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For various uses of Starling City, see Star City (disambiguation).
"And Chase?"
"He's one of the good guys, literally."
"And you're helping him in Star City."
"Starling City. And he's helping me. We make a pretty good team, actually. Not that kind of a team. So how much small talk do I have to endure before you tell me what it is exactly you're doing on my Earth?
Oliver Queen and Laurel Lance

"Starling City" is the first episode of the eighth season of Arrow, and the one-hundred-sixty-first episode overall. It aired on October 15, 2019.



Season Eight opens up with a montage of Oliver on Lian Yu where we see bolts through the veils of Batman and Deathstroke both. The scene has somewhat of a tangled begun as we see Oliver invited at the emergency clinic by Moira Queen and Malcolm (and Tommy) Merlyn. In a little while, this plot point comprehends itself as we discover Oliver's entirely Earth-2, as opposed to having a fantasy or vision or the like.

Very quickly after, Oliver runs into Black Canary and the Earth-2 Green Arrow, who just so happens to be Adrian Chase. This meetup prompts a wrongdoing scene where a vigilante known as the Dark Archer took small star particles, a McGuffin we later discover the Monitor needs to help forestall the Crisis and that is the explanation Oliver is on Earth-2. After Ollie stands up to Malcolm about the robbery, it's uncovered the Earth-2 Dark Archer is really Tommy Merlyn rather than his dad.

The two (Ollie and Tommy) in the end have a battle, where it's uncovered Tommy's working with Rene and Dinah, both degenerate cops. The battle finishes in Ollie getting caught and we discover Tommy took the McGuffin to devastate the Glades — retaliation for being the spot Earth-2 Thea overdosed on Vertigo. Luckily enough for Ollie, Earth-Prime Diggle shows up utilizing Cisco's between world plates.

Utilizing the assistance of Earth-2 Laurel and Adrian, Oliver and Diggle track down Tommy's new gadget. After a brisk battle and heart-pulling discourse, Tommy consents to remain down and shut off his Glades-leveling gadget. After the peak, Earth-2 Team Hood gets back together for a speedy visit where Adrian namedrops Bruce Wayne as a coach. That is when Oliver recommends Adrian drop "The Hood" moniker and receive the Green Arrow name.

Starling City disappears in a red wave of energy that disintegrates everything it touches; Oliver, Diggle, and Laurel get away in the nick of time.

In the future, the new Team Arrow runs into the Deathstrokes — a group run by Connor Hawke's sibling.


