Synopsis: In this flashback-laden and regrettably, Thea-centric episode, Arrow – aka Oliver – has a new friend in the police department and goes after The Count [Seth Gabel] Starling City’s premier Vertigo [the newest “hot” drug] dealer and ultimately, the source of the drug involved in Thea’s crash of her new convertible in the last episode.
Details: After a few rough outings in the last few episodes, Arrow is obviously feeling better in this one as he opens this week’s romp through Starling City by toying with a street drug thug – by pinning him to a piece of dock equipment 15-20 feet above the ground with an arrow that not only doesn’t rip his clothing more than the required pinhole [remarkable!] but also the guy’s weight doesn’t seem to rip his clothing either [incredulous!]. So we begin yet another episode with a blatant request to suspend disbelief while Arrow gets on with the business at hand. In this case, to get the lowly thug to name the dealer of the drug – Vertigo – that helped his sister, Thea, crash her new convertible at her birthday party and subsequently get arrested for driving while under the influence of hatred [and drugs and maybe a few other boring, legal technical things too].
Regrettably, the focus is heavily on Thea for the first half of the episode and this provides the viewer with many opportunities to drink, go to the bathroom, check their Facebook status, drink some more hoping maybe Thea will go away, go to the bathroom again and finally, have a ham sandwich and read that article about Ian and Ann Fleming’s sadomasochism that you never got around to last week.
If you find yourself unable to sleep at night unless you know Thea’s plot line – the judge throws the book at her to make an example of her wealthy family, Oliver notices Laurel has come to attend the hearing and later, tries to help by asking Laurel to step up to bat for Thea and find a, you know, mystery page in the judge’s book that might apply to bratty, wealthy teenage characters with annoying story arcs, and Laurel turns that request over to her Angry Police Chief Wiggum Dad.
Here, we are briefly interrupted by Flashback #1 which shows Oliver pleading with Benedict Arnold Caveman [otherwise known as Yao Fei] to spring him from the prison cage.
But that doesn’t last long because there has to be a scene where we are introduced to Oliver’s new buddy in the police department – McKenna Hall – otherwise it wouldn’t make sense later in the show when Miss Hall plays a key role in an altercation with Vertigo and we’d be all, like, “who was she!?” But we know she is one of Oliver’s many attractive female buddies who never get married and have families and work for large organizations.
Meanwhile, the Vertigo drug dealer has been revealed to be none other than – drum roll here – The Count, who is played with Batman villain Jokeresque verve by Seth Gabel [you may know him from his work on “Fringe”]. The Count reveals that he has injected the street thug with a drug that will cause his brain to think he is in pain, hands him a gun and dares him to shot The Count before having to shoot himself to end the brain pain. Of course, less than a third of the way into the episode, we know what is going to happen here because if he shoots The Count, then we are going to have to go another 40 minutes with no villain and more Thea scenes. Nobody at any network would be that stupid. So, no drama, he predictably offs himself.
After briefly hashing out his plan of action with Diggle, Oliver decides to arrange a meeting with The Count to find out what he looks like and if he needs a tailor for an arrow he may put through his coat. He arranges a meeting with the Russian mob [they’re everywhere – even in Starling City, no less!] where vice president Ivan the Terrible says he will set up a meeting with The Count if he proves his ruthlessness by killing a captive. Oliver fake-kills the captive and the meeting is on.
Flashback #2 intervenes about here and shows Deathstroke kicking the bejabbers out of a unlucky fellow as the undercard of the Gladiator Battle Night organized by the prison island bad guy chief with the main event scheduled to be, in the red corner, Benedict “The Crusher” Caveman, against, in the soon-to-be black and blue corner, Oliver the Oppressed!
Thea – not surprisingly – is having her character’s role written to reject the plea deal arranged by Laurel because, ostensibly, she’s really, really mad at her mom. This revelation means it is clearly time to go to the kitchen for more beer.
Ivan the Terrible arranges a meeting for Oliver and The Count but the meeting ends badly when the police show up and start shooting up the joint. Oliver chases down a fleeing Count only to have the Count stab him with a hypodermic full of hallucinogenic Albanian eggplant juice [for all we know] and get away from the poorly planned police ambush. Diggle retrieves Oliver and takes him back to the Arrow lair where he administers an antidote to the bad eggplant juice and Arrow/Oliver is free to resume pursuit, although a little more wobbly for the wear.
Suddenly, Flashback #3 is upon us and Benedict Caveman, as expected, wins the main event with a KO over Oliver the Oppressed in what looks to be Round One [if you had that in Las Vegas].
Angry Police Chief Wiggum Detective Lance comes at Oliver frothing at the mouth as usual and accuses him of being at the scene of the Count Chocula Drug Deal Throwdown [branding is rampant these days] and he has witnesses to prove it – Oliver’s new best friend at the police department – so there!
Flashback #4 intrudes with Benedict Caveman tossing Oliver off a cliff and into some water below in front of his prison island boss – but not before giving him a brief Vulcan survival nerve pinch and a map of the island when he wakes up [which, again, we know he does because – duh! – there wouldn’t be a show if he didn’t!]
A woozy Oliver meets up with IT specialist Felicity Smoak, who seems to have added a few more skills on her LinkedIn profile and is now a chemist as well, as she tracks down the source of the bad eggplant juice to a lab in the bad part of town [Why are all the drug labs in the bad part of town when they should be in the Walmart parking lot?].
Arrow pays a visit to the Count’s lab and injects him with his own bad eggplant juice and that might have been the end of the episode except the police blunder in again and rescue the Count long enough to have him sent to the hospital [Here, we would really, really like to have seen him sent to Adult Swim’s “Childrens Hospital” and being met in receiving by Henry Winkler. Alas, another lost opportunity…sigh] where he is saved – although raving like the lunatic he is as he is carted away.
Flashback #5 has Oliver waking up in the water and discovering – what’s this? A map of the island!? – in his pocket and then staggering off into the jungle.
The episode ends with Felicity showing Oliver a book of names given to her by Walter before his disappearance and reporting that Walter had found it in his house – obviously being kept by Moira – cue dramatic music here – da da duh!
The Poop and Skinny: No more “Previously on Arrow…” opening segment intonations followed by rehashes of several previous episodes rather than the actual previous episode – yay – followed closely by golf clap.
Mrs. Arrow [aka Helena the Huntress], seems to still be on vacation in the Bahamas or Bermuda or some other tropical locale where she can relax and only kill tourists – but is scheduled to come back in March when she may be more relaxed, although her absence seems to have had an adverse effect on Arrow’s voice which suddenly seems to be more animalistic whenever he is wearing the hoodie.
Burning questions for the next episode of “Arrow” – will the police department ever pay their electricity bill in full? Is Felicity Smoak ever going to get that bottle of wine promised to her by Oliver and whenever Oliver has to go somewhere and do something, how many times will he utter the phrase “I have to go do something” and how many times will people not call him on it? [“Really? What do you have to go do? Walk our nonexistent poodle?”]. Our guess – 17.