After a violent shipwreck, billionaire playboy Oliver Queen was missing and presumed dead for five years before being discovered alive on a remote island in the Pacific. When he returns home to Starling City, his devoted mother Moira, much-beloved sister Thea, and best friend Tommy welcome him home, but they sense Oliver has been changed by his ordeal on the island. While Oliver hides the truth about the man he's become, he desperately wants to make amends for the actions he took as the boy he was. Most particularly, he seeks reconciliation with his former girlfriend, Laurel Lance. As Oliver reconnects with those closest to him, he secretly creates the persona of Arrow - a vigilante - to right the wrongs of his family, fight the ills of society, and restore Starling City to its former glory. By day, Oliver plays the role of a wealthy, carefree and careless philanderer he used to be - flanked by his devoted chauffeur/bodyguard, John Diggle - while carefully concealing the secret identity he turns to under cover of darkness. However, Laurel's father, Detective Quentin Lance, is determined to arrest the vigilante operating in his city. Meanwhile, Oliver's own mother, Moira, knows much more about the deadly shipwreck than she has let on - and is more ruthless than he could ever imagine.
Five years after everyone believed Oliver Queen died in boating accident, he is found alive and well by fisherman on an island in the South China Sea. His father Robert Queen was a billionaire and Oliver's rescue makes international headlines. He is welcomed home by his mother Moira, her new husband Walter Steele and his sister Thea. Oliver is quite fit and learned to survive on his private island and those skills will come in handy as he resettles into his old life. His father shared secrets with him and he is kidnapped by someone who wants to know what his father told him. He escapes and in his alternate persona, Arrow, begins to learn what has happened during the years he was away.
Billionaire playboy, Oliver Queen, has been considered dead for five years. Now, he has returned. But something, during those five years, has changed him into a mysterious green hooded archer.
- Open with a bearded man being rescued from an island. Via voiceover we learn that he's been stranded here for five years and has transformed himself into something completely different during that time. His plan is to "bring justice to those who have poisoned my city." His name is Oliver Queen.
A news report tells us that Queen had been missing and presumed dead for five years. He is the son of billionaire Robert Queen, who was killed during the shipwreck. The younger Queen had been a notorious playboy before the accident.
Queen is reunited with mother Moira and brought back to his castle-like residence. He isn't too thrilled with seeing his father's former business partner Walter Steele, though he's overjoyed at the sight of his younger sister, Thea.
We see a young attorney named Laurel Lance working at a legal aide office. She is working on the case of Adam Hunt, a corporate financier who has swindled hundreds of people out of their homes. Laurel's sister, Sarah, was killed in Queen's shipwreck and she turns off the news report in the office.
The now incredibly muscular Queen says he doesn't recognize what he sees in the mirror. He flashes back to the shipwreck and we see that he was romantically involved with Sarah on the boat.
Queen's good buddy Tommy Merlyn comes over for dinner. Queen suggests wanting to spend time at the office and Walter doesn't seem to like the idea. It comes out that Walter and Moira are now married and Queen end up excusing himself from the table.
Queen sleeps with the window in his bedroom open. He dreams about the night of the wreck. Laurel's sister Sarah is worried about what their fooling around would do to her sister. The storm rips into the boat and knocks Sarah out to sea. Robert pulls him onto a life raft and tells him "she's gone." There is a storm and when Moira comes to check on him, he instinctively grabs her.
The next day, Queen visits Thea and gives her a Buddhist symbol of reconnection. Unbenknownst to him, she appears to be mixed up in drugs.
Tommy wants to organize a huge welcome home party for Queen. Queen says the person he missed the most while he was gone was Laurel.
Queen drops by Laurel's office. She's still very angry with him and ends up saying he should have died.
Queen and Tommy are kidnapped by mask-wearing men with guns. We flash back to Queen's father telling him on the life raft that he isn't the man he thinks he is. The kidnapper wants to know if Queen's father made it to the island and whether he told him anything. Queen is able to escape captivity and kill his attackers.
Queen is interviewed by Laurel's father, Detective Quentin Lance, and his partner, Lucas Hilton. They are skeptical of the claim that a man in a green hood saved them from the abductors. Lance comments on the Queens' wealth, offending Moira, but Walter smooths things over
Queen researches Hunt online. We see that Hunt's name appears on a list in a notebook he brought back with him from the island.
Moira wants Queen to have protection and assigns an ex-military man named John Diggle to be his bodyguard. Queen almost instantly gets away from Diggle and heads to one of his father's abandoned factories. He sets up a secret command post and begins training. His first target is Hunt.
Queen, now outfitted in his Arrow disguise, takes out several of Hunt's men and demands he transfer $40 million into a certain bank account by the following day. If Hunt doesn't comply, Arrow tells him he'll take the money "and you won't like how."
Hunt wants Lance and Hilton to make sure they find this "maniac" with the green hood. Neither are particularly interested in helping a suspected criminal, but Hunt tells them to coordinate with his head of security, Konstantin Drakon. Hilton concludes that Queen was telling the truth about the hooded vigiliante, Lance tells him that if the vigilante wants trouble, they'll give it to him.
It is the night of Queen's welcome home bash. The party is just across the street from the building where Hunt works. Queen spots his sister with drugs and they get into an argument. Queen literally runs into Laurel and the two of them speak privately. She apologizes for being so harsh with him and asks whether Sarah suffered. Queen tells Laurel he's not a better person than he was and warns her to stay away from him. It sounds like he's protecting her.
Queen gives Diggle the slip yet again. As Arrow, he heads next door and slices through Hunt's security team. He gets Hunt alone in his office and sends an arrow into a cabinet behind him. Arrow ends up getting into a lengthy fight with Drakon and ends up getting knocked to the ground. With Lance and Hilton on their way up the stairs, Arrow is out cold. But he wakes up just in time and leaps out the window, taking a zip line to the building where his party is being held.
Lance and Hilton arrive at the conference center and tell Queen the party is over. Queen tells them they are on private property, but offers a $2 million reward to anyone with information on Arrow. As the crowd cheers, Quentin and Hilton leave and Tommy comments that it's quite a coincidence that Arrow struck near the party. He asks Queen what happened to him on the island, and is told "a lot." We see Hunt yelling on the phone that $40 million has been removed from his accounts. The arrow that Queen shot into the wall had some kind of electronic device that tapped into his accounts.
Queen flashes back again to being on the raft with his father. Robert thinks his son is the only one who can survive and tells him to right his wrongs. Robert pulls out a gun and shoots the other man on the raft, then himself.
We see that the clients Laurel has been defending are being wired money that matches what they are owed by Hunt.
Tommy and Laurel go for a walk. They seems to have had an on-and-off romantic thing. Tommy would like to make it permanent, but Laurel doesn't think it can work.
In another voiceover we hear that Queen plans to get revenge on everybody on the list.
Moira meets with the apparent mastermind behind Queen's abduction. After being assured that there is no way the police can trace the kidnapping to her, Moira tells him that there are other ways to find out what Oliver knows about her husband's death.