Arrow "Vertigo" Review: This Episode Wobbled, But Didn't Fall Down

Arrow S01E12: "Vertigo"

In the comments of these reviews, we’ve often discussed the villains on Arrow. They either die or are non-entities, and it’s been frustrating. One of the delights of the superhero is the rogues’ gallery, and the series has shied away from really building one for Oliver. Sure, China White’s lurking about (maybe), Deathstroke’s on the island, and there’s Malcolm Merlyn and his Dark Archer persona, but they’re a part of a criminal organization (the Triads), stuck in flashbacks, or they’re playing a long game regarding Starling City.

So the Count, inspired by the comic book character Count Vertigo, represented a big move for the series. Along with Merlyn, Count Vertigo is probably one of Green Arrow’s most threatening foes. In the comics, he uses a device that corrects an inner ear problem to induce the vertigo effect, and against a character like Green Arrow, where aim is everything, you can see how that sort of an ability would make him a dangerous adversary.

Arrow opted to change things a bit, and I generally like its idea of a drug dealer selling the hot new thing. It updates the character, allowing him to be younger than his comic book counterpart tends to be and to fit into the urban crime vibe of the series. His drug is his weapon of choice, not only in terms of making money and obtaining power in Starling City, but in ensuring that he has a last line of defense should all his goons get shot.

But it didn’t completely work for me. While I didn’t dislike Seth Gabel’s performance as the Count since I do enjoy this type of scenery-chewing villain (and boy does he chew that scenery), it was a real departure for the series, as it highlighted someone who not only had that manic energy but who reveled in causing suffering. As Gabel said in a recent interview, though, the character was pitched to him as being Joker-esque, particularly in a The Dark Knight vein, and we saw shades of that as the Count played a Vertigo-infused round of “One bullet left!” with a drug dealer and as he attempted to justify his actions as a public service, of sorts, during the big showdown.

I appreciate the desire to create a big, brash nemesis for Oliver to square off against, and goodness knows I think the show could benefit from that, but I think the writers tried a little too hard to create a Joker-esque character in the Count, especially since we found out at the end of the episode that he’d survived the dose of Vertigo, but may now be, well, insaner. That, or he’s going to come back with superpowers. Maybe both?

Speaking of unstable characters, let’s talk about Thea. I’ve defended Thea from time to time, both in reviews and in the comments, as a girl who's struggling to come to grips with loss and isolation and who lacks the support system necessary to overcome those issues. While I think the show wants that aspect of her character to be the motivating cause of her behaviors, it doesn’t always work in that regard, and it didn’t work here. Wanting to go to jail to punish Moira for cheating on her husbands? Not even in the most self-centered of teen angsty minds would that idea make sense, and it didn’t make a hell of a lot of sense here. Apart from the need for dramatic conflict in this subplot, it’s just silly for her to reject 500 hours of community service, two years of probation, and having to be Laurel’s intern at CNRI.

The resolution of that particular plot, as Thea accepted the fact that it was Moira who stayed true to Robert, felt rushed and generally unmotivated. She didn’t buy it from Oliver, but Moira and Oliver discussed it and she was suddenly all game for the notion? Whatever. If this manages to push the Queen family stuff in a more productive direction because the tensions between Moira and Thea have been lessened, I’ll take it as a narrative shortcut and I’ll just repress the parts I didn’t like.

On the upside, Thea seeing the truth about Robert, or at least that version of it, gave Felicity handing over the notebook to Oliver a nice bit of symmetry, as Oliver is now on the path to finding out the truth about Moira. While I certainly miss Walter, I’m all in favor of the show bringing Oliver and Felicity into more direct cahoots with one another, as opposed to the self-reflexively acknowledged and increasingly lame “B.S. stories.”

The island flashback was fine. I was a bit disappointed in Yao Fei’s reversal as I wanted the impact of that twist where he was a bad guy to carry through for a bit. However, he turned out to be an okay dude who beat the crap out of Oliver to save him from Fyers’ clutches. And so that journey continues.

As does our own with Arrow. We have eleven episodes left in the season, and I still feel almost the same as I did even after the four-episode test back in November: I like the show, and I see a lot of potential, but it’s not setting my world on fire. I’m hoping that as we enter the back half of the series where the full-season pickup would have been announced, that the series starts tightening itself up a bit.

For most of you, that would likely mean minimizing or outright excising the supporting cast, save for Diggle and possibly Felicity. For me, it means giving Laurel and Tommy and Thea and Moira stronger stories, and could possibly even mean episodes where there’s no crime-fighting at all, in order to focus on building up those character connections. The struggles of the hero having a dual identity and having to juggle the lives that surround the hero are a part of superhero narratives, and I don’t want to see that aspect eliminated from Arrow; it just needs to be improved upon. I’m hoping we see that improvement as we move forward.


Notes & Quotes


– Count Vertigo in the comics is also royalty of an eastern European country, though he’s often not ruling it or has been ousted, hence the life of crime. The character’s also made appearances in Batman: The Animated Series, The Batman, and Young Justice. He’s a pretty high-profile villain, as they go.

– “The Count? That’s worse than the Hood.” But is it lamer than Green Arrow?

– Fun comic book fact: Green Arrow actually had a Joker-esque villain named Leapo the Clown, though he went by the name Bull’s Eye.

– I’m not going to lie: I really didn’t think we’d see Oliver’s Russian mob contacts again.

– “Fantastic. Looking forward to my new and exciting career as a drug dealer.”

– Mansions! Great for hiding just outside of rooms in order to overhear the conversations happening within them before making a dramatic entrance!

– Oh my. Oliver shirtless and he’s handcuffed to a table. I do believe that Diggle has been reading my fanfic.

– Promo for next week seems to be pretty Laurel heavy. So, you know, spend the interim preparing yourselves.


What'd you think of this week's episode?

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So did Arrow rip off Xena's neck pinch?
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I'm assuming the Count will be back and pretty much insane, so I hope they improve on him the second time around because as far as villains go I thought the character was utter crap and I couldn't take him seriously at all (and sorry, couldn't shake Lincoln from my head when I saw him -- too soon after the end of Fringe for me. I guess a guy's gotta work, though).

