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‘Arrow’ Review: Pilot Episode

‘Arrow’ Review: Pilot Episode


So what did everyone think of last night’s pilot episode of Arrow?

With Smallville off the air for over a year now, The CW decided to pick up the DC mantle once again to give us the tales of Green Arrow (known thus far in this incarnation as just “Arrow”). For those of you who missed the premiere and are reading the reviews and recaps anyway, let me give you a brief rundown.

As in most of the comic book origin stories, Oliver Queen has spent years marooned on an island, honing the skills he needed to survive in an extremely harsh environment. He returns to his life as a billionaire playboy in Starling City. Ollie has a bit of PTSD to work through, as well as a serious case of vigilantism, courtesy of his father. It seems that Daddy was deeply involved in some high-level corruption in Starling City, and his dying wish was for Oliver to “right his wrongs.” Given that Dad kills himself so that Oliver will have the supplies necessary to reach land, I can’t really fault the guy for honoring his father’s request.

Back in Starling City, Oliver finds that much has changed: Mom has remarried, little sister (cheekily nicknamed “Speedy” after the comic book hero’s sidekick) has grown up into a Troubled Teen, and his girlfriend Laurel is now a lawyer with Legal Aid and hates him with a fiery passion. Seeing as how Laurel’s sister died in the same shipwreck, shortly after doing very unsisterly things with Oliver, the anger seems well justified.

Oliver pretty much immediately goes to work setting up his Batcave Arrowcave, making fancy USB arrows and working out on his Ninja Warrior-style salmon ladder. Once he has a decent arsenal, he goes to work on the most currently-newsworthy of the bad guys on Dad’s list, Adam Hunt. It’s really a relatively quick and simple takedown, the end result of which is that the police now know there’s a Robin Hood-esque vigilante in their town, and Oliver’s mom and bestie are revealed (to the audience, at least) to be up to their neck in the city’s dirty deeds, as well.

I had the opportunity to watch the pilot several months ago. I enjoyed it then, but I was surprised to discover that it improved on a second viewing. Stephen Amell seems more than up to the challenge of pulling off the different sides of the character, both determined hero and slightly shell-shocked playboy. The action scenes were fast-paced and a lot of fun to watch. I’m a sucker for good stunt work, especially hand-to-hand combat. I also got a kick out of all the nods to DC fans (Tommy Merlyn and “Speedy” being among the many).

There’s still a lot we don’t know about Oliver’s time on the island. For now, I’m going to assume that his new-found skills in martial arts, metal work, computer hacking, and the Russian language will have something to do with his rumored run-in with Kelly Hu’s China White, as I can’t see many of those coming up in a typical deserted island survival montage (I’ll give the parkour a pass, as I feel like that would be pretty handy for the terrain we saw.) Regardless, I’ll certainly be tuning in next week! What about you guys?

Best Quote:
Tommy: “Have you noticed how hot your sister’s got … ’cause I haven’t.”

Things to ponder

  • Laurel’s going to become Black Canary at some point, right? Right? They at least have to give her a badass motorcycle.
  • Don’t most police jurisdictions try to avoid assigning detectives to cases in which they have a personal stake? Y’know, like the kidnapping of the guy who didn’t save your daughter’s life?
  • My top three characters thus far: Diggle, Oliver’s abs, and John Barrowman’s eventual “Well-Dressed Man.” Yours?

Written by Jennifer Steele

rennlark Jenn is a contributing writer for Having been raised Geek Orthodox, Jenn has a love of most things sci-fi. Thanks to Georgia Tech, she also has an honest appreciation for the “sci” as well as the “fi”. Her current favorite shows include, but are not limited to: Doctor Who, Being Human, Sleepy Hollow, and various Joss Whedon offerings.


  1. I’m not that familiar with Green Arrow’s origin story but am intrigued now that I’ve seen the show. Best quote from the pilot:
    Oliver:”What’s twilight?”
    Tommy:”You’re so better off not knowing.”

    I’ll definitely continue to watch Arrow.

  2. I really enjoyed the pilot. I never read or followed the comic so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I will continue to watch.

  3. Yeah I haven’t read the comic either – but I felt hooked by the pilot – much more than I did with Smallville. Again I think this could be entirely the results of Oliver’s abs… but I’m okay with that. If I can see him working out every week – I’ll be a happy camper 🙂

  4. I was very impressed, and I am a big Green Arrow fan. Sure, there’s differences from the comics (both the older ones, and the more recent reboot), but that’s to be expected and thus far the differences are all good. And really, who wants to just watch a show that repeats your comics word for word?

    Now, as to how he got his skills, I’m leaning toward Deathstroke the Terminator being the one that taught him on the island or something of that sort, because right at the beginning we see when he lights the fire, Deathstroke’s half-n-half mask on the beach (resting on a pole or a stake driven into the ground or something, IIRC). You may be right though with China White (frankly could be several people trained him rather than just one) – not sure what way they’re going, or how they’re planning on adapting source material..

  5. Jake – thanks so much for sharing your comments! It’s great to hear from a fan that can compare the differences between the show and comic! I’m really glad to hear that you like what you see having been a fan of the comic. I hope that other fans feel the same! I like your theory with Deathstroke the Terminator being the one that trained him. I actually think I’m leaning towards multiple people training him like you mentioned. I think that’s a strong possibility as well!


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