Last week, Thea quit being the awesomely insightful sister and became the CW cliché. By that I mean, of course, she did illegal drugs and wrecked a really expensive car in the process. We finished the episode with her getting arrested for driving under the influence of some street drug called Vertigo. To say Oliver was displeased would be true, but he will bring the vehement anger on the dealers instead of getting all mad big bro on Thea.
Let’s find out what happens when you give drugs to Arrow’s baby sister, shall we?
(Need to catch up? Don't miss H&H recaps of the pilot episode, episode 1.02, episode 1.03, episode 1.04, episode 1.05, episode 1.06, episode 1.07, episode 1.08, episode 1.09, episode 1.10, and episode 1.11.) Plus, read Jennifer Proffitt's report on the Arrow cast panel at NYCC!)
***SPOILERS TO FOLLOW FOR ARROW 1.12, “VERTIGO”***
The episode opens with Oliver as Arrow hunting down a bad guy in a rainy alleyway. He clearly is forcing him to run away. The guy ends up on top of a building, and Arrow demands to know who supplies this dealer with Vertigo. His simple statement of “whoever you fear, fear me more” makes the dealer give up The Count as the name. Somehow I doubt he’ll be teaching us our numbers, though.
Back at the Arrow Cave (Digg named it, I’m just going to keep using it until it becomes unfunny), Oliver tells Digg he tracked down three Vertigo dealers and that he now has a name. Digg’s response? “The Count? That’s worse than The Hood.”
Oliver is being a supportive brother, even as they have to take Thea to her court appearance. He offers up advice about what judges dislike (tardiness and tic-tac-toe during hearings). Unfortunately, the judge isn’t in the mood to be kind to Thea. Though a plea agreement was in place, the judge denies it and says Thea is going to trial. He wants her to be the poster child for what happens when someone uses Vertigo.
Immediately after, Thea slips back into super surly mode. I get it. It makes sense, but this storyline just feels too clichéd for this show. I want to care, but I don’t.
FLASHBACK! Oliver is in a small cage, talking to the man in the green hood. He asks him to free him. It doesn’t happen.
Could McKenna Hall be a new love interest? We need a decent romance subplot on this show. She’s a vice cop, which could make a good teammate for him. She knows about going undercover, at least. She shares a miniscule file they have on The Count. Then she tells him to leave the police work to the police. Mixed signals much?
Tonight’s villain, The Count (Seth Gabel of Fringe fame), is delightful in terms of characterization. He’s crazy, cruel and just happens to be plenty hot. Sometimes a crazy villain is hot. Plus, I’m ready for a more interesting on-screen bad guy.
Product placement is getting stronger in this one. Ugh.
Tommy and Laurel are trying to figure out how to be a couple with opposing work schedules. Also, we discover Tommy is a snuggler. This doesn’t really surprise me. Should it?
Oliver shows up to talk to Laurel. Even though he’s said he’s fine with it, I think Tommy is still jealous of, or at least uncomfortable about Oliver and Laurel’s prior relationship. Ollie wants help for Thea. Specifically he wants Laurel to enlist her dad’s help.
She actually asks him to help. She even compares Thea to her sister Sarah. It works enough to get the detective to agree to make calls on Thea’s behalf.
Anyone else really shocked to see Oliver bring Digg to the Russian mafia headquarters? His advice to “just go with it” had to be unnerving for Digg. Oliver tells them he wants to get into the Vertigo business, asks for a meet with The Count and offers the police file over as an invite for a sit down. Then our mafia friends ask for a favor in return: kill a man right there. Ollie chokes him.
FLASHBACK! On the island there is a gladiator-style ring. Oliver is shoved out in the circle to fight against the man in the green hood.
When Oliver is stashing the body in his car’s trunk, he touches a point beneath the guy’s chin and he comes “back to life.” Neat trick, Ollie. Do you do birthday parties, too?
“I look forward to my new and exciting career as a drug dealer.” Sarcasm, thy name is Diggle.
