Arrow: Season 1 Episode 12 – ‘Vertigo’ Review

Arrow Episode 12 Vertigo

In “Vertigo”, Oliver and Diggle hunt down a murderous drug dealer named The Count (Seth Gabel) while Thea faces a prison sentence for her reckless drug abuse and car crash.

Continue reading for Arrow Season 1 Episode 12 “Vertigo” review.

Over the course of the season, Oliver has been battling white-collar criminals and DC Comic book villains adapted to fit into a realistic, modern day Starling City. Some adaptations such as Garfield Lynns (Firefly) missed the mark, but this episode’s villain, Count Vertigo, is the most compelling yet.

Because there are no superpowers on Arrow, the producers cleverly altered the comic book origins and abilities of The Count. Instead of the power to distort a person’s balance, the TV show’s version developed a potent drug called Vertigo to induce these effects. Rather than being an actual Count, he earned his nickname by leaving puncture marks on his victim’s neck like a vampire which is a neat explanation.

Fringe fans recognize actor Seth Gabel as both the button down “Clark Kent-esque” Agent Lee and as the charming Captain Lee from the alternate universe. On Arrow, Seth Gabel’s portrayal of The Count is thoroughly entertaining and a refreshing change of pace from other villains previously featured on the show.

One of the potential dangers of playing a character so deranged is that it can come across as obvious acting; however, Gabel’s performance didn’t take the viewer out of the moment. Rather it added excitement, especially in The Count’s introductory scene where after injecting Vertigo into a man, he handed over a loaded gun and risked his life with maniacal glee.

Arrow Season 1 Episode 12 Vertigo

Creating a memorable nemesis for Oliver is just a part of what made this a great episode. “Vertigo” had an uncanny way of anticipating each of my expectations as the episode played out. Firstly, I wanted Oliver to be injected with Vertigo. It sounds cruel, but otherwise it would have been like Batman encountering the Scarecrow for the first time without enduring the hallucinogenic fear gas.

After Oliver awakened, I thought his recovery was a little too fast until, as hoped, he became disoriented. This adverse effect restricted Oliver from taking his bow into his final assault. Because The Count would be safe from deadly arrows, it ensured Seth Gabel’s return in future episodes.

Injecting The Count with a potentially lethal dose of Vertigo displayed Oliver’s desire for retribution and that his moral code is still a work-in-progress. As pointed out by Detective Lance, the Hood is not a hero, at least not in the traditional sense. Although killing in cold blood might not be Oliver’s opening moving of choice, it will be interesting if Oliver will begin to reconsider his final death-blow.

Oliver has been racking up a high body count which made it conceivable he could kill a defenseless man in the Bratva hideout in order to help his sister and find The Count. It was a great reveal that he had only incapacitated the man; reviving him, only to knock him out was comical.

This trick nicely mirrored how Yao Fei faked Oliver’s death in the flashbacks. I’m glad Yao Fei was just pretending to be working for Edward Fyers as it would have undone everything he did when Oliver first arrived on the island.

Arrow Felicity Smoak

As intriguing as the flashbacks were this episode, the scenes with Felicity Smoak were also a highlight. Felicity is adorable whether she’s rambling about tasered cats or fumbling over how she’s noticed Oliver’s body. As Oliver’s explanations become even more unbelievable, it just adds to the humor, especially with Diggle smirking over his shoulder.

Hopefully in future episodes Felicity can be used for more than just comic relief or as a plot device. She definitely deserves to be a fully fleshed out character and a part of Oliver’s inner crime-fighting circle. With Oliver learning there is a second book belonging to Moira, he will likely question his mother and get to the bottom of Walter’s disappearance.

The introduction of Detective McKenna Hall (True Blood’s Janina Gavankar) adds some interesting possibilities to the show. Could she be a possible romantic interest for Oliver? Who’s the cop informant (Oliver??) that gave her the intel which led the police to bust the drug deal and final showdown?

Each of the story threads were cohesive and well plotted including how Thea was willing to go to jail just to spite her mom. Having Laurel explain to her Dad about how it is to be a teenager and lose a father gives some needed sympathy to Thea as she can come across as too passive aggressive. Detective Lance pulled a favor for Laurel but I’m still anticipating how the bugged phone will play out.

“Vertigo” is the high point of the series so far. If Arrow continues with engaging villains, the second half of the season is going to be a blast.

What did you like or didn’t like about this episode? What did you think of the Count? 

Take A Look At These Articles You Might Like:

The Character Spotlight – Count Vertigo (Werner Vertigo) (by GothamRogue)

Arrow Season 1, Episode 9 “Year’s End” Review (vs Dark Archer)

Arrow Season 1, Episode 10 “Burned” Review  (vs Garfield Lynns aka Firefly)

The Character Spotlight – Firefly (Garfield Lynns): From DC Comics to CW’s Arrow TV Show (by GothamRogue)

Arrow Season 1, Episode 11 “Trust But Verify” Review (vs Ted Gaynor/Blackhawks Squad)

Arrow Season 1, Episode 12 “Vertigo” Review (vs Count Vertigo)

Arrow Season 1, Episode 13 “Betrayal” Review (vs Cyrus Vanch)

Arrow Season 1, Episode 14 “The Odyssey” Review (vs Billy Wintergreen)

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About Eddie@Jaccendo

Movies, TV shows, comics, and video game news & review.

