You may have noticed – or not, it’s hard to tell – that last week’s episode of Arrow wasn’t reviewed due to my being out of town (at Gallifrey One! Look for my convention recap this weekend.). And what a shame, too, since last week’s “The Odyssey” was Arrow‘s best episode in weeks. It benefited, like I predicted it would, from more screen time for Manu Bennet‘s Slade Wilson, the inclusion of Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) properly into Team Arrow, and some real answers about what happened on the island between Oliver (Stephen Amell), Slade, and Yao Fei (Bryon Mann). For one, Yao Fei has completely switched allegiance to Fyers and his mercenaries because they’re holding his daughter hostage.
But no, that’s not the episode I’m covering today. This week’s episode was “Dodger,” and it’s a return to the tired villain of the week formula sandwiched between both Ollie and Diggle’s (David Ramsey) sorry attempts at romantic entanglements. And no, unfortunately not with each other. A shame because at least that would have been interesting!
Last week Arrow left off with Thea (Willa Holland) arrested for driving under the influence of Vertigo, Starling City’s newest party high, bringing the drug and its nefarious dealer, The Count (Seth Gabel), center stage. It’s another neat twist on DC lore turning the austere Count Vertigo into a drug dealer peddling a substance that when over imbibed leaves the user suffering from some dizzying effects. With Thea facing jail time because Judge Jerkface wants to see her made into an example for the drug-addled youth of Starling City, Ollie (Stephen Amell) sees his only option as bringing in The Count to take the heat off Thea.
Since it’s his sister on the line, Ollie uses every available means to hunt down The Count. As Oliver Queen he visits an old flame from his partying days, McKenna Hall (Janina Gavankar), now a vice cop, who provides him with a couple leads including “The Count” alias. And do you want to know how he earned such a moniker? You sure? Because I’m sorry, it’s pretty dumb. See, Vertigo is a very potent substance and required quite a bit of testing before it was street safe. Testing done on homeless bums and destitute prostitutes. When those poor souls were found overdosed there would be two puncture marks on their necks from the syringe. Vampire bites, get it? Vampire bites, The Count, isn’t that funny!? Yeah … umm, clever.