Another week, another villain to bring down. Yes, this is the life of Oliver Queen, otherwise known as Arrow. If you recall, last week Thea got into an accident on her 18th birthday while driving under the influence of a drug called Vertigo. Since that is a crime in Starling City, she was last seen being taken away to jail in handcuffs.
This week, to help his younger and obviously misguided sister, Oliver decides to go after the drug lord that is supplying the city with the drug and who is known by the moniker ‘The Count.” Yes, DC comic fans! This episode introduces Seth Gabel as the villain Count Vertigo.
On with the recap…. (just a quick reminder, this is a full recap, so there will be spoilers!)
It’s the morning of Thea’s hearing and reporters and paparazzi all descend on the young Queen daughter treating her like the next Lindsay Lohan as she arrives at the courthouse. The judge denies Thea’s plea agreement ordering the girl to go to trial in order to make an example out of her. Moira is outraged especially when Thea’s lawyer tells the family that the odds of her going free don’t look that good.
The mention of prison reminds Oliver of the time he was imprisoned after he found out Yao Fei was working with Fyers. He begs Yao Fei to let him go but his mentor refuses and walks away.
Later, Oliver visits the precinct to talk to someone in the Vice squad. Luckily for him, he knows the officer (old party friends it seems) and tells her about “The Count”. McKenna tells him they already know about this guy but haven’t had a chance to catch him. Oliver leaves asking her to contact him if she finds out more.
The Count seems to be a very good villain for this week’s episode! His men manages to catch the dealer that ratted out his name to the “Hood” but instead of torturing and ultimately killing the guy, the Count injects the drug Vertigo into the dealer where it affects his brain making him think he’s in excruciating pain when he’s not. The drug will have him think this way for days, so the Count gives the dealer a choice. He can use the last bullet in his gun to kill him or kill himself. The gun goes off and Starling City is left with one less drug dealer. Win-win for all.
The next day Oliver visits Laurel to ask if her father can help keep Thea out of jail but she isn’t sure her father would be that helpful. Well, she was right and her father refuses. That is, until Laurel makes a few comparisons between Oliver’s younger sister and a certain younger Lance sister who was a bit of a wild child herself. Quentin, who thinks bringing up Sarah was a low blow, reluctantly agrees.
Oliver is anxious to get a meeting with the Count so he pays a visit to the garage where the Bratva syndicate operates – with Diggle in tow, of course. Alexi greets him and listens to Oliver’s request, but before he arranges a meeting, Alexi wants Oliver to prove his sincerity. He orders Oliver to kill an “associate” so Oliver does choking the man until he drops dead. Alexi thanks him and a meeting is set.
Oliver leaves with the dead man to get rid of the body as Diggle, incredulous of what he just witnessed, chastises his boss. Oh, ye of little faith Diggle! The man was merely in some Arrow nerve pitch where a pressure point pressed brings the man back to life. Oliver has no use for the guy conscious, so he punches him out. (We won’t go into the brain damage that might have occurred with no heart beat for that length of time for the poor “associate.”)
Laurel visits Queen Manor and tells Thea that the judge has lessened her sentence to community service and 2 years probation on the provision that Laurel would be responsible for her. Thea refuses the deal and tells Oliver it’s because she want to make their mother’s life a living hell for cheating on their father. (Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face!) Oliver tries to explain to his sister that it was their father who cheated and that before he died, confessed to him that he wasn’t the man they all held him up to be. Thea refuses to believe him and runs out of the room but not before Moira overhears it all and is upset with Oliver’s declaration about Robert.
Diggle arrives and tells Oliver the meeting has been set up for tonight. Their plan: Oliver will tell the Count he wants to sell Vertigo in his nightclub and once the exchange is done, they will tail him to his hideout where ‘Arrow’ will then take over.
At the meeting place, Alexis tries to warn Oliver about the Count telling him he got his name because he was using prostitutes and homeless people as guinea pigs while developing the drug. When the cops found their bodies, all they saw were needle marks on their neck. Oliver is not easily scared off.
The deal is made but before anyone could leave, the cops show up. Everyone takes cover and the Count and a henchmen head toward the subway. Oliver can’t let him get away so he chases after them. He manages to bring down the henchmen but just as he grabs the Count, the drug lord stabs him in the chest with a syringe filled with Vertigo. Diggle catches up with Oliver just in time to bring him to their hideout and give him some island herbs as a counteractive medicine. It seemed to help as Oliver wakes up in the morning feeling like crap.
Well the crap morning is just beginning as he is summoned to the Queen Manor because Quentin wanted to talk to Oliver about why he was present at a drug deal. Oliver covers up his involvement with half-truths telling the detective that he was there so see if he could meet the Count and give the Vice squad a description of what the guy looked like. Unfortunately for them, he tells them he never saw the Count. Quentin is not happy and leaves.
At this point, Moira and Thea have a mother-daughter bonding moment which ends with Thea apologetic about how mean she was treating her mother and they hug it out. This little encounter involving Thea seemed too quick to be even slightly believable and not worth mentioning more.
Back to Oliver….
Vertigo seems to have a lasting effect as a wave of the drug’s influence hits Oliver as he ascends the staircase. Not sure what was going on, Oliver then collapses.
Oliver and Diggle give the syringe to Felicity to do a spectral analysis while Oliver is hanging on trying not to succumb to the after effects of the drug. From the analysis, the two were able to track down where the Count could be located and find that he’s set up shot at an old Juvenile Delinquent center. Arrow heads over without his bow as the drug still has him feeling wonky.
While he’s able to defend himself mano-a-mano against the Count’s henchmen, Arrow still finds it difficult to walk in a straight line. He manages to catch up with the Count where they proceed to fight but Arrow quickly ends the melee by injecting the Count with one of his syringes. But things tend not to come easily for arrow as the Vice squad and Quentin arrive at the center just in time to see Arrow’s handiwork. With guns drawn at him, Arrow uses the Count as a shield and shoves him toward Quentin so he can get away.
So all is now well in Starling City – for the time being. Thea started her probation and community service with Laurel, the Count is in a criminal ward working out the withdrawals from his drug overdose, and Oliver remembers how Yao Fei really didn’t turn on him as he originally thought.
Oh, but this is a TV show and you can only have a moment of peace for so long. Felicity meets Oliver to voice some of her concerns. She shows Oliver a book similar to the one he has that Walter had given to her awhile back. Felicity tells him that Walter found the book in their home and it belongs to Moira and she thinks this book is what led to him missing.
Maybe Thea was right about their mom after all…
You can tell when an episode did its job when the hour passes quickly, and this is one that seemed to play in a blink of an eye! I really liked this reality based Count the writers thought up and leaving the door open to have him return as some psycho after Arrow is the makings of a great and villain. Seth Gabel did a wonderful job in the role and just like watching Kelly Hu as China White, I just wished he had more scenes.
While the storyline of the Count was interesting enough, still don’t feel much love for the Thea storyline. One big problem with this series is that each week the stories feel rushed. Loose ends are tied and problems are solved without the time for audiences to really connect or even have a feeling about what they are watching.
With 11 more episodes to go, I’m still waiting for that WOW factor that makes me want to watch the series on a weekly basis as it airs and not something that can wait on my DVR to watch where there is absolutely nothing else on (although, Oliver shirtless and handcuffed in this episode did produce a drool factor). I like the show and there are episodes that hit and miss but nothing spectacular has really come of it… yet.
What do you think? Is ‘Arrow’ still hitting the spot or are you ready to break the bow?