- Series: Arrow
- Season: 1
- Episodes: 23
- Discs: 5
- Cast: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland, Colton Haynes, John Barrowman, Paul Blackthorne, Colin Salmon
- Network: CW (Warner Brothers Productions)
- DVD Format: Color, Widescreen
This review includes spoilers for Season 1 of Arrow.
It is definitely a little strange re-watching Season 1 of Arrow, having seen the entire series. I can’t really forget later developments, including character deaths. However, I also found that the first season was really, really good. Arrow is an excellent series – it’s dark, yes, but somehow the characters are likable, even when they shouldn’t be. Oliver Queen is a flawed hero – and he’s also, especially in this first season, a liar. Ollie claims he was “alone” on the island – within two or three episodes, we know that’s not the case. And before long, we find out that this “deserted” island was quite, quite busy – there’s Slade Wilson (not yet Deathstroke), Yao Fei, Shado – his daughter, and Fyers and his phalanx of troops. That’s a lot of people on a relatively small island. Oliver also, as we find out in later seasons, lied about being on the island the entire time – he was in Hong Kong and Russia. But that is in later seasons. Oliver’s Bravta connections do come up in the first season and Anatoly Knyazev is even mentioned more than once, but we never see him.
Season 1 shows the beginning of Oliver’s journey. He returns to his home, Star City, having been rescued by Chinese fishermen. Ollie discovered time has moved on for his closest relatives and friends. His mother has remarried, to Walter Steele, the former CFO at Queen Consolidated and now the COO. His sister, Thea Queen, is a party girl who has problems with drugs and alcohol. His best friend, Tommy, is rudderless. His former girlfriend, Laurel, sort of hates him. Ollie also has a mission, he’s going through the list of names that his father left him – all rich slimeballs who think they are above the law, and eliminating them. Though I remembered the first season as the year that “The Hood” killed off people from The List – Ollie really doesn’t kill that many people. The Dark Archer kills far more. And Oliver’s new partners, first John Diggle, and later, Felicity Smoak, help him to get involved in other cases and crimes. Even Laurel and his police detective father, Det. Lance, end up bringing cases to The Hood.
Season 1 sees a lot of growth in characters like Tommy Merlyn, whom I’ve always liked, who starts off as an irresponsible playboy party boy, very like Oliver always was, becomes the manager of Oliver’s club, Verdant, then late in the season, gets a job working for his father, Malcolm Merlyn, at his conglomerate. Tommy and Laurel had a thing but split up. Over the course of the season, Tommy starts to see Laurel again. Laurel was also Oliver’s girlfriend at the time of the boat trip five years ago, but he slept with her sister, Sara, which ended the relationship. Oliver also invited Sara on the boat and she ended-up drowning (we think).
Laurel and Oliver also have a complicated relationship – at first she’s angry with him, not only did he sleep with Sara, he got her killed, then “died”. Now Oliver is back, but Sara is still assumed “dead” (as we know, she’s not – but we do not see Sara at all in Season 1). And trivia fact, it’s even a different actress playing Sara in the flashbacks. Oliver is still in love with Laurel, though, and eventually, Tommy realizes it and steps back from his newly re-kindling relationship with Laurel.
Gradually over the course of the season, Oliver discovers that The List his father left him isn’t just a random group of rich slimeballs, they are The Undertaking – a group put together by Malcolm Merlyn. Malcolm is determined to destroy The Glades, a poverty-stricken area of Starling City where his wife, Rebecca was attacked and killed when Tommy was eight years old. We even find out that Malcolm went to Nanda Parbat after his wife’s death. In season 1, it’s implied that’s where Malcolm learned to use a bow, and to fight. Though it’s never stated, R’as al Ghul no doubt gave him the idea that he had to destroy part of the city to save it. Malcolm is the mysterious Dark Archer (or “the copycat” as the police department calls him).
However, even with help from Diggle, Felicity, Lance, and a televised confession by his mother, Moira, Oliver is unable to stop The Undertaking. Lance disarms one Earthquake machine, but the other is triggered – an Earthquake hits The Glades. Tommy rushes to save Laurel and Thea rushes to save Roy, the bad boy she met when he tried to steal her purse. Tommy rescues Laurel but dies, more or less in Oliver’s arms. It is a devastating loss for Oliver.
Again, overall, Season 1 of Arrow is very good. It’s definitely worth watching, especially if one happened to start watching the series later on. I actually watched Arrow from the very beginning but didn’t start posting reviews of it on my blog until later. I highly recommend Arrow, the core of the Arrowverse on the CW.
Read my Review of Arrow Season 2
Read my Review of Arrow Season 3
Read my Review of Arrow Season 4
Read my Review of Arrow Season 5
Read my Review of Arrow Season 6
Read my Review of Arrow Season 7
Read my Review of Arrow Season 8