Saturday, October 26, 2019

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 1 - Starling City

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


While trying to decipher the cryptic instructions given to him by The Monitor, Oliver finds himself back in Starling City on another Earth. Meanwhile, in the future of Star City 2040, Mia and William's team of vigilantes clash with an unexpected new foe.


Season 1 of Arrow and Crisis on Infinite Earths.


Nothing is said about Robert Queen, who became The Hood of Earth-2 instead of Oliver Queen. Did Moira divorce him after his secret identity was exposed?  Was he sent to prison, like Roy Harper when he was fingered as The Hood in Arrow season 3? Was he killed and that revealed who he was? And why does everyone act like Adrian Chase's Hood is the first Hood on Earth 2? (Possibly Barry Allen's time-travel altered the timeline so both Robert and Oliver died on Earth 2 in the altered reality?)

Why does Earth-2 Simon Morrison use Adrian Chase as an alias when he's a good guy?

Where did Tommy Merlyn get trained to fight in Earth-2's reality?

Who was responsible for destroying the Queen's Gambit if Malcolm Merlyn honestly was a good guy on this Earth?

In a previous episode, Black Siren said that she knew Thea Queen quite well on her Earth and she was far less idealistic than the Thea Queen of Earth-1. Given the Earth-2 timeline, Thea would have been 12 when Black Siren moved to Central City to start a new life without her version of Oliver Queen. This makes it unlikely they would have kept in touch, particularly after Black Siren got her powers.

In this episode, Earth-2's Felicity Smoak is said to be running Smoak Technologies and is a huge success. Yet in an earlier episode, Black Siren said that Felicity Smoak of her Earth ran a criminal empire and was known for being ruthless. (The two aren't mutually exclusive, although now I really want to see Emily Bett Rickards as Earth 2's Wilson Fisk.)

How is Black Siren openly walking around when she was one of the most notorious criminals on Earth-2 five years ago and part of a regime that effectively ruled the world?

Why does Club Verdant - which Oliver started as a front to hide his first Arrowcave on Earth-1 - exist on Earth 2?


Stephen Amell does some great silent acting throughout the episode, reacting to various bits of bad news, nostalgia and looking at the picture of Felicity and Mia that is apparently the only possession he brought with him.

David Ramsey gets a bit of this too, during the scene where he is once again "The Black Driver."

Colin Donnel does a masterful job of playing a grief-stricken, driven to violence version of Tommy Merlyn.


The direction and music do a great job of capturing the feeling of the first season of Arrow.


At one point Adrian Chase calls Black Siren "Pretty Bird." This was Oliver Queen's pet name for Dinah Lance in the classic comics.

Reference is made to an incident in Pennytown. This is one of the districts of Star City in the DC Comics Universe.

Adrian Chase says that Bruce Wayne once told him that "if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." This is a direct quote from Sherlock Holmes in The Sign Of the Four.


Adrian Chase analyzes the metallurgy of the Dark Archer's arrows and Oliver Queen's arrows to prove they aren't the same.

Queen-Merlyn recently upgraded their facilities with 500 miles worth of high-capacity fiber optics married to an underground server farm.

Queen-Merlyn is research the possibility of using dwarf star matter as an alternative energy source.

William uses satellite imaging to determine that the Deathstrokes have assumed control of the old Galaxy One headquarters

Dialogue Triumphs

The Monitor: (opening narration) Among the many misconceptions humanity holds dear is the fallacy that all beings are created equal. In truth, there are those who are greater. They are called heroes. But even among heroes, there are different echelons. The highest belong to those known as the paragons. And they are the only hope of all creation.

Moira: I know the changes must be overwhelming, and you must feel like you're on a different planet or something.
Oliver: You could say that.

(Oliver walks into Queen-Merlyn's IT Department. He sees a blonde woman with a pony-tail from behind and can just make out her chewing on a black pen.)
Oliver: It's supposed to be red.
(The woman spins around in her chair. It is clearly not Felicity Smoak. Just some other blonde woman in glasses.)
Woman: Excuse me?
Oliver: Nothing. Sorry. I'm looking for Felicity Smoak.
Woman: (laugh) Like Felicity Smoak would slum it in IT, instead of running Smoak Tech!
Oliver: Oh. Good for her.

