Episode 12: Vertigo
By: Carlos Uribe
Arrow is a show about the Green Arrow, a vigilante who seeks justice. It is based on the DC comic superhero Green Arrow.
It is a well known fact that in television, powerful families are used to being able to sweep crimes under the rug for their children. They have have to serve probation or do community service but it will often be sealed and no-one will by any wiser. They believe that they can simply buy themselves out of any problem. It's this idea that wealthy families can do whatever they want without fear of repercussions. With this in mind, it makes sense that the show decides to create drama by bringing in a judge who uses the Queen wealth against Thea. Thea is being charged for being in possession of a controlled substance and for driving under it's influence. The family had managed to come to a deal with the persecution but the judge rules it out of order because he wants to make an example out of Thea. He's hoping that if potential offenders see that not even the Queen family can get away with it then maybe they'll think twice before using drugs. It's a logic that makes sense but it would also be sending a teenager to jail for making a mistake due to her immaturity. Since the judge isn't willing to ignore the law just because it's the Queen family, Oliver has to take it on his own hands to ensure that Thea doesn't get a prison sentence. The show doesn't seem to be aware of the irony of a vigilante doing everything in his power to allow someone into getting away with a crime. I'm not suggesting that he shouldn't but just pointing out how this situation might accidentally make him a hypocrite or to at least hold a couple of double standards.
What does Oliver do? There are three things. The first is a simple idea of asking Laurel to ask her dad to talk to the judge in the hopes of creating a new deal that is acceptable to him. This is the move that makes the most sense since it's the best way to resolve this whole plot. It also inadvertently confirms that the Queen family simply thinks it can use it's influence to get what they want. In this case, it's Oliver using a personal relationship to shift the judge to be more lenient on Thea. The judge does listen as he agrees to a sentence of five-hundred hours of community service for Thea along with making Laurel her temporary legal guardian. This would resolve the plot a little bit too quickly so Thea becomes an obstacle when she refuses to accept at first. It's not because she thinks she can do better but to try and spite her mom. She thinks that going to jail will punish Moira for cheating on Walter and her dad. Oliver is able to resolve this when he knocks down his father from Thea's pedestal. Thea accepts and the episode ends with her showing up at Laurel's law firm to do some community service. It's a nice favorable outcome and it'll be interesting to see how the show uses it to develop the Laurel and Thea relationship.
The second thing is that he goes to the police to try and get them to divert their resources into catching the drug dealer selling Vertigo. There is only one seller out there but the police lead Oliver to believe they have little on the case. They don't mention they have a criminal informant which allows to get close every time Oliver tries to personally deal with them. There is one huge misstep the episode takes when one of the cops recognizes Oliver at the scene and leads them to questioning him. It is pretty suspicious that he seems to be trying to buy the drug with a stash of money but he manages to throw off all suspicion when he merely states he was trying to get a good look at the guy for the police. It's a lie that might make sense considering the situation but the plot is resolved a little too cleanly for it to be believable. The police manage to catch the drug dealer but not before Oliver injects him with some of his own drug that permanently harms his brain. It's a move that confirms Quentin's belief that the Hood is a menace rather than a hero because he believes that the Hood was being a cold-blooded monster. He didn't know that the Hood was merely acting out because of Thea.
The third thing is that Oliver decides to take down the drug dealer on his own. The bad guy is nicknamed the Count. Seth Gabel portrays him with over-the-top craziness that works for the character. In fact, the Count instantly became of the most memorable weekly antagonists the show has had when we were introduced to him. It helps that the Count is the first weekly villain that actually feels like he was inspired by the comic books and is the first one to really feel like a supervillain. I'm not including Malcolm since he's the season's antagonist rather than a weekly bad guy. The way Oliver takes down the Count is by using his connection to the Russian mafia. He uses his status as a captain to get a meeting with the Count. The mafia connection is still a little bit too ridiculous to believe but at least it's put to good use in this episode. The weekly case could have been a boring and forgettable one if it hadn't been for the show actually having fun with the Count.
Vertigo is a pretty good episode of Arrow despite some ridiculous plot developments. Oliver's mafia connection might have worked this episode but it's still a tough bite to swallow. The way it cleanly closed the part where a cop catching Oliver at the scene made the police seem more incompetent than usual. The irony of Oliver trying to avoid his sister facing time for the law or him using his influence to undermine the judge's desire to do just that seemed to go unnoticed by the writers. On the other hand, it was a fun episode that did work as Oliver's desire to set his sister free led to some pretty great scenes. Oh and that ending? I'm wondering where the show is going to go now that Oliver knows his mother had the list.
The flashbacks are proving to be more and more interesting.