My memory of the pilot didn’t really do it justice. 🙂 I’ve seen in a a few times by now, and it still grips me like the first time. One of the many thing I love about Arrow.

I’ve decided to break this down by characters and specific moments that grabbed me. I’ll do my best to keep it within what I was thinking at the time I first saw it and go from there. This is, after all, as much my journey (as a fan) as it was Oliver’s journey.

The Island

We first see Oliver on Lian Yu in the first few minutes, and it’s really a character in and of itself. It plays as much of a role in Oliver’s development as anyone or anything else on the show, in spite the fact that he doesn’t spend the entire five years there.

My first impressions were remote, cold, and unforgiving. Lian Yu does mean ‘purgatory’, after all. And it shaped Oliver in it’s image. His expression while watching the island get farther and farther away from him said it all.


While we’re on the subject, this guy. The focus of the show. The distance he held from everyone became apparent to just about every character at some point during the episode. They didn’t wait to show the reveals later on. Everyone, including Diggle (who had all of five minutes screentime), knew something was up with him by the time all was said and done.

What I found interesting is that Oliver showed some humanity. I won’t touch on that here because I’m going to touch on it when I go into the other characters. This being Oliver’s show, all roads eventually lead back to him.


Tempted to go by order of appearance, but we’ll see how that goes.

With Moira, we’re left with the impression that we don’t really know her by the end, marking the habit that Berlanti properties have by now of using the last five or so minutes of the show for some kind of reveal. In this case, the caring mother has a big secret, and she had Oliver kidnapped to find out if he knew what it was.

The part that grabbed me with her, though, was the part where Oliver nearly choked her out when she tried to wake him up, after finding him sleeping by an open window with freezing rain pouring inside. If she hadn’t known he was damaged before then, that moment certainly got the message across. What strikes me is that the moment didn’t make her afraid of him. When you know what she’d been through up to that point, you realize why. She knows he didn’t mean to hurt her, whereas there are those elsewhere in her life who wouldn’t hesitate to do just that. Talk about scary.


Re-watching Season One, as I discovered earlier this year, was a big revelation as far as this character was concerned. I remembered why I liked her so much in that first season, and how it all went so wrong in the next.

Laurel Lance, for all that people like to complain about her, isn’t really that bad. My problem was that I initially watched it from the POV of, “Oh, I know you had it hard, but look what he had to deal with!” Not realizing that Laurel was on an island of her own, something you don’t realize until you yourself have dealt with the death of a loved one. At least when my stepfather passed, we had ashes to do with as we pleased. Laurel never even knew if her sister was still alive, let alone dealing with the fact that said sister was sleeping with her boyfriend. In that way, I can see her anger as being completely justified. Do I wish they’d handled it better? Yes. Do I think Katie did well with what she had to work with? Absolutely.

Her scenes in the law office were also pretty good. “I’d say if $50,000 mysteriously showed up in your account, it would be best not to speak about it. To anyone.”

The interaction with Oliver later, where he told her to stay way from him, more or less reinforces her feelings about him, at least for now. Which I’m aware he did on purpose, but as I’ll go into later, it also made me think that they weren’t going to follow canon all that closely. But it wasn’t my first indication that this show was an AU (Alternate Universe).


With that lead-in, this was the first indication. 🙂 Yes, I know, she’s supposed to stand in for Mia Dearden (who I dearly love). However, she’s still a sister Oliver never had in the comics. She was, therefore, my biggest clue that Arrow was going to be a Green Arrow AU. Her very existence, more than anything, caused me to expect nothing canon to happen from there on in. Which, I believe, might have been the point.

Thea, the character, is a big part of Oliver’s life. This may be stating the obvious, but if you factor in the next two seasons and all their interactions, you can see how very important she is to him. The way he is when she comes running into his arms on the stairs, and his actions later when it came to her drug use (not to mention what he does in season 3 in regards to that during flashbacks), tell me he didn’t just come back to Starling to save the City. He also came back to save Thea.

Also of note: Speedy name drop. “Worst. Nickname. Ever.”


Okay, deviating a little bit, but the flashbacks are important, especially if you take a look back at what they set up for.

