For various uses of Starling City, see Starling City (disambiguation).
"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 belongs to those known as the paragons. And they are the only hope of all creation."
Mar Novu
"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.


While trying to decipher The Monitor’s mission, Oliver returns to Starling City where he encounters familiar faces. Meanwhile, Mia and William's team clash with a new foe.[1]


Main cast

Special appearance by

Special guest star

Guest starring


  • Hugo Ateo as Alberto Vasquez
  • Jesse Martyn as Party Guest
  • Tegan Verhuel as Not Felicity


  • 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 episode that she does not appear in a season premiere episode.
  • This episode feature many references to past episodes of the show, mainly from Season 1:
    • At the start of the episode, Oliver experiences events in extremely similar ways he experienced the same events on Earth-1 in "Pilot", but with a few changes, notably Malcolm Merlyn taking Walter's role as well as Tommy Merlyn taking Thea's role.
    • When Oliver talks about William during dinner, Tommy asks was William Oliver's "wilson" on the island. This is a reference about the movie Cast Away, which was also made by Oliver to Slade Wilson in "The Odyssey"
    • The scene where Oliver is rescued from the island is mostly made of archive footage from "Pilot" with some changes notably such as Oliver's disguised hair and beard, and instead of having a Deathstroke mask, the island has a Batman cowl.
    • The opening voiceover was done by The Monitor.
    • Oliver tries to escape Diggle's car but Diggle beats him to the chase, revealing he is the Earth-1 version. He tells Oliver that he fooled him once which refers to when Oliver first tried it and got away with it in "Pilot".
    • After Oliver leaves a 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 stopped him in that episode, even pointing out that he always falls for that move.
    • 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".
    • 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 using a red pen.
    • Earth-2 Moira mentioned that Earth-2 Thea died from a Vertigo overdose on her 18th birthday. This is a reference to "Trust but Verify", where Thea drove after taking Vertigo on her 18th birthday which resulted in her going to court.
    • The fight scene in the hallway has some resemblances to the one Oliver had in "The Undertaking".
    • 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 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 to Earth-2 Dinah in a similar way Oliver told Quentin about the Hood saving him in "Pilot".
    • Oliver gets chained up by Earth-2 Tommy the same way he got chained by Malcolm in "Sacrifice". He 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
    • 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 that episode.
    • Oliver says to Earth-2 Adrian that he's 10 steps ahead of him, the same thing Earth-1 Adrian used to tell Oliver in Season 5.
  • The city where Oliver and the company reside has not been called Starling City since the fourth season premiere "Green Arrow" when it was renamed Star City as a method of rebranding after the repeated tragedies and in honor of Ray Palmer who was believed dead. However, its Earth-2 counterpart never underwent the change, albeit the timeline being pushed back to which the present-day events mirror that of season 1, when it was in fact called "Starling City".
  • This is the second episode in the Arrowverse (out of the TV shows that takes 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".
  • 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.
  • This episode premiered on the same day Stephen Amell and Cassandra Jean Amell's real-life daughter Maverick turned six.
  • James Bamford directed his fourth Arrow season premiere.


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



  1. - "Arrow Season 8 Premiere Description: “Starling City”" - GreenArrowTV
  2. "Arrow Had to Clear the Destruction of [SPOILER] with The Flash Writers" - CBR
  3. Beth Schwartz (@SchwartzApprovd) - Twitter
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.