- For other episodes of the same name, see Pilot.
- "The name of the island they found me on is Lian Yu. It's Mandarin for "purgatory". I've been stranded here for 5 years. I've dreamt of my rescue every cold black night since then. For 5 years, I have had only one thought, one goal... survive. Survive and one day return home. The island held many dangers. To live, I had to make myself more than what I was, to forge myself into a weapon. I am returning not the boy who was shipwrecked but the man who will bring justice to those who have poisoned my city. My name is Oliver Queen."
- —Oliver Queen
After a violent shipwreck, billionaire playboy Oliver Queen was missing and presumed dead for 5 years before being discovered alive on a remote island in the Pacific. Back in Starling City, Oliver slowly reconnects with those closest to him, his devoted mother Moira, his beloved sister Thea, and his best friend Tommy Merlyn, but struggles with his ex-girlfriend Dinah "Laurel" Lance, who blames him for her sister's death. Oliver has brought back many new skills from his time on the island and despite the watchful eye of his new bodyguard John Diggle, Oliver manages to secretly create the persona of Arrow - a vigilante - to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society. As Arrow, Oliver will atone for the past sins of his family while he searches for the personal redemption he needs.
- Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/The Hood
- Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance
- Colin Donnell as Tommy Merlyn
- David Ramsey as John Diggle
- Willa Holland as Thea Queen
- Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen
- Paul Blackthorne as Quentin Lance
- Colin Salmon as Walter Steele
- Jamey Sheridan as Robert Queen
- Jacqueline MacInnes Wood as Sara Lance
- Annie Ilonzeh as Joanna de la Vega
- Kathleen Gati as Raisa
- Roger Cross as Detective Lucas Hilton
- Brian Markinson as Adam Hunt
- Ben Cotton as Dave Hackett
- James Bamford as Gunman #2
- Dalias Blake as SWAT Leader
- Simon Chin as First Mate
- Bill Croft as Grizzled Man
- Marrett Green as TV Anchorman
- Derek Hamilton as Mask
- Hiro Kanagawa as Dr. Lamb
- Noel Johansen as Attorney
- Mi-Jung Lee as Starling Anchorwoman
- Laci J Mailey as Margo
- Darren Shahlavi as Drakon
- Shawn Stewart as Guard #2
- Chang Tseng as Captain
A man in a green hood is running through a forest till he gets to a large rock and starts climbing it. At the top, he sees a boat in the water. He runs along the shore where he has stored his bow and arrows. The man strikes one of the arrows on a rock to light on fire. He then shoots the arrow using his bow to hit a bunch of sticks in a pile, causing an explosion. The fishermen on the boat see the explosion and sail to the shore. Oliver Queen starts narrating that the island they found him on was Lian Yu, which is Mandarin for "Purgatory". Oliver says that he was stranded for 5 years on an island which held many dangers that changed him. Now, he has become the one who will bring justice to those who are hurting his home, Star City. While Oliver is narrating, the man in the hood reveals to the fisherman that he is Oliver Queen.
WEBG News reports that Oliver Queen survived the sinking of the Queen's Gambit, which was lost in a storm. Oliver and his father, Robert Queen, were both presumed dead. Robert's death is now confirmed but Oliver is still alive.
- Thea's childhood nickname, "Speedy", is a reference to Mia Dearden, her counterpart from the comics who takes on the mantle of Speedy after Roy Harper. Similarly, Thea joined Team Arrow as Speedy in season 3 after Roy Harper left.
- Also, several archery trophies can be seen in Thea's room, further foreshadowing her vigilante identity.
- At dinner, Tommy mentions the TV show Lost, which is about a group of people who crash land on a deserted island in the South Pacific Ocean, mirroring Oliver's situation on Lian Yu. Tommy states all the characters were dead the entire time, a common misconception about the series finale.
- The song playing at Oliver's homecoming party when he arrives is "We Are the Champions" by the rock band Queen.
- Tommy states that one of the party's dancers resembles "the chick from Twilight" and claims that Oliver is better off not knowing what that is. This is a reference to Bella Swan, the protagonist of the often-criticized Twilight Saga.
- James Bamford made a cameo appearance as the gunman who gets his neck snapped by Oliver.
- When Oliver and Tommy pull up outside Queen Industrial Inc., the logo's reflection in the car window reads left to right instead of being reversed.
- After Oliver climbs up a table at his party, he lifts a shot of tequila to his lips with his right hand. When the angle shifts though, he brings the glass down in his left hand. Once the angle shifts again, the glass is back in his right hand.
- In the flashbacks when Robert commits suicide, he fires a shot through his head at a downward angle. This would've resulted in the bullet penetrating and exiting Robert's skull with sufficient remaining velocity to pierce the hull of the life raft, which would've sunk it.
Shooting ran from March 12 until April 2, 2012.
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