Main cast

Special appearance by

Special guest star

Guest starring



  • This is the first episode of the series not to feature Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity Smoak) after being promoted to a series regular.
    • It's also the first time since Arrow's series premiere "Pilot" episode that she does not appear in a season premiere episode.
  • This episode marks the final appearances of former series regulars John Barrowman (Malcolm Merlyn) and Josh Segarra (Adrian Chase).
    • This is the only season premiere where John Barrowman is present.
  • The city where Arrow takes place has not been called "Starling City" since the Season 4 premiere "Green Arrow", when it was renamed Star City as a method of rebranding after the repeated terrorist attacks and in honor of Ray Palmer, who was believed dead. However, its Earth-2 counterpart never underwent the change and remains called "Starling City" due to events transpiring differently on another Earth.
  • The opening voiceover was done by The Monitor, referencing the Paragons that would have a major role in the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover.
  • Earth-2 has the exact same timeflow as Earth-1. Oliver is said to have been missing for 12 years there. Matching the number of years he's been Hood/Arrow/Green Arrow and his real time gone.
  • This episode feature many references to past episodes of the show, mainly from Season 1:
    • The scene where Oliver is rescued from Lian Yu is mostly made of archive footage from "Pilot" with some changes, notably with Oliver's disguised hair and beard, and instead of having a Deathstroke mask hung on a post, the island has a Batman cowl.
      • The original script had Batwoman's cowl, but this was later changed to Batman's as it could be dirtied up.[1]
    • At his reunion with his Earth-2 counterpart's family, Oliver's experiences are extremely similar to "Pilot", but with a few changes, notably Malcolm Merlyn taking Walter Steele's role and Tommy Merlyn taking Thea Queen's role.
    • Earth-2 Thea is revealed to have died from a Vertigo overdose on her 18th birthday. This is a reference to "Trust but Verify", where Thea caused a car crash after taking Vertigo on her 18th birthday, which resulted in her going to court.
    • When Oliver talks about William during dinner, Tommy asks if he was Oliver's "Wilson" on the island. This is a reference to the movie Cast Away, which was also made by Oliver to Slade Wilson in "The Odyssey".
    • Oliver thinks he found Felicity and mentions "the pen should be red", in reference to when he met her during "Lone Gunmen", where she was chewing on a red pen. This was previously referenced in "The Calm".
    • When Oliver (as the Green Arrow) enters Malcolm's office in Queen-Merlyn Enterprises, telling him "You have failed this city", is similar to "Betrayal" where Oliver (as the Hood) enters Earth-1 Moira Queen's office at Queen Consolidated.
    • The first fight between Oliver (as the Green Arrow) and Earth-2 Tommy (as the Dark Archer) is similar to the fight between Oliver and Earth-1 Malcolm in "Darkness on the Edge of Town". When Oliver finds out Earth-2 Tommy is the Dark Archer, he reacts similarly to how Malcolm did in that episode when he found out Oliver was the Hood, except Earth-2 Tommy wakes up and promptly escapes.
    • Earth-2 Malcolm discusses the fight between the Hood and the Dark Archer with Earth-2 Dinah Drake in a similar way Oliver told Quentin Lance about the Hood saving him in "Pilot".
    • Oliver tries to escape John Diggle's car but Diggle beats him to the chase, revealing he is the Earth-1 version. Diggle says that Oliver fooled him once, which refers to when Oliver first tried and got away with it in "Pilot".
    • After Oliver leaves his welcome-home party at Verdant, Diggle points out he's going the wrong way. The same thing happened in "Pilot". Also, Oliver ends up stopping Diggle the same way he did in that episode, even pointing out how Diggle always falls for that move.
    • Earth-2 Tommy asks Oliver "What happened to you on that island?" which was asked by his Earth-1 counterpart in "Pilot". Prior to this, Tommy talks about how a cancer has taken over Starling City, similar "The Undertaking" where Earth-1 Malcolm described the Glades.
    • Oliver gets chained up by Earth-2 Tommy the same way he was Malcolm in "Sacrifice". Oliver later gets out of the situation the same way he did in that episode, while Diggle saves him and jokes that he found him from a tracker in his shoe the way he originally did in that episode.
    • Oliver tells Earth-2 Adrian Chase, "Maybe I'm just 10 steps ahead of you," referencing what Earth-1 Adrian used to tell Oliver in Season 5, starting with "Checkmate".
    • The fight scene in the hallway has some resemblances to the one Oliver had in "The Undertaking".
    • Oliver and Earth-2 Tommy mention that Earth-2 Thea used to say "The dead don't want anything. It's one of the benefits of being dead." Earth-1 Thea said the same thing in "Honor Thy Father", and Oliver referenced that quote to her in "Legacy".
    • The final fight between Oliver and Earth-2 Tommy on a roof with the climax of the Undertaking at hand is extremely similar to the final fight between Oliver and Malcolm in the Season 1 finale, "Sacrifice".
  • This is the second episode in the Arrowverse (out of the TV shows that take place on Earth-1), where Earth-1 doesn't appear physically in the present day. The first was DC's Legends of Tomorrow's "River of Time", and it was later revealed by "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part One" that "Star City 2046" took place on Earth-16.
  • Bruce Wayne's quote shared by Earth-2 Adrian, "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth", is taken from Sherlock Holmes.
  • Beth Schwartz sought permission from The Flash writers to destroy Earth-2.[2]
  • The destruction of Earth-2 was previously predicted by Jay Garrick in The Flash episode "A Flash of the Lightning", which aired an hour before this episode.
  • Katherine McNamara shadowed James Bamford during the episode's production.[citation needed]
  • This episode premiered on the same day Stephen Amell and Cassandra Jean Amell's real-life daughter Maverick's sixth birthday.
  • Bamford directed his fourth and final Arrow season premiere.


Preparation ran from July 2 until July 10, 2019. Shooting ran from July 11 until July 23, 2019.[3]