(Oliver and Diggle are in a car. Oliver in the back. Diggle driving.)
Oliver: So what do I call you?
Diggle: Diggle. Digg if you want.
(Oliver smiles at the familiarity. This is just like when they first met. We cut to the front seat and Diggle smiles faintly too as we hear Oliver tugging on the door handle only to find the child safety locks have been engaged, so he can't tuck and roll out of the car as he did when he lost Diggle before. It is apparent now that this Diggle saw the trick coming because he is, in fact, Earth-1 Diggle.)
Diggle: Sorry, Oliver. Fool me once...

Diggle: Oliver, has it occurred to you that whatever happens in this crisis happens because you push the people closest to you away?
Oliver: So you're in a forward area. Somebody throws a grenade right into the middle of your platoon. What do you do?
Diggle: I jump on it. I contain the blast.
Oliver: That's what I'm doing. I can't prevent whatever it is that's going to happen to me, but I will be damned if I'm going to put other people at risk.
Diggle: And I will be damned if I just let you go gently into that good night.

Tommy: So I've been thinking it over. And you really were on Lian Yu. Because if you had been here, you would've been protecting our sister. So the question is... why are you running around in The Hood's hood?
Oliver: Doesn't matter.
Tommy: Yes, it does! The Hood is running around this city, thinking that he's saving it, and nothing can save it. You don't understand the cancer that has taken over this city.
Oliver: (shocked by the realization) Oh, my God! This is the Undertaking. You stole the dwarf star particles because you want to destroy The Glades and get vengeance for Thea.
Tommy: How could you know that? And what happened to you on that island?
Oliver: What happened to you while I was on the island?
Tommy: While you were gone, this city has been rotting. It can't be saved!
Oliver: That's not true, Tommy. I have seen Starling City come back from darker moments than this. It can be redeemed. You can be redeemed.
Tommy: You don't understand what I've seen. You don't know how I found our sister. Every time I close my eyes, I see her body lying there, cold, on a dirty floor. So I swore that I would get vengeance on The Glades for what it did to Thea, and I am not going to let her down. Not again!
Oliver: That's not gonna make you feel better, Tommy.
Tommy: I don't care about feeling better. I just want The Glades to suffer.
Oliver: You're a better man than this.
Tommy: That was a different me. Good-bye, Oliver.


The Monitor deposits Oliver on Lian Yu on Earth-2 in the year 2019, though this is not immediately apparent.

Oliver is able to summon a boat using the same signal fire trick he used in the Arrow pilot.

On Earth-2's Lian Yu, the Deathstroke mask with an arrow through the eye is replaced with a Batman or Batwoman mask.

On Earth-2, Moira Queen and Malcolm Merlyn are married in the year 2019 and have merged their companies.

On Earth-2, after Robert Queen was declared dead, Walter Steele hold his shares in Queen Consolidated and went elsewhere. On Earth-1, he took charge of the company and eventually married Moira Queen.

Earth-2's Tommy Merlyn is still alive and living at Queen Manor. He says he has been married and divorced twice in the 12 years since he last saw Oliver.

Earth-2's Thea Queen died of a Vertigo overdose on her 18th birthday. This is a dark take on the events of 111 on Earth-1, where Thea Queen took Vertigo at her 18th birthday party but only crashed her brand new car.

Oliver breaks into Queen Consolidated looking for dwarf star particles. He finds the security team dead, shot by arrows, the particles stolen and is encountered by The Hood of this reality - Adrian Chase.

The fight between Oliver and Adrian is broken up by Black Siren, who asks what Oliver is doing on her Earth. This is the first indication in the episode that we are on Earth-2.

Black Siren has created her own version of The Bunker on Earth-2. It has the same design as the Earth-1 bunker, but with purple lighting instead of green.

Since returning to Earth-2, Black Siren has partnered with Adrian Chase (aka The Hood). They are not lovers, she is quick to note.

Oliver hides the fact that he is from another Earth from Adrian.

The Monitor reminds Oliver that his task is to retrieve the dwarf star particles for reasons he will not explain - not to confront Malcolm Merlyn over his crimes. Oliver defends his actions, saying that he needs to solve the mystery of the stolen particles in order to get them.

Oliver goes looking for Felicity Smoak in the IT Department of Queen Merlyn, learning that on this Earth she is a famous tech magnate.

