On October 10th, 2012 The CW's Arrow introduced the world to a man who had to become something else in order to save his city.
Now, eight years and four spin-offs later, the time has come to say goodbye to Arrow.
As Stephen Amell takes his final bow as Oliver Queen we cannot help but remember where it all started and what brought us to this epic moment.
It all began with an arrow that started a fire. In the first scene of Arrow Season 1 Episode 1, Oliver got rescued from Lian-Yu, the hellish island he had been more or less stranded on for five years.
That is how we meet Oliver, a show of survival skills, a voice-over, and a lot of scruff.
For years we heard the intro about how he was stranded for five years but that first time, to use Oliver's words, was something else. We knew HE was something else from his narration. It set the tone for the whole show: dark, desperate, and in desperate need of a shave.
There was a lot of memorable stuff in that first episode. While the first time he put on the hood is important, all these years later, the fight scene doesn't stand out in my head. What does stand out?
Oliver giving his bodyguard John Diggle the slip in a limousine.
Thea Queen running down the stairs to hug her formerly dead brother. Him calling her speedy and giving her the Hozen.
Tommy Merlyn being a supportive friend who totally doesn't notice how hot Oliver's sister has gotten (that one is awkward in hindsight).
And of course, Laurel calling Oliver out on screwing her sister and getting her killed as only Laurel can.
Basically, meeting everybody. Well, no, not everybody.
We didn't meet original character and series regular Felicity Smoak until a few episodes into Arrow. Nobody could have predicted how important she would become, but she was likable and quirky, babbling and chewing her famous red pen.
And let's not forget Roy Harper stealing Thea Queen's purse.
Other than the big Who's Who of it all, there were a handful of big moments in Arrow's first season.
Oliver took off his hood three times, once for John Diggle, once for Felicity Smoak, and once for Tommy Merlyn.
In the case of Dig, Oliver chose to bring John into the fold. He wanted someone to help with his mission and he trusted John, even if John's reaction was to try to attack him and call him a murderer who lost his mind.
Throughout Arrow's eight-season run, John Diggle would consider Oliver his brother more often than not. It can be hard to remember how anti-Oliver he was in the beginning. He did not support Oliver's mission.
Somehow, Oliver knew John was a man he could trust. After five years of learning not to trust anybody, Diggle was the first man Oliver let in to his world.
When Oliver came clean to Felicity, it was out of necessity because he had been shot and he needed help.
However, they later established that Oliver always intended to bring Felicity into the fold.
He had already gone to her with some unbelievable excuses, and she had always rendered aid.
He did his homework on Felicity, and he knew he could trust her.
Both at the time and eight seasons later, we can say with certainty that he was right to trust her. Where would Arrow be without Felicity Smoak?
Unlike with Felicity and Diggle, Oliver never planned to reveal himself to Tommy. He did it because he had to.
Tommy's father was dying, and Oliver needed Tommy to trust him so they could save Malcolm Merlyn's life.
Tommy did not take the reveal well. It caused a rift in their friendship that never had a chance to mend.
Given what happened to Tommy and the truth about Malcolm, Oliver probably always regretted telling his friend, especially at that moment and in that way.
It would have been better if he had let the poison do its work, ridding the world of Malcolm Merlyn before the Undertaking.
All these years later, we still mourn Tommy, the first of many devastating deaths on Arrow.
We will never get over it. Tommy deserved better.
He died to save Laurel because he still loved her, even though she chose Oliver.
Come to think of it, Laurel's reconciliation with Oliver on Arrow Season 1 Episode 22 was pretty memorable too.
Laurel wrapping her legs around Olllie's body while Radioactive by Imagine Dragons plays in the background? How's that for epic? Not to mention steamy.
In fairness, most scenes with Oliver are pretty hot.
The only thing more shocking than the death of somebody we thought would always be around was the return of a character we were certain was dead.
While Sara Lance revealed herself as the Canary to Oliver, it was pretty freaking jaw-dropping.
