By: Adam Basciano
“Vertigo is again appearing on the market even though The Count, who created the drug, is still in a psychiatric hospital. Soon after Oliver confirms that he’s still there, he somehow manages to escape. The Count’s psychiatrist says his patient overpowered him and has concluded that his insanity was just a ruse. The police suspect Tommy may be dealing drugs from the club and Det. Lance gets a search warrant. Oliver is not sure what to believe and Tommy, feeling his onetime friend has no respect for him, quits. He turns to his father for a job. Diggle gives information about Deadshot to a former intelligence colleague. On the island meanwhile, Oliver begins to learn how to use a bow.”
Another episode of “Arrow” to review, and once again another strong installment. I had hoped that the appearance of Count Vertigo wasn’t a one-off and it wasn’t. Although, it’s not as clear-cut a return as you’d think. There is a twist involved. Don’t worry, it’s not a ridiculous one that will ruin the episode, like the Iron-Man 3 twist ruined the movie. The reappearance of the Vertigo drug on Starling City streets causes Oliver to struggle with his stance on killing. He blames himself for not killing the Count and for the re-emergence of Vertigo. Similarly, unbeknownst to Oliver, Diggle and Felicity have been tracking down the whereabouts of Deadshot, as Diggle can’t move on with Carly or help raise her son knowing his brothers killer is still at large. Once again this show has crafted a title that serves the plot of this episode perfectly. The more I think of it, the Count Vertigo/Arrow scenes feel like a rift on the scenes between Batman/Scarecrow in Arkham Asylum from “Batman Begins.”
The trend of Det. Lance hating Laurel’s choice of boyfriend and suspecting him in a crime continues, and is getting slightly redundant to be honest. But the acting exchanges between Katie Cassidy and Paul Blackthorne are so good, it’s forgivable. I thoroughly enjoyed this weeks island flashback. It had a Karate Kid vibe, and added the right mix of seriousness yet fun to the various scenes. There was also a reference to A.R.G.U.S, which readers of the New 52 will be familiar with. The acting in this episode was solid all around. Stand outs were the aforementioned Katie Cassidy and Paul Blackthorne. Stephen Amell’s performance as island Oliver and Arrow are so refreshingly different. The Shado/Oliver Queen/Slade Wilson dynamic is quite a dichotomy, and can best be described as the Bizarro version of “Three’s Company” Emily Bett Rickards continues to endearing herself and her character to me. She provides the perfect amount of humor in the midst of tense situations. The episode was rather light on action, but it didn’t detract from the story at all.
If you think you know where the story is going because of how this one ended, you have no idea. There are so many twists and turns leading up to the explosive finale, making the home stretch of four episodes an absolute roller-coaster ride.