Also, what's with everyone on the show starting to speak like they have gobstoppers tucked into their cheeks as they take a break to talk? First it's Laurel's dad talking like that, and in this episode Thea.
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Yeah, during the show I was all like "Hey Lincoln, does Olivia know you are being a drug dealer and shit? Go back to the FBI, man!"
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While watching I just kept thinking "oh Lincoln, what have they done to you? They've made you a cheesy villain!" I was torn between just seeing him on my tv screen again vs. the ridiculously over the top character they had him play. Ah well.
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Yes to this review! Just yes!
-The Count. yeah. That's exactly what he felt like, a combination of Sesame Streets Count and the freakin Joker. He was too cartoonish. It made me cringe. He didn't strike me as particularly menacing or anything of the sort, he just bugged me. i had the urge to pull out my nerf gun (yes I am a grown woman with a nerf gun) and pelt him in the face with spongy orange arrows of my own.
-You know what it was about Thea? She does not act her age. She has moments where he seems insightful...rare moments, but then when you think about the fact that she's supposed to be 18 but spends most of the time behaving like a 14 year old at best, even those sparks of insightfulness came off wrong because in my head I'm thinking, she's supposed to have a reasonable thought process at this age, that isn't insightful. That's supposed to be normal. I mean really? Going to jail to punish your mom? Damn it sucks that she's 18 because at this point I'd suggest getting her evaluated.
-I love Felicity. I love that maybe, just maybe, now this means that they'll use her even more. That she'll be more involved. I love that she finally acknowledged that Ollie's stories suck, that she never buys them, and she just goes along with things because her gut and instinct tells her that she can trust him. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if she knows who he is and just isn't saying it. Basically, Felicity, like Diggle would be a fantastic ally to have. The thought of those three working together would just make this series for me. Plus she's so adorable and awkward and I love her, when she got all weird and rambled on about Ollie's physique I felt like I was watching a kindred spirit. Nerdy chicks FTW.
- Diggle has the best lines. Love him. And shirtless Ollie. Love those two.
-I did like Janina G's detective character. She had more presence, depth, and chemistry with Ollie in one episode than Laurel has mustered up in many. I keep feeling like Laurel falls short as a character most of the time. I don't see her as the love of Ollie's life so to speak, I don't feel any love triangle thing (thank God!), she leaves me feeling indifferent most of the time. So maybe she, Tommy, Moira, and Thea do need stronger storylines, or character revamps or something.
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i really liked this episode, don't if i was overly excited to see Seth Gabel, since Fringe is over so...but really love is character and happy he is not dead, but hopefully can be repair what ever damage even if he's insanier (if this makes any sense), and also looking forward to the effects of the drug on Oliver...

Really enjoying the series so far..always room for improvement..so lest hope for the best
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I honestly keep waiting for Felicity to literally jump Oliver. I absolutely adore the way she stumbles over herself talking to him, and constantly puts her foot in her mouth. It's pretty obvious that she's into Oliver, and who wouldn't be? Stephen Amell is so hot, I almost wanna have sex with the guy. She needs to jump his bones, asap.
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I'm right there with you. I love Felicity, and hope we see more of her character and her interaction with Oliver!
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I was waiting for it, and it finally happened. Did you catch it?
The acknowledgemetn of Felicity as the show's version of the Nolanverse Lucius Fox--her insistence that she is not an idiot is a ref to the Batman Begins line by Lucius, "But don't think of me as an idiot" when he got tired of Bruce's bloated fibs as much as Felicity has of Oliver's. She hasn't quite acknowledged that he's the Hood, but I'm sure that's coming. (Although I hope they'll continue to use the same approach, with the lame stories being delivered with knowing grins.

And, as much as I love Morgan Freeman's work (and fully acknowledge that he's a far greater actor), Ms. Smoak is easier on the eyes, and that whole harassment-awkwardness humor just wouldn't have flown between Freeman and Bale.
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My sentients exactly. I've been waiting and waiting for it, wondering when the writers would get around to this central bit of the storyline instead of leaving it hanging episode after episode. I was really satisfied when it finally happened, and by how it happened, because it left me anticipating how this relationship will proceed next.
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The episode is filler and a major let down with clumsy writing, Ollie exposing himself to the SCPD, fighting on despite the effects of Vertigo, The heart stopping stuff, and the villain were major no for the episode and i hope the show gets back on track.
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If the Count comes back from an overdose of experimental artificial drugs with the ability to throw knives made of light and teleport, who sues who?

Should Vertigo get together with Jervis Tetch and Crazy Quilt to start a band?
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"Oh my. Oliver shirtless and he's handcuffed to a table. I do believe that Diggle has been reading my fanfic."

Okay, that was hilarious!
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I am unnecessarily happy with that bulletpoint.
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I thought it was the best episode by far for the series. Laurel (the most annoying character of the series) was pushed to the background and Arrow finally ditched his ridiculous bow fight sequences in favor of fists.

If they continue along these lines the show will be better off.
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From which universe did that version of Lincoln come from?!

Sorry still sad about not ever seeing a new episode of Fringe.
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so does anyone know how the filming of the show works? i know they have 8 days to film each episode but how far along are they with finishing 22 eps. Are they already done filming the season 1, or are they still filming eps? just wondering
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They're still filming episodes. Production just started on episode 17.

Marc Guggenheim tweets an image of the coverpage of upcoming scripts, and that includes the episode title, the prep dates and the production dates.
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wow so they only 5 eps ahead, they must have pretty fast editiors. Thanks
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"Promo for next week seems to be pretty Laurel heavy. So, you know, spend the interim preparing yourselves." Hey Noel, I don't have a problem with the Laurel character when she's directly connected to the plot of the week. It's the hobling Laurel Tommy sideshow I have an issue with. From the brief promo it appears Laurel will be substantially involved in the plot, like in "Innocent Man". I only hope it leaves the Laurel Tommy sideshow out of it.
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Hey Televisioneer: Some people just seem to hate Laurel, regardless of how she factors into the plot.
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Apparently so.
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I found Gabriel's character more Scarecrow-ish then Joker-esque. With his drug/weapon that deludes the senses and that going insane from his own drug.
I somehow feel that Arrow could be better but that the CW doesn't trust it's audience enough to let the writers come up with more comply stories and characters. I don't know why i have this feeling, but it's there.
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Our beloved Lincoln Lee as the Count? well... to me not the best casting choice....

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This was a sloppy script written without understanding anything. Scientific stuff was awful: he's dealing with vertigo yet somehow it also goes through the pain center of the brain? Sounded like nonsense, and I couldn't find any medical data to back it up. Why throw out the actual vertigo aspect of the character? Not enough time to show it? Then there's the whole "stop their heart for a long time" thing first with the Russian mob victim and then with Ollie himself on the island, the mob victim had no heartbeat for minutes so he'd surely suffer brain damage, but Ollie was hearstopped at night and pushed into the waterfall during the day, so his brain should have been jelly even before the issue of him not being able to have survived that fall going in sideways. And using a miniscule amount of water to track down a specific part of town where a drug was made was silly, first off not just because Felicity is a computer tech and not CSI Miami, but also because drugs wouldn't be made with filthy tap water and even if they were there's no way to track water to that small a location not the least of which because where would Felicity have gotten water data that precise on the entire city block by block?

