Recap

'Arrow' Recap: Vertigo - and The Count - Return While Alliances Form and Break

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Apr 04, 2013 | 1:47am EDT

 Arrow Seth Gabel

I’ve got an issue with Arrow promos… well, not specifically Arrow promos, but TV promos in general. I know it must be hard to cull together a compelling 30-40 second clip teasing an episode without giving too much away each week. But when the promo leads me to believe an episode is going to be all about something I’ve been craving for months and the actual episode is about something completely different, I feel… let down. Betrayed. Disappointed.

That’s how I felt after finished tonight’s "Unfinished Business" – aptly named, since I felt as if the episode itself was unfinished. Now, that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy tonight’s Arrow or think it was a great hour of television. Quite the contrary, in fact. Tonight’s Arrow was stellar and intense and served up more evidence to back up my claim that this show keeps getting better and better with each week (a claim I have been making since the pilot aired). But there was one glaring issue I had that stemmed from the promos I’ve been watching all week in preparation for the episode.

Not. Enough. Seth. Gabel.

Seriously, this episode had been touted as the return of Gabel’s The Count for weeks and weeks. The promos were all about the new, deadlier strain of Vertigo plaguing the streets of Starling City. But The Count wasn’t actually behind it. In fact, we only got about minute total of The Count screen time.

It was actually the doctor who had been in charge of The Count in the mental institution who needed money, figured out the chemical composition of Vertigo, added some anti-psychotics to the formula and faked The Count’s escape from the mental hospital. It was a great bait-and-switch – The Count was so damaged from The Hood’s injection of Vertigo the last encounter they had that he couldn’t even process what was happening in front of his eyes – but I wanted more.

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The more I think about it, I guess this is just a love letter to Gabel. Seriously, if The Count could get his hands on Oliver’s magic island herbs that counteract any poison or drug and come back as the big bad villain for Season 2 of Arrow, I would be ecstatic. But enough about what I hoped/wanted to see. Let’s dive in to what actually happened in tonight’s "Unfinished Business:"

After a Verdant club-goer wandered out into traffic while high on a new strain of Vertigo, Det. Lance suspected she got the drug at Verdant and that Oliver and Tommy were dealing. You see, before Ollie’s five-year stint on the island, Tommy and Oliver were quite known for getting into trouble with the law where drugs were concerned. They even both have the arrest records to prove it.

Both Det. Lance and Oliver as The Hood decided to check in on The Count in the mental hospital since he was the only one who knew the formula of Vertigo, but he was so messed up that he couldn’t even form a real conversation, let alone control a drug trade.

One thing The Count can still do? Recognize The Hood. When Oliver tried to question him, he perked up and snarled, "You are never far from my thoughts. You have failed this city!" Clearly, he can still process a personal vendetta against the man who put him in the mental ward in the first place.

Meanwhile, things were going good romantically for Diggle and Carly (yay!). Kind of awkward that Carly’s son calls Diggle "Uncle," since there’s a good chance he’ll become his father. That’s one messed-up family tree, huh? Diggle’s also still preoccupied with finding Deadshot, and it’s starting to affect his daily life. He’s even having Felicity search for Deadshot and keeping it a secret from Oliver! That’s not going to end well.

Side note: when Oliver pow-wowwed with Diggle about the new threat of Vertigo, Oliver didn’t know the word "crazy" in English… he only knew it in Mandarin and odd miming gestures. It’s the little nuances and details like this that show – without telling – how his time on the island affects Oliver on a daily basis. Also, it was just pretty f**king hilarious.

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Breaking news: The Count escaped from the mental hospital! I guess he wasn’t so crazy after all if he managed to pull that off. Oliver’s so pissed that he missed something that he’s literally FLIPPING TABLES (side note: this is actually my favorite thing to do. No, seriously! I’ve done this at parties for fun. It’s pretty entertaining).

