ComicsAlliance Recaps ‘Arrow’ Episode 1.19: Unfinished Business
The CW’s new superhero series Arrow re-imagines Green Arrow for a TV audience as a tough, often ruthless vigilante bent on setting things right in his home of Starling City by punishing the wicked. ComicsAlliance’s Matt Wilson will be following along all season to see how he fares.
In this week’s episode, a deadly drug once again hits the streets, Dig goes looking for revenge and Young Ollie learns some new tricks!Previously: The Count talked crazy and OD’ed on his own vertigo supply! Deadshot killed Dig’s brother, so Dig did a Hulk-walk!
The show didn’t mess around this week when it came to getting its club scene in. The action gets going at Verdant, where a young partier is dancing around druggily. Before you know it, she’s no longer in the club. Rather, she’s disoriented and dancing in the middle of a busy street. On a bridge, too. She drug-danced for at least a few blocks. Or maybe vertigo has some previously unmentioned teleportation effect. It doesn’t make her intangible, though. A car eventually hits her.
Back at Da Club, Ollie and Merlyn are celebrating another night of successful club ownership in spite of those butt-ugly gears all over the walls when Sgt. Lance stomps in and says the girl who got run over was in their club, high on Sweet Baby V. (That’s a nickname for vertigo I made up to keep myself entertained. There will be more.)
Lance asks if Verdant has a problem with the drugs; Ollie and Merlyn both deny it. Lance tells them to watch their clientele and leaves. Ollie tells Merlyn to give Smoak a list of employees so she can check it to see if anyone’s selling Jimmy Stewart Pills to customers. Merlyn says he thought Ollie killed The Count a few weeks ago, because now I guess he’s actually banking on Arrow’s murders.
Lance goes to visit The Count’s doctor at, well, let’s just call it Not-Arkham, or Narkham. The doctor tells him that The Count’s basically a vegetable who can’t string a coherent sentence together. That’s not entirely true. Arrow breaks in and interrogates The Count, and finds him fully capable of making crude, childlike drawings of a guy in a green hood and talking a little bit like Solomon Grundy.
Lance walks into The Count’s room just as Arrow leaves to hear him shouting “You have failed this city” over and over, even though I’m pretty sure he’s one of the few bad guys Arrow actually never said that to. Lance concludes the Count has lost his marbles and leaves.
On Flashback Island’s busted-up-plane HQ, Slade and Shado do some flirty sparring while Ollie sits around, playing with a bow and sulking. Ollie asks why they aren’t coming up with a plan to save Proto-Arrow, which somehow leads Shado to wonder if she can train Ollie to fight. She just does not give a f**k about her dad.
In the present, Dig’s hanging out at his sister-in-law Carly’s house when his previously unseen and unmentioned nephew asks him to read him a story. Dig reacts like he’s never seen a book before, so Carly waves the youngster off and asks what’s wrong. Dig says he’s distracted. Ollie distracts him further by calling him away to the Arrowcave.
And what was that urgent call all about? Oh, Ollie wants to show Dig some news footage about vertigo because that definitely couldn’t wait a few minutes. Dig asks if The Count’s back up to his old tricks, but Ollie explains that The Count’s full-on bonkers with a gesture that I’ve quite frankly never seen before but is 100 percent hilarious. I have to imagine Stephen Amell cracked up on a few takes of that.
In walks Smoak, who somehow conjures up different news footage through the magic of typing a lot. I really have no clue how she did this. Starling City, as we all know, has one channel. Anyway, The Count has apparently escaped from Narkham.
Sgt. Lance and the long-missing Detective Hilton head back to Narkham to interrogate The Count’s doctor. The doc says The Count was being his old, kooky self when all of a sudden he wasn’t. The Count overpowered him and escaped after playing an apparently masterful con. And of course there were no cameras to capture any of it because the cameras were removed due to budget cuts. Narkham had to slice out those unbelievable camera maintenance costs! Hilton tells Lance that the last person that girl who died at Verdant texted was Merlyn, and with his two prior drug charges a few years ago, it isn’t crazy to think he might be selling Queen V out of the club.
Not only that, but $10,000 is missing from Verdant’s operating expenses! Hilton says he found this out by “subpoenaing the club’s bank accounts,” which means Verdant must also keep its QuickBooks database in the bank, too, because how the f**k else would Hilton know what money was what in there? Anyway, Lance says he’ll take care of raking his daughter’s boyfriend over the coals because he’s into that kind of thing.
Dig cleverly disguises himself in a drug addict costume (i.e. a hoodie) to go to buy some Sweet V.
