TV Recaps

‘Arrow’ Recap: Vertigo


I have to hand it to Arrow tonight for delivering an interesting, enjoyable episode that finally felt like maybe the show was moving back toward serialized storytelling, something it has been seriously lacking over the last few months. I’m not going to get too excited just yet, but “Vertigo” definitely belongs on the list of the show’s most intriguing episodes.

Picking up where it left off last week, Thea had been arrested after getting into a car accident with the drug Vertigo in her system. Arrow was out trying to beat some information out of a bad guy so he could find out who was behind the drug and he managed to get a name: The Count. Oliver returned home and slipped into big brother mode, giving Thea a pep talk before court since he’s been there once or twice himself.

Unfortunately, the judge was not in the mood to give anyone named Queen a break and wanted to set an example for people so he threw out the plea bargain Thea’s lawyer had made with the prosecutor. This only made Oliver more determined to bring down the dealer and in the meantime, he stopped by Laurel’s, had an awkward encounter with Tommy (who was only in one scene the entire episode) and asked Laurel if she would talk to her dad about calling in a favor.

Naturally, Detective Lance was not big on the idea of helping Oliver, but Laurel pointed out this was for Thea. He didn’t really want to help her either, but Laurel was persistent and reminded him that he’d gotten Sarah out of a few jams over the years. She also told her dad that they needed to stop blaming Oliver and remember that Sarah was at fault for being on the boat too. Detective Lance relented and Laurel got Thea a plea deal for community service that would have her working with Laurel. Thea flat out rejected it and told Oliver that she wanted to make Moira suffer.

Oliver clued his sister in on the fact that Robert was the bad parent, cheater, etc. and Thea claimed not to believe him, but Oliver knew she did. Moira overheard the conversation and she was not happy that Oliver spilled the beans, but he reminded her that Thea had a right to know. Later, Thea and Moira made up and Thea agreed to go work with Laurel, who seemed very excited at the prospect of having a surrogate sister around (I support this and look forward to them having more scenes together).

While all of this was going on, Oliver and Dig were on the trail of The Count. Oliver stopped by the police station to talk to a vice cop, who turned out to be McKenna, a former party girl, who he once had a thing with. Oliver swiped The Count’s folder from the police station and then went to make a deal with some Russian bad guys. Dig was with him and Oliver warned him to go with whatever he said. The Russians told him that The Count was dangerous and didn’t like new people and then they had Oliver kill a guy to prove that he was on their side, which he did without blinking.

Dig was mad, but it turned out that Oliver hadn’t really killed him. He woke him up, punched him in the face and then told Dig to get the guy out of town with a new identity. Dig was impressed and asked if Oliver would teach him that trick, but Oliver refused.

However, the audience got to see where he learned it thanks to an island flashback. First, Oliver tried to get Yao Fei to tell him why he was working with the bad guys and reminded him that he’d come back to help him. Then Yao Fei sent him into some kind of forest fighting ring with Deathstroke, but stopped him from killing Oliver. He used the trick himself and then slipped Oliver a map before he revived him and pushed him over a cliff. Yeah, I have no idea what’s going on and if he’s good or bad at this point, but I am intrigued.

Back in the present, Dig and Oliver got to meet The Count and his cronies and Oliver told him that he wanted Vertigo for the new club that he was building. The Count was more than a little off the wall (think Heath Ledger as the Joker minus the face paint, basically), but he was willing to do business with Oliver.

But someone tipped off the cops and they arrived in the middle of the transaction. Everyone fled and Oliver tried to run after The Count, managing to corner him in a stairwell, but then The Count stabbed him in the chest with three syringes full of Vertigo. Dig got Oliver back to the Arrow Cave, but he was already flipping out and Dig ended up having to handcuff him. Oliver promised not to kill him when he woke up in the morning with a bad hangover, but the drug wasn’t completely out of his system and he was having trouble seeing straight.

That didn’t stop him from going to Felicity (yay, Felicity!) for help. He told her the drug was a potential hangover cure and he wanted it analyzed because he’s careful about what he puts into his body. She said she noticed and then awkwardly tried to cover it up (I WILL NOT SHIP THEM NO MATTER HOW CUTE THIS WAS). As they left, Dig pointed out to Oliver that his excuses were getting worse and he said that he knew.

Oliver got a lead on The Count and despite Dig’s best efforts to convince him not to; Oliver suited up and went after him. He took out his men first and then Oliver grabbed The Count and planned to stab him with some syringes as payback just as the cops showed up. Detective Lance warned Arrow not to do it because his daughter believed in him and of course pulling the Laurel card was the trick to getting Oliver’s attention. The cops took The Count in, but he was super messed up and presumably taken to a mental facility (in other words, he will be back at a later date).

McKenna called Oliver for a random chat and he didn’t seem to pick up on the fact that she seemed to be angling for a date, probably because he was with Laurel at the time. At the end of the episode, Felicity met Oliver and asked if she could trust him. She pointed out that she knows he’s constantly lying to her, but she believes that she can trust him. Oliver joked that he has one of those faces (my shipper heart likes this, you guys, it’s betraying me). Felicity showed Oliver the journal, told him that she’d gotten it from Walter, who stole it from Moira and Felicity told Oliver that she believed Walter had been killed because of it.

So that ending hooked me and not just because I love Felicity and enjoy seeing her in scenes with Oliver. It seems like she’s about to become an official part of the team, which is awesome because her character is fun. But McKenna isn’t going anywhere either and obviously there’s Laurel, but romance aside, what are Moira and the Dark Archer really hiding? I want to know….

Share your theories in the comments below and just for the fun of it, who are you shipping Oliver with? Oh, fine, we can talk about The Count too. Did you enjoy Seth Gabel’s performance or was it a little too familiar? Also, am I the only one who sees the resemblance to Sebastian Stan? See you back here next week…

Mandy Treccia
Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that.

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  1. Felicity is fantastic. My problem is I don’t like Oliver all that much. I do agree that she should be bumped to a regular and I’m guessing she will be for Season 2. The pacing on the show is terrible. Some episodes are boring and slow and others do feel like they should be stretched out. It’s one of my main issues with it.

  2. Felicity is totally awesome so go ahead and ship! Wish she would be made a series regular – already she’s so much better than Tommy or Detective Lance, so why shouldn’t she get more to do?

    In our review we talk about how rushed this episode feels. It definitely could have stretched out into a two-parter

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