In other not-so-great news, more evidence started piling up that suggested Tommy had something to do with the dead club-goer’s overdose. Turns out, the dead girl texted Tommy before she died, asking for a "hook up." Tommy tells Det. Lance he gets hundreds of texts every night from people trying to get into the club, but coupled with the fact that 10 grand is unaccounted for in Verdant’s bank accounts, and things aren’t looking good for Tommy. Is he dealing Vertigo to Verdant patrons? Or is the money going to fund Ollie’s Arrow activities? Either way, this isn’t something Det. Lance should know about. Something’s going down.

In an effort to track the money trail all the way to the head dealer of Vertigo, Diggle goes undercover to buy some pills with GPS-tagged money. Um, Diggle trying to pull off "hood" isn’t his best look. I’m just saying, stick to the black henleys and leather jackets, please? Thanks. After tracking the cash to a drug deal, The Hood loses track of the dealer but not before blowing up a car. Oliver is not playing around when it comes to Vertigo.

One of the bums who scored some Vertigo from the drug deal took a bunch of pills (smart…) and went crazy at the aquarium. After talking to some fish and scaring a girl, he stole a security guard’s gun – sorry, what aquarium guards carry an actual loaded gun?!? – and it turned into a hostage crisis. Oliver prepped some of his magical island herbs that cure any poison or drug and set off to diffuse the situation. He explained to Felicity before leaving that he won’t kill the bum: it’s not the bum’s fault he’s going crazy. Oliver blames himself, because if he had killed The Count back when he had the chance, the new strain of Vertigo wouldn’t exist and all this trouble could have been avoided.

While Felicity called Diggle to tell him to back up Oliver, he ignored the call and instead met with a woman named Lyla. He gave her all the information Felicity found on Deadshot because she apparently works for NSA or some other big organization that has Deadshot on their Most Wanted list. Interestingly enough, she’s also some kind of ex-love interest of Diggle’s, and seemed disappointed that he wasn’t looking to rekindle whatever they had back in the day. Hmmmm, trouble ahead for Diggle and Carly? I hope not, they are so adorable together!

After some more digging, Det. Lance found out that Tommy used the ten grand to pay off a notoriously corrupt zoning commissioner so Verdant would pass an inspection without actually being inspected. Lance smartly deduced that is because Tommy is hiding something in the club, but he assumed that Tommy is hiding a Vertigo drug ring. Tommy was actually looking out for Oliver so his Arrow Lair wouldn’t be discovered. Lance tried to look around Verdant, but Tommy demanded a search warrant, and with that defiant refusal, a battle was waged between Laurel’s boyfriend and her father. Awkward.

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Lance came back to Verdant with not only a warrant, but also a whole squad of cops ready to make arrests. Thanks to his stalling for time by demanding a warrant, Tommy was able to hide all of Team Arrow’s equipment in the basement and make it look like it was just a storage room. Tommy needs some major props for pulling that off, it couldn’t have been easy, especially all by himself! Even Oliver was expecting to be busted.

Instead of showering Tommy with gratitude, however, Oliver and Tommy get into a huge argument. All their dirty laundry was aired about how they don’t know each other anymore – Tommy doesn’t understand how Oliver became such a cold-hearted killer, while Oliver didn’t accept or realize how Tommy also changed over the five years from a hard-partying bad boy to a responsible adult. Clearly, the issues between these two friends are not going to be resolved anytime soon.

Diggle and Oliver also had a bromantic spat since Diggle didn’t answer Felicity’s calls about backing up Oliver at the aquarium. The bum ended up dying before Oliver could save him and Diggle was too preoccupied with his own personal vendetta against Deadshot to help out. Oliver didn’t think Deadshot was a priority, and Diggle got pissed. Could this be the end of Team Arrow?

After Felicity got the autopsy report back on the bum, she found out he didn’t die of Vertigo overdose. He actually died of anaphylaxis due to an anti-psychotic added in to the Vertigo. This new addtion to the drug meant The Count was operating out of the asylum. What if he faked his breakout, and he faked being insane? This is such a trip, you guys.