They also seemed to have no interest in understanding drug users or drug use, but that's more about character motivations which this review covered well - The Count's just a caricature, Thea's all over the map - but also there was Ollie's old girlfriend who is now on the SCPD, and don't forget Detective Lance who finds out Ollie was at a drug buy and just lets it pass, c'mon! And Felicity with this "does she know or doesn't she" crap, what's her motivation? Oh, right, she's serving a plot point and nothing more.

Thea's storyline disappointment was also mirrored in the shallow acting, the last few weeks she's felt nuanced and conveyed depth, then it's all thrown out the window here for one-dimensional hand-flinging draaaamaaaa, it was very disappointing. I'd like to say as disappointing as Laurel, but here again Laurel was the most shallowly-acted main character playing straight to the soap opera standards, over-emoting and dull-eyed at every turn - I want to like the actress, but she keeps not bringing it, scene after scene, and it can't all be on the director when others in the scenes are on a higher level.

What about this extra character, vice Detective McKenna? She hands over a file on The Count, the file is threadbare, yet through the magic of TV she shows up at both of The Count's appearances and nearly catches him, that's silly, and to chalk it up to a "CI" is utterly stupid. The CI saw Ollie yet had nothing else to say about that meeting, like Ollie admitting he was Russian mob and drumming up a drug business? I was only surprised that Det. McKenna didn't immediately turn out to be on The Count's payroll at the end of the episode, as her appearance was just so sudden and she seemed so involved yet clean-handed that the show would normally use that as a turncoat.

Then there's The Count and his drug, I hated this. First off, The Count seems to be using epoxy syringes, that was a laughable piece of prop design. Why change The Count from being a European guy, where a nickname like "Count" could have come from, to being a vampire-related reference for an American guy? Laziness pretending to be "realistic" writing, they convoluted it up so bad. Then the drug makes no sense at all, and Ollie gets injected with half a dose while the street version is a pill, why go with injected or swallowed when a gas or even a light-based transmission could have been more watchable and believable? Ollie then repeats the rush to the Arrowcave to get more magic herb juice, and at this point one might think he'd just carry a plastic vial on his belt for the times he's needed it in the field. And the payoff of the Vertigo drug was junk, it created mild vertigo in our hero, who then pulled a Batman and didn't bother using his bow at all.

That leads me to the action, once again clumsily addressed. Arrowman marches up some stairs and beats the crap out of a ton of dudes despite his vertigo problem, far more effectively than he does with his bow and arrow. Arrowman earlier in the episode shoots a guy's jacket so the sleeve traps him against a high up crane, apparently Ollie's arrows can penetrate steel and have the ability to keep fabric from tearing and keep a guy from slipping out of sleeves. It's like the writers hate writing this show, like they want to be somewhere else and are just writing Arrow to collect a paycheck.

And there's the frustration of the motivations, Ollie initially is rushing to capture The Count quickly, taking huge risks with his Russian Mob contacts and even meeting face to face with a drug buy, all to keep his sister from hard jailtime; yet when Thea partway through the episode gets a save through Laurel, Ollie continues that pace for no reason. When Ollie is incapacitated with vertigo, why doesn't he just call the cops? Does he have that poor an opinion of them? They nearly busted the guy the night before without Ollie's help. What's the point of going for a big grab? And what's The Count's motivation, he's all over the map so is he an anarchist, what are his goals beyond selling a designer drug? I couldn't see any, he's just violent and wants money and to sell drugs, that's not really supervillain territory and it's not terribly compelling character territory.

Ultimately, this was a clumsy, shallow episode. It wasn't the worst of the series mainly because this show just isn't that good, were Arrow a better show this episode would have been an embarrassment. I'm starting to really miss Ollie's inner thoughts, and the timeline on the island flashbacks seems to be in realtime now so what should be weeks captured in a camp is an overnight romp. This episode lacked real characters, real motivations, real villains and real threats. It did have some story movement with Moira and Thea and Ollie, and it had an exciting if pointless arrowless fight scene in a staircase that was fun to watch, but once again there's really not enough vision or passion driving this show to be better than a clunky, repetitive mess.
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Thanks for taking the time to adress everything I thought was so bad about this episode. I was really too lazy to do it as there was SO much wrong with it. It's great to see that not everybody was positively impressed by this episode (which I really cannot understand by any means).
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Great Points! The episode was also a let down for me after the the previous one and am not a medical expert but the heart stopping for several hours was clumsy and shallow, Vertigo should have been an episode to let others like Diggle shine considering its effect on Ollie but he stilll performs at 100 %.
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You just brought up an interesting point that bugged me, we have a scene where Ollie is insane from vertigo (what?) and trying to kill Diggle, then Ollie wakes up and he's handcuffed to the gurney, without enough statement as to how that happened. I suppose the writers were going for a closing act moment of "maybe he'll kill Diggle" but honestly, the audience doesn't believe that's possibly going to happen, so why not explore how it got reversed, if not in an action scene then at least a few coy comments from Diggle? Just a little more suggestion would have given Diggle a moment, and that absence resonated with me quite a bit in that moment as well.
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Diggle handcuffed him to the gurney to protect both of them while Oliver, crazed with pain, rode out the Vertigo. Can't have a guy as dangerous as Oliver loose while he's out of his mind. He survived because he'd only (for some reason) gotten half the lethal dose from The Count's lethargic thumb.

The only part that I'd consider loose is that Diggle didn't have some kind of rag or ball-gag in Oliver's mouth so he wouldn't mash his teeth out. It...may've looked a little to emasculating for his character. And I guess Diggle, too, as handcuffs are a hell of a lot easier to explain than a ball-gag.
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I can't reply to your comment below in this threading, but Ollie wasn't trying to kill himself, he was trying to kill Diggle. Also, Ollie wasn't fully restrained when he awoke, he only had 1 arm cuffed, he could have easily killed himself if that had been his goal, so it suggested to me that he was restrained to avoid harming others, not himself.

I wasn't suggesting Diggle be shown as Ollie's nurse, I was suggesting Diggle make a crack about the violence he returned upon Ollie to restrain the crazed superhero. Batman doesn't look weak just because he has Alfred to watch out for his needs, I wouldn't fault Ollie for having Diggle in that same role.
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Hm, I don't get how the drug's effect on Ollie didn't make sense to the show's logic. They'd showed that an overdose on Vertigo is so painful, the drug dealer used his one bullet to kill himself rather than take out The Count.

Oliver got half of an overdose (again, wtf), so it wouldn't kill him, but it had to be painful as hell, and it makes sense that he'd need to be restrained while he came down. He'd left his bow right next to that table earlier before he left that night, the Vulcan Death Hold, etc..

