When vertigo hits the streets again, it’s Oliver that takes it the most personally.
What They Say:
Unfinished Business – After partying and taking a drug, a woman dies violently. The count escapes from the mental institituion. Oliver remembers lessons taught to him by Slade and Shado.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the introduction of Count Vertigo earlier in the series wasn’t one that really matched up well with the comics side in just about any real and tangible way, I have to admit that I like how they’re handling him in this incarnation, especially with the actor that plays him. This episode kicks off by bringing the vertigo drug back into play as a young woman is killed after getting high on the drug and dancing through the streets. Which also ends up bringing detective Lance into the club as he figures he can use the opportunity to shake down Oliver and Tommy a bit with some of his frustrations over the two and their relationships with his daughters over the years. But it also lets Oliver know that there’s something going on again, which gets him to pay a little visit to the count, something that’s just grin inducing.
The Count’s escape from the psychiatric hospital is a bit simple, but it sets into motion plenty of events, including Lance being hot on his trail with the investigation. One that puts him in a bad spot as he has to go after Tommy at first because of the way Tommy is seemingly being set up for the girls death. And, of course, it causes more of a rift between all involved since there’s so many ways it can rub the others wrong. While Lance gets to do the more practical cop investigation, Oliver’s taking the whole thing just as seriously and starts to hit the streets, which has him finding a major deal that he breaks up in a pretty explosive way. But one deal bust doesn’t do much to stop the problem, which is what Oliver seems to be stuck being able to do here.
While Oliver spends his time trying to figure out where the Count has run off to, there are a few other plots at play. The investigation into the club that Lance is playing puts Oliver in a tight spot since they have a warrant to search the place and they know about the subbasement level as well. This puts a big strain on the relationship between Tommy and Oliver since there’s a good bit of drug dealing problems that come into play that Oliver keeps in the back of his head because of their shared pasts. And with Detective Lance making such a commotion, it just frays nerves in general. To make matters worse, Diggle is so heavily focused on finding Lawton that he’s creating a rift between him and Oliver as well, even though he figured of all people Oliver would be the one to understand his intensity.
The show spends some more time on the island, though I long for another episode where the whole thing is devoted to it. With Shado now throwing her lot in with Oliver and Slade, it’s amusing to see how she and Slade manage to get along so well since they’re of similar mind in how they fight, which puts them at a certain ease with each other, but also regular attempts to outdo the other. Oliver hasn’t managed to learn much from Slade as they don’t exactly have the same mindset, but it’s interesting to see Shado starting her own training routine with him to try and get him to be more useful to them for what’s to come. But it also provides some good bit of dialogue as Shado reveals what Fyres wanted out of Yao-Fei, to be the public face of events for what they have planned, and how she got drawn into it as well and why she’s so intent on making sure that he’s going to survive it.
Though vertigo is the central piece to the story here and we do get some time with the count, it’s kind of the weaker aspect to it. There are good moments throughout and we get Oliver put into a really difficult position when it comes to how to deal with him and seeing how he deals with it says a lot about him. But like the time spent with Tommy and Detective Lance, it has an awkwardness and forced nature about it that just does jive too well when looked at in the small moments. The tension that’s created will continue to have an impact, but I dislike the way things shifted so suddenly between Oliver and Tommy and the flashpoint with Diggle and Oliver. I do like that subplots are carrying through more and the tension that exists between Tommy and Oliver will be natural, especially now that there’s new things causing problems between them. But the best for me, the saving grace really, is the time spent with the flashback segment as we get some great time with Shado that starts to illuminate things more and has me eager to see when, likely in the second season, this trio will meet again in different ways in the present.