Oliver broke in to the mental asylum expecting to find The Count’s base of operations. What he actually found was the shell of a man previously known as The Count. He was so messed up that Oliver realized he couldn’t be behind this. But of course, he realized this too late and the doctor knocked him out. And cue the bait-and-switch! 

Diggle ended up arriving to save Oliver’s ass after the doctor dosed him with Vertigo. Ollie used his antidote and after some neon fancy puke erupted from his mouth (cool), he was good to go. He went after the doctor who taunted him – obviously not realizing Oliver had an antidote – saying, “You don’t look so good. I doubt you could aim a single arrow!” Oliver proved him wrong: he shot three arrows at once, and the middle one hits its target. You spoke too soon, huh, doc? Sorry I’m not sorry.

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What really gave me hope about possibly seeing The Count again (crossing my fingers!) was when Oliver went back to face The Count, who was still restrained in a chair. He almost shot him, but then he lowered his bow. He realized there was no point in killing this helpless, vacant, man. But there was a point in killing Deadshot. And so, Team Arrow was back together, with a single purpose: find and kill Deadshot.

On the flip side, the scene that worried me tonight (aside from the severe lack of Thea/Roy Harper) was after Tommy quit his pride and joy, Verdant, and went to his dad for a job. This is terrible and worrisome for many reasons: Malcolm Merlyn is a bad guy. Malcolm Merlyn wants to kill the vigilante and Tommy knows who that is. Malcolm Merlyn is a bad guy! Seriously, this is going nowhere good. Eek

And in this week’s island flashback, we got to see Shado kick some serious ASS. Slade is clearly into it, and can’t stop flirting with her, but she only has eyes for Oliver – teaching him how to fight, that is! You see, Oliver is anxious to take on Fyres, but he can’t fight for s**t as of now. So Shado Mr. Miyagi’s Oliver with a bowl of water, until he has the strength in his arms to draw a bow. The next step? Shooting an arrow!

We also got a little information on Fyres/Yao Fei’s history. Fyres wants Yao Fei to be a scapegoat for whatever he’s planning, and Fyres kidnapped Shado and brought her to the island for leverage against Yao Fei. What could his plans be? We’ll have to wait to find out! And by wait, I mean wait. The next new episode of Arrow isn't for another three weeks, unfortunately. I seriously don't know what to do with my Wednesday nights until April 24. Help? Please?

The best quotes from "Unfinished Business:"

Oliver: I like how we’ve gone from throwing money at clubs to catching it. Oh, look at these [pulls out a box of panties]. What sort of business has a lost and found that’s just filled with women’s underwear?
Tommy: The best business ever?

Tommy: I thought the vigilante finished off The Count?
Oliver: I did.

Oliver, to Slade and Shado: It’s pretty exciting that both of you are such badasses.

Felicity, to Oliver and Diggle in Arrow Headquarters: Good, you’re here. Of course you’re here, you clearly love it down here.

Diggle: All right! Person of color has successfully purchased your drugs.
Felicity: Hey, I offered!

Felicity: My only experience with drugs was an encounter with a pot brownie my freshman year by mistake. Which could have been fun but I’m allergic to nuts.

Felicity: There’s a lunatic high on vertigo who’s taking hostages and you’re making tea.

Oliver: This guy didn’t fail the city. The city failed him. And so did I.

The Doctor, after knocking out The Hood and seeing his face: Oliver Queen! All those years on that island… guess you really did go crazy.

Diggle, after using a defibrillator to kill a guy: Clear.

The Count: Looks like I’m the last one standing. Sitting. Spinning!

Det. Lance: I guess I owe your boyfriend an apology.
Laurel: He has a name, you know.
Det. Lance: Yeah, but I can’t seem to bring myself to use it. Baby steps.

Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum

[Photo Credit: The CW]


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