As for Diggle, yeah, it was a shame that they didn't give him more credit, but honestly, they've made Oliver look weak enough lately. It wouldn't do for his brand for them to show Diggle giving Oliver more water, wiping his brow, and telling him he'll be okay while he screams for his mommy and begs Diggle to kill him or knock him out. So yeah, I'm the first person to say that Diggle needs more badass points, but if they wouldn't even let him save the day in his own episode last week, they're not gonna focus on it here. If anything, since Oliver didn't get a lethal dose, it's arguable that Oliver could've survived completely on his own somewhere under a bridge, with Diggle 'looking for him everywhere.'
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I wasn't trying to say the scene didn't contain its own logic, merely that the drug's affect on Ollie didn't make sense to the show's logic; and that Diggle didn't really get to make enough of a character moment out of stopping Ollie.
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Interesting
I agree with your points except I don't hate the show so far and I haven't yet given up hope on the show...it's ok (not great and not atrocious) and has potential. I just hope the writers make good use of the potential of the show.
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I don't hate the show, I just don't love it and was hoping it'd be getting better - that is the definition of hope, but so far it's of a crushed hope which leaves me very frustrated, especially since last week's episode was much better without even trying to be "good".
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Arrow's been disappointing me lately, as at this point I'm simply expecting more. It is a very solid show, there are strong elements, but... I want to see more moments of greatness, more moral ambiguity, more shades of grey, and overall a more complicated approach to writing (something Smallville had suffered from as well).
I'll talk about the bad for now, and perhaps focus on the good at some point later.

I really had high hopes for the Bratva material. Having Oliver maintain that valuable relationship (his entry into the criminal underground, as it were) was a good move. I also felt it was interesting to put the character in a position where he has to do what it takes. There he was, asked to murder a man in cold blood. And for a little while, I actually thought that he did it. That his possible explanation to Diggle would be along the lines of: "I had no choice. The man they asked me to eliminate couldn't have been innocent if he had gotten involved with the organisation in the first place. If I didn't do this or hesitated, they would've killed him anyway. And they would've suspected us, which would put our relatives at risk and strain our further contacts".
But no, instead we had Oliver performing a magic trick that would render his target seemingly dead (I may not be that well versed in human physiology, but this doesn't seem realistic?). Not just simply unconscious! The Bratva guy checked for a pulse, so unless he was an incompetent idiot who couldn't sense one, he shouldn't have been that easily fooled. And then Oliver restored his victim to life several (?) minutes later - no ill effects, nothing. Asked Diggle to get him a new idenity, but he didn't bother checking if the guy he had just saved wasn't one of the horrible thugs that The Hood usually disposes of.
In the end, it all amounted to a moment of cheap drama (getting good at those, Arrow!) with no consequences. Our righteous hero just happened to know a way to get out of a tricky situation. He had dangerous Russian mob played like a bunch of half-wits. There was no tough choice to be made. His soul stayed pure, he didn't need to get his hands dirty. Cooooooop ouuuuuuuuut.


Theopratt covered the C.I. issue (what the hell was up with that one, really) quite well, so I won't be repeating the same arguments. I will state though that it totally didn't make sense to me. Only a few selected people knew where the meet was taking place. If Bratva commander was in cahoots with the police, what would be his reasoning? If it was to rid off the competitor (The Count), then taking the risk when he himself was at the scene was stupid. And wouldn't the Bratva chapter in the city be closed down by now if he was feeding the cops other information? Plus, Count's hideout was a secret to him. Any peons from Bratva/Count organizations just wouldn't be in the know. Which leaves Diggle, which would be a horrible move on part of the writers. There was no guarantee that the Count would show up in person or even spill the beans as to the location of his facility, and it would make Oliver a rat in the eyes of Bratva. Lose-lose. I'm calling bullshit on this whole C.I. business until we are given a satisfying explanation.
Also, how on earth did Detective Hall recognize Oliver on the scene? Wasn't she moving in from the opposite direction on the Bratva car? Super sight? Wouldn't that make Detective Lance simply blind, as he wasn't more than a few yards away from both Oliver and Diggle, and still didn't recognize any? As for O&D, why in seven hells would they stand still while the cops were closing in, allowing for an easier identification? They hardly moved until the police were out of their cars and yellled at them the usual.


Thea... Eh. It would really take the dumbest of the dumb teens to think that prison might be a good choice. Giving up your usual life and all the privileges? She could've easily come up with a number of ways to get back at her mother while in her little angst, ones that didn't include hurting herself in the process. A little self-preservation?
And that reconciliation betweeen a mother and a daughter. Cringe-worthy. All is forgiven, one big happy family again. The daughter suddenly saw the light and swore to correct all her wrongs.

Reckless Oliver is getting a little tiring. Oh noes, The Count was about to take over the city with the help of his little drug. Waiting a few hours would've caused irreparable damage! Because drug dealers just force their stuff down their customers' throats. All these poor, innocent customers. And because everyone in the city would be doing nothing else but taking Vertigo, obviously.
The way the show handled this whole drug business was more than a little funny. Not tackling the real problems. There wouldn't be a supply if there wasn't a demand. And they made it sound like a disease. A potential pandemic - better watch out or you'll become infected and won't be able to do anything about it.

Too many cliches, too much familiar plotting. Too many cop outs, too much black & white paint. I saw something promising when I was first introduced to Arrow, I would like to start seeing it again. Potential still duly unfulfilled.
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all valid points

I still think the show has potential and I wish the writers would read the comments here to be more thoughtful when writing so we can have better episodes
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Thought it was a good episode.

I didn't mind Seth Gabel, not great, but not terrible either. I think they set up his character to come back, but even more crazy.

I actually liked both the island storyline and the present day storyline, as I thought they played off each other very well.

Thea...is a teenage girl. I lived with a teenage girl and no offence, but they can be kinda nuts sometimes (they do grow out of it eventually).

So does Felicity know that Oliver is Arrow? Or is it one of those, "I won't ask questions and I trust you, but I know something is up" type of deals? I like that she told Oliver about Moira and Walter though.

Me thinks that the new cop has a thing for Oliver. How many episodes before that plays out? I give it 2-3.