In this case, it set up that there is always someone to openly question Oliver’s judgement when it comes to women. True, we find out that Robert can’t really talk, but it might be because he’s had such bad judgement himself that he was able to say that to Oliver. Just too bad that Oliver didn’t realize he knew whereof he spoke…

As for his later suicide, I did not see that coming, and I was still reeling from his killing of the ship captain. Talk about unexpected.

Oh, and of course it shows how Oliver wound up on Lian Yu in the first place. 🙂 Another important piece to the puzzle.


I miss this guy. And I just found out he became a regular on another series, so if they were somehow planning to bring him back, that’s obviously not going to happen now. But good for Colin Donnell.

Tommy is the one who got the quotables, this early in the season, both making me laugh and making me feel.

His ‘what you missed in pop culture’ primer.

“Have you noticed how hot your sister’s got?” Off look from Oliver, “Because I have not.”

“Everyone is happy you’re back, and you want to see the one person who isn’t.”

“The one who looks like the chick from Twilight?” “What’s Twilight?” “You are so better off not knowing.”

“What happened to you on that island?”

And we can’t forget the reveal of his relationship with Laurel during the time Oliver was gone. That’s a big part of the story that continues throughout Season One and into Season Two. Not as big as Sara/Oliver, but definitely something that drives the story. I still have issues with his, “Dinah Laurel Lance, out to save the world,” line, but only because they hadn’t established much beyond her being a tenacious lawyer by way of ‘saving the world’. I think it would have been sold to me better had they at least shown her kickboxing in this episode. But Tommy continues to be one my favorite parts of the first season.


Another Colin! This one with the last name Salmon, and I’m really sorry they haven’t gotten him back after the second season. I loved his character, and it was more than just because of his deep voice, though that doesn’t hurt. 🙂 He was amazing, and I don’t think people say that enough.

He wasn’t in the episode for very long, and I’m still unclear as to how Oliver knew about him being married to Moira. Did he know before he came back? Was Walter too comfortable around the Queen mansion? But his role was clear, and he played it well. I’ll say more when he has a bigger chuck of screentime.


I only put this off because I didn’t really have a segue for it. 🙂 This, too, was a man with a small role in the episode. But we basically learned everything we needed to know about the man. Ex-military, working now in the private sector, and extremely intelligent when it comes to routing his boss. It’s not his fault Oliver keeps surprising him. As I stated earlier, this is a theme in the episode.

Special note: First name drop of ‘Dig.’


I’m not sure what to say about this. I mean, they eventually retcon this because actress availability, but at least I can say that she appeared to feel bad about going behind her sister’s back the way she was. And then… she gets sucked out the hole and presumed dead. I’m not saying she deserved it, it’s just what happened.



I put this off because the last season was a rehash of this version of him, and I’ve been unhappy with him for months. Paul Blackthorne is a great actor, I just wish they gave him better material. What is it with the Lances and needing better material?

All this being said, at least here his attitude makes a lot of sense. He blames Oliver for Sara’s death, and he does not appreciate having a hooded vigilante (remember the greasepaint?) in his city. He did get nasty, but he had a good reason for it.

The Hood

Well, it’s not like this isn’t a different aspect of the show. 🙂 From setting up the foundry as a base of operations to making Adam Hunt literally pay for what he did, I was a fan. Though I wasn’t too fond of the killing part during the kidnapping (yes, I’m a fan of Batman’s no-kill rule, sue me), I could see how it all fit in. They made it work, and I appreciated it.

Wrap up: In summation, I loved this pilot. David Nutter (director) does great work, and everyone played their part well. I believe I’ve only missed one episode per season so far, as they aired, which is a good indication of how much I loved it. Can’t wait to not only continue this project, but for Season 4.



Published by: briggslianyublog

A DC fan since the age of 9, comic fan since 13, and fan of Arrow since the pilot. Excited for Season 5. I work as a hostess in a restaurant, write fic for obscure romances like GoldenVibe, and am sometimes buried in yarn projects. Well, you know, sometimes you have to take out a few rows to fix a glaring problem...


2 thoughts on “Pilot”

  1. I definitely agree that Lian Yu is a character and not just a setting. I miss Tommy too. I always wanted to see him and Felicity interact. They could have some fun dialogue.


    1. *nods* It’s been fun seeing how his snark was what made the show fun in the early days. I really loved Tommy. And yes, the island is a living thing. They were very careful to make it so. Hence the backround pic I decided on. 🙂


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