6 Times Oliver Queen Epically Escaped Death on ‘Arrow’

Brian Campbell
Arrowverse The CW
Arrowverse The CW TV

Close calls with death are something superheroes know all too well. Oliver Queen, the millionaire playboy-turned-Mayor of Star City seems to have a special relationship with death. Arrow fans know all too well that near-death experiences are an uncomfortably routine part of his job. But some near-death moments have stood out more than others, so here are six times Oliver Queen has epically escaped death.

The Gas Chamber

This season has seen Oliver go up against his deadliest opponent yet: Adrian Chase (aka Prometheus). The episode “Underneath” leaves him and Felicity in quite a precarious predicament. After Chase detonates a bomb, the pair is forced to take refuge in the bunker under the Arrowcave. Chase uses a motorcycle to power a generator that explodes, exposing Oliver to a lethal dose of methane gas.

Oliver uses what could be his final breaths to apologize to Felicity for, among other things, how he reacted when she joined the hacker group Helix, saying he was afraid she would end up like him by going to questionable lengths in the pursuit of justice. Oliver passes out for a moment but comes to in time for the both of them to escape with the help of the rest of the team above.

While perhaps not the most precarious near-death experience Oliver has had, it didn’t help that he and Felicity were running out of oxygen. This experience served as a stark reminder to Oliver the importance of trusting those close to him despite being burned before.

Dickensian Hallucinations

In “Three Ghosts”, Oliver tracks Cyrus Gold to an A.R.G.U.S. facility where the villain incapacitates Oliver with an unknown substance. Barry Allen fashions an antidote from rat poison, but the antidote is slow to work and causes Oliver to suffer hallucinations. In his hallucinations, he sees three “ghosts” in the forms of Slade Wilson, Shado, and Tommy Merlyn, representing his past, present, and future.

The antidote works and Oliver defeats Gold, but his hallucinations hinder his fighting skills, which puts his life in more danger. It was fortunate Barry was on hand to save Oliver’s life. On an interesting side note, this is also the episode where Barry becomes The Flash and the Arrowverse is born.

Et Tu, Moira?

Familial betrayal hits too close to home for Oliver in “The Odyssey”, in which he discovers his mother not only had a hand in the yacht accident but is also working with Malcolm Merlyn to bring about the Undertaking. Oliver decides to pay her a visit as the Hood, and during the confrontation, Moira is so scared that she shoots him.

Back at Arrowcave, Felicity and Diggle race to remove the bullet lodged in Oliver’s body. Although they succeed, Oliver takes a turn for the worst when his heart stops and they must shock him back to life.

Though his physical scars may have healed, it takes much longer for his emotional ones to do so. Not only had his own mother shot him, but as he uncovers her role in Malcolm’s scheme, Oliver is also slow to come to terms that she may not be the person he thought she was.

Duel of Fates

The Season 3 episode, “The Climb” would see one of Oliver’s most epic escapes from death. After learning that Thea, under Malcolm’s machinations, was responsible for the murder of Sara Lance, Oliver decides to take the rap and sets up a meeting with Ra’s Al Ghul.

After a long climb to the summit of a snowy mountain, Oliver and Ra’s engage in an epic duel. Ra’s impales Oliver in the chest, then recites a death prayer as images of loved ones flash before Oliver’s eyes. Ra’s then kicks Oliver off the mountainside.

It was an agonizing month-long wait for fans to learn of Oliver’s fate. This was arguably the most brazen attempt of any TV show to seemingly kill off its main character.

Of course, Oliver Queen survived. In the next episode, Tatsu and Moseo resurrected him from near death.

Ghosts of Christmas

No, Oliver isn’t confronted by Slade, Shado, and Tommy again. These “ghosts” are mercenaries working for Damien Darhk. In “Dark Waters,” Darhk decides to retaliate against Oliver. Following Oliver’s proposal to Felicity, their bliss is interrupted by a group of Ghosts who open fire on their limousine. Oliver drives away to safety and while he has again escaped with nary a scratch, he is left holding an unconscious Felicity.

It’s a Christmas-level miracle that Oliver wasn’t harmed, but Felicity’s predicament brings things back down to Earth. Not only is she paralyzed, she’s faced with a long road to recovery. Worse still, it takes a long time for Oliver and Felicity to repair the rift in their relationship.

The Ultimate Sacrifice?

The Season 5 finale, “Lian Yu”, is arguably Oliver’s most epic escape from death. After the team takes down Adrian Chase and his army, Oliver chases him to the location of where he’s holding his son. After rescuing William, Chase declares that Oliver will now and forever be alone as he shoots himself in the head. As promised, bombs spread across the island and detonate as Oliver and William watch in horror.

We don’t yet know whether or not the others in Oliver’s team escaped Lian Yu. Fans have been in a frenzy waiting to learn their fates. While the main cast is expected to return, we could’ve been having a completely different conversation if Chase had decided to commit suicide with Oliver and William still on the island with everyone else. The aftermath remains to be seen.

Arrow kicks off Season 6 on a new night and time: Thursday, October 12th at 9/8c on The CW.

Brian Campbell
Urban Planning professional by day, purveyor of pop culture by night! I have a wide array of interests across several fandoms, including film, television, music, and literature. I look to offer my unique perspective on any topic in an entertaining and insightful fashion.
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