Posted on January 31, 2013, in Arrow, Comics, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. “What did you like?”
    1. Deathstroke’s fight scene in the flashback. Absolute domination and I can’t wait for his increased role in future episodes.
    2. Liked the bit with the Russian Mob and Oliver “killing” the guy.
    3. As you mentioned, Oliver acknowledging his excuses are becoming pretty flimsy was great.
    4. Felicity approaching Oliver at the end with the book caught me by surprise.

    “What didn’t you like?”
    The cringe inducing product placement of the Surface tablet.

    “Hopefully in future episodes Felicity can be used for more than just comic relief or as a plot device. She definitely deserves to be a fully fleshed out character and a part of Oliver’s inner crime-fighting circle.”
    I’ve seen some photos from upcoming episodes and…oh I won’t spoil it. 🙂

    “Who’s the cop informant (Oliver??) that gave her the intel which led the police to bust the drug deal and final showdown?”
    Thinking who it was as well but it’s definitely not Oliver. The bust interrupted his plans and the final showdown interrupted him killing the Count. Why would he work against himself? No, I have no clue who it is but it’s definetly a key plot point as it was mentioned twice in this episode. Maybe…Shado?

    “What did you think of the Count?”
    Loved the new grounded origin and loved Seth Gabel’s portrayal. The producers had mentioned that Arrow stopping the Count would inadvertently lead to the creation of his first supervillain. Can’t wait for his return later this season. My Character Spotlight on Count Vertigo will at least praise this villain’s appearance on Arrow unlike their take on Firefly.

    Next week…David Anders! Awesome. Love that guy in everything he does.

    • I’m looking forward to the man behind Deathstroke’s mask next episode. Also, they mentioned Oliver rescued a Russian Mobster which plants more seeds for upcoming flashbacks.

      I must have over looked the Surface Tablet this time, though I’m pretty sure it’s been in previous episodes and definitely in other CW shows as well.

      Yeah it wouldn’t make sense for Oliver to sabotage his own plans by informing the police … I like how the show is presenting these juicy mysteries for fans that are keeping up with the series each week.

      I’m surprised some reviews and fan reaction wasn’t so positive about Seth Gabel’s Count Vertigo. That’s a really good point about Oliver creating his first supervillain … something that will come back to haunt him when the Count returns. Also, I thought the Count’s collared coat was a nice touch.

      I first saw David Anders in JJ Abrams’ Alias and he’s been popping up in other shows I’ve watched like Heroes, Once Upon A Time and Vampire Diaries. I don’t know what role he’s playing in Arrow … but if he gets enough screen time I’m sure it’ll be great!

      Thank you for the support and commenting as always!

      • “Also, they mentioned Oliver rescued a Russian Mobster which plants more seeds for upcoming flashbacks.”
        It’s little touches like this and the informant comment that really add to the show, these little details make it better, more intriguing.

        “I must have over looked the Surface Tablet this time, though I’m pretty sure it’s been in previous episodes and definitely in other CW shows as well.”
        It was in the scene before Oliver asks Laurel if she’ll ask her father to help Thea. She looked so happy using it… 🙂

        “I’m surprised some reviews and fan reaction wasn’t so positive about Seth Gabel’s Count Vertigo. Also, I thought the Count’s collared coat was a nice touch.”
        I’ve seen a 50-50 split on the issue with some saying he was way over the top and even critiquing his wardrobe. I liked his portrayal: a nice mix of Joker and Nolan’s Scarecrow.

        “I first saw David Anders in JJ Abrams’ Alias and he’s been popping up in other shows I’ve watched like Heroes, Once Upon A Time and Vampire Diaries. I don’t know what role he’s playing in Arrow … but if he gets enough screen time I’m sure it’ll be great!”
        He’ll be playing an original character made for the show, Cyrus Vanch, who wants to be the boss of the criminal underworld, sort of like Black Mask in the Batman universe but without the mask.

        Thanks for the reply!

        • I hope The Count and the upcoming Cyrus Vanch will be a trend towards reoccurring rogues, instead of disposable villains. It just adds an extra layer to the show when there is some built in history between the characters. Having said that, there is Deathstroke and Dark Archer which I can’t wait to see more of. Plus I hear Deadshot is coming back which answers my own question. 🙂

  2. I liked Vertigo and that really funny lie Oliver told Felicity about the drug haha 😀

    I did not like the family turmoil as it is drawing very fin and I just don’t care.

    • The part when Oliver said he put “energy drink” into syringes because there weren’t any bottles was so silly and funny!

      I don’t mind the family drama, though Thea’s outbursts are wearing thin on me. What’s good is that it looks like Thea will be spending the next episodes with Laurel which will shake up the dynamic a bit.

      Thanks again for commenting! 🙂

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