Arrow: 119 “Unfinished Business” Review
Reviewed by Phil Boothman.
This week saw the return and subsequent underuse of a previous Arrow villain as well as some tensions between characters and a brief visit to the island, all of which made for a nicely focused, if somewhat underwhelming episode.
The episode opens with a girl, high on a new form of Vertigo and fresh off the dancefloor of Verdant, getting hit by a car. Detective Lance pays a visit to Oliver and Tommy to tell them, and both he and Oliver have the same thought: that the Count, the impish Vertigo pusher from episode 12, deserves a visit.
However, they both soon discover that the Count isn’t really capable of doing anything: the overdose of unrefined Vertigo that Oliver injected him with has eroded what little sanity he had away, and he is barely intelligible when both parties attempt to interrogate him. However, soon after Oliver’s visit, a news report tells them that the Count has escaped from the facility, and Oliver believes that he was faking his fragile mental state and he is secretly behind the re-emergence of Vertigo.
He gets Diggle to buy some Vertigo (“All right, a person of colour has successfully purchased drugs for you” was a great line, incidentally), and Felicity begins tracking the money in an attempt to find the dealer. The tracker leads Oliver to a sketchy drug deal presumably somewhere in the Glades, but the dealer gets away before Oliver can confront him. Not only that, but one of the junkies the dealer was selling to gets away with a reasonably hefty stash of Vertigo, which he decides to take in an aquarium because nothing ensures a drug-induced freak-out more than looking at freaky animals. Oliver doesn’t quite make it to the aquarium in time, and the junkie dies before Oliver can administer his island-herb antidote.
Detective Lance, on the other hand, uncovers some loose connections between Tommy and Vertigo, and obtains a search warrant for Verdant. Fortunately, before he arrives, Tommy manages to disguise Oliver’s secret hideout as a supply room and clears any suspicion from himself, Oliver and the club. Naturally, Detective Lance’s accusations threaten his relationship with Laurel, but they eventually reconcile and Detective Lance says he wants to lighten up, suggesting that the inability to ‘let things go’ is a bad thing for a police detective.
Meanwhile, Felicity manages to find a chemical in the improved Vertigo which Oliver recognises as an anti-psychotic, and he realises that the Count’s escape might also have been faked. He heads back to the facility where he was being held and discovers that it was in fact the Count’s doctor who had been reverse-engineering the Vertigo compound from the traces of it in the Count’s bloodstream. The doctor’s henchman (a janitor) manages to knock Oliver out and the doctor forces him to take the new Vertigo: however, Diggle arrives to save the day and takes out the janitor while Oliver goes after the doctor. After Oliver’s struggles with the slight mercy he showed the Count during their last confrontation, he shows nothing of the sort with his doctor, although this could be down to the doctor uncovering his secret identity. Anyway, an arrow to the chest later and the Vertigo problem is done for.
However, Oliver still has to deal with Tommy, who is upset about the fact that his friend didn’t immediately trust that he wasn’t dealing Vertigo. Instead of having an adult conversation about this, Tommy throws his toys out of the pram and quits his job at Verdant, running straight back into the arms of none other than Daddy Merlyn. I foresee this causing some problems in the future…
Elsewhere, Diggle continues his search for Deadshot, giving a USB drive containing all the information he, Oliver and Felicity have gathered to an old military friend to try and track him down. An old military friend who now works for A.R.G.U.S., which may not mean much to people, but in the DC Comics it is an important organisation whose full name is Advanced Research Group Uniting Super-humans, suggesting there are some genuine supers out there in the world of Arrow. After berating Diggle for the majority of the episode for putting a vendetta before ‘the mission’, Oliver realises his hypocrisy and tells Diggle that they will work together to hunt down Deadshot.
Meanwhile, on the island, Shado and Slade have an intense bout of fisticuffs before Shado decides to train Oliver. She places a bowl of water in front of him and orders him to hit it as hard as he can: then, when the bowl is empty, to refill it and start again. This turns out to be a Karate Kid-style training technique to help him build up enough strength to draw the string back on a bow, and we see the beginnings of Oliver the Hood.
Also, after teasing us last week with her knowledge of Fyers’ plan, Shado reveals that she doesn’t really know what’s going on, but she knows that her father is being set up as the scapegoat to conceal Fyers’ involvement. Similarly, she tells Oliver that Yao Fei was only in the island prison because he was set up to take the fall for a massacre carried out by the Chinese government. So basically what we can take away from this is that Yao Fei is the most put-upon human being possibly in the world, and we should all feel sorry for him!
While slightly better than last week’s episode due to its increased focus, “Unfinished Business” still didn’t feel like Arrow at its best. The Count’s return was widely advertised and then played down within the actual episode, and there were some holes in the characterisations of both Tommy and Detective Lance. However, Tommy’s return to Malcolm and the hints dropped in the island flashback were intriguing if nothing else.