Television & Film

ARROW Gets Slap Happy… and Very Soapy

Episode 119 “Unfinished Business”

[photos: Jack Rowand/CW]

Yes, this Arrow recap is very very late.  But I’m comforted by the fact that we haven’t missed any episodes in the meantime.


This is the follow-up to “Vertigo” — and it’s what producers talked about when discussing the fact that Oliver was going to create a nemesis for himself. And … well… not really. Yes, we see The Count again, but he’s not completely all there anymore because of the high dose of Vertigo Oliver squirted into him. Count’s been in an asylum. His brain is fried, so when Detective Lance tries to interrogate him to see who might be pushing Vertigo again, it’s just a “word salad” as Doctor Webb points out. Oliver doesn’t fare much better. The Count is in no condition to have any kind of reasonable conversation. Of course, the question of his sanity comes up when he appears to escape.

I say “appears” because this new version of Vertigo is more addictive and more unstable. And Lance is trying to figure out where the source sits, and since the dead girl from the beginning of the episode sent a text to Tommy, with his background, he’s the first one Lance squints at. Note that the scowling detective may be warming up to Tommy a bit, as he comes to ask the questions so that some other detective doesn’t. So, in his own small way, he’s giving Tommy a little leeway, which is more difficult to do when Lance finds out there’s $10,000 missing from Verdant’s bank accounts. Where did that money go?

To pay off a city inspector, make him look the other way. And when Lance gets down into the Arrowcave, we all discover that it’s covered in tarps and chairs and extra tables. Tommy’s story: the building wouldn’t have passed inspection in its rundown condition, so he paid off the inspector. Oliver is naturally grateful, but even he’s wondering if Tommy’s legit and not doing anything with the drug. This, of course, is one more nail in the coffin of their friendship.

Oliver’s analysis of the drug turns up an ingredient that leads him back to the hospital. Dr. Webb makes a decent story that the Count overpowered him and escaped. Oliver gets in a couple of good shots when he busts up a drug deal, even managing to blow up a car — and spend the effects budget for the episode — before almost getting run over by the fancy car that carries the new Vertigo dealer.

Who turns out to be Webb. Not really a surprise, but at least the writers didn’t telegraph it. Much. And we start to get into Smallville territory here, with anyone learning Oliver’s identity ending up dead. This happens with Webb and Orderly with a Shovel, who ends up dead after Diggle hits him with a defibrillator.

Diggle gets in a good line with the “person of color has just bought his drugs” bit. And while everyone is working on the Vertigo problem, Diggle is also trying to track down Deadshot, using his connections with A.R.G.U.S. to get information on the sniper.

Flashbacks include Slade and Shado doing the whole tank tops and sparring thing. Sado takes Oliver under her wing and gets him prepped to start learning how to shoot. There’s a very distinct Miyagi/Karate Kid vibe going on here with the exercises. I half-expected a “wax on, wax off” bit when she has him slapping the water for who knows how long. And we have to accept that this water slapping has gone on for a while. It’s based on the Iron Hand training, which takes close to a year if I understand it right. I doubt it takes that long with Oliver, but what are they going to do on a deserted island with nothing for entertainment? Make the rich monkey slap the water bowl…

And in true CW form, the show dips deep into soap opera territory for the coda. In the end, Tommy’s cleared, but the mutual distrust sprouting up between him and Oliver has him leaving the employ of the Verdant. His decision to work for dear old Dad takes us closer to one or the other becoming the Merlyn from the comics — Green Arrow’s nemesis with something to prove every time they go bow-t0-bow.

Now, if we could just get Laurel in those fishnets…

[Official Show Site at CW]     [Previous Recap: “Salvation”]

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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