Review: Arrow Series Premiere
By Noor Alnaqeeb (@nooralnaqeeb)
Warning: Arrow. Season One: Episode One Spoilers.
The CW’s new series Arrow brings us Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, billionaire playboy-turned-superhero. After being stranded on an island for five years and presumed dead by all his friends and family, a scarred, burned and determined Queen is finally found. Within the five years, much has changed. He’s not the man they once knew. He’s emotionless, calculated and cautious. And most importantly, he has an epic beard.
Based on DC Comic’s Emerald Archer, this superhero’s skillset certainly covers mastering the use of a bow and arrow. Evidently, when stranded on an island with nothing to do for half a decade, archery is a pretty satisfying pastime. On the island, he had trained himself to survive, fight and give in completely to his innate animalistic instincts. The day Oliver Queen died is the day his alter ego was born, Arrow. And so, the legend begins.
As the sole survivor of the eight involved in the accident, and product of a billion dollar empire, Queen is no stranger to the major players of Starling’s community. But the Oliver they once knew no longer exists. Oliver Queen’s mission is to blend into society once more (party animal and all), where Arrow’s mission is to pursue the criminal and the corrupt. Very Batman of him. And much like any billionaire playboy of the comic book community, he has an underground lair of superhero secrecy (cue father’s mysteriously abandoned factory) filled with super computers, welding machines and a custom training ground. Side note: How unbelievably epic was that work out?
The episode begins with Oliver setting off his customized S.O.S in the shape of a Michael Bay explosion in order to get noticed by fishermen, and ultimately brought home. His one goal on the island, appropriately named Purgatory, was to survive and return home. In order to do so; he had forged himself into a weapon. The ominous music and passionate voiceover makes one thing clear: this weapon is definitely back with a vengeance.
Upon his much-anticipated return home, we are introduced to his sister, Thea, and cryptic friend of his father, Walter Steele. Steele’s unexplained presence in the house is ultimately revealed at a more-than-awkward encounter between himself and Oliver. Turns out, his mother Mrs. Moira Queen had moved on and married up. Seems Oliver had missed quite a bit since leaving Starling City. Thankfully, his happy-go-lucky best friend Tommy Merlin was there to fill in the gaps. “Okay. What else did you miss? Superbowl winners: Giants, Steelers, Saints, Packers, Giants again. Black president, that’s new! Oh, and Lost… they were all dead… I think.”
Katie Cassidy, who’s known for her recurring role in Supernatural, joins the Arrow cast as Dinah Laurel Lance, Queen’s ex-girlfriend and the community’s hardcore, power-to-the-people legal advisor. Ex, you say? Well, yes people tend to break up when one of them is presumed dead for five years. Another explanation for their break up might be that, as Laurel so eloquently puts it, “I couldn’t be angry. I couldn’t grieve. That’s what happens when your sister dies while screwing your boyfriend.” Well, that took an interesting turn. Ladies and gentlemen, we have found our character flaw.
So, let’s focus our attention on the shipwreck. The colossal shipwreck. In the terrifying scene where the events of the accident are revealed, we are shown Laurel’s sister, Sarah, sucked into the nothingness of the ocean. We are also shown Oliver’s father confessing his crimes against the city to his heir so that one day, Oliver can rectify his mistakes and redeem their family. Due to limited supplies and water, Oliver’s father sacrificed himself and another unwilling crew member for his son. No pressure, Olly.
Hidden in a chest under Oliver’s bed is a small leather-bound book that Arrow seems to use as a hit list. Masked gunmen with a profound interest in his father’s dying words throw his hit list into action, making Queen determined as ever to remove the corruption from his city. Adam Hunt, a name on the list, just so happens to be going head-to-head with Laurel in a legal battle. Too bad Laurel’s motto is “We don’t need to go outside the law to find justice,” where Hunt’s motto probably sounds more like, “If they don’t do what you want, kill them.”
As for the “man in a green hood,” the legend has been held responsible on two accounts: 1) As Oliver and Tommy’s savior from abduction and 2) In the Adam Hunt encounter. Adam Hunt, the aforementioned real estate mogul/gangster. Arrow had demanded Hunt to authorize a 40 million dollar-transfer to a bank account by 10 p.m. What for, you ask? To take from the rich and give to the poor, of course! Maybe the detective was right when he asked if he should put out an EPB on Robin Hood. When Hunt doesn’t comply, as any money-thirsty gangster would, Arrow takes things into his own hands, takes down an entire police force and personal guard and takes what he wants.
At Queen’s “Welcome Back from the Dead” party, a few bombshells were dropped. Oliver’s seventeen-year-old sister’s nickname, Speedy, might be a little too accurate, as the traumatic last five years had tempted her to dabble with drugs. Tommy knows a little too much information for his own good and may or may not have seen Arrow in action. Laurel’s father, who has a burning hatred for Oliver, happens to be the leading detective on the hunt for the Robin Hood/Arrow. And Oliver’s ingenious plan to push Laurel away in order to keep her safe had unintentionally landed her right into the arms of his best friend. Love triangles, yay!
In the final moments of the episode, it turns out that the tear-jerking reunion between Oliver and his mother rightfully seemed a little off. A sentence Mrs. Queen said didn’t quite sit right, “Has he said anything about what happened?” As it turns out the Queen Bee isn’t worried for her son’s state of mind, but of what he actually knows. She even went so far as to hire the violent, and now dead, gunmen to threaten it out of him.
Although in recent years, the character Oliver Queen had previously washed up on a deserted island in Smallville as Justin Hartley and woke up as Stephen Amell in Arrow, we’re sure the transition will be quite smooth for the comic book character’s fans. Arrow is definitely worth the watch, if not for the tribute to the comic book character, the gripping storyline or the epic premiere then for Stephen Amell’s rock-hard, awe-inspiring beautiful abs.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars