Welcome to the first Arrow mini-recap! Arrow has been on winter hiatus and it returns next week. I’ll be posting a short recap/highlights every week. You can comment here, or hop on over to the Community Forums at Harlequin.com where we’ll be chatting about the show.
Arrow is impressive because it promises something to its audience and then it delivers on that promise every single week. It promises campy, crazy, fun superhero drama with beautiful people doing over the top things and by golly that’s what we get. In the first episode of Season Two, Ollie swings around like Tarzan on a vine or similar object to save Felicity. He does this twice in one episode. The first time, he does it shirtless. If that doesn’t sound like pure cracky goodness to you, then this will not be your show.
I thought it might be fun to bring everyone more or less up to speed on the show. Obviously that means…SPOILERS FOR SEASONS ONE AND HALF OF SEASON TWO! And all the recaps will contain spoilers, because duh, they are recaps. You’ve been warned.
So here’s a quick look at the story so far. This is just the big, broad strokes. For more detailed recaps, the ones on io9.com are hilarious and detailed!
Once upon a time there was a selfish, irresponsible jerk named Oliver Queen. Oliver is is dating Laurel Lance but he sneaks off to his yacht (he’s a billionaire, or at least, he’s the son of a billionaire) with Laurel’s sister, Sarah. Just as sexy times are about to ensue, the yacht sinks. Sarah dies right away and everyone else on the boat, including Ollie’s dad, dies shortly thereafter. But Ollie survives until his lifeboat washes up on the shores of a deserted island.
Lots of adventures happen on the island (shown in flashback) but the big thing you need to know is that Ollie becomes a badass. He is mentored by Yao Fei, Yao’s daughter Shado, with whom he has a romantic relationship, and Slade Wilson. By the end of Season One, we know that Yao Fei is dead but we don’t know the fates of anyone else from the island.
Five years later, Ollie is rescued from the island and returns home to Starling City with his mom (Moira) his mom’s new husband (Walter), his younger sister (Thea), and a very bitter Laurel. Laurel’s father, Quentin, is even more bitter, which is a problem for Ollie since Quentin is the chief of police. Ollie was given a list of names from his father of people who have conspired against the Queen family and who have committed crimes against Starling City (corruption, embezzlement, that kind of thing).
Ollie hunts down the people on the list in disguise. The public refers to him as “The Vigilante”. Meanwhile, he plays up his billionaire playboy facade in an attempt to avoid detection. Ollie’s allies are John Diggle, his driver/bodyguard/deadpan snarker badass voice of reason, and Felicity Smoakes, tech genius, also deadpan snarker.
Ollie’s best friend from pre-island days, Tommy, is in love with Laurel Lance and they become romantically involved, but Tommy insists they break up because he think Laurel is meant to be with Ollie. Please, Tommy, this is absurd, we all want Ollie to be with Felicity, because she’s so amazing and adorable. Laurel has way too much baggage of her own. She doesn’t need to be carrying Ollie’s around too. Let that ship sail and buy the poor woman a puppy.
Anyway, there are big conspiracies and things (seriously, I’m leaving out buckets of stuff here) but basically, Tommy’s father, Malcolm Merlyn, is a criminal mastermind (played by John Barrowman!!!) who plots and schemes and ends up destroying a big chink of Starling City (an area called ‘The Glades’). He is killed by Ollie, Tommy dies, Moira (Ollie’s mom) confesses to having helped Malcolm under duress, oh my god, the angst, the weeping, the remorse from all parties concerned except for Malcolm, the only completely guilty person, who cackles with glee before he dies (OR DOES HE???). Ollie sobs over Tommy’s body, “It should have been me!” As an aside, Walter and Moira broke up in the middle of the season. So basically, Season One ends with everyone as dysfunctional as humanly possible.
The producers of Arrow stated that Ollie was not referred to as Arrow at any time in Season One, because he was not a hero yet. Getting revenge on people by killing their bodyguards doth not a hero make. But stay tuned for:
Ollie goes to the island to repent (as one does) but Felicity and Diggle make him come back to Starling City to save his family and the family business. Ollie is able to save the company but he’s stuck with a co-president, Isobel Rochev (played by Summer Glau!!!). Ollie decides that he will continue to fight crime and injustice, but he wants a new name, and he won’t kill unless it is absolutely necessary. He’s also focused on the general good of the city, not a personal vendetta.
Thea is dating Roy, a street smart guy who tries to be a superhero by punching people. This approach gets him beat up constantly. Ollie agrees to let Roy help him (he doesn’t reveal that he’s Ollie, of course) but only by gathering information. Meanwhile Moira is on trial for mass murder because of her involvement in the Glades destruction but, surprise! She’s acquitted of everything! And – surprise! It’s because Malcolm is still alive! And he rigged everything! Also he’s Thea’s real father! And he’s totally going to tell Thea! Until Moira, who is a strong-willed woman indeed, sets a bunch of assassins on him so he flees town in shame, hee, hee.
Arrow (Ollie is going by ‘Arrow’ now) is quite chummy with Detective Lance, who got demoted to beat cop. They grow even closer when it turns out that…wait for it…Sara is alive! And she’s also a vigilante, named ‘Canary’, with a sidekick named Sin. We love Sin because she refers to the overly clean-cut Roy as “Abercrombie”. But after several fabulous episodes, Sara she has to leave town because the same pesky assassins that are after Malcolm are after her and she wants to protect her family. Arrow convinced her to tell her father that she’s alive but she refuses to tell Laurel (for her own protection, blah, blah).
In the flashback world, we find out how Sara survived and became a badass, and Shado died (awww) and Slade was blown up, treated with a drug that seemed to kill him, but which actually brought him back to life. Now he’s back in Starling City trying to use the drug to make an army of super soldiers. They keep dying on him, but guess who gets captured and injected and survives? Roy, that’s who!
The best moment in Arrow is when Barry Allan appears. He will become The Flash with his own show soon (!) but meanwhile he gets a big crush on Felicity, makes a proper mask for Ollie, and saves Ollie’s life, leading to my favorite line in the entire series: “Does the rat poison you injected me with have any side effects?” Barry Allen leaves for his own show which I will surely watch with almost demonic levels of glee.
OK! We’re caught up, kind of! Arrow airs on CW (of course) and the next episode is on Wednesday, January 15. I’m hoping to have a quick mini-cap up sometime on Thursday both on geekgirlinlove.com and at Harlequin.com. Let’s have some fun!