‘Arrow’ Season 1, Episode 12 Review – A Few Too Many Lies

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 18th, 2014 at 9:56 am,

Stephen Amell in Arrow Vertigo Arrow Season 1, Episode 12 Review – A Few Too Many Lies

Since the series began, Arrow has been having a lot of fun with the idea of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), his Arrow alter ego – which everyone pretty much refers to as the Hood, but that’s okay – and the perceptions that the people in Ollie’s life have of both. That concept is at the center ‘Vertigo,’ an episode that sees Oliver put on three personas in order to help his little sister Thea (Willa Holland) from having the book thrown at her by an overzealous judge.

First, there’s the Oliver Queen that everyone knows – the billionaire playboy who was shipwrecked for five years. Next, there is the Hood (Arrow, Green Arrow, what have you) persona who has some in Starling City unsure if he’s a hero or a menace. Finally, there is the Oliver Queen who is apparently a captain in the Russian mafia – someone who would kill without compunction just to prove himself the genuine article.

Other than the loathsome mafia folks ordering him to kill one of their henchmen, Diggle (David Ramsey) is (now) the only one with knowledge of Oliver’s ties to such a criminal organization. Despite rolling with the punches like Oliver asked him to, Diggle still wants to take his partner to task for killing a thug who posed no immediate threat, just to get closer to the drug dealer who has been poisoning the streets of his city. Naturally, he doesn’t really have to, since Oliver uses a “neat trick” to resuscitate the confounded henchman and asks that Diggle set him up with a new identity before shipping him out of town.

Stephen Amell and David Ramsey in Arrow Vertigo Arrow Season 1, Episode 12 Review – A Few Too Many Lies

Normally, that kind of impossible situation would force the main character to make a sacrifice in order to achieve his primary goal, e.g., become as bad as the enemy or his lose mafia connections, but Arrow gets to have a little cheat, since it’s using the incident to connect the present day thread with an island flashback. Admittedly, the whole thing is a bit of a stretch, but it does overcome two clear obstacles that had been presented in last week’s ‘Trust but Verify‘ – that of Yao Fei (Byron Mann) being in league with the mercenaries on the island and Oliver being their captive. Now, with the obvious revelation that Yao is still protecting Oliver, and that he’s provided him with a map of the island, the flashbacks are open to a host of possibilities.

And that brings things back to when Ollie lightly chides Diggle for not knowing him better than to believe he’d be compelled to kill a lowly henchman at the request of another, more dangerous criminal. Although it’s clear that Diggle still has no idea what Oliver is capable of from one moment to the next, the show seems to be suggesting that the closer someone gets to the real Oliver, the more muddled that perception becomes – a fact that helps explain why he goes to such great lengths to cultivate the persona he’s best known for.

Although ‘Vertigo’ somewhat validates the dead henchman moment with the island flashback and Oliver’s relationship to Diggle, the same can’t really be said of Arrow’s confrontation with the Count. Seth Gabel (Fringe) cranks it up to eleven in his performance that’s more than a little reminiscent of Cillian Murphy’s Dr. Jonathan Crane, with an introductory scene that again sees a lowly henchman being disposed of to make a point. Gabel gleefully dances around one of his dealers after giving him an overdose of vertigo – which convinces the man’s brain that he’s in excruciating pain – offering him a gun with a single bullet that can be used to exact revenge or end his agony.

Seth Gabel in Arrow Vertigo Arrow Season 1, Episode 12 Review – A Few Too Many Lies

Instead of playing up that scene in confrontation between Arrow and the Count, the (temporary?) end of the villain is actually used to further the already negative opinion Det. Lance (Paul Blackthorne) has of the vigilante. Before Oliver can inject the Count with an overdose of his own, Lance tells him he’s not the hero some think him to be – he’s a killer just like the Count and everyone else who has been unlucky enough to end up on the business end of an arrow. It’s interesting to use the villain to further Arrow’s interaction with Det. Lance and hopefully, it will pay off somewhere down the line. If anything, seeing the horrific condition of the Count after Arrow is done with him renews Lance’s opinion that the vigilante is more menace than savior.

