Hello, hello. Ola. A little show called "Vertigo". "Vertigo" features the debut of Arrow's version of DC third tier supervillain Count Vertigo, known here simply as the Count (because he killed people by testing his Vertigo drug via their necks like bite marks, but also maybe because he kept count of all those people he killed). But we'll get to that because "Vertigo" dropped a bomb of crazy on us that needs to be addressed straight away: Apparently, Oliver Queen is a captain in the Russian mafia. At some point in Oliver's unaccounted for five years on and off the Island, he saved the life of a Bravta leader and thus, Oliver can just call upon the Bravta to set up meetings with mysterious Starling City drug lords like the Count of Vertigo. The best line of the episode belongs yet again to Diggle: "I'm looking forward to my new career as a drug dealer."
The other crazy thing: Oliver can "kill" people with the Million Dollar Dream and then "resurrect" them with an Asiatic Spike, moves he learned not from Ted DiBiase or the Monster Meng but from Yao Fei. Yao Fei, who is in fact not working for the evil folks on the Island in an about face from last week's shocking reveal, used those same moves to "kill" Oliver and throw him off a cliff in as a way to save his life. Otherwise, he'd have been murderized for real by Deathstroke or something.
Oliver's mission this week is twofold: nail the Count for selling the illegal designer drug Vertigo in Starling City and save his sister Thea Dearden(!) Queen from prison for her Vertigo-induced car accident, which occurred not on her birthday as we assumed last week since it happened during her 18th birthday party, but two days before her birthday. Now, Thea actually is 18 and she can go to prison because the judge wants to make an example out of her.
Helena Bertinelli called Oliver "the Lindsay Lohan of Starling City" a few weeks back, but Thea actually fits that bill. It's weird when Arrow asks us to sympathize with the Queens' efforts to keep Thea out of prison when A) she's guilty B) she's a rich, entitled, arrogant albeit confused kid and C) she's willing to go to prison just to spite her mom, whom she hates. Oliver's meddling included breaking it to Thea that their dead daddy Robert Queen was the philanderer of the parents and then asking Laurel to talk to her father Detective Lance to help cut a deal to keep Thea out of the hoosegow. Thea seemed amazingly unappreciative of all this effort on her behalf. In the end, Laurel gets to watch out for Thea personally, as Thea reminds her of her dead sister Sarah, and Laurel's law office gets Thea Queen as an office intern, which sounds like a bad deal for the office. But maybe Thea will learn to enjoy filing, make copies, answer the phone, and do menial administrative tasks. Maybe she'll live up to her Speedy nickname with how quickly she accomplishes assigned tasks.
Credit Arrow for introducing even more strong, sexy women to its cast. A new detective and an old friend of Oliver's debuted this week as well: McKenna Hall. She ID'd Oliver when Oliver made his drug deal with the Count and called to inform Oliver personally that the SCPD captured the Count when the Hood busted up his operation and drugged him with pure Vertigo. Oliver did this as revenge for when the Count stuck two syringes of Vertigo in his chest when the cops busted up the meet. So now Oliver's been high as a kite on Vertigo and understands what a rush it was for Thea. Only Oliver could have died from the overdose. The Count meanwhile is brain fried from his overdose. (This could be an out for Arrow to give the Count superpowers, which would make him the first character on the show to be more than human.) If you ask me, Arrow should have firmly established the effect of ODing on Vertigo to be like having the U2 song looping extra loud in your head.
C'mon, if Revolution could afford to buy Led Zeppelin "Kashmir" for an episode, Arrow could have shelled out for U2.
Finally, Oliver's interactions with Felicity Smoak are becoming a regular thing and one of the best things on the show. Oliver lies to everyone, but he saves the extra special ridiculous lies for Felicity, and she's not an idiot, she knows it. Oliver had Felicity investigate the syringes of Vertigo claiming it was a new energy drink, then he met her at Big Belly Burger, i.e. one of Starling City's two restaurants. Yet despite looking her right in the face and saying yes when she asked if she can trust him, he lied right to her face two seconds later when she showed him Moira's copy of The List written in Marauder's Map Invisible Ink. But now, Oliver knows for sure his mom's got lies of her own. Lots and lots of lies. This thing Oliver has with Felicity, though, needs to ramp up. I can't imagine there aren't 'Shippers for Oliver and Felicity. #Olicity
It's an Arrow Christmas! For some reason, Oliver decided he really, really, really wanted a Christmas party and he wasn't gonna take no for an answer. And for the first time, I have cause to disagree with my man John Diggle: