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
"Pilot" is the first episode of the first season of Arrow, and the first episode overall. It aired on October 10, 2012.


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 an unknown vigilante archer nicknamed the Hood by the police trying to catch him. Using the Hood, Oliver tries to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society. As the Hood, Oliver will atone for the past sins of his family while he searches for the personal redemption he needs.


After a shipwreck that claims the life of his father, billionaire playboy Oliver Queen is missing and presumed dead for 5 years before being discovered alive on a remote island in the Pacific. When he returns home to Starling City, his mother, Moira, his younger sister, Thea, and his best friend, Tommy, welcome him home, but sense that Oliver has been changed by his ordeal on the island. While Oliver hides the truth about the man he has become, he tries to reconcile with his ex-girlfriend, Laurel, for cheating on her with her sister, who also died in the shipwreck. As Oliver reconnects with those closest to him, he secretly masquerades as a green-hooded vigilante archer known as the Hood by night, attempting to right the wrongs of his family, fight the ills of society, and restore Starling City to its former glory as his late father had entrusted him to do before his death. Oliver's first personal task is to take down corrupt millionaire Adam Hunt, who has scammed millions from various people in Starling City. Laurel's father, police Sergeant Quentin Lance, is determined to arrest the Hood. Meanwhile, Oliver's mother is revealed to have an agenda against her son, having orchestrated the kidnapping to determine what his father told him after the shipwreck.


  • Arrow fight choreographer/director/producer James Bamford makes a cameo appearance as the gunman who gets his neck snapped by Oliver.
  • 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.
  • Tommy mentions that Oliver hasn’t had sex in 1,839 days (by his rough estimate). 1,839 days is equal to 5 years, 1 week, and 6 days. Since most Arrow episodes take place in real time, we can assume this episode takes place on October 10, 2012 (the day it aired), meaning the Queen's Gambit probably sank on or around September 27, 2007.
  • Tommy states that one of the dancers at Oliver's party resembles "the chick from Twilight" and mentions how Oliver is better off not knowing what that is, referencing Bella Swan, the protagonist of the often-criticized Twilight book and film series.
  • Katie Cassidy, Brian Markinson and Ben Cotton previously appeared on Supernatural. Cassidy and Cotton also appeared on Harper's Island.
  • Jacqueline MacInnes Wood makes her only appearance as Sara Lance in this episode until the role was recast in Season 2 with Caity Lotz playing Sara.
  • James Bamford, Roger Cross, Brian Markinson and Ben Cotton previously worked on the Stargate franchise. Cross and Markinson also appeared on Continuum.
  • Annie Ilonzeh and Kathleen Gati both appeared on General Hospital.
  • The opening scene of the episode would later be used as the final flashback of the series in the Season 5 finale.
  • After this episode, Raisa would not be seen again until the Season 6 episode "Fallout", five seasons later.
  • The Hatley Castle was used for the shoot of the Queen Mansion.
    • This is similar to Smallville, where the castle was used for the Luthor Mansion.
      • Interestingly, the episode's director David Nutter previously directed Smallville's pilot.

Behind the scenes

  • The episode was viewed by 4.14 million.[1]
  • The episode received a 1.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic.


  • Many scenes were filmed at BB Studios in Burnaby, British Columbia in Canada. Also filmed there was Smallville, a former DC superhero show shown on The CW, based on Superman comics.
  • Scenes were filmed in Gastown, Vancouver.
  • Filming came to an end on April 3, 2012.


  1. Wednesday Final Ratings:'The X Factor', 'Survivor', 'The Neighbors' & 'Modern Family' Adjusted Up; No Adjustments for 'Arrow' - TVbytheNumbers