Last night's Arrow was furiously frustrating for the first three quarters of its air time. Then, just when things were getting hopeless, the show pressed the gas pedal to the floor and just drove. It was beautiful and amazing, and had me dancing like nobody was watching, although people were watching.
Last night's show, "State v. Queen," was uneven. It felt very much like we were seeing forty-five minutes of stalling before anything really happened. The stalling ranged from bizarre to infuriating - so much so that at some points I couldn't believe what I was seeing. And then everything changed. We won't have a show next week, which is a shame because Arrow definitely left me wanting more.
We see the island gang play musical chairs for an episode. Everyone runs around, looking for that arrowhead that Ollie gave to Thea in the first episode. Hundreds of rounds of ammunition are fired and one explosive powerful enough to blow up a plane is set off, and maybe two nameless henchmen get hurt. People switch sides. Shado and Slade rescue Ollie, who grabs Sarah during the escape.
It turns out that Shado had the arrowhead all along, and it's important because it has coordinates on it that give the location of a downed Japanese sub with a serum that, Sarah explains a bit too fervently, will "save the world." At no point does Ollie mention that Sarah betrayed all three of them only hours ago. Instead, the awesome comes. The gang decides to find the healing serum and use it on the still-badly-burned Slade. Guys, forget "winter is coming." Deathstroke is coming.
The Drug Dealer
Count Vertigo is out, and he's drugging flu shots with the extremely brief help of a doctor who, brilliantly, decided to shake a psychotic murderer down for more money. Guess how that turned out. It takes the Arrow gang a while to figure out what's happening. Digg gets drugged up. The prosecutor in the Moira Queen trial gets drugged up. When the penny drops, because all the infected cases are on the route of a flu shot van, Felicity decides to go to the flu shotmobile and find out what's happening. Alone. Unarmed. At night. Despite the fact that she personally knows both a superhero and a cop. It goes as well as every single other undercover assignment Felicity has ever had.
At this point I would support a storyline which has Felicity ankle-cuffed to her desk because she is incredibly useful there and nothing but a liability every place else on earth. This is not acceptable anymore. This isn't brave and spunky. This is just dumb, and Felicity is too smart to be dumb. Felicity is wearing her ID badge from Queen Industries, and between that and the fact that Ollie bought drugs just before Vertigo's last arrest, Vertigo figures out Green Arrow's secret identity. Which means the low-rent Joker knock-off is the smartest person in this episode.
How does this story get good? I wish I could say that they find out the perpetrator behind the whole drugged-vaccine thing is Jenny McCarthy, but alas, it was Brother Blood. No, where it gets good is when Count Vertigo threatens to inject Felicity with a lethal dose of Vertigo and Ollie shoots him in the heart three times, which tips him through a window and down many stories onto a taxi cab. Ding dong, the annoying drug dealer's dead! What's more, Ollie has a sensible reaction to all of it. The last time he saw Count Vertigo, the guy was comatose and likely to stay that way, and Ollie didn't kill him. That was the right decision. This time, the Count was aware, mobile, in the middle of an ongoing crime spree, and about to do possibly irreparable harm to an innocent (but stupid) person. Ollie killed him. That was also the right decision. Although I suspect there will be some ongoing drama because of the death, right now it's all fine.
Perhaps you recall me saying that the lead prosecutor in the case was drugged. He passed out in court and had to be sent out in an ambulance. That turned out to be the most professional thing he did during the entire trial. This plot line was jaw-dropping. The prosecutor hid evidence from Laurel (his second chair) and from the defense lawyer. He got Thea on the stand and revealed that she hadn't visited her mom for five months, saying, "You blamed your mother for what she did, so why shouldn't a jury?" Yes. A jury, ideally, should follow the lead of emotionally devastated eighteen-year-olds who are directly related to the defendant.
And, of course, there was the little matter of Laurel being bumped up to lead prosecutor, responsible for trying the mother of her boyfriend who was threatened by the guy who indirectly killed Laurel's sister. I can't even separate the threads on that one. Laurel is so entirely involved with this case that the defense could really have called her to the stand, in which case we would have been entertained with a Woody-Allen-type routine in which Laurel cross-examined herself.
No such luck. Instead we get the shocking reveal that, at some point during the time when her husband was having affairs with anything in a skirt, Moira slept with a rich, handsome man who was her friend, and not yet a murderer. Somehow this is clearly the final nail in her coffin, since having sex with someone makes you complicit in whatever they do for the next few decades. Due to the extraordinarily unjust trial she's being given, things don't go well for Moira. It's a surprise when she's found not guilty of - and this made me laugh out loud - one count of conspiracy and five hundred and three counts of murder.
And then it gets amazing. Moira leaves the courtroom and, all alone, gets into a private car. She enjoys her freedom for all of five minutes. The car lets her out at an empty parking lot. The driver is shot with an arrow. I, for a moment, can barely breathe and then . . . is it? It is. Oh yes, it is.
Merlyn isn't dead! Why? Who cares! Look at that jaw. That evil smile. That bold chin cleft. I had given up all hope, and then there he is. Oh, I've missed you. He fixed the trial for Moira. In a way, that makes sense. The whole question of guilty hinged on whether or not she was afraid for her life, and only did unethical things under threat of death. If the jury feared for their lives, that means they have to believe she had every reason to fear for hers, which means she's not guilty. Justice is done!
But who care's about that. Thea, we learn, is Merlyn's daughter. GOD I LOVE THIS. I can't wait for the episode two weeks from now and that impatience has nothing to do with Barry Allen.