Saturday, November 23, 2013

Arrow-Season 2, Episode 7: Soapy Goodness

Count Vertigo 
Pros: Plot-lines juggled masterfully, solid and captivating reintroduction of Merlin. Bigger emotional connection than in previous episodes, short but good island scene.

Cons: Count Vertigo reduced to villain of the week status, Oliver killing, and soap opera feel at times.

Score 9.1/10

Arrow has certainly been picking up steam in the last couple of weeks. There seems to be a shocking twist every episode and to this point it has worked really well. Episode seven blows the previous episodes out of the water, in terms of shock value and scenes that leave you screaming at your TV. Thankfully these added moments and reveals do not overload the episode into a cheap bag of tricks, but instead create one of the best episodes of Arrow to date. Count Vertigo is back and he's spreading a drug around the city that causes people to become sick but the only cure to it is his patented drug Vertigo. Things get personal when Diggle is exposed to the drug and Ollie goes out to get Vertigo. Meanwhile Ollie's mom is not doing so well on the court front as she is unquestionably losing in the proceedings that will either leave her a free woman or end up with her death. Just when the Assistant D.A. finishes his statement against Moira he collapses, an obvious victim of The Count's new drug. As he's sped away in the ambulance it turns out that the driver is Count Vertigo. He kidnaps him and forces him to plead for the relief that vertigo will bring to his drugged up self. But Ollie saves the assistant D.A. while at the same time nailing home his new anti murder stance.

Now going into this episode I have to say that I love that he has this whole new lease on life. He can't just kill people,  he's not above the law and it gave me renewed hope for DC's rumored TV and movie worlds possible connection. But alas things are never easy. During this week's flashbacks, Ollie is taken to the island in order to locate the Japanese Sub. When they get there Ivo asks rather aggressively where the necklace is which locates the hidden submarine. Ollie full well knows that his friends have it but is mute on the matter. That's when his friends save the day and rescue Ollie. In the confusion, he grabs Sarah and takes her with them, escaping successfully. They learned that the coordinates on the pendant tell the subs location and that there is something of great power on the sub. This is very important as Slade is not doing to well after getting half his face burned and it is imperative that they reach the sub for him. Although the flashbacks weren't long this week, a lot happened and they continue to be one of the highlights of each episode week in week out. Back to the court proceedings, Moira is forced to testify herself or concede defeat but the new prosecutor, who is none other than Laurel Lance. She informs Moira that they have some sensitive documents and if she testifies they will be forced to use them to bring her down. Laurel doesn't like having to prosecute Moira and she was not well even before the proceedings. It is made clear that she feels secluded and alone with no way out. They don't show her taking pills like in previous episodes, but it is clear from the tone that she needs help but none comes this episode. Moira decides to get away from all these secrets and deception, tells her kids and then the whole world that she had a brief affair with Malcolm Merlin. In that moment, I finally felt something other than disinterest to Moira, I actually gained respect for her because she finally cut out all the lies and just told the truth, something that came at a great personal price to her. As the jury makes there final decisions, Ollie learns that Felicity has been kidnapped by Count Vertigo. He leaves his mom's court trial to save her and Thea can't believe that he would leave. I am impressed that Ollie has actually kept his identity secret from his sister and I think it adds to the anguish of being a hero. The battle with Vertigo is pretty anti-climactic. Ollie breaks in, Vertigo shoots at him and puts Felicity in danger. He cites the fact that Ollie won't kill him and Ollie proves him wrong. He kills him with three arrows to the chest. Ollie saves Felicity but loses something. Something that made his adventures in season two special and for my money better than season one. Immediately after killing him there is obvious remorse on his face, stemming from his failure to honor Tommy. It was disappointing to see him fall back and if this change is permanent, I believe it's a real step backward for the series.

Having saved Felicity and finding a cure for those affected by Vertigo, Ollie returns to the court knowing that there's a really good chance that his mom will be condemned to death. He's faced with a sense of helplessness. He can save the world from a madman or beat up a super-villain but is powerless to save his mom. However in a shocking twist, Moira is found not guilty.. Much to the surprise of almost everyone in Starling City. Everyone but one man. Moira's driver takes her to a remote part of town and tells her to step out of the car only to come face to face with Malcolm freaking Merlin, the one person in Starling City not shocked by the court verdict. Why? Because he arranged it, he got Moira acquitted.I mean if he can return from getting an arrow stuck through his chest then I guess he can swing a jury's votes. But there was still one reveal left and it was easily the biggest one and most soap opera-e of them all. Malcolm reveals that he took a genetic test and found out that Thea was his and Moira's daughter.I certainly didn't see it coming and although it seems like a lot of twists, they all complemented each other well.

In this episode, my dreams of a shared DC universe took a hit, Ollie went back to killing,Vertigo was nothing but a generic villain of the week and the constant reveals seemed a it soap opera-e. However, it pulled off a resounding and positive reaction from me. The episode seemed to take a step back, but only because it was building up steam for a charge forward. Arrow continues to be great and different against all odds and I definitely recommend that you watch it.

Written By: Alexander Handziuk

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