I do agree with the review in that I like Arrow and I think it could be really good, but personally I am not all in yet. These last couple episodes have started to lay the foundation for the rest of the season, so I hope as the storylines reach their climax, that ARROW can get to another level.
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But here’s another thought. Why bring the book to Oliver and confide in him? Sure it involves his family. But Felicity is aware the book may have cost Walter his life. She must be aware that showing the book to Oliver puts him in similar jeopardy. And she’s also aware of the apparent connection between the names and the Hood, and the connection between Oliver’s “ridiculous lies” and the Hood’s activities (unless she doesn’t follow the news or lives on another planet). So she must think Oliver will be able find out what’s going on and what happened to Walter without suffering the same fate. I’d say the Felicity character is smart enough to at the very least suspect a connection between Oliver and the Hood, even if she’s not thinking at this point that he is the Hood.
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I think it's the - I won't ask questions and I trust you, but I know you know more than you're telling me - deal. From her facial expressions it seems Felicity knows Oliver was lying when he said he hadn't seen the book before, and from his expressions and the questions he asked, she must know Oliver is aware of the book's significance.
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Oh, what did I said last week... the geek chick is CUTE.
And I'm starting to like Diggle, at first he was the usual soldier guy with a stick in his ass, but around Oliver he's stating to act like a cool dude.
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what? Diggle was most liked character from start and I think best thing Arrow had in it's start. Without Diggle,I don't think show would get full order for season. He and Ollie have more chemistry than Ollie and Laurel.
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Well, I didn't felt that way. Just my opinion, you know...
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I always thought that Seth Gabel and Cillian Murphy had a strong resemblance not just their looks but also the vibe. Seth's performance sort of harkened back to Murphy's portrayal of the scarecrow in batman begins more than the joker for me.
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I had the exact same thought while watching. Joker (especially in the Nolan reboot) was actually very, very sane, calculating and manipulative. (and, y'know, totally evil) Where as Scarecrow was more leaning to the bat-crap crazy side. I had heard before watching that he was going for a Joker-feel, but I think he hit more on the Scarecrow-Crazy. Either way, fantastic performance and I can't wait to see The Count post-Vertigo.
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So far I love Felicity, and I feel like Janina Gavankar would be a huge improvement over Laurel...
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Diggle and Felicity are fantastic. I like how Diggle can go from straight man to comic relief at the drop of a hat. Diggle has a lot of amazing tiny moments like when Oliver and Felicity are talking and Diggle just leaves once Oliver's BS gets too ridiculous. The exchanges between Felicity and Oliver are just hilarious. She's a lot like Lucius Fox but awkward and with the UST. I really hope there's a Diggle and Felicity episode at some point.

I actually like The Count. He's a huge departure from the comic character but I think he fits the show better. I really hope they don't give him superpowers. I actually wouldn't be surprised if they never introduce superpowers.
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Just for the record, the producers have made clear that superpowers will not be a part of the show. Heroes or villains alike.
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Well, my overall comments about the episode were that I was a little disappointed about the Count. I guess I would have liked to learn more about him, and somehow I am seeing a combination of the Dark Knight's joker and Scarecrow in him. I guess depending on Seth Gambel's availability, we might get some fun like therapy episode where we learn his name and some of his history, like when the Island flashbacks get a little, well, we know Oliver now so he is not in real trouble...But it was just kind of a let down....

I really liked the Felicity scenes, just because, well first it was the bs line that followed the first line and then the fact that Oliver was totally ready to do his whatever personality when she asked if she could trust him and then he shook it off and suddenly it was the Oliver we see with Dig. Then the whole range of emotions that went over his face when he was figuring out what Felicity was telling him about thirty seconds ahead of her.

I do also hope for more character development episodes, and I assume they are coming because of the introduction of Roy Harper. Heck, just focus on the Triad and finding Walter and you would have a lot of character episodes. (I also saw Stephen Arnell on Kelly & Michael yesterday and he is very likeable himself).
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Sort of slammed with stuff, so may not be able to reply to comments until tomorrow or Saturday (sorry!).

I will say, regarding the CI thing, there's a few possibilities in my mind, at least based on this episode.

1) It's the old Bratva guy, as some of you have put forward;

2) It's Diggle, which doesn't make sense as he's not actually a criminal so being a "CI" wouldn't be the right categorization for him;

3) It's the guy Oliver used his Vulcan nerve pinch on in the Bratva garage, the one that he told Diggle to set up a new identity for, and Diggle's using him as a proxy to feed the police information.

4) A wizard did it.
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Maybe there is no CI and Lady-Detective is working both sides.
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Also a possibility.
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1, 4, 3, 2
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Vulcan death...sleeper hold? For me, this was actually the worst episode so far. I don't like hatewatching shows, and I'm not there yet with Arrow, but I find myself flatfacewatching lately.

I actually found The Count to be more like The Riddler. Kooky, over-the-top, but lamer than the Joker on a good day. I like that they've let a villain live to grow and cultivate into a super-villain, but unfortunately, he already started out as an insane mastermind. Is the next step for him to be over the top he'd already gone over? (Over the top over which he'd already gone? I dunno.) I think it would've been better if he'd actually began as a cold and calculating supergenius, and then the drugs made him the insane supergenius. It would've been better, more believable, and less extreme.

On a side note, I kinda felt bad for Seth Gabel here. I shouldn't compare his role here to his role from Fringe, but it's sad to see him in such a ridiculous role after the serious and competent character he had there.

It's a CW thing, I think, where villains don't watch television or read newspapers to keep track of things that directly affect their business. Off all the things that are supposed to fly over our heads, the fact that The Count and the Russian Mafia both had no clue that Oliver Queen's sister was currently on trial for DUI of Vertigo is the worst thing I've seen here. Usually, the cops are inept, but the boss bad guys are at least a little smarter. And I guess the Mob will never even assume that the cops were there because of Oliver, because...they'd kill his entire family in one night. Good thing they're stupid.

Thea...Noel covered it, if a little more nicely. Laurel, ditto. Tommy, however...we all know how this ends with him and Laurel, and how that sets up things for him and Oliver, but I thought they had a decent chance to really drip in Tommy's building resentment with more camera shots of his seething face, but all they really got in was him closing the door after Oliver left. It could be that they didn't want Tommy to look like too big a tool for getting pissed that Oliver would ask Laurel for help with his sister, but if they wanted to keep Tommy a little fresher, they shouldn't have had him there. It's like they wanted to do both, and barely did either.

Again, I hate flashbacks, especially when they cut to a commercial like we're supposed to wonder if someone's about to die in the flashback...when we know they're alive in the present. I think my post last week got cut off before Yao Fei, but I'd said that he was either a scumbag who was playing Oliver, or he was still teaching him Big Boy lessons from the inside. Aside from the fact that I like looking at waterfalls, I don't see what this recent arc of flashbacks achieved. It would likely make Oliver wiser and slower to assume/trust, but that didn't come into play this week. The Vulcan Death Sleeper Hold was used this week, but it seemed forced, something to throw in so Oliver could gain approx. six more hours of trust with the mob so he could save a sister most people don't like.