Sara was originally the source of angst between Ollie and Laurel.
We never expected to meet her, but she became a force to be reckoned with.
She's now now the captain of a timeship on her own spinoff, because, let's face it, Legends of Tomorrow wouldn't work without Sara Lance.
Sara wasn't the only character to get a spinoff though.
Remember when a scrawny little CSI came to Starling City to investigate a seemingly impossible problem?
Remember how Oliver was untrusting and jealous of this adorkable kid flirting with Felicity?
What was that dude's name again? We're not talking about The Flash, but Barry Allen is an important piece of the Arrow puzzle.
Sara wasn't the only character to come back from the dead, either. It wasn't the Merlyn we wanted to see again, but we're glad Malcolm was able to save Thea.
It turned out tht she was his daughter!
And after a year of betrayal and the murder of her mother, she went off in a limo with him to train to be Speedy.
Laurel and Felcitiy's roles also changed a lot. Laurel learned the truth about Ollie and was totally supportive of his fight.
But fans of the comics were surprised when Oliver revealed that he returned the crush his awkward sidekick had on him.
Sure, it was all a lie to trick Slade, but then Oliver asked Felicity out and kissed her, so ...
Felicity became love interest number one, and Laurel had to realize her potential as something other than the love of Oliver Queen's life. Too bad the show didn't know how to do that.
After Sara Lance got killed (again), Laurel rose from the flames of grief as The Black Canary. And can we just talk about that for a minute?
Dinah Laurel Lance was always supposed to be The Black Canary. The comics tell us as much.
The show dropped the ball with Laurel. They gave Sara a better Canary backstory. Laurel also started to struggle with addiction and became somewhat less likable.
When she took up The Black Canary mantle, things looked promising, and her fans were glad she was finally living up to her comic book potential. It's too bad that didn't last, either.
But Arrow has no shortage of strong women. Thea Queen also earned her stripes, training with Malcolm and becoming a badass.
However, Malcolm was using Thea to cut ties with The League of Assasins, and in order to protect her sister, Oliver had to sacrifice himself, dying at the hands of Ra's Al Ghul.
It's okay, though. Ollie's like a cat or videogame character in that he has a lot of lives.
Ra's Al Ghul then went after Ollie's sister, and Thea was dead for ten miutes before being ressurected.
In return for saving his sister, Oliver had to agree to be Ra's successor, but not before one hot, steamy night with the woman he loves. Every Olicity fan lived for this scene and remembers it well.
Once we knew that characters could be brought back from the dead, it was only a matter of time before Laurel brought back Sara.
Since she was dead for so long, Oliver had to call in an old friend from a canceled CW show to rescue her soul from purgatory. We're lookin' at you, Constantin!
He was glad to have Sara back, but right Ollie only had eyes for Felicity.
After a little bit of drama and lead up, Oliver publicly declared his love, proposing to Felicity on Christmas in front of all of Star City.
And she said yes!
The honeymoon period of their engagement was short-lived because the season's baddie caused an "accident," leaving Felicity paralyzed. It was sad for a minute that Felicity couldn't walk. She and Oliver had to overcome it, which was all angsty.
But then they found a miracle cure making the whole thing a little less epic and a little less memorable. Like, remember when Felicity was paralyzed for a few episodes?
Unfortunately, when Felicity foundout about Oliver's secret son, she walked away from him, literally. That was the moment when she gained the ability to walk again.
There was something kind of poignant in that. Her first steps were to leave him, and a moment that should have been filled with joy was filled with heartbreak for Olicity fans everywhere.
People expected Felicity to be worse than paralyzed, given the show had been flashing forward to a funeral. As it turned out, Laurel Lance AKA The Black Canary, got a sword to the gut it a gut-wrenching scene.
She said her goodbyes to Oliver from a hospital bed, telling him he was always the love of her life, even if she wasn't his.
Everything from Laurel's farewell to her funeral to her gravestone was memorable because Laurel deserved better, and nobody saw it coming.
