Arrow S1 Ep12 "Vertigo" Directed By Wendey Stanzler Written By Wendy Mericle & Ben Sokolowski
After the all around outstanding “Trust But Verify” episode 12, “Vertigo” is a return to the uneven quality of Arrow. In particular accurately getting the melodramatic moments to work when they concern any member of the cast other than Oliver or Diggle. As groan inducing as the Thea-Moria moments were Arrow has the grove down when it comes to superhero procedurals and manages to introduce a couple new and interesting characters.
First up is Vice Cop Mckenna Hall, who appears to be the only women in Starling City Oliver hasn't hit and run or just left pissed at his very presence. Hall is working with just about every other department to try and bring down The Count (Seth Gabel). The Count is the only man in Starling City pushing his Vertigo drug and it is slowly taking over the City. A fact that is not lost on the judge in Thea’s DUI (I guess) case, as he soundly rejects the plea agreement between Thea and the prosecutors. He wants to make an example of her and jolt the City into healing itself.
Putting someone Oliver cares about at risk is a good way for the writers to meld the Oliver and Hood ego and story lines together. This also forces Oliver to use both his identities to achieve his goals instead of just suiting up and shooting someone. Which is a clear differentiation between him and the Nolan Batman series this show draws inspiration from. Bruce Wayne became Batman and used Wayne as his alter ego. Oliver Queen has never been that psychologically damaged.
Using the many faces of Oliver Queen also means a return to one of the craziest things to come from the island, the Bratva. How exactly did Oliver become a captain in the Bratva Russian mob, who understandably don’t like outsiders. He mentions saving a guy but the particulars have yet to be shown. The Russian mob connection might be the craziest thing about the island adventures of Oliver Queen, and there has been a bunch of crazy stuff already happening.
With a little help from the mob Oliver Queen comes face to face with The Count. In the comics, Count Werner Vertigo has an implant in his head that allows him to give other people vertigo like symptoms. In Arrow The Count gets his name from leaving early test subjects with puncture marks on their neck like a vampire. Our first introduction to the Count sees him playing a deadly game of chicken with a pusher who the Hood apprehended. Pumping him full of pure Vertigo he leaves his pusher in perpetual agony, because he tricks his brain into thinking he is. Leaving the man with a single bullet. The Count gives him an option shoot him or himself and end the pain. We don't get any sort of return to this scene but it was an effective introduction. Seth Gabel camps the place up, channeling an unhinged Cillian Murphy. For the little he is given he makes The Count the most memorable of Arrow villains so far and better yet doesn't die at the end so he might be striking back at a later date, perhaps with a certain something in his head.
Thea is the reason Oliver is going through all this in the first place. Over the 12 episodes of Arrow her character has been very wishy washy in what things stick episode to episode. She now has a begrudging respect and acceptance of Oliver but the drama with her mother is at an all time high. It’s nice to see the animosity of towards her mother over her perceived affair with Merlyn Sr. carry over but her instance to go to jail to spite her was just childish. Everything about the Queen family drama was turned up to 11 including the rather quick acceptance hugfest that soon follows. All of it just happened to fast. Melodrama isn’t a bad thing, but when the actor (Willa Holland) can’t emote beyond looking like a spoiled child it just falls flat. Thea Queen is an emotionally damaged untrusting individual but none of that is present when she blows up at her mother or Oliver.
“Vertigo” continues to work with the formula and making little adjustments here and there. “Vertigo” falls into the same category as the two Huntress episodes, good possibly great but undone by poor acting.
C - I really enjoyed Seth Gabel as The Count and hope to see him back. Arrow would be soo much more interesting if there were longer villain arcs two part episodes wouldn’t be too bad.
- Felicity Smoak is more and more becoming Arrow's version of Oracale just look at the imagery in the episode "Trust But Verify". Now with her reveal of the Book it's looking more and more likely that Ollie and Diggle might become a 3 man band.
- Also feel free to point out any grammar errors and you're own thoughts in the comments section. It feels odd not to draw ANY kind of heat. Besides discussing TV is WAY more fun then reading about it.
Since posting music videos has kind of become my thing here is "Vertigo" by U2