I swear to God (even though I'm an Atheist) I was done this week, and they pull me back in with Felicity. I'm glad they made it official that she didn't buy Oliver's ridiculous excuses, I'm glad they've mainstreamed her into Oliver's storyline, and I'm glad Oliver's finally onto Moira's trail. Maybe he'll actually take a minute or two to check on Walter. I mean, I know Oliver never liked him much, but c'mon. I thought he was at least worried about his family's cohesion.
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all excellent points

I hope the writers of the show read these comments so they can improve the show
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Just get rid of Thea, she is annoying. The actress is also quite terrible. I would like to see more of Felicity. I think she, Oliver and Dig could make a great team.
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It probably wasn't that easy to find an actress with a mole on her lip in the same place as the actress who plays her mother.
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Personally I think Thea is just getting crappy script... It seems they just are just throwing in useless arcs about her just to keep her on the screen. She needs to go to school or something and stay out of a couple episodes until they can think of something more creative to do with her.
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I agree the script is awful but the actress doesn't help either. I saw her in Gossip Girl and she didn't impress me. On the other hand, if they cut out Thea there is no one left of that family. She needs a purpose not just to fill the screen with utter nonsense.
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Speedy's love interest. I am not even joking.
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Ufff I'm sorry but Thea and all the family-plots are completely annoying me. Why would anyone write annoying TV characters on purpose? She's completely over the top and I don't see her being a realistic character at all. Then all the "I just listened to the conversation but chose to enter later to deliver a random gotcha-line" thing is quite sloppy writing, too.
Now, I hope the identity of the CI will be revealed soon because otherwise this was just another "convenient" way to resolve the situation (like the Hood escaping from the police in the warehouse running away at gun point? That didn't make any sense really).
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I was thinking the CI was Diggle for some reason... who knows. As far as the escape at the end... that was retarded.
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Yeah, did anyone see that old Crow movie with Brandon Lee? Where the cops said "FREEZE," and he put his hands up...and did some sort of Kan Kan dance out the side exit before they started shooting? It reminded me of that, but they managed to make it ridiculous *and* funny.
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Haha yes, that was so hilarious!
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I just want to say, Oh my god, its Lincoln from Fringe! Love his character in Fringe. Its funny because December, one of the observers was also on the show as the Russian mob garage guy. Fringe reunion anyone?

I saw The Count more like Scarecrow than Joker but I also thought that the writers were trying to make an insane villain for Arrow. I was hoping he, The Count, did more than manage a drug lab. He wasn't really terrifying other than making a drug that can kill you. Now if we actually knew more about him and showed us his real motive for making those kinds of drugs, then it would have been really interesting. But no, he is just some insane guy who has drugs.
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Wait no mention to the fact that the russian guy is a observer (December i think) and lincoln lee? i mean Fringe 4 Life :D
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Gah. I replied to this comment but needed to edit and then reposted it and apparently it didn't post:

I've only seen like the first 3 or 4 episodes of Fringe and then stopped watching, never circled back. So feel free to flog me as you see it.
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lol I knew I recognized that, could place it for some reason. That's kinda funny cause now I'm thinking he's the CI
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I like that Thea's middle name was revealed to be Dearden, the surname of the second Speedy, Mia Dearden.

I would have liked Count Vertigo to be more classic, use some sort of device that sent out a sound that messed with a persons equilibrium or something. Also, he was a little too Dark Knight Joker here. I mean he did that pretty well, but it works for the Joker, not so much for Count Vertigo.
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I totally missed that Dearden thing. Very nice pick-up.
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I always get Seth Gabel and Sebastian Stan mixed up, ggh so annoying. Only now, after reading this, I realize it was Seth Gabel all along. For me its like the SNLs sketch Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney (Also Rupert Everett)? -_-
Otherwise, yea, Thea is stupid, liked the episode though.
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This was actually a very good episode. Thea is annoying , yes, but if you ever spend just a whole day with people that age (lets not forget her emotional baggage) you will find out most are exactly like that. Weird logic, no sense and their mind boggling antics will annoy you. So as unstable and annoying as she is,I'll take her exactly the way she is. All what she is,give Oliver responsibility to his living family. A hero with responsibilities, conflicted, dual persona..with a body like that.. I'll have that!.
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I dont' know Noel....*does the scale gesture with hands* Having to be Laurel's intern at CNRI or prison? I choose PRISON ANY DAY OF THE WEEK !!!

While I think this was, one of the better episodes of Arrow and I liked it very much, I did hate the fact,they made Count Joker-esque and it was just too much. I liked Diggle saying " Your bs stories are getting worse" and Ollie replying "Well aware".
Hopefully now we get more of Smoak and less Laurel.
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Enjoy prison! ;)
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So,what you mean is, that I won't enter prison as queen,but when I get in,I will be made into one? :P All I know is, I ain't picking up no soap in showers! :D :P
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I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Count though. On the one hand, I'm glad that a villain actually survived an episode, and I'm also a fan of Seth Gabel. I also liked how he got a dose of his own medicine at the end, implying that if he survives he will definitely be stranger and probably more over the top. On the other hand, though, he did cross that line a little; you know, the one that determines whether or not a character can actually do what they supposedly do. In this case, the Count is a drug dealer, but he does a terrible job of actually dealing drugs. Hears a little tip for anyone who tries to push any drug ever: don't have your primary selling point be the amount of people that died in order for the drug to be made. Seriously, it was like he wanted everyone to know he was evil and crazy, in case they hadn't gathered that already. So yes, it was hard to swallow a drug dealer telling a brand new, extremely wealthy buyer that more than thirty people died to create one batch of their hot new drug. The Joker can get away with such crazy, unbalanced antics because his goal in life is to create and spread chaos, not buy and sell goods.

All that being said, I welcome the Count as a recurring character. The Arrow needs a crazy villain, especially since the Dark Archer is already a strong, smart, and calculating nemesis. If the Count survives and comes back, he should provide a good amount of unpredictability and mania to the mix. And speaking of the Count being captured, no one so far has mentioned the source that led Oliver's cop friend to both the meeting and the drug factory. I found it very strange that the police had a small, skimpy file on the Count, one which contained almost nothing; and yet, in a short period of time a confidential informant told Officer Hall two very key bits of information that lead directly to the Count. This is strange for two reasons, the first being that Oliver in no way had to be involved on this one, as the police would have taken down the Count at almost exactly the same time as him. So this time the Arrow actually got in the way, and caused a lot of unnecessary fallout.

