Episode 19: Unfinished Business
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.
This episode featured the return of the drug vertigo. It's back on the streets and it's killing people. The only person who knew the formula is the Count. The problem is that he's rambling mad inside an asylum. There is no way that he could be running a new drug empire in his state. It isn't until he escapes that the characters think he was faking his mental state. He might have been sane and now they don't know how to find him. This seems to be backed up when the Count's voice seems to be giving out directions at a drug deal that Oliver breaks up. The big twist in the weekly case was that the characters were only partially right. The count isn't actually crazy but he was never faking. His psychiatrist had given him medicine that messed up his mind. The count appeared crazy because he had been drugged. The psychiatrist did this to ensure that the count didn't go back into business because he managed to reverse-engineer Vertigo and started selling it. His own mistake was that he added a compound into his version that allowed Oliver to trace it back to the mental hospital. It was a good twist. The weekly case was solid but it was really made by Seth Gabel's performance. It's a testament to his acting ability that he could go from the mild-mannered Lincoln (from Fringe) to the over-the-top Count and sell it. This would have all created a fun weekly case but it's more than that because the show uses it to explore how Oliver's vigilantism is costing him in his personal life. It's this added sense of what it means to be a hero that makes Unfinished Business really stand out.
The most obvious example is how this affects his relationship with Tommy. Tommy has felt betrayed by Oliver over this secret and he's still trying to adjust to his best friend being a killer. The Oliver he used to know was truly lost on the island. This is a different man but their friendship was still alive. That is until this vertigo business. One of the people who died from the drug was at the night club. The cops believe she got the drugs from the club. They even suspect that Tommy was one of the suppliers. At first Oliver doesn't suspect his best friend. Oliver asks for a list of every employee so they could run background checks. So far, so good. It isn't until Quentin goes to the bar with a warrant that the conflict between the two of them really comes into play. Tommy is able to save the secret lair from discovery by converting it to a storage facility before the cops arrived. The problem is that when Oliver found out that there was some missing money, he had thought that his best friend might be dealing drugs. It's that look that really shakes Tommy's bond with Oliver. Tommy had felt betrayed by Oliver's secret but now he finds out that his friend is able to believe the worst of him. That goes too far so Tommy decides to quit. He puts the books in order and seeks a new job with his father. It's a development that has the slight promise that he'll get involved within the undertaking. All of this was directly related to the main plot. It really worked.
A conflict that also arises is between Diggle and Oliver. The two remain united throughout the episode but their different priorities bring them into conflict. When Diggle doesn't show up when Oliver might need him, Oliver gets mad at him for looking into Deadshot. It makes sense that Diggle wants to go after the bounty hunter who killed his brother. If that wasn't enough, there's a scene where Diggle cant' even read his nephew a bedtime story because he can't stop thinking about how the kid's dad's killer is still out there. It makes perfect sense that Diggle would be committed to finding out who Deadshot is and finding a way to kill him. He even delivers the name of the assassin and everything he knows to a person he knows in the government. I'm actually really interested to learn more about the organization this girl works for. So when Oliver isn't happy that Diggle is seeking revenge, it creates conflict between the two of them. The difference between Diggle and Tommy is pretty key in that Diggle keeps having Oliver's back despite this disagreement. This is because Tommy doesn't feel like he knows this new Oliver while Diggle understands him more. Oliver does decide that he's going to help Diggle get back at Deadshot by making finding the assassin a large priority. It's a nice move but I do have a small question: why wasn't it a priority? Deadshot is a recurring villain who kills people. He might not be in the city currently but that doesn't mean that he won't return in the future. It just seemed a bit odd that Diggle would have to keep his search a secret since Oliver would presumably still be on board. I could understand being annoyed at Diggle for doing it when he needed his back covered but that's a different kind of conflict. Oliver's problem wasn't Diggle's timing but that he was actually doing it in the first place.
A major theme in Arrow has always been who Oliver is and how his activities as the Hood impact his personal life negatively. He has to keep secrets, his best friend is being pushed away, and he comes into conflict with whoever isn't helping him. Unfinished Business is an episode that deals with those themes in spectacular fashion. It's a pretty great episode and is definably the best one that this show has done so far.
I'm slightly disappointed that Oliver's decision to stop being an island in the previous episode wasn't explored-but we do see some character development when Oliver decides to let the Count live because there was no reason to kill him.