It’s hard to understand the attraction of the drug whose name titles the Arrow episode, “Vertigo.” From what we learn in the episode, an overdose makes a person feel intense pain until they go mad and/or die of a heart attack. Even in lower doses, it makes you dizzy. So why are people taking it?

Whatever the case, it’s up to Oliver to stop the drug and its slightly loony purveyor, the Count.

This Time It’s Personal

This week’s Arrow episode begins with the Hood chasing down a drug dealer. Yes, it’s a step down from the Masters of the Universe represented by the List. But Oliver has his reasons. Actually, he pretty much just has one reason: Thea.

Expecting nothing but community service, Thea goes to her court date. Alas, this is one of those times when a highly moral judge decides to make an example out of the rich girl who conveniently just turned 18. Thea’s case is going to trial and it’s not looking good.

Hey, the Police Have a Purpose!

Actual legal methods of dealing with the problem failing miserably, Oliver takes an unusual step: He gets help from the police. Kind of. Basically, Oliver hangs out with an old partying friend-turned-vice cop, McKenna Hall, and then asks Laurel to beg Daddy Lance to talk to the Judge.

This turns out to be a clever plan. From Vice Detective Hall, Oliver gets the file on the Count. From Laurel, Thea’s sentence drops back down to community service (in Laurel’s office, no less!).

The Eternal Angst of Thea Queen

Being a teenager pretty much means automatic angst. But when you’re Thea Queen — a girl whose father figures tend to go missing, whose mother is a borderline sociopath and whose brother is a secret vigilante — the pathos is truly excruciating.

That’s probably why Thea even considers refusing her community service and going to jail, just to spite her mother. Fortunately, Oliver spills the tale of Dad’s cheating just in time. Mother and daughter reconcile, subjecting Thea to mind-numbing filing instead of jail-time fun.

Oliver Freaking Kills a Guy!

Thea’s troubles are over, but there is still Vertigo out on the streets, causing trouble. Oliver isn’t getting too far any other way and decides to go back to the Russian mafia/mechanic shop. His bratva contact there does know about the Count, but he is reluctant to put Oliver in touch with the guy.

In fact, the only way for Oliver to get a meeting is to do a favor for the Russian mobster. Favors, in the context of organized crime, aren’t of the “feed my cat” variety either. Oliver is instead expected to kill a man who displeased the brotherhood.

And, to Diggle’s horror, that’s what Oliver does. Without emotion and with only minimal hesitation, Oliver strangles the poor man. This pleases the Russians, and Oliver gets his meeting.

Oh, and the guy isn’t really dead. Oliver just used some funky pressure-point move, and the poor fellow came back to life.

That’s an Island Thing

Way back when, shortly after Oliver’s arrival on the crappiest island of all time, young Mr. Queen was released from his cage to fight Yao Fei, gladiator-style. Of course, Yao Fei won. But he won by strangling Oliver to death. When the ninja commandos when to dispose of Oliver’s body, the Chinese archer brought his friend back to life.

And dumped him into a river. Struggling to shore, Oliver found a map Yao Fei had slipped him. He might just survive all this.

The Count

Surviving the Count (guest star Seth Gabel, as far removed from lovable Lincoln Lee as you can imagine) might prove to be difficult though. That’s because this particular drug dealer is a nutcase. With moves that would make Heath Ledger’s Joker proud, the Count gleefully overdoses traitors and explains how his development process cost 56 lives.

Yes, he counted.

Thanks to the Russians, Oliver quickly gets to meet this lovely young man. They do a deal to supply Vertigo to Oliver’s club patrons, but then things go south. A “confidential informant” tipped off the police about the deal, and they arrive, guns blazing.

Not that it matters — pretty much everyone gets away. Oliver almost manages to follow the Count, but just gets shot up with a whole bunch of Vertigo instead.

This Is Really an Awful Drug

Oliver’s Vertigo overdose causes the young man intense pain and beautiful shirtlessness. He also tries to strangle Diggle, which is just not nice. Fortunately, the secret lair is equipped with handcuffs, and Oliver soon sweats out the drug.

He’s far from OK though. The bouts of dizziness continue as Oliver continues to hunt down the Count and that Vertigo. A chemical-analysis assist from Felicity (yay!!!!!!!!!!!!) — who is no longer buying Oliver’s increasingly lame excuses, by the way — points our vigilante in the right direction.

It doesn’t even matter that the dizzy spells keep Oliver from shooting straight. As we all know by now, he’s pretty darn good at killing without arrows too.

The Police Interrupt a Perfectly Good Vengeance Party

Deep in the Count’s appropriately run-down warehouse, Oliver kills a bunch of goons before facing the Count himself. A brief fight ends with Oliver the victor and the Count getting a taste of his own medicine.

But he doesn’t get a fatal dose. The police show up instead.

Now here’s an important question: Who is this handy-dandy “confidential informant” who keeps telling McKenna Hall and the police where to go? Should we maybe suspect the otherwise pointless Detective Hall of conspiracy of some sort? Does she have any other purpose?

Whatever the case, the police show up, and Detective Lance shames Oliver into fleeing before administering a fatal dose of Vertigo to the Count. The Count got enough though — he goes from loony to full-on insane from the pain.

Felicity Knows Everything About Everyone

Felicity and Oliver meet in a cafe. She seems a little nervous about this, and we soon learn the reason why — Felicity gives Oliver the journal Walter found in Moira’s room. This would be a journal containing the List. With the addition of the knowledge that Walter had been investigating the List before his disappearance, Oliver gets his first inkling of just how close to home this conspiracy reaches.

This is going to be bad. It may even be bad enough to justify an awful drug like Vertigo.

Will Oliver realize the truth about Moira? Who tipped off the cops to the Count’s whereabouts? Did you believe that Oliver actually killed that man? Leave your comments below!

(Images courtesy of The CW)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.