One of the most polarizing villains on Arrow makes his reappearance this week. After episode 12’s Vertigo, many fans voiced their objection to Seth Gabel’s take on the psychotic drug dealer The Count. In anticipation to Unfinished Business I was curious if the producers would re-envision The Count to appease dissenting fans or embrace what some have described as a Walmart version of Heath Ledger’s Joker.
Continue reading Arrow Season 1 Episode 19 titled Unfinished Business recap.
The twist and turns of the episode played with my expectations on which version of The Count would emerge. At first, seeing The Count in the mental hospital as a man who has lost touch with reality, uttering bizarre phrases made sense since Oliver pumped him with a near lethal dose of Vertigo in episode 12. But after his reported escape, it appeared he faked his insanity, indicating the writer’s plan to dial back The Count’s craziness.
In the end though, the return of The Count that the previews teased was a clever bait and switch. Aside from the overt framing of the male orderly (aka henchman) in the foreground as The Hood sneaked past the mental institute’s windows in the background, the story did a good job at not tipping their hand at the surprise reveal that The Count’s doctor is the manufacturer of the new Vertigo.
The doctor’s scheme to profit from Vertigo acted as a catalyst for much more interesting developments with our primary characters. Oliver, who is short-tempered and brisk with his friends this episode, had the opportunity to finish off The Count but instead spared the mad man’s life.
In the context of a crime-fighting television drama, I’ve never had an issue with Oliver killing dangerous criminals or in self-defense. But it’s another matter if Oliver kills in cold blood those that do not pose a danger to him. Oliver’s moral code is an ever changing work-in-progress; could his decision to spare The Count move him one step closer to adopting a no-kill policy in the future even if villains will inevitably come back to haunt him?
Likewise, Oliver’s childhood friend Tommy also stands on the precipice of a sea change, as the final scene embracing his Dad (aka Dark Archer) may foreshadow. However, at this point Tommy has not demonstrated much in the way of turning to the dark side. If anything, quitting the night club is Tommy’s reaction to what Oliver has become, for what he is turning into for protecting the identity of the hood (a criminal for bribing the building inspector) and Ollie’s unspoken accusation of dealing Vertigo. Tommy is for the most part a morally grounded character and valued friend for disguising the Arrow Cave from Det. Lance. He still has a ways to go before turning into a villain, if that’s the direction he’s headed.
Unfinished Business greatly benefited from cohesive storytelling where each story thread did not feel extraneous unlike the Lance family drama of previous episodes. Diggle’s personal vendetta to track down Deadshot naturally integrated with the main story line and having him aid Oliver at the very end made me realize, other than as a sounding board, how under used he has been of late. The scenes featuring Shado had more substance than recent flashbacks. At first, I thought the water slapping would somehow come in handy in the present day but it was very cool to see how it helped Oliver learn to use the bow, a memorable step to becoming the Archer aka Green Arrow.
Overall, Unfinished Business is pretty fun and entertaining which makes make me excited for the final run of Season 1 episodes. What did you like or didn’t like about this episode? What did you think of Tommy’s development and where are the island flashbacks headed?