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Cult Recap

'Arrow' review: 'Fringe' star Seth Gabel is the Count in 'Vertigo'

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Season 1, episode 12 | Aired Monday, Feb 4 2013 at 20:00 GMT on Sky1

It's time for another dose of the Stephen Amell Abdominal Hour - or Arrow as it's better known. After his sister Thea (Willa Holland) almost died running a car off the road whilst tweaking on the hip new drug Vertigo, Oliver Queen (our boy Amell) is ruthlessly pursuing the narcotic to its source - an elusive drug lord known as The Count.

Ollie eschews his green hood for a suit and tie to support Thea at her court hearing, but the cold Judge Brackett (Serge Houde) decides to make an example of the poor little rich girl, ordering her case to trial.

With stress levels rising and the Queen women tearing strips off each other, Oliver reaches out to his old pal turned NARC cop McKenna Hall (Janina Gavankar) - another gorgeous girl from Oliver's past that he enjoys a flirtatious relationship with, the cad.

It turns out that Ollie's behind-the-times and Starling City's police force - which shockingly has more officers to hand than just Laurel's dad - has been after the villain for months, with no success. The Count, we now learn, is Fringe actor Seth Gabel, who's playing Heath Ledger playing the Joker.

Arrow S01E12: 'Vertigo'

© The CW



With the cops coming up empty, Oliver turns to Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and asks her to talk to her father about coercing Judge Brackett. Quentin sees a little of his late daughter Sarah in troubled Thea and agrees to help, despite his dislike for Laurel's playboy ex.

Thea gets probation, on the condition that Laurel become her babysitter. Thea's understandably reluctant at first - we wouldn't want moody Laurel hanging over our shoulder either - but eventually takes up a role in Laurel's legal office. Is this how she'll meet her boy-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks Roy Harper (Colton Haynes)?

Meanwhile, Oliver arranges a meeting with the Count through his Russian mob contact - another Fringe vet, Eugene Lipinski - but first has to kill a man in cold blood to prove his gangster worth.

It's a surprisingly brutal move, even for the ruthless Mr Queen, so we weren't that surprised to learn that Oliver had simply subjected his victim to some kind of Mr. Spock-style nerve pinch that simulated the signs of death. Alright, we were a little surprised - because that's *really* dumb.

Arrow S01E12: 'Vertigo'

© The CW



Ollie eventually faces down The Count, but the first encounter between hero and villain is interrupted by the Starling City police force - yep, led by Quentin - and the deranged drug baron is able to inject a distracted Oliver with a powerful dose of Vertigo.

This gives our hunky lead an excuse to take his shirt off as Diggle prepares an antidote. "A drug overdose isn't something you just walk away from," Dig warns. Oliver then gets up and walks away from him.

To be fair, he's not firing on all cylinders - and, with his aim seriously off, the Hood dives deep into Starling City's dark underbelly without his bow. He's still more than a match for the Count's goons though, and for the villain himself, returning the earlier favour by injecting him with a huge dollop o' Vertigo. The Count ends the episode transformed into a warped, fitting mess. Nasty.

Arrow S01E12: 'Vertigo'

© The CW



So the drama's over for another week - or so Oliver believes, until Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) hands him the replica of his father's list that Walter (Colin Salmon) gave to her - the list that came from Moira and may have led to Walter's death. We think Oliver will have a few stern words for his mother next week...

'Vertigo' is overall a bit of a mixed bag. There's the good - we've been demanding more screen-time for Willa Holland for a while and she gets some meatier-than-usual material to play here, with Thea reeling following the revelations about her father's true nature.

But then there's, quite literally, the bad. Seth Gabel - so good as mild-mannered Lincoln Lee in Fringe - is off his game here, with a derivative performance that's all hissed vocals and wild eyes. We know he's going for 'unhinged' but ultimately the Count comes across like a right Muppet.

Arrow continues on Mondays at 8pm on Sky1.

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