Like ‘Burned‘ and ‘Lone Gunmen‘, ‘Vertigo’ shifts the focus away from the episode’s antagonist and places it firmly on the main characters. While that leads to some soap opera-y moments, maybe they, too, will pay off in the long run since Arrow has begun sewing the seeds of what limits there are to Oliver skating by on the perception most people have of him. It’s clear the excuses are beginning to wear thin, and while Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) finally calls Ollie on his weak explanations, the momentary relief that the two now have some sort of unspoken understanding is undermined by the revelation that Moira (Susanna Thompson) was in possession of a notebook like the one he took from his father.

Hopefully, that eye-opener will push the series’ storyline into whatever plans Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) has for Starling City.

Paul Blackthorne in Arrow Vertigo Arrow Season 1, Episode 12 Review – A Few Too Many Lies

Various Items:

  • Tying Thea to Laurel (Katie Cassidy) for the foreseeable future should be a good way to streamline Oliver’s non-Arrow interactions with those in the supporting cast.
  • The post-Felicity Smoak exchange between Diggle and Oliver did a nice job of hinting at the encounter at the end of the episode. Diggle: “Your B.S. stories are getting worse.” Oliver: “Well aware.”
  • With any luck, the arrangement between Oliver and Felicity will begin to see her brought into the fold with him and Diggle. Rickards’ often provides an episode with its most memorable lines (as she did with the off-handed story of a cat being tazed by a guard) and it’d be great to have her as a more integral part of the series.
  • Again, the interaction between Arrow and the villain of the week is somewhat lackluster. At least the Count stands some chance of making another appearance sometime down the road.


Arrow continues next Wednesday with ‘Betrayal’ @8pm on The CW. Check out a preview below:

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  1. Reminded me of Batman Begins it did.

  2. is that the guy from lost/heroes in next weeks episode? man they sure like to cast the well known geek stars. River Song will be appearing soon also!

  3. I’m a huge fan of the show but I don’t know a ton about green arrow besides this show and smallville and the cartoons but what a fantastic show!

    I really hope felicity becomes part of the team she could be a oracle type figure character. Diggle is a favorite and Stephen amell is a amazing green arrow. I’m also loving the flashbacks. I like how each episode incorporates flashbacks at some point.

    Too bad Stephen amell couldn’t play arrow in a justice league movie. I think he fits the character great.

    And I’m happy his arrow voice sounded better IMO.

    • @ The Mighty Avenger

      Who’s to say Amell can’t be in the JL movie, if it ever happens, even in a cameo? If WB/DC ever get their act together, they might see that that is a smart move to include him, if not now then downthe line. I think it’s a great idea.

      • @stark

        I actually really want him too. I think it woul be a smart move on wb and DC to include him. The show could be a good marketing tatic for a movie. And hopefully arrow is around for a few seasons so by te time JL comes out he’s already been established as a hero or vigilante. Cu if JL COMES OUT 2015 that puts arrow on the air for three seasons hopefully. And the plus the tone and style of arrow fits with what I think there trying to do.

    • Yes, i totally agree that Felicity should become a part of the team. She would be more useful to them if she joined their team.

      On a side note, i really want Oliver to start wearing a mask instead of that stupid makeup. It’s so easy to tell who it is.

  4. Great episode, but IMO it was brought down by Gabel’s over-the-top performance.
    I was honestly expecting more from him after seeing his work on Fringe.
    It would also have been nice to see a more faithful adaption of the character, but what I saw wasn’t at all unexpected.

    In any case, it is kinda weird how “The Count” and Scarecrow from TDK trilogy share so many similarities – the actors even look alike!

    • Oh, and I’m also hoping Felicity joins Arrow’s team – if only for the sake of having less frustrating instances where Oliver recklessly exposes his alter ego.

