On tonight’s episode of Arrow we are introduced to the Count (Seth Gabel) and no he is not here to teach kids how to count numbers but actually to supply the population of Starling City a certain drug called Vertigo.
This is Arrow’s version of the Green Arrow nemesis Count Vertigo, whose power is to disrupt his enemies’ balance. But since Arrow is grounded in reality, the drug that the Count provides does just that.
Arrow mission to get the Count is personal since it was the Vertigo drug that caused Thea to crash her car, get injured and then arrested.
And I was wondering how long it would take Arrow to forgo the explaination of the show and the Previously on….
The episode opens on a rainy night in Starling City, a man is being chased in the streets by obviously Arrow.
Arrow manages to get the drug dealer (one of three that he has chased) hanging by an arrow as he tries to escape. Arrow wants to know who is supplying him with Vertigo but the drug dealer fears retribution if he spills his guts but Arrow says that he better fear him more if he doesn’t talk. I have noticed that Oliver lowers his register to almost Christian Bale Batman proportions but this is the first time that it was really noticeable.
Anyways, the drug dealer does supply arrow with a name, the aforementioned the Count.
Back at the Arrow Cave, Oliver tells Diggle that he finally has a name behind the Vertigo drug. Oliver still wants to patrole all night long to get the Count and make him pay for what he is doing but Diggle, ever the voice of reason again, says that Oliver should be at Thea’s side as she goes through her legal troubles and put taking down the Count aside for now.
Back at the Queen Mansion, Oliver gives Thea some advice on how to behave in court based on his vast experience at appearing in front of judges.
The Queen family is of course met by a media mob on the steps of the Starling City courthouse or as we in Vancouver like to call it the Vancouver Art Gallery. Side note: Every show that has ever filmed in Vancouver has always used the facade facing West Georgia as a courthouse. The side that faces Robson on the other hand was actually used as a museum in Smallville. End of side note.
In the courtroom, we hear the bailiff stumble on Thea’s full name and it turns out its Thea Dearden Queen. Oliver calls her Speedy and Speedy in the Green Arrow comic books is the handle for Mia Dearden and Thea and Mia rhyme. Well played Arrow showrunners, well played.
Anyways, Thea’s lawyer tries to get her probation via plea arrangement but the judge seems unmoved by this. He tells Thea is the poster child to the Vertigo drug and the Queen name can’t save her from this and if a Queen can’t get away from using this drug then hopefully that will disuade other people from using. The judge them promptly denies the plea arrangement. And now Thea’s case goes to trial. The family lawyer believes that Thea will probably lose the case.
Despite Moira trying to be supportive to Thea, she still is petulant and brings up again Moira’s supposed affair with Malcolm Merlyn. And Thea seems resigned to her fate as a jail bird.
Moira confides to Oliver that Thea doesn’t quite grasp the seriousness of everything and wonders why the judge wants to make Thea as an example for the Vertigo drug. Oliver says that Thea doesn’t have to be but doesn’t continue on with his thought.
Meanwhile, in our island flashback, Oliver asks Yao Fei why he is working for Fyers and thought that they were friends. He asks him, why keep him safe if in the end Yao Fei was just going to betray him. Oliver then asks Yao Fei to get him out of his cage. Yao Fei says he can’t while Oliver spats back repeatedly how he came back for him.
Oliver goes down to the police station and asks for a Detective Hall only to realize that he already knows this detective. She is McKenna Hall (Janina Gavankar) and an old friend of Oliver’s who used to party as hard as Oliver did in the past. After a brief moment of reminiscing, Oliver gets down to business and asks McKenna about Vertigo and finding the person who is dealing the drug. When Oliver mentions the name the Count, McKenna tells Oliver that the police have known about the Count and their information on him is pretty sparse and tells Oliver that it is highly unlikely they will catch him before Thea’s trial. Oliver asks McKenna to keep him informed.McKenna admires Oliver’s loyalty to Thea but asks him to leave the police work to them. Detective Lance asks McKenna what did Oliver want and she explains that Oliver is an old family friend whose sister is in a spot of bother.
And next we finally meet the Count who now is interrogating the same drug dealer that Arrow chased at the beginning of the episode. He tells the Count that he didn’t say anything to Arrow. Despite what the drug dealer tells the Count, he tells him that examples must be made and injects him with a pure form of Vertigo. While the drug takes affect, the drug dealer becomes disoriented and appears in pain while the Count becomes quite manic in a Heath Ledger’s Joker kind of way. The Count gives the drug dealer a gun with one bullet left to eiether shoot the Count in revenge or shoot himself, of course he chooses the latter.
Now that the Count knows Arrow is after him, he finds this piece of information very interesting.
