‘Arrow’ Review: “Unfinished Business”
‘Arrow’ lets loose another episode with its nineteenth outing of the series “Unfinished Business,” as the resurgence of "Vertigo" leads Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) to investigate the institutionalized Count ('Fringe's Seth Gabel), while Tommy conceals a dangerous secret from a persistent Detective Lance.
Last week’s ‘Arrow’ episode “Salvation” saw Oliver racing to track down a new vigilante villain known as “The Savior,” who soon ensnared Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) in his web, while Laurel learned a shocking secret about her sister’s disappearance from her mother Dinah (‘Doctor Who‘s Alex Kingston). So, what does the nineteenth episode of ‘Arrow’ bring? Does it hit the same bulls-eye as the first 18 episodes?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Arrow’s latest episode, “Unfinished Business!”
Dancing at Club Verdant, a young girl named Veronica Sparks soon finds herself high, then wandering through traffic before a car strikes her dead. Afterward Detective Quentin Lance confronts Oliver and Tommy about the death, revealing that the girl was high on Vertigo at the time, which she likely obtained in the club. This especially confuses Oliver, given that the Count remains incapacitated in a mental asylum, incapable of anything but babbling incoherently.
Back in the past, Shado (Celina Jade) and Slade spar while Oliver watches, fiddling around with a bow. Oliver primarily worries that they need to develop a plan for dealing with Fyers, but Shado instead resolves to teach him to fight. Back in the present, Oliver calls a distraught Diggle away from his nephew, before finding out from Felicity that Count Vertigo has apparently escaped captivity.
Quentin and his partner learn from the Count’s physician Dr. Webb that the man had been faking insanity and overpowered Webb to escape. Detective Hilton informs Quentin that dead girl Veronica Sparks’ phone records show a text to Tommy before her death, as well as off-the-books money from the club, and Quentin resigns to be the one to interrogate him lest Laurel think he wants to sabotage their relationship.
After Diggle goes undercover to hand marked bills to the Vertigo drug dealers, Felicity provides him with vague information that could lead to Floyd Lawton’s capture, but Diggle urges Felicity to keep it from Oliver. Meanwhile, Quentin shows up to Laurel’s to ask Tommy about the text, but Tommy brushes it off by saying that he gets many texts about getting into the club.
On the island, Oliver reminisces about his training with Shado, though the woman only has him slap a bowl of water repeatedly. Back in the present, Oliver busts up a sale of Vertigo to some dregs, but fails to obtain any leads before the cars can pull away. That failure soon turns deadly, as one of the dregs soon takes a local aquarium hostage, while high on Vertigo and increasingly paranoid. Oliver prepares an antidote to the drug to administer to the man, but when Felicity asks his plan, he assures her he has no intention of killing the junkie.
Diggle ignores a call from Oliver to meet with an old Army contact named Lila, now working for A.R.G.U.S., and trades over his information on Floyd Lawton. Meanwhile, Quentin shows up to Verdant once more, pressing on Tommy that he knows he used the missing $10,000 to bribe a city official not to inspect Verdant. Rather than let Quentin in however, Tommy insists he get a warrant.
Over at the Aquarium, Oliver disarms the junkie and chases him through the facility, though the man soon collapses and dies before Oliver can administer an antidote. Meanwhile in the past, Oliver continues practicing with his bowl, and learns from Shado that Fyers intends to frame her father for his own military actions, as Yao Fei was framed for murders by the Chinese Military in the first place.
Laurel shows up to see Tommy at the club, shortly before Quentin arrives with his warrant. Unaware that Tommy had bribed the city inspector, Oliver reluctantly leads Quentin toward the door to his lair, but inside finds that Tommy replaced the incriminating equipment with bar stock. After Quentin leaves empty-handed, Oliver questions Tommy about the bribe, to which Tommy explains he couldn’t be sure his illegal acts wouldn’t earn him a visit from the vigilante. When Diggle returns to the club, Oliver expresses his irritation that Diggle was off pursuing Floyd Lawton when he needed him.
Felicity arrives to find Oliver undoing Tommy’s handiwork with the lair, and learns from her research that the two OD victims actually died from an allergic reaction to a new ingredient in the Vertigo. Oliver realizes that the new ingredient could only have come from the psychiatric hospital, and that the Count must have faked his escape. Oliver breaks into the Asylum to find the Count incapacitated after all, but before he can react, Dr. Webb and his orderly knock Oliver out cold, unmasking him in the process.
Oliver wakes strapped to a gurney, learning from Dr. Webb that he reverse engineered the Vertigo formula from a biopsy of the Count, before Dr. Webb force-feeds Oliver an overdose of Vertigo. Slyly, Oliver remotely detonates an explosive arrow from his quiver, while Diggle rushes in and Oliver administers his antidote, puking up the drug. Diggle fights with the orderly while Oliver chases Dr. Webb down, firing three arrows at once to ensure that he hits the man in his dizzied state. Finally, Oliver prepares to eliminate the babbling Count, but finds himself unable to loose the arrow.
Back at the club, Tommy explains to Oliver that he balanced the books as a final act, and leaves the nightclub on the grounds that he takes their enterprise more seriously than Oliver could. Meanwhile in the past, Shado explains to Oliver a story about a boy who trained with monks to learn Kung Fu, but instead spent the year slapping a bowl of water. Learning that the boy developed significant strength from the simple task, Oliver realizes he can now pull the string on the bow from earlier.
Meeting in a bar (sans the alcohol), Quentin apologizes to his daughter for once again taking his investigation too far, though she points out his sobriety as a sign people can change. Meanwhile, Oliver agrees with Diggle that it’s time they went after Floyd Lawton to take care of “unfinished business,” and Tommy requests a new job from an unlikely source: his father Malcolm.
Admittedly, we were a bit worried about 'Arrow's second use of the Count Vertigo character, given that "The Huntress Returns" brought Helena Bertinelli back into the fold too quickly for the character to make a real impact. Not only that, but Seth Gabel's portrayal of The Count felt a bit too hammy for 'Arrow's more grounded world, a prospect sure to be amplified by the condition the character was left in. And while "Unfinished Business" focuses more on the impact Vertigo creates on Oliver's conscience than The Count himself, the effort still feels undercooked and diversionary. It seems especially out of place to have Oliver so driven to eliminate Vertigo, considering Thea herself (Willa Holland) doesn't even appear in the episode.
Moreover, the introduction of Shado adds an an interesting new dynamic to Oliver's island flashbacks, though the character's first significant appearance might have been better served by a more active storyline. All in all, "Unfinished Business" serves up a few nice moments for Colin Donnell to play between Tommy and Oliver, while sprinkling in some intriguing DC mythology and comic story lines, but ultimately feels overcrowded and unfocused.
What say you? Did you feel that ‘Arrow’ hit the mark with its nineteenth episode? What did you like about “Unfinished Business?” Join us April 24 for another all-new ‘Arrow’ episode recap of “Home Invasion” on The CW!