His line when he gets back to the Arrowcave is pretty hilarious: “The person of color has successfully purchased your drugs.” Team Arrow put a tracer on the cash Dig used to buy the vertigo to trace it back to The Count, Ollie helpfully explains.
As soon as Ollie’s back is turned, Smoak and Dig start in on their side project of finding Deadshot, who has been keeping himself busy killing U.S. Senators and such. Smoak has discovered that Deadshot has something akin to a manager in a guy named Alberto Garcia, and passes off the info to Dig. Dig insists they keep this whole investigation secret from Ollie, because it’s personal.
Sgt. Lance rudely interrupts Laurel and Merlyn’s dinner to ask Merlyn about that text from the girl who died in the club. At first, Merlyn doesn’t even remember a text, but there it is, on his phone with the message “Can you hook me up?” It’s also accompanied by a really goofy picture for no discernible reason.
Merlyn says he gets a bunch of texts like that one every night from people trying to get into the club. Lance doesn’t beat around the bush. He goes right to the missing 10 grand and accuses Merlyn of selling Killer V to his clients. Laurel jumps in and does some attorney-fu, telling Merlyn not to say anything. It ends in a stalemate.
Flashback. Shado teaches Ollie some Mr. Miyagi s**t.
Back in now-times, Smoak has tracked down the main vertigo dealer, who it turns out is some lanky dude in a leather hoodie (hoodies everywhere in this one) who just drives around to old-timey bum camps and offers homeless people drugs. When one of those bums doesn’t have the cash, a guy who sounds kind of like The Count rolls down a window and tells him it’s okay because it’s “good for business.”
Arrow shows up and ruins the deal. Everybody scatters. Then he blows up a car with a single arrow. I’ll admit that cracked me up. At least the show is finally embracing its silliness.
Meanwhile, at the aquarium, because why not, a severely drug-addled guy in a beanie — that’s right, not a hoodie — is talking to the fish. “Congratulations. You’re officially the creepiest person I’ve ever met,” a teenage girl tells him. Because that’s what you do when you meet the creepiest person you’ve ever met, right? Strike up a conversation? A security guard steps in to sort things out, but the junkie pretty easily takes his gun and knocks him out.
Smoak and Ollie hear about the aquarium altercation over the police scanner, so Smoak pulls up a security feed to get a look. Then, despite them both having seen and heard exactly the same information about this event that is just unfolding, Smoak informs Ollie that witnesses saw the guy take some V-Great. Ollie mixes up some of his magic island healing herbs to take with him.
“Oh, really, you aren’t going to just murder him?” Smoak all but asks. “No, not this guy, he’s a victim,” Ollie basically replies. “I should have killed The Count like six times, though.”
On his way to the aquarium, Ollie tells Smoak to contact Dig so he can help. She does, but he declines the call so he can meet up with A.R.G.U.S. (yes, that A.R.G.U.S.) agent Lyla Michaels (yes, that Harbinger) to drop her all the info he has on Deadshot.
Sgt. Lance swings by Verdant to tell Merlyn he knows where that $10,000 went. They paid off a zoning commissioner to skip the club’s inspection. Lance says he’s going to have to search the place; Merlyn says he’s got to get a warrant. Lance backs off for the moment.
At the aquarium, the lights go off and Arrow shoots the crazed junkie’s hand with. The guy takes off running into a corridor and Arrow stops him by shooting a pipe of highly pressurized water so that it hits the guy. “I don’t want to hurt you!” Arrow shouts. Then the guy dies.
On Flashback Island, Shado is full of answers, though they’re basically all the same answer: Proto-Arrow just ain’t got no luck. He takes the blame for everything. That’s how he ended up on Purgatory and it’s what Fyers is trying to do to him now.
Back at Verdant, Sgt. Lance has returned with his warrant, and guess what else? He knows that there’s a sub-level, because the county records show one. Great work on that secret crime-fighting lair beneath an operating night club, guys, really. Lance demands Ollie open the door to the Arrowcave, and though Ollie milks it for the suspense, he opens it up and reveals nothing but a bunch of chairs and crates down there. Lance asks why they needed a bribe if there was nothing to hide; Merlyn BSes about the ventilation system being old.
Here’s my question: Merlyn had to have bribed that official before he knew Ollie was Arrow, right? Inspections have to happen way before a business like that opens. So what did he think was down there that they needed to hide when he bribed the dude? Child laborers or something? It’s especially confusing since this is the first Ollie is hearing about the bribe.