Back at Laurel’s apartment, we get our Microsoft product placement of her using Microsoft’s Surface tablet to read about Thea’s case. We get some boring relationship talk from Tommy when there is a knock at Laurel’s door and it is Oliver who has come to see her and thanks her for coming to court. Laurel tells Oliver that it is unlikely that the judge in Thea’s case will change his mind and his stance on crime is the basis of his re-election platform. Oliver asks Laurel to talk to her father and because he is in the system, he might be able to help get Thea off. He if whatever he is working on as Arrow to get the Count doesn’t work, that the help of Detective Lance could be his best chance to help Thea. He ends his speech by saying please and Laurel will see what she can do but offers no promises. But of course Detective Lance says no because he won’t help the Queen family. However, Laurel likens Thea to her sister Sarah but Lance doesn’t see Sarah that way but Laurel tells her father that he only sees the perfect child and not for who she really was. Laurel knows that her father got Sarah off for shoplifting but Lance wonders if she was in jail, Oliver wouldn’t have taken her on his yacht. Laurel informs her father that while the both blamed Oliver for Sarah’s death, she is also responsible for her own demise. After an impassioned speech on seeing her sister Sarah in Thea and sees Thea’s potential and how much she has gone through, Laurel begs her father to help Thea that finally Lance relents.
Meanwhile, Oliver and Dig visit the Starling City chapter of the Bratva, whose members we met back in episode three “The Lone Gunman.” He goes to the Bratva as a way to “invest” in Vertigo and wants Alexi Leonov (Eugene Lipinski) to arrange a meeting with the one and only seller of Vertigo but Alexi tells Oliver that this seller is a difficult mad that doesn’t like new friends. As a gift, he offers Alexi all the information that the police have on the Count. Alexi said he will give it to the Count as long as Oliver provides a favour for him. This favour involves Oliver killing someone for the Bratva. Alexi tells Oliver that if he kills this man, it will prove his loyalty to the Bratva and he will arrange a meeting with the Count.
Despite a slight protest from Dig, Oliver proceeds to put this man in a choke hold and it appears that he has killed this man. Alexi thanks Oliver for killing the man.
In island flashback land, Yao Fei has returned and released Oliver from his cage and takes Oliver to some sort of fight club where we see DeathStroke beating the crap out of someone and killing him. Fyers (Sebastian Dunn) comes forward and asks for DeathStrokes next opponent, Yao Fei shoves Oliver into the “gladiator” ring that Fyers tells Oliver is for team building. The next match-up is Oliver versus Yao Fei.
Back to the present and Diggle can’t believe that Oliver killed the man that the Bratva wanted dead. But we all know that Oliver didn’t kill that guy. After placing him in the trunk of his car and pinching his neck the thug wakes up and Diggle is very impressed and asks Oliver to teach him that trick. You gotta love Diggle Oliver the promptly knocks the thug out and then asks Diggle to arrange a whole new identity of the thug and get him out of Starling City.
This whole scheme is to gain the trust of the Bratva who will take Oliver to the Count and once he meets the Count as himself, he will then follow the Count to his hideout. Dig is filled with quips as he sarcastically says he is looking forward to his new career as a drug dealer.
Meanwhile, Alexi is on the phone with the Count and asks if he is interested in meeting with Oliver, to which the Count agrees to a meeting.
It seems that Detective Lance was able to get Thea off somewhat. Laurel tells Thea that she gets two years probation and 500 hours of community service and that Laurel will assume responsibility of Thea to ensure she meets the conditions of this sentence. Thea being a typical ungrateful teenager says thanks but no thanks to this deal but Oliver tells her that she has no choice in this matter. But since she is 18 now, Thea doesn’t accept the sentence. Oliver berates Thea for turning down the deal and if she doesn’t take it she will go to jail for the rest of her life. Thea is being this way to punish Moira for betraying the family. Oliver confesses to Thea that it was actually their father that betrayed their family. Thea doesn’t believe it but Oliver tells Thea of a conversation he had with their father on the yacht in how he told Oliver how he betrayed his family and wasn’t the man that everyone thought he was and wished he had more time to right his wrongs. Thea doesn’t believe a word that Oliver said and storms off. Moira overhears their conversation and admonishes Oliver for telling Thea something that she confided in him not to tell Thea.
Dig comes in saying the Russians have called and the meeting is for that night. Alexi reveals to Oliver that the Count got his name because he experimented the drug on homeless people and prostitutes and when the police found their dead bodies, their necks had puncture wounds like a vampire. Alexi then warns Oliver that he shouldn’t be so eager to meet the Count.
The Count asks Oliver why he wants to get into business with him and he replies that he wants to supply his nightclub patrons something extra. The Count wants to expand his brand. He tells Oliver that 56 people died to perfect Vertigo and with a drop of some bags of money, the Count is about to hand over a case filled with Vertigo when the Starling City Police and Detective Lance show up and a shoot out begins.
The Count runs away and Oliver goes after him but the Count injects Oliver with the same Vertigo drug that he gave the drug dealer. Dig and Oliver escape but also has the syringe that the Count used on Oliver.
Back at the Arrow Cave, Oliver is writhing in pain, feeling the effects of the pure Vertigo, Dig is rummaging around the Arrow Cave to find ingredients to make a potion that will help Oliver but instead Oliver tries to choke Dig. Dig manages to over power him and get Oliver to drink the potion.
