There, that’s better! After a string of some lackluster episodes, “Vertigo” managed to raise the salmon ladder bar back to the place we expected. It had everything, family drama, action, an over the top villain that wasn’t a pansy, bromance...all the boxes were checked.
What I liked best about this week’s “Arrow” was all the scattered pieces of this very busy story actually worked well together. It’s the lack of flow between the scenes and various plots that have exactly been dragging the recent episodes down. Here, I don’t remember shouting out “WTF?” at all. Okay, maybe once, but it was in a good way.
I don’t have a hard time believing that a psychotic drug lord would be a bit over the top. Or a lot. However, as much as overdone makes me roll my eyes, I loved Count Vertigo for some reason. Probably because he wasn’t a moron. Greedy bastard, yes, off balanced, yes, but not stupid. He made a formidable foe for Oliver and the Starling City PD and his desire for perfection of his craft strangely believable. Plus he didn’t say any lines that sucked. That alone makes him exceptional.
Doped up Ollie wasn’t half bad either, although it took me a while to figure out that he was in that state purely to shake up the action sequences. He had to ditch the bow and arrow for good old fashioned fighting - with a whole team of people guarding the home base. That did stretch my believability a bit, that he could take on so many people in a woozy state and win, especially when he made his fast getaway from the cops. Then again, once I tell myself this is an action hero story, believability can get a little lax. However, Count Vertigo being hauled away in a totally insane state after being injected with his own drug by Oliver, now that is classic comic book. He’ll be back, and crazier than ever.
Once again, my favorite part of the episode were the flashbacks. Why? Because Yao Fei is awesome. I’m glad it only took a week for us to learn that he was really trying to save Oliver, even if it was hardly a surprising development. That’s a really neat trick though, choking someone to make it look like he’s dead and then wake him up by pressing under the chin. A designer sleeper hold? Is that for real? It works like a charm in this story and island Oliver is now free on the island with a map, presumed dead while Yao Fei has infiltrated the enemy camp. Or are they the enemy? The mysteries are starting to stack up as bad as Lost now. They all better not be really dead in his current life.
My other favorite part is how Oliver still manages to convince the Russian mob he’s someone of stature in their organization. He’s even able to use the island death trick when he needed to show his loyalty by killing someone. This is the vigilante part of Oliver I adore, the guy that will go through amazing lengths to achieve his purpose, especially when it’s personal. Oliver hasn’t shown fire like this in a while and it’s good to see it back.
The only shame was all this effort on Oliver’s part, which did get him contact with the elusive Count, was all for bratty Thea’s behalf. I accept that Oliver saw the seriousness of the situation, but when Thea wanted to go down just to prove a lesson to her mother, I was perfectly willing to let her do it. She needs some time to toughen up in prison if you ask me. I would love to see her become someone’s bitch. However, while Arrow goes to dark places, and I guess they weren’t willing to go that dark. Too bad.
It’s a shame Laurel got involved too, even if her heart believed she was doing the right thing. I really wish Laurel’s heart and her string pulling would go toward more worthy causes, like becoming the Black Canary! At least her Dad’s sure to backfire plan of bugging her bat phone to the Hood didn’t go south this week. I still hopefully wait every week that Laurel will get some meatier plots, but everything is too busy right now. Perhaps when there’s a lull. Or when she realizes Tommy is boring.
You know who isn’t boring? Felicity. They just need to make her a regular. She’s been such a great sport with Oliver’s bulls*** lines - and I loved how Diggle finally pointed out how lame they’ve been getting - but somehow after all that she trusts Oliver. Enough to take the book of names that she knows got Walter a one way trip to missing-and- presumed-deadville. I’ve often wondered what would happen to Moira once Oliver found out about her misdeeds and I’m glad we’re almost at that point. After what he did in this episode for Thea though, I’m half inclined to think he’ll risk everything for Moira as well, determined to get her out of this. Crap, she deserves jail too.
I’ll tell you one thing I didn’t like about this episode. The new cop lady, McKenna Hall. I’m not sure if her purpose is to be an ally for Oliver on the police force or a love interest, or both, but they need to give her some better material if she’s going to stick around a while. I didn’t see any sparks between her and Oliver or as Detective Lance’s cohort. Maybe she just needs to kick some butt like Laurel to win me over.
Hopefully this is the episode that continues the trend of everything coming together. After all, they’re approaching the crucial part of the season that should be kicking up and taking us all the way to the end. Considering the next episode’s name is “Betrayal,” it sounds like things are finally going where they should.