The Earth-2 version of Curtis Holt is the head of Queen-Merlyn's IT Department.

The Earth-2 version of Rene Ramirez is employed as the Queen/Merlyn bodyguard.

The Earth-2 version of Dinah Drake is a Detective Sergeant in the SCPD.

As on Earth-1, Moira hires John Diggle to act as Oliver's personal bodyguard/babysitter. It is later revealed that this is Earth-1's John Diggle, come to help Oliver.

Felicity told Diggle about The Monitor taking Oliver away. Somehow, Diggle was able to track Oliver to Earth-2 and got there using a dimensional breach device borrowed from Cisco Ramon.

It is Earth-2's Tommy Merlyn who initiates The Undertaking in 2019 rather than Malcolm Merlyn in 2013. His plan involves attacking The Glades using a doomsday device powered by dwarf star particles rather than an earthquake generator. His motivation is avenging the death of Thea Queen, whom he apparently knew was his half-sister in this reality. On Earth-1, Malcolm Merlyn was avenging the death of his wife.

Tommy chains Oliver up in the same location Malcolm Merlyn did in 123.

Earth-2 Rene and Dinah are working for Tommy Merlyn to bring about the Undertaking.They are nowhere near as well-trained as their Earth-1 counterparts and Oliver defeats them easily on his own.

When Adrian Chase asks how Oliver knows so much about what the Dark Archer is planning, Oliver says he's ten steps ahead of him. This is a nod to what Prometheus continually told him during Season 5 of Arrow.

The location where Thea died is 4587 Burke. Apparently the building there is the home to Star City's worst drug dealers.

Tommy quotes something that Thea once told him to Oliver - "The dead don't want anything." Earth-1 Thea said the same thing to Oliver in 102.

Oliver is able to talk Tommy out of activating the device and turning himself in.

Adrian Chase is able to dismantle the Undertaking device and agrees to give Oliver the dwarf star particles.

Chase deduces that Oliver is the Hood from another Earth on his own.

Chase apparently knew Bruce Wayne and quotes a staying Wayne told him, which is cribbed from Sherlock Holmes. This, coupled with the Batman mask on Lian Yu, suggests that Bruce Wayne may have been the Slade Wilson of Earth 2.

Oliver suggests Chase change his name to Green Arrow.

Oliver visits Tommy in the police station after he turns himself in. He also gives his mother a final hug, after lying that he will see her at home.

Black Siren arrives at the SCPD HQ just as walls of antimatter began to destroy everything.

Moira and Tommy are killed by the antimatter.

Oliver, Diggle and Black Siren jump through a breach just as the walls close in on them.

In the future of 2040, William Clayton is now expanding his company into Star City, under his alias. His company is Harris Consolidated.

Crime has risen 300% in The Glades since the wall came down, but is down across the board in Star City in general.

Mr. Vasquez is a figure of importance in the move to reintegrate The Glades and Star City. He credits the vigilantes with reducing crime in Star City as a whole.

The Deathstroke Gang, which is led by John Diggle Jr., abduct Vasquez. They take him to the old Galaxy One building.

William talks Mia into going along with Connor's plan to rescue Vasquez.

Vasequez gives the Deathstrokes a series of codes.

Mia insists that from now on the team is going to do things her way.


Starling City - Earth 2

Untelevised Adventures

The fate of Robert Queen on Earth 2.

Everything involving how Black Siren got herself established in Starling City and Adrian Chase's background on Earth-2.

The Bottom Line

As a walk down memory lane and a tribute to the first season of Arrow, it is wonderful. As a set-up for the season, it's competently executed apart from some major continuity issues - most likely brought on by the series' need to include Katie Cassidy as Black Siren rather than setting this on an entirely different Earth. That being said, the final sequence in which Earth-2 is destroyed is chillingly effective and set the tone for the future episodes of The Flash depicting the same destruction.  The Crisis is coming and nothing will ever be the same again.

Unfortunately, this does take the piss out of the flash-forward sequences, because we know that timeline is safe, even ignoring the reports that filming has already begun on a Green Arrow and the Canaries spin-off combining the planned Star City 2040 spin-off and Katie Cassidy's proposed Birds of Prey series. Is it too much hope that we can get Ashley Scott in there as well if the universes merge into one?

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