The other strange thing about this whole affair is the identity of this CI. It can't be Oliver since he seemed surprised both times the police showed up, they seriously messed up his groove both times, and in order to be a CI his cop friend would need to know his identity, as well as how he was involved with the drug world. So that leaves someone from either the Russian crime organization or the Count's organization. My money is on the Russian crime boss guy, as it would be beneficial for him to use the police to take out certain people that he doesn't like or wants to get rid of for some reason. But still, regardless of who the CI turns out to be, it's strange that until now they haven't given out any useful information whatsoever. And it also makes you wonder why the only two useful pieces of information, so far, have been the meet that Oliver was part of, followed afterward by the location of the Count's lair. If the CI is in the Count's camp, you would think they would've given up the location of the lair a while ago. And if the CI is in the Russian crime organization camp, it's unlikely that they would know the location of the Count's lair. No matter which way you look at it, this whole CI business seems very fishy, and I just hope that there's a fun little unmasking of them at some point, that they are in fact someone we've seen before, and that this CI thing was just a way for the writers to get the police on the scene for once and that we never discover the identity of the CI ever.

While I had some issues with the Count and the CI thing, this episode was great overall. In particular, it set up some great relationships and situations for the future. Thea will be working closely with Laurel, which means that she'll hopefully be a bigger part of the cases of the week, as opposed to having side stories where she's unhappy about something, or hurt, or partying, or whatever. I seem to be one of the few people who actually like Thea as a character, and I think this is a great step for her. I completely agree with Noel that her wanting to go to jail in order to stick it to her mom was so incredibly unrealistic. I hope that since she'll be working with Laurel from now on, the writers will have her be much more reasonable, and not crazy because she just needs something to say.

And of course the biggest step forward was Felicity meeting up with Oliver to let him in on his mom's dark dealings. Someone commented that Arrow is like Smallville with elements of the Dark Knight thrown in. One that worked very well for Smallville, and didn't happen so much in the Nolan series but comes up quite a bit in the Batman genre in general, is the concept of someone guiding the superhero through missions and acquiring information for them. I hope that Felicity will become that person, the Arrow equivalent to Watchtower in Smallville, since she's already started to do that a little. If she's as smart as the show claims she is, she probably already has a strong suspicion that Oliver is the Arrow, and the sooner he bring her on board the better. If I were writing this show, I would have either Tommy or Thea killed off in at the end of this season, and I would bring Felicity on as a main character for the second season. That way Felicity can take over the researching/coordinating opp duties that are currently shared by Diggle, Oliver, and well, herself, and Diggle can get out in the field more. Which is something that DIggle really needs, since at this point he's looking less like Robin, and a lot more like Alfred.

So I certainly am looking forward to future episodes. It looks like Oliver and Felicity will be teaming up more often, Oliver will be finding out the truth about his mother, and it looks like he'll be arrested, again. I can't wait to see how he's going to get out of this one: "It's perfectly simple, your honor. It was a sting, plain as day. I just kept on paying people money until a got a meeting with the Count. Honestly, you guys should try it sometime. You might actually catch some criminals for once." Yeah, that one's going to be fun.
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great post and I agree with most of what you said except it wasn't a favorite episode of mine. I do want more Felicity in the show but what she can do seems like a superpower---lol, like many characters of numerous shows---she can do "everything"---run a mass spec (or whatever to determine the chemical), hack anything, etc. Regardless, I enjoy her character and would prefer more of her then a lot of the other characters. Same goes for Diggle who seems the most "human" of them all--one of the better characters. Interesting points about the CI
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Apparently Deadshot survived. Somehow...
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Yeah, I saw that Deadshot isn't dead stuff after I filed this, and I'm all, "Wait. What."

I guess there's a chance Ted's still alive too?
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Sorry, when I first responded to your comment I thought you had said Deathstroke, not Deadshot. He survived then, I completely missed that. Well, that's two villains of the week that aren't in jail or dead. Good. I'm glad to hear that Deadshot survived, I like that character a lot.
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Given he took an arrow to the head, I don't think you missed it. :)
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I was going off of what was said in the review, that the Dark Archer isn't an episode to episode villain for Oliver, the woman with the white hair is a member of the triad that hasn't been around in forever, and Deadshot is still on the island. When I said that it's nice to see a villain survive, I was referring to the villains of the week, who have almost always been killed or thrown in jail. The Count is pretty much the only one that has the potential to be a serious, recurring villain for Oliver, in the sense that he has that super-villain feel to him, and isn't just a rich guy who's embezzled or laid off a lot of people.
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Hey Theopratt, great analysis, made me LOL. Especially the whole CI thing. Yeah, that didn't make much sense in this episode. Also don't think they need to kill off Thea or Tommy, they're useful background color. But for christ sake keep them out of the foreground until they're actually needed for something.
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I do agree with you about Thea and Tommy, in that they don't need to be killed off. Unlike most people I actually like both of them. I was saying that I would kill one of them off on the purely practical level. I think Felicity would be much better placed as a main character, and for this to happen (financially speaking, of course) one of the current main characters would have to go. Diggle shouldn't go, since he's on the Arrow team. Laurel and her dad have already gotten pretty involved with the cases, so they always have something to do. Moira is one of the most interesting characters on this show, being the mother of Oliver but also being part of the big bad conspiracy, and really shouldn't leave. So Tommy and Thea are left. Sure, Tommy is working on the club and dating Laurel, and Thea will soon be working with Laurel, but these characters (in my opinion) are the least essential to the show. They are also very important to Oliver, so if one of them died it would mean a big emotional impact for him. So yeah, I'd kill one of them off to show that main characters can die on this show, to give Oliver another reason to fight, and to leave room for Felicity to swoop in as a main character. However, if the CW would sign off on adding one more starring role to the list, then I wouldn't kill one of them off.
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See your point. And it definitely would provide a huge emotional impact if either of these characters died. also agree Diggle, and to an even greater extent, Moira and Felicity, are essential to the seasonal plot arc. Should get interesting from this episode on. Just have to wait to see how the show runners handle it.
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I agree with iLoVeTv0002. For me personally, this is getting better and better.
The only episodes I really had issues with were both episodes with the Huntress. It just didn't work for me. Everything else in this series keeps me glued to the calendar waiting for the next Wednesday to come.

Vertigo in particular was a great episode in my book. The Count was entertaining to say the least. Thea's behavior was not at all surprising, and as usual annoying, and as was pointed out an all around lack of logic. But I noticed that the review was a bit harsh on this, so here's my opinion of it, take it or leave it. What gives it a level of credibility for me is my own interactions with my sister of the exact same age. Literally the same general behavior. Decisions that make zero sense, a sky-high attitude level, saying/doing things to spite our mother, irrational thinking, mood swings... at first glance to someone who might not have a crazy family life, it might seem like some really bad scripting, but I think the writers are actually somewhat spot-on with this episode and Thea's thought process. Not all teens would act this way, but some do, I think it just depends on the circumstances and history. My sister's dad disappeared when she was young, and I think that has an effect on her, and I'm not the only person to say so. I was also on non-speaking terms with my mother for just about 5 years, and that included not seeing my siblings either, and somewhere during that timeframe my brother (also older than her) moved away as well. When everything calmed down, and I returned to the family, I was really surprised to see her the way she was -- rebellious, spontaneous, obsessed with boys and drinking and drugs.... it was a complete parallel of what I always thought she would turn out like. I suppose that's part of the reason I like Arrow so much. It hits home in a way. ;) I even got to listen to a speech almost just like the one Oliver got from Thea about "judging her".

