11 October 2012

ARROW: A Desert-Island Face-Off

I'm not familiar with the Green Arrow mythology, so everything I'm watching from this freshman series, Arrow, is new to me. I can't say a lot about the show's merits (or the lack of it), knowing someone out there could be analyzing the pilot episode to pieces, comparing it with the comic book series.  I did read somewhere that Arrow is a decent translation of the comic book. But I wouldn't know that.

I've never been stuck in a desert island, which was what happened to Oliver/Arrow in the story. But I've seen the movie Castaway dozens of times, and that is, perhaps, the closest I can relate Arrow with.

So allow me to veer off the show for awhile, and pit these two characters in my own... desert-island face-off!

Which character handled being a castoff better? And what can I learn from their experiences?

Oliver Queen
# of years stuck in an island: 5

Chuck Noland
# of years stuck in an island: 4

  • Learned to speak Russian: Oliver Queen
  • Learned to speak to a Volleyball: Chuck Noland


Oliver made use of his time in the island really well and learned another language. He couldn't have learned it before getting stuck in the island. His own mother was surprised he knew Russian. Who knows what other language Oliver learned in those five years? For his sake, I hope it's Chinese. Because that's the language of the future. (Have you seen Firefly??)

The question I have though is...how did he learn Russian in the island? Did he happen to unearth an library there? 


  • Pounds lost Chuck Noland: 55 lbs
  • Pounds lost Oliver Queen: Unknown 
Chuck Noland
Oliver Queen


Even as he is covered in tattered clothes, it's obvious Queen remained buff all those years. He lost weight in a healthy way. But I've got to ask --- was he able to build his own gym in that island?

Here's a bonus shot with the six-pack, taken immediately after his rescue:

Weeeeheeee. :D


  • Learned to build fire: Chuck Noland
  • Learned to build bow and arrow: Oliver Queen

Winner: DRAW

Here is where I am conflicted.

It's no joke to build fire from scraps, everyone knows that. I mean, I've seen Survivor and one of the million things it taught me was that, "Fire is life." --- profound words from Jeff Probst. Heh.

On the other hand,  archery is pretty cool. :D

Since I confess don't know anything about Oliver Queen, I'm not sure if he learned to use the bow and arrow on the island, or it's something he has mastered since childhood, being of privileged upbringing.

In any case, the skill does come handy when foraging for food or fighting wild animals in the forest. So, it's still a winner.


Wounded and suffering from post-traumatic syndrome, Oliver/Arrow plots his revenge as soon as returns home. Acting like a vigilante, he keeps a hitlist that includes associates of his father and people who knew him as a child.  He is angry and he seeks justice. Oliver also harbors guilt and shame for the death of one woman, while trying to assure another woman how sorry he is that all these happened.
"She says the island changed me. She has no idea how much. There are many more names on the list. Those who rule my city through intimidation and fear. Every last one of them will wish i died on that island."
Chuck Noland, on the other hand, returned home a broken man with a broken heart. The woman he was to marry ended up marrying someone else, believing that Chuck was already dead. Did he suffer from post-traumatic stress? Yes, he did as I recall. He couldn't sleep in his own bed for days.

But the wonderful thing about him is that he had no vendetta and learned to let go.
We both had done the math. Kelly added it all up and... knew she had to let me go. I added it up, and knew that I had... lost her. 'Coz I was never gonna get off that island. I was gonna die there, totally alone. I was gonna get sick, or get injured or something. The only choice I had, the only thing I could control was when, and how, and where it was going to happen. So... I made a rope and I went up to the summit, to hang myself. I had to test it, you know? Of course. You know me. And the weight of the log, snapped the limb of the tree, so I-I - , I couldn't even kill myself the way I wanted to. I had power over *nothing*. And that's when this feeling came over me like a warm blanket. I knew, somehow, that I had to stay alive. Somehow. I had to keep breathing. Even though there was no reason to hope. And all my logic said that I would never see this place again. So that's what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing. And one day my logic was proven all wrong because the tide came in, and gave me a sail. And now, here I am. I'm back. In Memphis, talking to you. I have ice in my glass... And I've lost her all over again. I'm so sad that I don't have Kelly. But I'm so grateful that she was with me on that island. And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring? 

It's  probably not a great idea to compare their circumstances, because Arrow is kinda dark and dangerous. But they both suffered in the island, that's the one significant thing they have in common. And I like Chuck Noland's outlook better, so this round's winner is...Chuck.


Oliver Queen wins my face-off, 3 out 4 and I don't really know what that means because --- yeah, let's face it ---  this face-off is a bit stupid. But I do have lots of questions about what has happened to Oliver all those years. And while I know Chuck's story by heart, I can't wait to learn more about Oliver's story.

Were you able to watch the first episode of Arrow this week?

Arrow is developed by Greg Berlanti (Brothers & Sisters, Political Animals, Eli Stone) and  Marc Guggenheim (Eli Stone, No Ordinary Family). It airs Wednesdays on The CW (USA).