a loss and Oliver fails to stop two deaths, but then the next potential victim turns out to be a friend of his sister.
Quite apart from the interesting moral argument of why one vigilante should be down on the activities of another (which is mainly ignored anyway), this is another 'ticking clock, must rescue personal friend of the family from danger' plot that fails to really take off and manages to be average at best.
We get one step closer to finding out what the big bad event is going to be and learn just how ruthless Oliver's mother can be, but almost nothing else of interest happens.Top
When a woman dies from the effects of the drug Vertigo after visiting Oliver's club, the Hood goes after the drug's kingpin, now in an insane asylum, and his secret lair is in danger of being discovered.
When the drug re-emerges onto the streets of the city, Oliver regrets not having simply killed the inventor of it, but by the end he spares that same man because sometimes killing a villain isn't the answer to the problem. That's the journey that Oliver goes on and the moral that he learns and it is a stultifyingly dull one. Even the flashbacks to the island and Oliver slapping water (it's his 'wax on/wax off' moment) are dull.
There is close to no action and since the minor characters aren't all that interesting, having an episode that concentrates on them and their relationships doesn't fire up the imagination.Top
Oliver gets a lead on Deadshot at the same time that a bad guy decides to kill a child in the care of Laurel. Oliver must make a choice, but either one will lead to regret.
Sometimes there are no right things to do and sometimes there are too many right things to do. Sadly, the choice that Oliver makes here comes as no surprise and leads to Diggle walking out again. How many times now is that? It's repetitive and it's tedious, although the supposed takedown scene where Oliver is a no-show is pretty impressive.
The love triangle with Laurel and Tommy trundles on interminably and the training on the island continues to skirt on the boring.Top
Felicity gets information on Walter's whereabouts and, with Digggle still in a huff, goes undercover into an illegal casino. More is learned about 'the Undertaking' and none of it is good.
The flashbacks this time don't have anything to do with the island, but everything to do with how Oliver came to be shipwrecked and what the infamous 'Undertaking' actually is. As we surge toward the final episodes, the threads are being pulled together into a tighter, neater weave and a more interesting storyline.
The central underground casino action sequence is excellent, but the later raid on a housing complex is the most kick-ass sequence that the show has yet come up with. Even the latest developments in the love triangle subplot don't annoy too much.
It's taken too long to get to this point, but the show is finally getting its stuff together and if the final episodes build on this one then we might be glad to see it back.Top
Darkness On The Edge Of Town
Oliver learns the truth about his mother's involvement with the Undertaking and goes after Tommy's father, but is he outmatched?
The penultimate episode of the first season on ARROW pays off in spades on the promise that it has shown at times. There is a light and frothy heist segment, a dark and devious kidnapping and torture segment and a kick-ass face off between the Hood and Malcolm Merlyn that leads to the big cliffhanger.
Squashed in amongst all of this were flashbacks to the island subplot that, quite frankly, we couldn't care about any longer and more love triangle angst that is less annoying than it has been to date.
All in all, this episode is amongst ARROW's finest - assured, smart and nicely balanced.Top
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