Laurel’s dad was able to get the judge to back off on Thea’s case. He’s agreed to 500 hours of community service and two years of probation with Laurel agreeing to take responsibility for her. Thea turns her down flat. She tells Oliver that she’d rather go to jail to spite her mother. Ollie caves and tells her that their dad wasn’t the man she thinks he was. Nothing a girl needs more when going through a crisis than to discover her beloved, deceased father wasn’t a good guy. Nice timing, Oliver.
Oliver and Digg meet with The Count. When The Count says, “Fifty-six people died to perfect this high,” I find myself thinking Digg won’t be able to contain himself. Instead the police department converge on the deal. As they are escaping, The Count drugs Oliver with Vertigo. His vision immediately blurs and Digg has to help him escape.
I prefer my shirtless Oliver not writhing in pain. However, that’s how we get him this week. Black pants. No shirt. Fighting the effects of Vertigo. Digg works to put together an antidote back at the Arrow Cave and forces Oliver to drink it. (Ollie is trying to choke him during this process.)
FLASHBACK! Oliver is getting his ass handed to him in the fighting circle. So that’s where he learned the fake-death choke move.
When Oliver wakes up back in the cave, Digg has him handcuffed to the table. Probably for all that choking business. He is still shirtless, but complaining of hangover-like feelings. Less sexy than usual.
While The Count wasn’t caught by the police and Oliver took a half-dose, Digg was able to bring back two doses of Vertigo. They’ll analyze them. Maybe answers are in science this time?
Oliver gets home to detectives. This time it isn’t about Thea. My dreams of a McKenna love interest are dashed when she says she saw him at the drug deal with The Count. He caves and admits to being there in an attempt to help Thea. The he lies about not seeing what The Count looks like. Luckily, they aren’t arresting him. It’s good to mix things up.
Thea finally has a talk with Moira. There are tears and hugs and apologies. Oliver just leaves them to it.
The Vertigo is still affecting Oliver. He collapses on the stairs.
FLASHBACK! A seemingly dead Oliver gets shoved off a cliff. Spoiler alert: He doesn’t die for real.
Felicity finally makes an appearance in this episode. She meets Digg, which puts her one step closer to being in the Arrow circle of trust. I so want her to be a part of the Arrow team. This time’s excuse for her help is a friend creating an energy drink. Best part? Felicity saying she’s noticed Oliver takes care about what he puts into his body. Me, too, Felicity. Me, too.
Science to the rescue! Felicity is able to give them an idea of where the Vertigo is made. Digg warns Oliver he’s still feeling the effects of the drug, then agrees Oliver can go if he can hit a tennis ball. He refuses to shoot, and just leaves without the bow.
Oliver as Arrow throws the bad guys around, then wobbles on the stairs. He’s still hot when making bad decisions. But it does make the fight scene a little less awesome. Police are coming to the party, too. Oliver as Arrow makes it to the main room and injects The Count with his own drug. Right as Laurel’s dad points a gun at him and says he’ll shoot if Oliver as Arrow if he doesn’t drop the needle.
Oliver as Arrow throws The Count at the police and flees.
Thea starts work for Laurel in the public defender’s office, and says nice things to her. Perhaps her clichéd story arc is over.
McKenna calls Oliver to say they busted The Count. She is kind of flirty, so maybe there’s still a chance there. The Count is seizing in the hospital. The police won’t get answers out of him.
FLASHBACK! Oliver wakes up in the water, clearly not dead. He finds he now has a map of the island again. His one friend on the island slipped it in his pocket before shoving him over the cliff.
Oliver meets with Felicity outside of the office. She calls him out for dropping ridiculous lies on her, but admits she still trusts him. She hands over a copy of the book with text revealed. He lies and says he hasn’t seen it before. She shares she got it from Walter and that the book belongs to Moira. Felicity thinks the book cost Walter his life.
Highlights: Felicity finally getting involved with the list. I hope this proceeds as I’d like.
Lowlights: Thea and clichés.
While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. Her appreciation of Alexander Skarsgard is well documented. Bother her on Twitter — @ChelseaVBC — she likes it.