Ollie and Merlyn exchange some heated words. Ollie says it’s not all that unlikely Merlyn could be selling vertigo, given his past. Merlyn asks if Ollie’s going to arrow him to death because he bribed an official. The dialogue’s a tad clunky, but Amell and Colin Donnell play the tension of the scene to the hilt. It’s some of both actors’ better work on the show.
Merlyn storms out just as Dig enters. “What’s his problem?” Dig asks. “What’s yours?” Ollie growls. Amell turns the intensity level up maybe just a hair too high on that one. Dig admits he didn’t come to the aquarium because he was busy going after Deadshot. Ollie says the vertigo problem takes precedence over personal vendettas; Dig throws that back in his face. A fair point, since the news and personal vendettas basically motivate everything Ollie does.
Smaok returns to the Arrowcave — or I guess now it’s the Chair-o-cave, am I right? — and starts doing some digging on the dead junkie from the aquarium. Turns out it wasn’t the V-light that killed him, it was chlorpromazine, an anti-psychotic drug. And guess what? The girl from the club had that in her system too. This gets Ollie thinking: What if The Count is operating from within Narkham?
Arrow goes there to see what’s up. What he finds is…not an active individual.
An orderly runs up behind Arrow and knocks him out. The doctor guy, who was behind the whole thing but never gets a name, comes in and pulls off the hood to discover Arrow’s identity. I’d say the odds are about even by this point that Ollie accidentally unmasks on Starling’s One News Channel by the end of the season.
Ollie wakes up strapped to a gurney, with all his arrows in a pile over to the side. The unnamed bad doctor mixes up a big batch of liquid vertigo while explaining that he reverse-engineered the formula from a biopsy of The Count’s kidneys. He needed some quick cash for reasons that aren’t really given — those camera-killing budget cuts, I suppose. The orderly opens up Ollie’s mouth and he pours the Hi-V in like Ollie’s getting a fluoride treatment.
For whatever reason, Ollie waits until after the pain juice gets poured into his mouth to activate the remote-controlled exploding arrow over on the pile. Doctor Bad Guy runs off. Just as the Evil Orderly’s about to clock Ollie with an IV stand, Dig bursts in and saves him. Ollie jams an adrenaline arrow (or maybe it’s just an expectorant arrow, but whatever it is, it’s one very specific arrow) into his chest and pukes up most of the Rocky V.
Dig takes the orderly out with a defibrillator to the face. “Clear,” he says. Give Dig a spinoff show where he gets to be black James Bond, guys. You should really do this.
Ollie chases Dr. Drugs down a corridor. The Bad Doc turns around and remembers he gave Ollie all that vertigo earlier, which means Ollie’s experiencing In-Camera Effects. “I doubt you could aim a single arrow,” the doctor taunts. So Ollie shoots three at him.
Credit where it’s due: That’s pretty clever. And Ollie doesn’t even ruin it with a quip. He just puts up his hood and walks away.
Ollie goes back to The Count’s room to kill him, too, but The Count just spouts a bunch of nonsense about clean gravestones and Ollie puts the bow down.
At Verdant, Ollie and Merlyn meet once again. Ollie’s all smiles and ready to make up, but Merlyn’s pride’s been hurt too much. He passes the books off to Ollie and quits as manager.
Flashback. Ollie slapped a bunch of water and now he can draw a bow.
Laurel and her dad reconcile once again when she finds him in a bar, alone, drinking cola. A note to Sgt. Lance: There are cheaper places to buy cola. Dig and Ollie make up, too. Ollie says it’s time to go after Deadshot.
Then there’s one more reunion. Merlyn goes crawling back to his dad to ask for a job.
The only way they could be more like the Osborns would be if they made John Barrowman’s hair impossibly wavy.
After last week’s train wreck (pun somewhat intended), just about anything would look good by comparison. But this episode’s script by Bryan Q. Miller and Lindsey Allen really was pretty good. It had its flaws, of course. Namely, the flashback sequences were pretty throwaway and the bad guy was so forgettable the writers didn’t even bother to name him.
But for the most part this episode did an effective job of building tension between characters and establishing conflict, something this show doesn’t always effectively do. When Merlyn finally quit, it felt earned. Also, thank heavens, someone finally pointed out putting a super-secret lair underneath a busy nightclub would almost certainly make it not-so-secret. Though I am worried this episode will essentially put that issue to bed instead of really make the producers think about why it doesn’t work. Plus, even though The Count was in this one, he pretty much just talked gibberish, which made him a lot more palatable.
I’m noticing the better episodes of this show focus in on smaller groups of characters. Thea and Moira (who was last week’s MVP) weren’t present at all this time around, which freed up a little space to focus on the other players. When the writers have to try to service all the characters in the ensemble, that’s when things seem to get out of hand.