The part with Oliver telling Thea the truth about Robert and her not taking it at all at first and claiming not to believe it, then later just randomly showing up in the middle of a conversation between Oliver and Moira and suddenly she's accepted it, that part doesn't confuse me at all. That kind of thing is a normal kind of deal with my sister, lol. The relationship between my mother and my sister is very much like Moira and Thea in a lot of ways. Thus, another reason why I think the writers are actually doing a decent job in depicting a (troubled) teen that is having a hard time coping with unfortunate events. Maybe they've taken to some psychology books or something. *shrug*

However, I do agree with the strangeness of the scenes with Thea/Moira/Oliver in this episode for someone who may not have the background like I do. I can see how it wouldn't make sense.

I haven't seen any mention of the new girl yet. She somewhat annoyed me. Something about her character just..... I don't know. I can't put a finger on it. I feel like she's gonna be trouble in future episodes, like she (almost) was in this one.

I can't decide if I agree with Oliver's decision to inject The Count with Vertigo or not... I mean, on one hand, he DID deserve it. On the other hand... it doesn't fit the hero image, just like Quentin pointed out. I liked that we were getting into the groove of Oliver as the hero rather than the vigilante... and then here comes this episode with Quentin calling him a killer. Meh.

Felicity meeting up with Oliver and telling him about her and Walter's private detective work was exciting to say the least. I'm really interested in seeing where this leads, what kind of partnership they take up from here, and I really want to know more about Moira's involvement in the Gambit accident. It's so weird seeing her be protective of her kids while full knowing that she was involved in some kind of plot to kill Robert which also involved one of those said kids....

Is it next Wednesday yet?
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I enjoyed this episode of Arrow. Much better paced than episode 11. But it didn’t move me and I still have the same issues as I’ve commented on before. The Thea, Moira, Oliver family relationship has been established, and it isn’t a subplot. It’s a superficial, credibility straining, overdone characterization and storyline which only slows Arrow’s actual plot narrative. I totally agree with you Noel regarding "the struggles of the hero having a dual identity and having to juggle the lives that surround the hero are a part of superhero narratives," but so far it's what's been missing form the Laurel, Tommy, Thea and Moira storylines.

And actually the Laurel scenes in this episode were much better minus the Tommy pseudo-drama. I also liked that this episode finally got around to Felicity confiding in Oliver, moving the plot along, if only by a few yards. Coming at the end of the episode was a suspenseful way to end the chapter. I hope the next chapter follows through by pushing their collaboration, and therefore the plot, further along.

This ending also previews some real drama (hopefully) to come (given the already established family dynamic) as Oliver investigates his mother’s connection to the book of names and Walter’s disappearance.
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Their going-ons are a part of Oliver's life, even if they don't always appear as directly involved as they can/should be. It's a balancing act that their lives exist without Oliver, and when Oliver enters them (or vice versa) there needs to be some sort of tension. Yes, that's largely missing; I'd like more than hints of it, like Oliver and Tommy's awkwardness as the latter answered the door, but I also just feel, because of the squishiness of the arc, that that awkwardness was played up by the actors. It gave some depth, but not a lot.
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We essentially agree on the function the characters around Oliver play in his life. My issue is with the amount of time the episodes focus on these characters when their dynamics have already been well established. They are supporting characters, but too often are focused on like they're the main character, with "going-ons" which are superfluous to the plot.
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I actually like the way they handled Vertigo and the way they are handling the villains in this show. I agree that I would like more character development of the other players and I also wish the overarching plot line would move faster but it does have to fill 11 episodes. This show reminds me of a cross between the Smallville series crossed with elements of Nolan's the Dark Knight movies. If the story moves like Smallville, then it will be choppy and hit or miss until you get 3 or 4 seasons into it.
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I dont know why you still arent all in with this series. It just gets better and better. Awesome Ep can't wait till next week. I love the Felicity and Oliver relationship can't wait to see more of it
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It just doesn't grab me as much as I was hoping it would. I still like it (far more than some folks), but I'm also adjusting expectations because I think it's a firm B-level show right now, and hasn't done too much to break out of that. I'm hoping that the back half of the season will change my mind though. :)

And some weeks I just sort of get annoyed with it because it means I have to wait a whole day to watch Top Chef. ;)
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Hahaha. Know what you mean. Love the B-level grade. I too hope it picks up its game going into the second half of the season.
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I am not sure I liked this one the whole Thea morony kind of annoyed more than usual. I mean she as character is fairly dense, but I didn't for a second believe she was going to commit to jail time to "ruin" Moira's life. So that was kind of worse than usual. Here is hoping that since now a bulk part of the cast revolves in laurels world that it will get a little more in depth with them. Because they need to reduce them to the point of near nothing or expand them.

I also didn't like The Count. He seemed like they were going for a combination of the joker and scarecrow but didnt succeed in pulling either off. I am not sure I mean at least this villain was villainy but at imes it seemed he was trying too hard.

I do however like that Oliver and the nerdy girl are becoming close confidants. Which makes me think that she is eventually going to be brought into the fold because unless she doesn't watch the news most of what she has helped Oliver with has resulted in the Hood taking something down. And I for one welcome that.
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I liked the Count just fine in terms of performance (but, again, partial to that sort of scenery chewing). If anything, Gabel may've been trying to compensate for a lack of meat on the character's bones, and perhaps that where a disconnect is forming? But to borrow your phrase, I'll take a villain that was actually villainy as a sign of good things.

Scarecrow stuff is food for thought, and certainly the parallels are there (and I feel like a dummy for missing them), but I'm still pretty firmly on the Joker-inspiration side if only because, like Gabel said in the interview (or the questioner), Count's current status in the hospital is Oliver's doing, and if/when (based on leading comments from producers) he comes back, Oliver will have to face that, sort of in the same way some Joker origin stories have Batman somewhat responsible for Joker's transformation.
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I think you have a good point. I watched the episode again and did at the end of the second viewing have a greater appreciation for The Count. Because maybe he is going to be another turning point of the show, in that it is going to start to become the "superhero" versus villain kind of a show. However, the way they have set up Oliver, unlike Batman, The Hood doesn't seem like the kind of guy that is going to keep sending him back to prison only to escape and wreak havoc again. Eventually he is going to kill him
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I have to say "vERTIGO" was one of my favorite ARROW episodes so far!
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