Though the series has changed quite a bit from its first episode, it’s important to see where it all started. Oliver returned home after five years (not just on Lian Yu), and his quest to save his city began as the Hood.
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“Sacrifice” (Season 1, Episode 23)
The Season 1 finale featured the first devastating attack in May, in this case Malcolm Merlyn’s (John Barrowman) Undertaking. Oliver, Diggle (David Ramsey), and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) tried to stop him only to learn of another part of the plan too late, and Oliver lost someone very close to him.
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“City of Heroes” (Season 2, Episode 1)
After fleeing to Lian Yu following the events of the Undertaking, Oliver returned home and took over as CEO of Queen Consolidated. He donned the hood again when his sister, Thea (Willa Holland), was kidnapped, but he refused to go back to his old ways. Instead, he became the Arrow.
Cate Cameron/The CW
“Unthinkable” (Season 2, Episode 23)
The city once again came under attack in May, this time from Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) and his army of Mirakuru soldiers. Oliver continued on the path he’d taken for most of the season — finding a way other than murder to stop his enemies — and it set the wheels in motion for later episodes involving Slade and the prison on Lian Yu.
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“Green Arrow” (Season 4, Episode 1)
Everyone knew that eventually Oliver would have to become the Green Arrow, and it was in the Season 4 premiere that he introduced himself to Star City as such. We also got a taste of domestic life for Oliver and Felicity, Diggle, Laurel (Katie Cassidy), and Thea working together, and that devastating flashforward that warned of an upcoming death.
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“Kapiushon” (Season 5, Episode 17)
One of the greatest villains of Arrow was Adrian Chase’s Prometheus (Josh Segarra). This episode featured some of Amell’s best work of the series opposite Segarra as the villain held him captive and tortured him for a week. We also saw Oliver at his darkest point in flashbacks to his time in Russia.
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The “Elseworlds” Crossover
These three episodes of The Flash (Season 5, Episode 9), Arrow (Season 7, Episode 9), and Supergirl (Season 4, Episode 9) are necessary to understand the next Arrowverse crossover, “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” as well as the deal Oliver made that came into play at the end of Season 7.
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“Star City 2040” (Season 7, Episode 16)
Season 7 featured flashforwards beginning with adult William’s (Ben Lewis) journey to Lian Yu. During the season, William met his sister, Mia (Katherine McNamara), and Diggle’s adopted son, Connor Hawke (Joseph David-Jones).
We already know the flashforwards will be part of the final season since David-Jones was promoted to series regular, so check out the episode that took place almost exclusively in 2040 (other than a brief look at Mia’s childhood with Felicity).
“You Have Saved This City” (Season 7, Episode 22)
Before a new season, it’s always good to familiarize yourself with the most recent finale. The Season 7 finale saw the teams in the present and future successfully stop attacks on their city. Oliver’s time with Felicity and baby Mia was cut short when the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) showed up to collect Oliver because of the deal he made in “Elseworlds,” setting up the fall crossover.
CW DC TV fans are going to have to say goodbye to the hero that started it all next season.
Arrow is ending with a 10-episode eighth season, premiering in the fall. While you might not have time to watch (or rewatch) the entire series before then, there are some key episodes you should at least be familiar with before the series finale.
The actress announced her departure on social media.
Some of these episodes contain important information you should know going into the final season, while others include key moments from Oliver Queen's (Stephen Amell) journey as he went from being the Hood to the Arrow to the Green Arrow.
Click through the gallery above to see TV Insider's picks for must-watch episodes before Arrow's final season.