OMG, OMG, its John Barrowman!  John Barrowman!!  He’s back, he’s back.  Yes, that full body dry heave you are missing is my convoluted version of a happy dance. 

Okay, among my press activities I did hear at some point that Barrowman would be back as Malcolm Merlyn.  However, they never said in what capacity, and I was picturing him showing up in a flashback ala Sarah Lance.  So yes, him really being alive and pulling off the miracle acquittal for Moira, that was a major bonus.  So was the bombshell at the end.  Yeah, I can see why Moira would want to keep that secret. 

“State v. Queen” offered a mixed bag of goodies, that’s for sure.  When it turned out to be the big trial for Moira, I figured it would kind of suck.  I hate courtroom dramas.  But that opener, showing The Count get out of prison and giving the key to The Dollmaker, that was a really cool visual.  It felt authentic in the Comic Book realm, and that’s always a hard thing to do in live action without coming across as cheesy. 

I liked The Count this episode best out of his three appearances.  He seemed, I don’t know, less manic and more diabolical, if that’s possible for a mad man that pushes exotic designer drugs on people against their knowledge.  This time, he’s injecting vertigo into flu shots.  When Diggle is one of the first to be affected, Felicity thanks to her wide connection system managed to figure it out pretty quick what was happening.  When one of the prosecutors for Moira’s trial goes down too, it’s time for The Count to take over the airwaves (good thing the FCC doesn’t exist in the Comic Book world).  He’ll cure people of their vertigo woes with an anecdote, but it’s gonna cost them! 

I wanted to smack Felicity across the head for not being more careful when finding one of the flu shot mobile units.  After all the s*** she’s seen, she should know the bad guy would show up!  She needs more fight training.  I’m still shocked that Diggle didn’t go after her.  So that got her and Ollie into a major pickle. One that I think hurt Oliver more in the end than Felicity. 

As soon as The Count figured out The Arrow was Oliver, I knew he was going to die.  Everyone outside of the core group who finds out that secret dies (see Merlyn, Thomas).  Yes, the Huntress knows, but there’s obviously exceptions.  The way it played out though was pretty interesting.  Oliver was rather freaked when The Count dangled poor Felicity as the bait, more freaked than I would have expected him to be.  He didn’t seem that way when he was rescuing Thea a few episodes ago.  Even though he made it clear to Felicity earlier his no kill rule, he had no choice but to take out The Count.  It was kill him or let him kill Felicity.  It broke him up inside, it gave the vigilante a bad name again, but Ollie had no regrets.  It shook him for sure though, and it goes to show that any death from now on will be plagued with guilt. 

Yes, the choice of killing The Count also led to a very tender moment between Oliver and Felicity, dragging out the “will they or won’t they” tension that’s in about 99.9 percent of TV shows.  So, I’ll take a paragraph to analyze.  We saw last week Felicity’s feelings for Oliver, but this week he reciprocated with that overly concerned gaze.  Has he had some time to take in Felicity’s reaction from last week?  Is he starting to see her as more than his most trusted and valuable assistant?  Ollie was having a vulnerable moment, so I wonder if he was affected more than usual.  I also wonder if this is going to lead to a “big talk” between the two in the future, or if they give in to their passions and run wild.  Either way, I always dread where these big sexual tension arcs lead.  I’m not a shipper in a show like this, so as long as this doesn’t end up dominating the story line, I’m okay with them continuing to tread lightly for a while.  Oh, what am I saying.  Those two are going to end up doing it and it’s gonna get awkward.  And Ollie will get a lecture from Diggle.  I hope TPTB know what they’re doing.

Oliver really did seem off at the end, didn’t he?  You know, kind of distant and aloof (I love that word).  When he showed up at the courtroom with Thea just in time to hear the verdict, he was willing to miss his own mother’s verdict to be The Arrow.  This double life stuff is really getting hard for him.  He was also out of it when he confessed to Felicity and Diggle that he thought his mother would be found guilty.  I mean after all, the evidence was overwhelmingly against her.  Something didn’t seem right to him, but he accepted it and went on.  You need to trust that sixth sense Ollie! 

Moira is taken to a remote parking lot (why wasn’t Thea and Oliver there to pick her up?), where Malcolm cruelly kills the faithful driver and shows himself.  Moira is freaked, because now she’s out of the frying pan and right back into the fire.  Her tormentor lives!  He confesses to getting her the acquittal and…why didn’t she tell anyone Thea was his daughter?  She was the product of the affair?  No wonder Thea is a temperamental brat.  That makes all the sense in the world.  Where is that going?  How is Ollie going to handle the no kill rule when Malcolm takes control again?  Oh, this is a quagmire isn’t it?  Bad for the Queens, but totally awesome for us. 

On the other side plots, Laurel wasn’t annoying!  Well, except for her “I suck” meltdown in front of Ollie in the courthouse, but I just like him decided to let it go for now.  We’ll deal with the implosion later.  Also, this week’s flashback was rather exciting.  Who loves Slade with the half black face now?  I’m digging it.  Shado wears the hood, and they one upped the bad guys this time.  Sarah even decided to come with.  Hmm, how does all this land her as part of the League of Assassins again?  The puzzle isn’t forming a clear picture yet.  Looks like though the arrow head the bad guys were looking for, which was on Shado’s neck, are coordinates to a submarine.  Yeah, I know, a thickened island plot.  Hey, it keeps us entertained.

Checking the scorecard, Ollie breaks his code of killing someone because he did it for the right reason and it sucks, Felicity had a bad momentary lapse of reason, Thea got her emotional release by getting to beat up Roy and I actually felt sorry for her, Moira is inexplicably acquitted, Queen Consolidated labs came up with the anecdote for vertigo to cure everyone, Sebastian Blood didn’t take losing The Count well (since he was his backer) but finally found his ideal test subject, the chase for the submarine on the island won’t involve the boat captain since Ivo put a bullet in his head, Laurel is back at her apartment alone no doubt getting drunk, Moira did manage to enjoy a blast of fresh air before everything fell apart and Diggle continues to stay awesome.  Oh, and JOHN BARROWMAN IS BACK!!!  We all up to date?

Arrow is off next week and then will be back for an explosive two part mid-winter finale airing on 12/4 and 12/11.  No doubt Malcolm’s resurrection will play into that.  Something tells me it’s going to be a long and painful mid-winter break.  

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