As I’ve mentioned before, a strength of The CW’s Arrow is its ability to balance superheroic action with soap opera drama. This season’s done a great job at doling out comicbook Easter eggs while keeping an up-tempo pace to go with some of the best action sequences on TV today. It’s also used the storyline of Moira Queen’s (Susanna Thompson) trial to great dramatic effect. That arc came to a head tonight in “State vs Queen”, and while the trial twisted and turned the way a legal drama should, the biggest shocker was saved until the very end. Hit the jump for my recap and review, and to find out why I approve this high.
Let’s start things off on the island, since that sequence was relatively by the numbers this week. Dr. Ivo (Dylan Neal) and Sara (Caity Lotz) head up the soldiers as Oliver (Stephen Amell) leads them to his former camp, which immediately gets shot up and primed for detonation. Shado (Celina Jade) and Slade (Manu Bennett) avoid the gunfire and manage to disable the detonator, so then they follow Ollie and Co. to the caves. They show up just as Ollie’s about to have his hand shot off, and the good guys escape into the wilderness with Sara in tow. Shado realizes the numbers on the arrowhead are coordinates, which Oliver realizes marks the location of the sub, and the experimental serum that might just save a badly burned Slade. (More on that super-serum in a bit!)
Now, before we get to Moira’s trial, let’s take a moment to welcome the return of Count Vertigo (Seth Gabel). “Wait, I thought he was locked up in Iron Heights prison?” you say. Yep! He was, until the earthquake in the Glades conveniently set him free. (He also stopped to release a creepy fella by the name of The Dollmaker, played by Michael Eklund earlier this year, if you recall.) Turns out that Vertigo has been dosing his chemicals into flu vaccines. None other than Diggle (David Ramsey) comes down with flu-like symptoms, which are actually symptoms of withdrawal from the drug. Arrow manages to track Vertigo down, thanks to Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), but the savvy hacker once again gets in over her head and has to be bailed out by Arrow. The sad twist here is that Arrow had to compromise his “no kill” policy in order to save Felicity; doubly sad because Gabel will likely never return.
However, before Vertigo died, he mentioned to Ollie – whose secret identity was discovered by the mad drug dealer – that someone else was behind the scenes, pulling the strings on the operation in order to draw Arrow out. It’s likely that that same person is the fella who managed to use his leverage and power to sway the jury into acquitting Moira of all the charges. (Even Oliver has a hard time believing that one.) So who is this mysterious benefactor? Well, in the first of two major soap opera moments, Moira reveals to Oliver and Thea (Willa Holland) that she, in fact, had an affair with Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) back in the day. So who should show up to have a polite conversation with Moira at the end of the ep? Guess who! Malcolm Merlyn! In a twist on that tryst, it turns out that Malcolm is the father of none other than … dun, dun, DUNNN … Thea! (Yeah, not Oliver, like you might have thought.)
I’m usually not a big fan of the soap opera twists and turns, so I’ll let this one slide. The CW knows their audience, and with the exception of Arrow, I’m not it. I’ll happily take a few dream sequences or shower curtain pullbacks if it means I get to continue enjoying the consistent quality of the show. And since the closing moments also featured a return to the Brother Blood (Kevin Alejandro) storyline, I’m all in!
Count Vertigo to the prisoners: “Too violent, too sloppy, too stupid, too…ambitious.”
Another mention of the particle accelerator! Drink!
Felicity: “Don’t take this the wrong way but you look disgusting.”
Vertigo’s ambulance driving and live broadcast of the captive Adam Donner (Dylan Bruce) seemed to be taken right from Heath Ledger’s Joker performance in The Dark Knight.
Oliver to Moira: “Secrets are what put you in this situation, secrets and lies.”
Vertigo: “I’m Count Vertigo and I approve this high!”
Once again, Roy (Colton Haynes) and Thea don’t have much to do, so Roy lets her wail on him with boxing gloves for a while.
Roy to Thea: “Hit me.”
Oliver: “Can you enhance?” Felicity: “It hurts me that you feel the need to ask.”
Vertigo: “You’re really on the ‘No Killing’ wagon? Shame! You’re letting one of life’s true pleasures pass you by.”
Laurel’s (Katie Cassidy) still acting a bit crazy, especially when Oliver checks on her after the trial. I’m concerned that they’re not quite sure what to do with her at the moment.
Arrow: “What do you want?” Vertigo: “World peace and personal satisfaction, though not necessarily in that order.”
Vertigo: “Quiet, please. I’m threatening.”
Oliver: “Felicity, he had you and he was going to hurt you. There was no choice to make.”
Slade: “I’m pretty sure they’re not interested in Buddhism.”
Dr. Ivo: “Well, you survived your own stupidity, congratulations.”
Who wants to bet that Brother Blood’s experiments are tied into Dr. Ivo’s search for the serum somehow?
Brother Blood: “Brother Cyrus, how do you feel?” Cyrus: “Stronger.” Brother Blood: “Good. Then you’re ready.”
Malcolm Merlyn: “There are parts of the world where death is an illusion. I’ve been to one.”
Malcolm: “Imagine my joy in learning that Thea is my daughter!”
The two-part ARROW season finale begins December 4th with “The Scientist” and the arrival of Barry Allen!