Arrowverse 1: Where It All Began
Updated: Mar 5
Welcome to the first post of the Arrowverse series! Each post will be discussing one season of the shows that make up DC's Arrowverse, with a separate post for the crossover episodes.
This post we will be discussing where it all started, Arrow season 1.
Here we meet Oliver Queen and the Queen family. The series starts with Oliver being discovered on an island with a green hood and a bow, he also has long hair and beard making him look like the comic book Green Arrow. We hear Oliver narrate that he was in a shipwreck and has been alone on this island for the past 5 years. Oliver talks about a list of names that his father gave him before dying, this list is of the people that have failed Starling city. Oliver has made it his mission to bring these people down. Then we hear a doctor explaining to Moira Queen, Oliver's mom, that Oliver has 20% of his body covered in scars and that he hasn't talked about what happened to him. The doctor also warns that the son she lost might not be the one they found.
This starts this whole running thing of people saying that Oliver either is different or should be different from how he is when he originally left and even though every single person says this they don't seem to follow through with this feeling. They expect him to be the same or they expect him to be more grown up kind of depending on the scene. Oliver has decided that he wants to pretend to be the same person so that he can do the work that he eventually does as the Hood but it definitely feels like every single time someone brings it up they're like the opposite of what they originally thought. It's almost frustrating how much they both want him to be different and also seem to crave for him to be the same as how he left.
This also leads to another thing I want to talk about, PTSD. In real life if someone has gone through what Oliver has gone through they would have a high chance of having PTSD. When everyone asks Oliver about what happened on the island he looks into the middle distance and says he doesn't want to talk about it, this tends to lead to anger and frustration from whoever asked him about it. What is up with that? That is a normal response to trauma (at least on TV) and to seem to have no patience with someone who has been through an unknown amount of shit and to be mad at him is mind boggling to me. No one gives him time to heal, they want answers and results from him immediately. Now Oliver is trying to deflect and make people believe he is the same douchebag as he was before. Which might help with the frustration. But this show doesn’t always let us know how much time has passed between episodes so we can’t be sure how much time has passed between scenes and the character's conflicting reactions to Oliver’s behavior.
Oliver decides he is going to act the same as when he left so people don’t expect much from him. This should keep his responsibilities low and his nights free to Hood up. This attitude is also meant to keep people from thinking he could do something like being the Hood. Which Laurel, Oliver’s ex girlfriend, even points out. That Oliver is too selfish and self centered to care about the public like the Hood does. He is fantastic at being a douche. He is able to act like a spoiled brat so well because that is exactly what he was before the island. From the partying to showing up to the groundbreaking of a new building that is being named in honor of his dad with a girl on his arm and he sounds drunk. This sets the tone for the first half of season one. Where we don’t always know how Oliver or those around him are going to act. Thankfully as the show goes on the characters get more consistent. Oliver’s Mom hires some goons to kidnap and interrogate Oliver about what he learned from his father (if anything) while on the island. Oliver tells them he doesn’t know anything but they take it a bit too far and Oliver ends up getting free and killing them to keep his secret.
After the kidnapping Moira hires a bodyguard for Oliver to keep him safe. He is not happy about this since it will hinder his ability to Hood up. The bodyguard is named John Diggle. Oliver starts escaping Diggle’s watch whenever he can. Which Diggle doesn’t appreciate and tries to keep up with Oliver. It doesn’t take Diggle long to figure out something is up with Oliver. During the episode where we meet Deadshot, Diggle is shot and Oliver takes him to the basement of his Dad’s old warehouse to heal him from the poison that Deadshot uses on his bullets. When Diggle comes to, he learns that Oliver is the Hood, and he takes it interestingly. He leaves the Queen’s service but he doesn’t turn Oliver into the police. He is eventually persuaded to join Oliver, partially because he served in the military and is able to reason through the greater good even when you're doing things that are illegal. He also resumes being Oliver’s bodyguard, with the understanding that it’s mainly for show.
Also during the Deadshot episode Oliver is seen on camera retrieving a bag and hood right before the Hood shows up. The police arrest him under suspicion of being the Hood. After Oliver gets arrested Diggle dresses up as the Hood and breaks up a sale of guns on the other side of town so the police would have to admit Oliver could not have been there since he was on house arrest and had an ankle monitor on. This was part of Oliver’s plan since it wouldn’t take too long for people to realize that as soon as Oliver Queen returns from the dead a man in a hood starts running around the city and that they may be the same person. So as soon as he had someone to help he wanted to get caught and cleared.
In order to do what Oliver is doing sometimes you need better computer skills then Oliver has, it’s at that point that Oliver goes to Felicity. Felicity is an extremely capable hacker and tech nerd that works at Queen’s Consolidated. She helps Oliver whenever he asks for help even when his reasoning makes no sense. But Oliver is not the only person who goes to Felicity for help, so does Walter (Oliver's step dad). He comes to her when he has questions about some missing money, a warehouse, and the remains of the Queen’s Gambit. Yeah the ship Oliver and his Dad were on was recovered and is sitting in a warehouse bought by Mira. With Felicity’s help Walter gets too close and gets kidnapped.
At this point we need to talk about Malcolm Merlyn. He is the father of Oliver’s best friend Tommy. He is also a long time family friend of the Queen’s; he is also the leader of the group of people Oliver’s Dad wants him to stop. Malcolm is the one who orchestrates Walter's kidnapping and the one who sabotaged the Queen's Gambit making it go down on purpose. Very late in the season we find out that Oliver's Dad was having doubts about Malcolm's plan because Malcolm, Oliver's Dad, and a few other rich people of the city were part of a group that would force the real bad guys of the city to do a little bit of good. Like the people who would embezzle money and swindle those that live in the Glades or even the rest of non-1 presenters and convince them to either give back money or at least equal out the good by doing donations to the local fire department. Malcolm thought this wasn't enough and decided to come up with a plan that would level the Glades. Malcolm saw the Glades as a cancer on the city, one that the city could not survive without it being completely taken out. This upset Oliver's Dad which made him want to reach out to a contact in China, which is why the Queen's Gambit was in the China sea when it went down making Oliver land on Lian Yu.
Oliver and his team spend months working through the list before they find out who is leading The Undertaking and what they plan on doing. They are able to figure out that Malcolm used Queen Consolidated’s Applied Science division to build machines that would simulate an earthquake. Turns out the Glades are on a fault line and the machines could use that to level the area. Moira has a change of heart 5 minutes before The Undertaking is set to begin. She decides to hold a press conference to confess and let the public know about the machines and Malcolm’s position on the matter. Moira is immediately arrested and taken into custody while the rest of the city prepares for the coming quake. There is chaos and rioting in the Glades while some people try to get out and others are trying to help others. Oliver and Lance are trying to stop the machines but are only able to find and stop one machine. This lessens the damage but not by much. In the end the quake happens and many buildings fall, hurting and killing many. The final death count was 503 people. One of those people being Tommy. Tommy was trying to get Laurel to leave her law office where she was trying to save as many files as she could. Oliver tried to save Tommy but a concrete slab landed on him, trapping and piercing him.
Arrow is a very action and drama packed show. It can have it’s awkward times where dialog gets a bit chunky, and character motivations don’t always make sense. But at the end of the day it is very enjoyable to watch and keeps the watcher wanting more.