Now this is the Arrow I’ve been waiting for, everything works on almost every level and delivers a solid story with very little of those bad writing hiccups that tend to permeate the series. Thea finds herself in hot water with the law after her wrecking her car last week while under the influence of the hot new drug in town, Vertigo. She thought she would get away easy working out a plea deal, but the judge has plans to make Thea an example and decides to force her to go trial and possibly face jail time. I know this is nit picking, but I know the laws pretty well and I’m sure possession and driving under the influence are both crimes that would normally net a first time offender probation, but it’s TV so the stakes must be amped a bit I guess. I will admit though I did feel bad for Thea (For once.) since the judge was quite unfair.
This puts the drug supplier firmly in Arrow’s cross-hairs though as now he needs someone else to be the judge’s example to help get his sister off. As Oliver, he decides to use his Russian mob contacts to get a face to face with the supplier who now know goes by The Count. If you’ll recall my review from the episode where Oliver initially makes contact with the Russian mob you’ll remember I chastised the writers for being lazy here, as the Russians didn’t even recognize the most famous man in all of Starling City. Well maybe the Arrow staff saw it, or maybe they just realized how stupid that was, so this time around the Russians are aware that the man posing as a mob captain is actually Oliver. Thank you for correcting this misstep. After passing a test the Russians put in front of him and using a cool technique to seemingly kill a guy, Oliver gets his meet with The Count.
The Count turns out to be none other than Fringe’s Seth Gabel, in the comics he goes by Count Vertigo and instead of being a drug dealer he possesses vertigo inducing powers. I don’t know much of Vertigo from the comics, but I do remember seeing him in an episode of Batman The Animated Series, and I have to say, comparing Gabel’s turn to the animated version, he nails it perfectly. He brings that same creepy tone and speech pattern that I remember from the cartoon, and I loved it. It was nice to see Gabel back in the role of the creepy sociopath after his good guy turn on Fringe. I first saw Gabel in the series Nip/Tuck where he played a seriously screwed up teenager, and I enjoyed seeing Gabel go back to that place. In fact when he was first introduced on Fringe, his good guy role through me off at first since I remembered him as that psychotic teen from Nip/Tuck. I know it may seem like I’m giddy because he is a Fringe alum, but he seriously nailed the role of The Count. I loved how he measured the value of his product in how many lives were lost in testing his drug, very nice touch.
The meet however goes sideways when the cops show up and Oliver finds himself injected by The Count with an extremely high dosage of Vertigo. After coming to thanks to some quick thinking on Diggle’s part, Arrow tracks down The Count to his hideout and proceeds to take out henchmen one by one while making his way to The Count. This had to be one of my favorite scenes in the show as Arrow’s hand-to-hand combat bad-assery is on full display here. Though I will admit, it again felt like I was watching Batman instead of Arrow, but it was still a great scene. Once again the cops show up to ruin the party, but they do keep Arrow from killing another criminal, as they stop Arrow from fully injecting a fatal amount of Vertigo into The Count. I was a bit confused by his intentions to kill The Count. Thea received some help dodging court thanks to the Lances, so maybe he didn’t need The Count alive, but it would be nice to see him try to bring a criminal to justice. The Count does live, albeit a lot worse for wear, but I would love to see him rehabilitate from his current mental state and come back for revenge in a future episode.
The flashbacks this week weren’t as telling as they have been, but it does explain how Oliver learned the “make them play dead” technique. It also served to establish that his former mentor may still be on his side and that maybe him working with the bad guys running the island is some kind of elaborate ruse. We’ll have to wait to see how that plays out. Thea is still the most annoying character on TV once again blaming her mother for all her troubles, and just as I was getting tired of the serial brat image, Oliver manages to jolt her awake with some telling revelations about their father. Thank you! Now can she be a more reasonable character going forward? Only time will tell. In another interesting turn Felicity, Oliver’s techno geek wiz, tells him that she has his mother’s list that mirrors Oliver’s and that it may be the reason for Walter’s disappearance. Oliver tried to plead ignorance of the list, but come on, he was not convincing at all.
Couple last notes, does anyone else feel like we are building towards a Deathstroke/Arrow face off in the season finale? Also I really need the name Arrow to be established in Starling City already. I am so tired of The Hood and The Vigilante as it just didn’t sit well with me when The Count referred to him as The Hood. Call him Arrow already dammit! Lastly, Oliver’s long time friend introduced here as cop seems to have the drop on everything thanks to her confidential informant. For some reason I really don’t trust that she has this C.I., so we’ll have to see if she comes back in future episodes, and what role she plays if she does. Overall this had to be the best episode to date with a great story that worked on all levels (finally) and some really nice action.
4.5 out of 5 nerds
Follow Christopher on Twitter @AUDone44 and The Nerd @nerdfollowing