      • after watching smallville, i really want this Oliver to form a team of his own. I like those episodes in Smallville that had several heroes working together. and i actually liked seth’s over-the-top performance but thats just me. i thought he was underused but im sure he will return later.

      • @ The avenger yah im hoping felicity joins in too i think she would be great to have i think shes gonna be the next one to find out that oly is arrow.

    • i was thinking that very same thing. scarecrow kept popping in mind as i was watching.

  5. Was there an announcement that Stephen Amell will def not be in the Justice league movies?

    Great ep. tho maybe a bit rushed as you’ve stated. The flashback sequences have been esp. intense after the season break.

    I kind of wish “The Count” had dialed back the crazy a little and turned up the scary psycopath a bit. All in all good performance, I don’t blame him (the actor) as the director/producer who said they approached him and said they were doing a “Heath Ledger Joker” style take on The count. I would have rather he be an intelligent agent of the league of shadows, which could still tie in to this vertigo drug storyline… but oh well.

    I was also hoping firefly would have a jet pack LOL.

  6. Why don’t any of the antagonists just stick? Why the policy of “New villain every episode”?

    • well a lot of the more recent ones havent died, so im sure they will come back.

      • Well none of them have posted any significant challenge for The Hood yet…

        • It’s probably a long shot, but I’m thinking it’s all building up to something big (something that might only start to play out in season 2 or three) and that “something” would center around all the defeated villains being freed from prison and forming a team of sorts to take down the Green Arrow.

          Maybe this team could even be funded by the Well Dressed Man aka the Dark Archer…

          If this happens, maybe by then GA will have made some new friends (other DC street heroes) who could help him take these guys down.

        • Merlyn certainly provided quite a bit of challenge and he is still out there.

          I’d guess that at some point at least Deathstroke is going to show up in the present time.

          Vertigo will probably be back. There is also the Triad leader.

          The truth is that most of the week-to-week antagonists have been corrupt business leaders whose only point is to give the episode something to do while they push along the non-Hood stuff.

      • china white has been in 3 eps, and deathstroke appears to be a permanent part of the island flashbacks. i know nothing of any of these characters, having only read a couple of green arrow comic books when i was muuuuuch younger, but i do dig this show.

  7. Fantastic ep.!! If Ms. Smoak joins team Arrow, which I’m thinking she will, that will add A LOT to the show. This is easily my favorite show on T.V. right now and it keeps getting better every week. The Count did remind me of the Scarcrow, but the show runners have openly said that Batman is their template. I’m very much looking forward to Deathstroke next week. Great show, keep it going.

    How long before we find out that its been renewed for next season?

    • probably wont find out for at least a month. they are just over halfway done with this season, and a lot can happen between now and the finale. So hopefully it keeps up the high ratings and we should be hearing a confirmation on season 2 soon.

      • I dont see how this couldnt be renewed, its a great show, it gets good ratings for the network its on and i trust that the CW will stick by their shows for awhile!

        • It went down in the ratings for this episode. But this is the CW we r talking about, so im not to worried.

    • isn”t the fact her name “smoak” is hint or clue to a character to come?

  8. Arrow’s ratings are dipping…we may not even see a 2nd season…

    • Theyre actually maintaining pretty well and staying above 3 million so far for each episode! i really cant see them putting this much effort and money into this and not at least giving it a chance!

    • One of the things that really used to irritate me about Smallville is that so much of the fan base numbers were contingent on the back stories regarding who was Clark or Oliver into. Sad but true that without the love stories they don’t get a lot of females watching these kind of shows. Supernatural might be the only one that can get past that crap, the the rest seem to need a love story background or the numbers dip.

      I’d hate to see them start really adding a stronger love story backdrop just to get the numbers up.

  9. Am I the only one who is tired of Thea being a b**ch all the time? I mean I can’t be the only person who was hoping she’d get dumped in prison just to get her out of the show for a few episodes, right?