With Olicity on the outs, Laurel dead, and everyone from Diggle to Thea leaving Starling, there was a little less memorable going on.
We did meet some new recruits in Curtis Holt AKA Mr. Fantastic, Rene AKA Wilddog, Rory AKA Ragman, and Dinah Drake AKA The NEW Black Canary.
There was someone else, but we don't like to think about her.
In no time at all, we were back on Lian Yu with Oliver's team, old friends and enemies, his son William, and William's mother, Samantha.
Everything came to a head. After five years in hell, Oliver had spent five years trying to save Star City. He had friends, family, and a woman who he loved.
But a very bad man decided to ruin it all for Ollie, and more importantly, for William. With everyone Oliver loved on the island, Lian Yu went boom.
Oliver held his son, knowing that William's mother probably wouldn't survive.
Arrow Season 6 had some sweet moments, mostly family feels with Oliver and his son and sometimes Felicity.
They got to be a nice little family for a while.
The much-anticipated Olicity wedding was not actually on Arrow because it happened during the yearly crossover on Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Episode 8, but the reception was on Arrow Season 6 Episode 9.
Team Arrow had a few moments of bliss, but then everything imploded.
Quentin Lance bonded with Laurel's Earth II doppleganger and helped her find redemption only to die after seeing her through it.
Quentin's death was devastating, but Earth II Laurel's redemption was what fans had been waiting for since the first Black Canary was done wrong. It was one of the best arcs the show ever did.
Meanwhile, Oliver came clean to the World as The Green Arrow and went off to Jail.
So Oliver gets a storyline at Slabside while the rest of the team are left to pick up the pieces. It was hard on all of them, but nobody moreso than his wife.
Felicity went a little dark, nearly killing a man and getting stopped by her new bestie. Earth II Laurel. This friendship was epic and memorable, as was Felicity's darkness coming to the fore.
But Felicity didn't shoot because Oliver was coming home.
After an epic shawshank showdown at Slabside, Olicity had a nice little reunion outside the prison.
Meanwhile, in Flashforwards to 2040, we met adult William.
He tracked down some of the old gang and learned that Felicity had met her untimely demise.
The search for the what and why happened of what happened to Felicity led William to cage-fighter Blackstar who was none other than Mia Smoak, daughter of Oliver and Felicity.
Mia is a badass, as much her father's daughter as William is Feilicty's son. She's the fighter and William is the techie, but it isn't just the empowering gender role-reversal that makes their scenes so phenomenal.
While 2040 is incredibly depressing, seeing this brother-sister team-up is incredibly touching.
It got revealed that William was raised by his grandparents while Mia was raised by her mother in seclusion, and neither of them knew the other existed.
So what of Oliver? After saving the city and retiring to a cabin in the country, Oliver got called on by The Monitor for an epic battle that meant his death. He and Felicity shared a heartfelt goodbye.
Meanwhile, in 2040, after witnessing Dig's son JJ murder their friend and Rene's daughter Zoe, Mia, William, and Mia's boyfriend Connor Hawk got transported to the present, and Mia finally got to meet her dad.
The kids got to bond with the family they lost, and Oliver saw the beautiful woman his daughter would grow up to be.
And then he died.
Saving the universe and the future.
So what's left? Well, there's Arrow Season 8 Episode 10, which will wrap up everything and feature a funeral for our hero.
It's not all over, though. Arrow Season 8 Episode 9 was a backdoor Pilot to the Canaries spinoff of the same name to take place in 2040, following Mia, Dinah, and Earth II Laurel on a new fight to save Star City.
Personally, I was skeptical, but that episode really won me over.
What do you say after eight years?
I guess we can thank the writers and the cast for everything, even the painful parts. They've created a franchise and a legacy that will be unforgettable.
As for Oliver, we just hope he's found peace wherever he is and that he's looking down on the franchise he created with that shit-eating grin on his face, knowing he saved his city.
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Leora W is a staff writer for TV Fanatic..