Yet another departure from the norm. This time we got a courtroom drama, combined with an episode of Lost. As snarky as that sounds, I actually liked this one.
I think the Count outlived his welcome. Although I liked some of his cheesy one-liners and manic over-the-top Joker vibe, it was time for him to go. Maybe the Arrow PTB could've put him back in prison, but I'm not really sure that would've been as effective story-wise. Having Oliver breaking his word not to kill in order to save Felicity felt right. Perhaps having him kill again was inevitable, because it would've been a touch unbelievable if he pulled off the no kill hero on his first try.
At least his actions also gave us our first real Felicity/Oliver moment. There have been a few good ones before, but this was first time that Oliver looked close to falling into her arms, too. Sure, they have a ways to go before a romance would make sense for Oliver, but that first spark was a good one. It's a lot better than the forced thing with Isobel, or even the tepid emotions with Laurel. I also loved that Felicity understood why he did it, and didn't scold him at all. It turned out to be just a lovely character moment.
We also got the three big reveals; Alderman Blood finally has a success with his serum, and he was also the one who pulled the Count's strings. Moira and Malcolm had an affair that resulted in Thea. And last but certainly not least, Malcolm Merlyn is freaking alive! I totally didn't see that coming. I had heard that John Barrowman was coming back in some form, but I'd assumed (like the rest of the internet) that it would be in some kind of flashback. I'm pretty much blown away by this one, and Moira's reaction was perfect, mirroring my own jaw drop.
As for the courtroom stuff, I think it worked to a degree but I never really felt the drama. I had a pretty good feeling that Moira wasn't going to be sentenced to death, but I didn't see her acquittal coming. It felt wrong, and it was good that Oliver addressed that. So when Malcolm showed up and explained that he was behind her miraculous save, it made sense-ish. Okay, it didn't make sense that he would still have that kind of power. I'm just glad Barrowman is back, so I'm gonna roll with it. I hope he has a very different role in the story this time around though, because we got him as the main villain once already. Twice might be too repetitive.
I did like some of the Laurel moments, especially the scene with Moria in Iron Heights. It's clear she wants to be hated by Oliver, which fits into her downward spiral arc. I'm just a little fuzzy on her motivations, though. I think we need an episode focused around her so that we can start to understand her better, because right now she's my least favorite character. That's really not a good thing for one of the main characters. In other words, hit bottom already, Laurel!
Again not too much movement on the Island, but what we got was jam-packed. The group is reunited and Sara is along for the ride. We got even more confirmation that Doctor Ivo is a bastard, killing the captain of the ship rather casually. Plus we learned what they were searching for, coordinates to a submarine that supposedly has something that'll save the entire human race. Could it be connected to Alderman Blood's serum?
I got some pretty heavy Lost vibes in this one, mostly because our group was being led around through dense jungle by gun wielding men covered in sweat and grungy clothes ala 'The Others'. The whole chase also felt a bit familiar too, but with superhero characters we got some cool action beats, like Shado dropping the bomb that she defused earlier in episode to take out her pursuers. I think I'm officially more interested in the flashback story than what is happening in the present, if only by a bit.
I know it's mud, but Slade's face looks pretty freaky.
Just like Sara mentioned a couple of episodes ago, the first time Sara met Shado she was wearing the hood.
The quake was six months ago.
The Count let out the Doll Maker, the serial killer from the episode "Broken Dolls".
The Count escaped the prison through an arrow-shaped hole in the wall.
Yet another mention of the particle accelerator. S.T.A.R. Labs and their wacky particle accelerator is definitely going to be activated on time.
The Count interrogating Adam Donner (Laurel's boss) was almost lifted straight out of The Dark Knight. His plan was like comic book 101, a dastardly scheme by an evil villain with some sort of exotic drug illness thing forcing people to make morally questionable choices. I think the Joker has tried this a few times. The Count even died like the Joker did in the 1989 Batman movie.
My immediate thought when Oliver killed the Count was, what will Quentin think? I bet he won't be happy. But then again, this one had it coming.
I wonder if Malcolm was referring to the Lazarus Pit when he said that death was only an illusion. Or was he just saying that he faked it really well? Does this mean resurrection is now possible in the Arrow verse? Will Malcolm bring back Tommy? Will we get some of our dead villains back, like the Doll Maker and The Count?
Count Vertigo: "Too violent, too sloppy, too stupid, too ambitious… you. I love your work. Big future."
Nice use of retro irony here, since neither the Count nor the Doll Maker had very long to live.
Oliver: "I heard you passed out."
Dig: "I told Felicity not to call you."
Felicity: "Before that you said 'gah' and 'thud' so I didn't take it very seriously."
The Count: "I am Count Vertigo and I approve this high."
So cheesy. I love it.
A bit uneven, but a pretty good episode. I think the ending saved it from a lower rating, though.
3 out of 4 Villains that just won't die.
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow, The Originals and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.