Finally, The CW’s most highly anticipated new drama of the season has made its debut! “Arrow,” starring Stephen Amell as DC Comics hero Oliver Queen, kicked off on Wednesday night amidst plenty of Twitter buzz and about a zillion billboards and posters and bus ads.
In the pilot, Oliver Queen returns from being shipwrecked and marooned on an island for five years. His boat had gone down while he was hooking up with his girlfriend Laurel Lance’s (Katie Cassidy) sister, Sarah, who died in the accident. Just before his death, Oliver’s father, Robert, left him with a list of names — people who Oliver now feels need to be taken out.
Now that he’s back in Starling City, he barely resembles the lush, spoiled playboy he was when he vanished — and we’re not just referring to his scars. As he tells it, Oliver has forged his body into a weapon, which he intends to use against all the criminals, low-lifes, and liars who have turned his home into an immoral wasteland. When he and his best friend Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) are kidnapped by armed, masked men, Oliver tells Det. Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) — the father of Sarah and Laurel — that a hooded man took out the bad guys.
In actuality, he took them down on his own, showing the audience just how far he’ll go to keep his secret and clean up the city as he ruthlessly snapped the neck of one of the men.
The kidnapping inspires Oliver’s mother, Moira (Susanna Thompson) to hire him a bodyguard, Diggle (David Ramsey). Suffice to say, Oliver isn’t particularly enamored of the idea of being tailed 24/7.
We’d be remiss not to mention the scenes of Oliver in the old Queen foundry, setting up a lair of sorts, forging his arrows, and working out without a whole lot of clothes on. We’ve got a feeling those images will become pretty iconic if the series is a hit. Outwardly, Oliver pretends to be the man who went down with that boat, dancing at his homecoming parties and declaring, “I missed tequila!” Inside — he’s stewing.
All the while, he’s dealing with everything that’s changed in his absence, from his newly-married mother to his troubled little sister, Thea (Willa Holland). Not the least of it, Tommy is now sleeping with Laurel… who is still furious with him. Five years isn’t enough time to get over the emotions involved when “your sister dies while screwing your boyfriend,” and we can’t blame her. Oliver isn’t helping, as he tells her he hasn’t changed at all. He has finally become the better man that she once saw in him, but he can’t let her in on that, otherwise his secret will be revealed.
The Laurel/Oliver relationship will be a cornerstone of the series. “Laurel’s the love of his life,” Amell tells us. “You
know how they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder? Well, he had
five years on an island with literally nothing to do but think about
her, so I’d say that that’s a singular type of love. It’ll be
interesting to see, because [their relationship will] grate on him, but
he’s also kind of got to understand. He was dead. People were grieving.”
We’re looking forward to seeing what else “Arrow” has up its sleeve — particularly now that Oliver has upped the ante by offering a 2 million dollar reward to anybody who finds the green-hooded vigilante. The man seems to enjoy a challenge.
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