Arrow 1.19 "Unfinished Business" review

TV REVIEW: Drug madness

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Episode 1.19
Writers: Bryan Q Miller & Lindsey Allen
Director: Michael Offer

THE ONE WHERE: Vertigo returns to bedevil Starling City. Is the Count behind this fresh drug hell or are there other forces at play behind the scenes?

THE VERDICT: My heart sank like a plummeting lift when I realised this episode marked the return of the Count. He’s still played like some YouTube fan film take on the Joker – if anything this story amps up the Batman comparisons, placing him in an Arkham styled institution, ranting in a dank cell – but then, by some miracle, the show goes and does something quite clever. Or rather a succession of clever things. The twist that the Count has faked his escape and is hiding out in the asylum is a nice touch in itself, but it’s followed by an even smarter bait-and-switch, revealing that the doctor is the true villain of the piece. And Webb’s softly spoken declaration “I wasn’t trying to be a criminal mastermind. I just needed the money” manages to be a thousand times more effective than the Count’s panto gooning. Nicely played, Arrow . There’s some decent storytelling in general this week, mining good scenes from some freshly complicated relationships (the Tommy/Oliver stuff is particularly strong, especially Tommy’s distaste for his friend’s seemingly fluid morals – god knows the show needs to decide whether its hero is an unrepentant killer or not). Meanwhile, back on the island, Shado’s addition to the Oliver/Slade bromance creates a promising new dynamic – I smiled at Oliver’s spectacularly snarky “It’s pretty exciting that both of you are such badasses.” And yes, there’s a definite shiver of destiny as he finally picks up a bow and takes aim…

DID YOU SPOT?: Tommy clearly keeps a number of the show’s behind-the-scenes personnel on his SIM card. A shot of his cell phone reveals that he’s recently texted M Bunting ( Arrow ’s assistant director), T Pittson ( Arrow ’s production manager) and M Offer (this episode’s director).

TRIVIA: As played by Audrey Marie Anderson, Lyla Michaels makes her first appearance in Arrow . In the DCU she’s the secret identity of Harbinger, a key player in the Crisis On Infinite Earths saga. The comic book incarnation packs some deeply cosmic superpowers but we imagine the TV version isn’t so hot on pandimensional teleportation. Still, you never know…

Lance: “Guess I owe your boyfriend an apology.”
Laurel: “He has a name, you know.”
Lance: “Yeah, I just can’t bring myself to use it. Baby steps.”

Read all our Arrow reviews.

Arrow airs in the UK on Sky1

Nick Setchfield
Editor-at-Large, SFX Magazine

Nick Setchfield is the Editor-at-Large for SFX Magazine, writing features, reviews, interviews, and more for the monthly issues. However, he is also a freelance journalist and author with Titan Books. His original novels are called The War in the Dark, and The Spider Dance. He's also written a book on James Bond called Mission Statements.