While he is in throes of the drug’s effect, we flashback to Oliver’s fight with Yao Fei who is getting beaten soundly and Yao Fei uses the same choke hold that Oliver used on the Bratva thug and he passes out.
Oliver has recovered from the drug and Dig is impressed that Oliver survived the drug, even if it was half the dose.
Detectives Lance and Hall visit the Queen Mansion to talk about the drug deal that went on between the Bratva and the Count and how witnesses like Hall saw Oliver there as well. Oliver confesses that he was checking in on the Count and spins a yarn saying he paid some Russian crooks for a meeting with the Count so that he could provide the police with a sketch as to what he looks like but alas Oliver tells McKenna that he did not see him. It seems that Oliver has gotten off.
Oliver stops Lance to thank him for getting Thea off but Lance brushes it off as only doing a favor for Laurel.
Moira yells at Oliver for getting involved in the Count and drug deals but Oliver says that she is only upset because he spilled the beans to Thea. Moira tells Thea that she didn’t want her the truth was to preserve Thea’s image of her father. After a hear-to-heart, mother and daughter seemed to have mended fences.
Oliver seems to still be feeling the drugs effect and we flashback to see that after his defeat at the hands of Yao Fei, Oliver is about to pushed off a waterfall by one of Fyers goons but Yao Fei wants to do it himself, which he does and we see Oliver plunge into the water below.
And 47 minutes is way too long to wait to get our Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) sighting. After noting that Oliver looked like something the cat dragged in, Felicity rambles on how cats aren’t in Queen Consolidated but a cat did get in one time and that a guard tased it and the lobby smelt like burnt fur and static for a week. As she rambles, we see that Oliver is still feeling dizzy and asks Felicity to move away from the window because he is suffering from a hangover. She quips that a hangover cure is not part of IT’s job description but Oliver says that he is here to see Felicity about another friend of his. These are pretty thin reasons that Oliver gives that I am pretty sure that a smart girl like Felicity (I actually was about to type Chloe) will see right through.
Anyways, Oliver says that his friend is starting an energy drink company that would be great for hangovers. He wants Felicity to test the syringe that he got from the Count in the guise of saying that he is careful in what he puts in his body, which Felicity says she has noticed but hilariously covers up that she doesn’t. After that awkward moment, he wants Felicity to run a spectro analysis to find out where exactly in the city that it is made. Felicity rightly questions why, if it is an energy drink, is the content in a syringe. Oliver flimsy excuse is that he ran out of sports bottles. Felicity takes that answer with a grain of salt. And Dig calls Oliver on his BS stories telling him that they are getting worse to which Oliver is very much aware.
But Felicity pulls through and discovers that drug in the syringe was manufactured in an abandoned juvenile detention center in the Glades. Oliver wants to Hood up but Dig says that Oliver will be ineffective since he is still suffering from the after effects of the drug. But Oliver needs to stop the drug before it becomes an epidemic. Dig says he will only let Oliver leave if he can hit the tennis ball that is in his hand. Oliver takes that challenge but finds that he cannot without hurting Dig. Despite that Oliver, without the bow, is going after the Count’s operation. For a guy that is sort of drugged up, Arrow is doing a pretty good job at taking out the Count’s henchmen.
The police arrive at the Count’s headquarters and as the move in, Arrow confronts the Count and gives him a taste of his own medicine and injects the Count with a pure form of Vertigo. Arrow release the Count to the police as Detective Lance taunts Arrow by calling him a killer. Arrow then escapes.
Thea seems to have taken that plea and reports to her first day of community service helping Laurel out at the CNRI.
McKenna gives a call to Oliver to inform him that they got the Count and that he will be gone for awhile (but something tells me we will see him again). Is it significant that after Oliver finished his talk with McKenna that we rack focus to Laurel?
At the hospital, a doctor tells Detective Lance that she has never seen someone OD on so much Vertigo and live; she is unsure of the damage it has caused as we see the Count whisked away on a gurney. This scene has to be significant in the future.
Back on the island, as Oliver lays in the water he wakes up and swims to shore. Oliver searches his vest and finds a piece of the map that he originally had. We see that Yao Fei has given him the map and pinched his neck to wake Oliver up before he pushed him off the waterfall. When we focus in on the map, we see a particular part highlighted, an area called Shengcun (I think), which means survive (something that Yao Fei has been telling Oliver constantly since he has been on the island) and next to it is an Omega symbol. Is this important too? In Smallville, the Omega symbol was the sign of the Darkness but what does it mean in Arrow’s world?
In my favourite part of the episode, Felicity asks Oliver to meet at the Big Belly Burger. She asks if she can trust him. Despite all the flimsy lies and excuses that Oliver has given him, Felicity trusts him. Oliver tells her that she can trust him. And with that, Felicity shows Oliver the other book that contains the List. She tells Oliver that she got it from Walter and who in turn got it from Moira. And that Walter asked her to look into the book before he vanished. Felicity believes that this book was what caused Walter his life. Oliver looks on in quiet shock.
So does this mean that Felicity will join Oliver and Diggle in the Arrow Cave? I sure hope so.