“Vertigo,” this week’s episode of Arrow, introduced us to the man behind the latest drug craze in Starling City, The Count. The Count was probably the closest thing to a comic-book-esque villain that we’ve seen so far and his maniacal personality was actually a nice change of pace from all the white collar bad guys we’re used to seeing on Arrow.
The Count wasn’t exactly a well developed character and there wasn’t enough time in the episode to really feel threatened by him, but I enjoyed the eccentric and over the top villainy that he brought to the episode. As is the case with many of the villains on Arrow, I feel like it would have been much more fun to have The Count be part of a short story arc over the course of a few episodes so we could get to know the villain and actually develop a real sense of danger by the time they have their final showdown.
With all the other stuff that happens in an average episode of Arrow, it seems like the villains are introduced just in time for Ollie to kick their butts and go home. With The Count (and with most villains on Arrow) I would have liked to know a little bit more about his background before he became a blip on the police radar. When did he turn to a life of crime? What is his background in science? Has he always made drugs on his own? Was he always so eccentric? And why does he wear that massive silver chain? We leave the episode knowing no more about The Count than we know about any generic bad guy.
Thea’s hearing initially went exactly the way I wanted it to go. Judge Brackett denied her probation plea and decided to make an example of her by forcing her to go to trial for driving under the influence. Personally, I thought it was annoying that Moira, Ollie, and all the rest of the gang acted as if it was some kind of injustice to have their beloved Thea go to trial. I actually sided with Detective Lance when Laurel was asking him for a favor, and I wanted him to ignore Laurel’s pleas and just let Thea go through the system for her DUI like everyone else.
I couldn’t understand why everyone was treating Thea like a victim. She wasn’t framed, coerced, or forced to take those drugs or to get behind the wheel of her vehicle. Besides the damage she caused to public property, she could have killed or seriously injured someone. If the judge wanted to make an example out of someone, why shouldn’t it be her? Why would anyone else in Starling City be a more deserving example of what happens when you drive while intoxicated? Would a lower-income resident of Starling City, without Thea’s family connections, have the same chance to get off with service hours and probation? I really would have enjoyed seeing this become at least a point of discussion somewhere in this story line especially if Ollie is going to someday become a hero for all of Starling City. I would have liked to see him struggle with a double standard that he’s willing to accept for his family that he probably wouldn’t expect to be extended to an average Starling City citizen.
Ollie’s Vertigo induced blackouts lent themselves well to his flashbacks on the island. We didn’t learn much except that Ollie learned his fake-death-Vulcan-nerve-pinch from Yao Fei when he used it on Ollie to help him escape Fyers’ “gladiatorial distractions.” As I suspected, Yao Fei is not all bad, but Ollie on the island is still a long ways away from Ollie in the present and it seems like it will be a while before Yao Fei will have time to actually spend time training Ollie to be the Arrow.
Ollie’s last scene with Felicity seemed to plant a seed of doubt in Ollie’s mind about his mother. Felicity is a smart girl and although she knew that Ollie was feeding her lies for all the strange tasks he assigned her, she seemed to intuitively realize that he was asking her for help with things he couldn’t really tell her about. It made sense that she would turn to Ollie with the last bit of information she had about Walter before he disappeared. I’m hoping that this might be an opening for Felicity to get more involved in Digg and Ollie’s operation on Arrow. I’m very curious to see how the two books differ and what Ollie, Felicity, and Digg will be able to figure out once they put all their information together.