'Arrow' Review: "Vertigo"

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Arrow’ lets loose another episode with its twelfth outing of the series “Vertigo,” as Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) looks to exonerate his sister by bringing "The Count" (Seth Gabel) to justice, while Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) reveals a secret to Oliver.

Last week’s ‘Arrow’ episode “Trust But Verify” saw Oliver at odds with Diggle over his former commanding officer-turned armored car robber Ted Gaynor (Ben Browder), while Thea suspected her mother of having an affair with Malcolm Merlyn.  So, what does the twelfth episode of ‘Arrow’ bring?  Does it hit the same bulls-eye as the first 11 episodes?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Arrow’s latest episode, “Vertigo!”

A criminal flees from the vigilante through an abandoned pier, ultimately finding himself suspended from a beam by an arrow! Oliver demands a name to Vertigo’s supplier, to which the thug reluctantly reveals the mysterious figure's name as “The Count.” Oliver takes the information back to his lair and prepares to go out again, but Diggle reminds him Thea’s hearing takes place in a few hours.

Oliver and Moira escort Thea into the courthouse, wherein the judge denies her plea bargain hoping to make an example of people caught using Vertigo. Moira balks at the possibility of her daughter going to jail, but Thea snaps back with another insult about her supposed infidelity to Walter. Oliver reveals that he has a plan of his own, remembering back to the island how Yao Fei visited him in his island prison cell.

Oliver meets with former party pal and Vice Cop McKenna Hall ('True Blood’s Janina Gavankar), hoping that an arrest of “The Count” would convince the judge to back off his sister, but McKenna explains they have very little on the criminal figure. Meanwhile, The Count himself confronts the thug from earlier, injecting the purest form of Vertigo into his neck, and sending his pain receptors into overdrive. The Count offers him a gun to take revenge, or end his own suffering, which the thug reluctantly chooses.

Next Oliver pays a visit to Laurel, hoping she can convince her father to call in favors with the judge. Laurel takes the request to her father, but Quentin hesitates until his daughter reminds him that Sarah was once a troubled youth who needed help as well. Meanwhile, Oliver and Diggle return to the Bratva garage, hoping to use the connection to set up a meeting with the count. The mobster agrees, on the condition Oliver prove his loyalty by killing a captive deadbeat.

Oliver complies, surprising Diggle, until he reveals outside he only put the man in a deep stasis. Meanwhile, Oliver remembers how Yao Fei took him out of his cage to a fight circle of Edward Fyers’ men, before Fyers selected both Oliver and Yao as the next to battle.

Oliver and Laurel sit Thea down to explain that the judge agreed to probation and community service under Laurel’s supervision, but Thea protests she’d rather go to jail to spite her mother. Oliver reveals what Moira told him earlier, that Robert was actually the one to cheat, before Moira herself appears, angry about her son’s revelation. Oliver reasons that Thea deserved to know the truth, as Diggle announces that a meeting with The Count has been set.

At an isolated meeting spot, the Bratva mobster explains that “The Count” got his name from the unique puncture wounds the drug left in homeless test subjects, as the man himself appears. The Count agrees to provide Oliver with drugs for his club, but the meet is quickly broken up by the appearance of the police, including Quentin and McKenna. Oliver chases after The Count in the ensuing firefight, but the villain doses him with the drug in order to escape.

Diggle drags Oliver back to the lair to be treated, as Oliver drifts in and out of consciousness, remembering how Yao knocked him out with the same move he displayed earlier. When he finally awakens, Oliver insists they get the drug analyzed, despite still suffering a few of its after effects. When he returns home, Oliver finds Quentin and McKenna waiting, McKenna having identified him at the meet. Oliver admits he was trying to find a way to exonerate his sister, and they warn him against continuing his interference. After Moira scolds Oliver, Thea makes up with her mother for hiding the truth about Robert.

As Oliver prepares for another go at The Count, he finds Vertigo’s effects overtaking him once more, sending him into a memory of Yao Fei rolling his unconscious body off a ledge and into an island pool. Back in the present, Oliver comes up with another lame excuse to get Felicity Smoak’s help analyzing the drug, which reveals that its water base comes from a facility in the Glades. Diggle worries that Oliver won’t be able to take on the mission given the Vertigo side effects, but Oliver reminds him he doesn’t need the bow.

Oliver woozily makes his way past guards at The Count’s facility, finally confronting the villain himself as the police arrive. After a brief skirmish, Oliver doses the count with his own drug, but is forced to flee from exacting his full revenge when Quentin appears on the scene. The next day, Thea shows up for her community service with Laurel, as McKenna calls Oliver to let him know they brought down The Count. What McKenna doesn’t know however, is that The Count survived his seemingly fatal overdose, and has been driven even more insane while under psychiatric custody.

That night, Oliver remembers how Yao Fei put a map in his pocket before reviving him and rolling him off the cliff, before Felicity interrupts his flashback. Felicity explains that she knows Oliver has been lying to her, but that she trusts him anyway. As a sign of that trust, she hands over Moira’s book of names, the very one Walter found in the mansion and gave to Felicity before disappearing under mysterious circumstances. Roll credits!

We're starting to piece together from episodes like tonight's "Vertigo, and 'Arrow's earlier midseason premiere 'Burned' that the series could use a bit of work in its villains. Seth Gabel's "The Count" admittedly marked the most "comic book-y" portrayal to date, borrowing a page or two from Heath Ledger's Joker, but the character doesn't resonate very well without adequate time to make an impression. The Joker emerged as an understandable, yet menacing contradiction to Batman, whereas "The Count" feels somewhat out of place and rushed within the episode. The same can be said of the episode in general, which moves a bit too quickly to keep all the plates wobbling sensibly. "Vertigo" marks an interesting step for 'Arrow' to be certain, but one we hope it takes with greater care in the future, so as to not feel so shaky. Heh.

What say you?  Did you feel that ‘Arrow’ hit the mark with its twelfth episode?  What did you like about “Vertigo?” Join us next week for another all-new ‘Arrow’ episode recap of “Betrayal” on The CW!

http://youtu.be/8BLuMRZsbUs

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