    Because it’s the same stuff every episode for her. She’s all bi**chy and what not, then by the end of the episode she’s realized it and apologized…only to be a b**ch again next episode. I wish they’d do something different with her character already.

    • @ Mr. Midnight

      I agree, I kind of tune out when she is on. Its kind of like another comercial. She is the only weak part of the show IMO. I’m not sure if they know what to do with her yet. I agree however, prison would be a good option. Of course I mean that in the nicest way possible. :)

      • Nice to know I’m not the only one! XD

    • I get what you mean. But I feel like she’s beginning to turn around especially after learning about her dad. I don’t know, maybe that’ll change her character.

      • @ Jonathan

        I hear you, and I have thought the same thing a couple of times myself. But then she reverts back to her old self the next week. It seems like they just use her to just move the bigger plot along. It’s ok though. If she’s the only hole or weakness this show ends up with (which IMO is so far) its doing very well. Nothing’s perfect. :)

        • Honestly I could get over her attitude and everything if she didn’t constantly revery back to being a b**ch. I’m hoping after this episode she’ll actually stay with the lesson she learned or whatever, but I’m definitely not holding my breath. XP

          • Revert*

    • Haha, that’s something I ranted about in the last ep review.
      I definitely hear ya man.

      She’s still a cool character though, but they should definitely dial it down a bit with all her melodrama.

      • yeah shes a lot less annoying than Charlie (from Revolution).

        • Agreed!

    • Thea needs a spanking.

  10. I agree with those that say the one & done villains will return in a likely team-up to plot against Green Arrow.

  11. I’d say this is a good episode. A nice touch of an update on The Count’s origin too. Still, Gabel is a bit overacting (or over the top) in his role. If the director/producer wanted him to infuse Joker’s persona in The Count, for me Gabel certainly failed in that case.

  12. I’m really enjoying the show, but I want to see Roy Harper, does anyone know when he is going to make an appearance

    • im guessing in 3 or so episodes. Theres another short break coming up soon so im sure he will either appear right before or right after the break.

      just check and i guess they are taking roughly a 3 week break at the end of february. supposedly it wont be returning until march 20th.

  13. Just watched the episode. I swear, this show is getting worse and worse. I still watch it because I enjoy the action and I love superheroes, but so many elements of this episode bothered me. Mostly, it was completely illogical character motivations.

    As Kevin pointed out, Oliver apparently is also parading around as a Russian mobster (which btw, I had completely forgotten about), and nobody tells any authorities. Even so, the fact that Oliver decides to go to the meeting as Oliver is completely baffling to me. Why not set up the meeting, but instead show up as “The Hood” and take everyone out? Or maybe go, but have Diggle dress up as The Hood? That worked earlier. Or let the cops know about the meeting, and have them send in tons of cop cars and set up an entire perimeter. (I think this is what he tried to do, but the writers forgot to inform the audience. Also the cops were terrible at setting up a perimeter).

    And of course, the fact that still nobody makes a connection between Oliver and The Hood is ridiculous, but I got over that in the beginning of the season.

    I still enjoy this show, and I’d like to see it succeed, but it’s really starting to bother me. A lot.


  14. Also, did anyone notice the blatant similarities between Oliver using The Count’s drugs against him, and Batman using Scarecrow’s drugs against him? They even said these clever lines: “Taste of your own medicine, doctor?” and “Enjoy the fruits of your labor” (or something like that). Actually, to come to think of it, Oliver’s line was a bit odd in context, and I would not be surprised if the writers wanted to use the “taste of your own medicine” line, but realized that Batman already had.

    • What part of “Batman is the template” do you not understand? Honestly, nothing is ever good enough for some people. It’s like they just have to tear everything down. I’m just glad there’s a comic-based series that has decent action and familiar characters even on TV at this point. It’s the first season, all the episodes are in the can so they have to let it play out the way they made it. The makers are listening to fan response and will tweak the show accordingly. Have a little patience.

    • I was reading up that we should get a more Deathstroke story next episode(13) with the introduction of Manu Bennett. Should be interesting