By Jason Evans
It is one thing for a show to debut to high ratings. That always gets noticed. But, it is quite something else for a brand new show to debut as the highest rated show on a network in 3 years. That is what Arrow did in its premiere week. Now, before you get too excited about this rating juggernaut, we should note that the network here is The CW. So, “highest in 3 years,” only means Arrow was watched by a little more than 4 million viewers. Not exactly CSI or Sunday Night Football territory. Still, it instantly became the biggest show on the CW and that’s not bad! Of course, what matters now is how Arrow holds onto that audience in weeks 2, 3, and so on. And, with Arrow getting a lot of attention, the folks at Speakeasy decided it was time to give it the recap treatment!
For those of you who missed the premiere last week, Arrow is the story of Oliver Queen, the playboy son of Starling City billionaire, Robert Queen. Oliver and Robert get shipwrecked in the Pacific. Realizing they both cannot survive in their life-raft because there is not enough fresh water, Robert kills himself and urges his son to “right the wrongs in Starling City.” Oliver washes up on a deserted island where he must learn to survive and where he becomes quite good with a bow and arrow. 5 years later, he is rescued and returns to his corrupt city. He secretly vows to carry out his father’s dying wish and root out the evil and corruption that control the city. If you think all of this sounds a lot like Batman with arrows instead of bat-gadgets, you are not alone.
And with that, time for tonight’s episode.
We begin with the Green Arrow attacking an evil rich guy and his henchmen. He terrorizes the rich man into giving money back the people he has wronged over the years. I am not sure if this thing should be called “Batman with a bow” or “Robin Hood comes to the big city.”
Cut to Oliver Queen in civilian clothes at home with his evil mother and other folks. Oliver is headed to court to get his death legally overturned. For some reason there is a huge press contingency there and the court requires him to recount his ordeal at sea and living for 5 years on a deserted island. Oliver is shaken.
On his way out of court, Oliver runs into his ex-girlfriend, Laurel, who has become a legal crusader since she thought Oliver died while cheating on her with her sister, who died when the Queen boat sunk. The pre-island Oliver was a real scumbag, the show constantly reminds us. Laurel is at the courthouse targeting a corrupt businessman named Martin Summers who she says killed a man. Oliver decides his Green Arrow persona should help her.
That night, Green Arrow takes out some of Summers’ henchmen and captures the businessman. He tells Summers to testify against himself in the trial Laurel is prosecuting… or else.
Somehow, I suspect Summers will chose “or else.” Fade to black for a commercial.
Oliver’s evil mom, Moira, is upset because Oliver keeps on getting away from, Dig, the bodyguard she hired to watch him. Oliver agrees to stop escaping from Dig.
The police are investigating Green Arrow’s appearance at the docks controlled by Summers last night. Summers doesn’t want the police’s help. In fact, he threatens Det. Lance because Lance’s daughter is Laurel.
Evil mom and her CEO-boyfriend, Walter, are giving Oliver a tour of the Queen Incorporated headquarters. They say they want him to take a leadership role at the company. He refuses and acts a bit like a spoiled jerk.
We get a flashback to the first day Oliver arrived on the deserted island. We see that he brought his father’s body with him to the island.
Back at the dock offices of Summers, an Asian woman approaches the bad guy. She is an assassin working for the Chinese Triad and he tells her that they need to really worry about Laurel’s legal crusade. The woman, who is based on a comic book character known as China White, says she will kill Laurel. Fade to black for a commercial.
Back at home, Oliver and his sister, Thea, share a tender moment or two. They reflect on the hardships he endured to survive on the island and how hard it was for her when she lost him. The two of them have been squabbling about her personal life and she says she felt closer to him when he was dead. Ouch! That left a mark!!
Oliver goes to Laurel’s place. He apologizes for pushing her away so much and admits to being a jerk. He says, “there is something I dreamed about doing every day on the island and I promised myself if I could ever do it again, I’d do it with you.” Everyone is thinking about sex but he pulls out a tub of ice cream instead. “Wanna eat some ice cream?” I chuckle a little bit.
There are noises outside Laurel apartment. China White and her henchmen are coming to get Laurel! Oliver manages to keep Laurel alive for a moment when suddenly help comes in the form of Oliver’s bodyguard, Dig. He shoots a couple of the henchmen but is disarmed by China White. Oliver throws a knife at her and she flees. “This is why it is a good idea to have a bodyguard,” says Dig. He’s an easy character to like. I wonder if Green Arrow needs a sidekick. Fade to black for a commercial.
Det. Lance shows up and thanks Dig for saving Laurel’s life. He sneers at Oliver and tells him to stay away from his daughter. Back at home, Dig makes it clear that he noticed how proficient Oliver was at throwing that knife in the fight.
Green Arrow is going after Summers. He’s mad that Summers targeted Laurel. Summers is ready to flee the city because he thinks the Triad is going to come after him. Ha! He’d be lucky if it was just the Traid coming to get him… he’s got a superhero targeting him instead! We see Arrow taking out some of his henchmen as Summers runs off. Arrow is in hot pursuit as we fade to black for a commercial.
Oliver quickly catches up to Summers and says, “I want the truth!” Summers is spilling the beans against the Triad but China White shows up and challenges Arrow. They fight for a bit but the police arrive and they both scatter. Det. Lance manages to get the drop on Green Arrow but Arrow disarms him by throwing a small arrow at his gun and gets away. Det. Lance sees that the arrow that was thrown at him has a recording device on it which contains Summers confession.
Oliver decides the best way to keep his mom off his back and to stop her from trying to get him to join the family company is to act like the old, irresponsible Oliver. He shows up as the dedication of a building to his father and acts drunk. He tells everyone, “Stop asking me to be the man my father was.” It is a truly embarrassing display and probably ensures his mom will leave him alone from now on. Fade to black for a commercial.
Laurel is celebrating Summers legal defeat when her father, Det. Lance shows up. They have a discussion about whether Arrow is helping or hurting the city.
Back at home, Oliver is looking through the little book his father left him – the one that contains the names of all the rich evildoers in Starling City. He crosses off Summers name. We flashback to the island and see him finding the book, but there is nothing written in it… nothing except an oval-looking symbol. How did he get all this info?
Cut to evil mom Moira who is meeting with a shadowy figure. She says, “my son clearly knows nothing. My husband didn’t tell him anything. He doesn’t know that we planned the boat sinking.” WHOA!! Mom plotted to kill her husband and son! That’s cold! The shadowy figure holds something up and it has the oval-symbol on it.
The episode ends with a real puzzler – we are back on the island where Oliver is burying his father. Suddenly, he is shot in the shoulder with an arrow. We see the man who shot him, a hooded marksman who looks just like Arrow. Oliver slumps forward.
And the episode ends!
Wow! Color me stunned. I did not expect that one, not at all. We are clearly being set up for a lot more information about what happened on the island. This show has some major mysteries going along each week while also solving some simple “rich people are bad” crimes each week as well. I could see this formula working for a while.
At this point, Arrow fans, it is your turn to be heard. Chime in about tonight’s episode in the comment section. I’ll be reading what you have to say and will comment back. Anyone want to pose a theory about what is going on on the island? Any guesses what mom was up to that she had to kill her husband? Post your thoughts and lets chat!
If you want to read more of Jason Evans’ commentary on the Movie and TV industry, follow him on Twitter @TVFilmTalk