Arrow Season 1 Episode 12: Vertigo – TV Review

I review the twelfth episode of Arrow, entitled “Vertigo”, written by Wendy Mericle and Ben Sokolowski.

“An episode that was better than Trust But Verify, but is not the greatest Arrow episode to date, and for an episode bursting full of potential, it failed to meet my expectations.”

I’m not Green Arrow’s greatest fan. In fact, I couldn’t name any bad guys that he was up against before this show and during the first eleven episodes, we’ve had various weak antagonists thrown at us one after the other. In fact, the only real threats to Ollie so far in the show have been Captain Jack Harkness – sorry, Merlyn, and Deathstroke.  Never have I really felt that the other bad guys have tested Green Arrow to such an extent where I thought the end result wouldn’t be predictable.

And Vertigo continues the form of weak villains, which is a disappointment as “The Count” had a potential to be so much more. And it’s down to two things, because the drug, entitled Vertigo – which we saw at the end of Trust But Verify, had an awesome potential – after all, it’s not so often that you find a drug that can take away Arrow’s concentration, a must for any archer. The first is the actor. Seth Gabel. The first thing that leapt out to me when I was watching this episode was that he was clearly trying to impersonate Heath Ledger’s brilliant Joker. Whilst Ledger’s performance suited the crazed clown in The Dark Knight, it didn’t suit the Count in Vertigo, as I felt his performance was overacted, and as a result unrealistic. The second is the name itself, sounding like something off Sesame Street. Even the characters in the episode seem to agree, “The Count? That’s worse than the Hood.”

The episode’s subplots are much interesting than Trust But Verify though, and Thea’s threat of jailtime and the flashbacks to The Island are both very strong in this episode and move the plot forward in this episode. After Trust But Verify’s cliffhanger on The Island, we’re faced with an interesting continuation and we really want to learn more about Yao Fei and his motives, and hopefully this is a story arc that will be resolved by the end of the season.

An interesting and welcome return to this episode was Felicity, who’s shaping up to be another one of Ollie’s allies in future episodes after she shows him the list that belonged to Walter and may have cost him his life. It’ll be interesting to see where their friendship goes from here and particularly with this section of the summary for not the next episode, Betrayal, but The Odyssey, episode 14, which according to the Arrow wiki, has: “When Ollie is shot, he turns to, surprisingly, Felicity Smoak, much to the shock of Diggle when the two enter the lair.” It’ll be certainly interesting to see how the pair develop during the rest of the series and maybe we could see Arrow’s allies expanding further.

The episode isn’t without some awesome lines as well, for this exchange in particular made me chuckle, Diggle: “How are you feeling?” Oliver: “Like I’ve had the worst hangover of my life.” Diggle: And coming from a guy who spent most of his twenties on a hangover, that’s really saying something.”

Verdict: 3.5/5

Arrow Episodes: Pilot, Honour Thy Father, Lone Gunman, An Innocent Man, Damaged, Legacies, Muse of Fire, Vendetta, Year’s End, Burned, Trust But Verify, Vertigo, Coming Soon: Betrayal, The Odyssey, Dodger, Dead to Rights, The Huntress Returns. 

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