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S01.E12: Vertigo

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Thea is in trouble with the police after she gets caught using a drug called “Vertigo.” Oliver thinks the only way to keep her out of jail is to find the dealer, a man who goes by the name of “The Count”. Oliver turns to McKenna Hall, an old flame and current Vice cop, for help. Meanwhile, Laurel steps in to defend Thea, and Felicity gives Oliver some disturbing news about Moira.


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This episode has one of my favorite scenes.  I remember when Oliver tells the terrible

  that Felicity doesn't buy for a second.  The thing that I love about the scene is Diggle's reaction.  He just walks out of the scene because the lie is just too ridiculous.
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The other thing I like from that scene is Oliver's nervous laughter after Felicity mentions noticing his body. I need to watch all the vertigo episodes together. I think there may be some link to all of them besides the count. He's my favorite villain so far.

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The sports drink lie is my favourite lie. You can see how Oliver plucks the lie out of the air and Diggle's reaction destroys me.


I absolutely lose it when he just glares at Oliver and walks off. 


I really, really loved Felicity in that scene. It was a perfect mix of nervously saying something inappropriate about the hot man in front of me and still letting him know I think he's ridiculous.

  • Love 4
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This episode contains one of my favorite Oliver/Felicity/Diggle scenes and my absolute favorite Oliver to Felicity lie.   "Why is it in a syringe?"  "I ran out of sports bottles."  Diggle rolls his eyes and walks away because he cannot even deal with how ridiculous Oliver sounds.   Felicity looks at Oliver like he's lost his damn mind.  And Oliver is well aware he's being ridiculous but can't seem to stop himself.  The whole scene is comedy gold.  I also think it is hilarious that Oliver keeps name dropping all these supposed friends…Kevin, Steve and yet except for some time with Tommy, Oliver spends most of his free time with Diggle. 


Ha! Diggle handcuffing Oliver to the medical table in lair.


"I can't believe you just killed that guy Oliver."  "You really have a low opinion of me, Diggle"  Yeah not for anything Oliver, but you've killed a lot of people so they wouldn't find out your secret, so it is not out of the realm of possibility that you'd kill the guy to maintain your cover. Just saying, Diggle may have had a point is all.


The last scene between Oliver and Felicity was so good.  Felicity seriously talking about trust and Oliver makes a smart ass comment.  Felicity is having none of it and just looks at him until Oliver gets serious as well, and only then does she tell him about Walter and the book.

Edited by MsSchadenfreude
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Ah, yes, this episode.


I can do no better than to quote Katrina Law at this point: "The writers knew exactly what they were doing."  Even if some of it is only clear in retrospect.


This episode was written after the writers had taken a short break to plan out the remainder of the season and the immediate upcoming arc, and also after the initial fan response to Helena.


But first:


1. I think this is the first episode to open without the "MY NAME IS OLIVER QUEEN."  Either because this is a crowded episode, or because the show is kinda hoping we know the guy's name by now.  Or to hope that we aren't still thinking about last episode's little revelation about the island. Moving on.


2. Dude, the guy was about to shoot you, and you honestly think he's going to help you down? 


3. A sudden and unexpected return to Slightly Inappropriate Oliver and Thea moments! In this case, to help obfuscate the other thing that this episode is doing/about to do.


4. Awwww, the judge won't let Thea off just because she's a rich spoiled brat! Yay for the Starling City working justice system!  This is the first time we've seen it in action, right?

 It's definitely the last time we will see it in action, sigh. Did Malcolm have this judge killed or something?


5.  Hello, McKenna Hall!


6. This is about the most overtly comic booky over the top villain the show has had in the present timeline so far.


7. "What are friends for?"  I don't mean to be critical, Oliver and Bratva dudes, but you can just use your friends as your Emergency Contact People and not, say, as your Personal Assassins. That's my approach, at least.


8. "Looking forward to my new and exciting career as a drug dealer!" I keep saying it, but this show needs more Diggle.


9. Maybe they should stop trying to have Important Conversations in the Queen Mansion Living Room given how people just keep walking in and out of it. On the other hand, it does improve the pacing: "Here's your plea bargain deal!" "It sucks!" "Dad sucks! "How Dare You!" "Oliver, not to pull you away from ALL THE DRAMAZ, but, RUSSIANS."


10. I love that even the Bratva are like, Oliver, dude. This is not one of your better ideas.


11. It takes McKenna all of two minutes to become more competent than Laurel.


12. I totally forgot that the Count actually injected Oliver with the pain drug.

And given Oliver's response to just half a dose of it no wonder he had that reaction to three doses aimed at Felicity.


13. "Running around with the Russian mob and a murderous drug dealer? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND!" I cannot cosign with Moira hard enough on this one. But then again, if he wasn't, no show.


14. "I ran out of sports bottles."


This scene never gets old, but what makes this scene for me is the non verbal response of everyone here: Diggle just shaking his head and walking off; Oliver trying another charming smile, and Felicity's head tilt of "Seriously?"


15. Having said that, I am still kinda at a loss to understand just how spectroanalysis could lead Felicity to specific runoff water in a specific - you know, if I think about this my head is going to hurt and I'm never going to finish this post, so I'm just going to say COMIC BOOK and move on.


16. And also, great though the sports bottle bit is, the real Oliver/Felicity scene here is the one at the end.


And now, Laurel, whose screentime is slightly back up here, to about seven minutes in the episode, 20 seconds of which are for a Windows 8 commercial.


Number of times Laurel fails as a lawyer this episode, five: 1. Immediately telling Oliver that there's no chance Thea will avoid jail. Except, Laurel, as it turns out, THERE IS!  Why is OLIVER the one who has to point this out to you? You're supposedly the defense attorney person (or, er, whatever she's doing.) 2, Being unable to help her client, Thea, and needing to use her father to call in legal favours (possibly everyone else in the Starling City justice department is also irritated?) 3, Once again, accepting the terms of a plea agreement without consulting her client.  It's entirely possible that Thea would have taken the deal if someone who wasn't her brother's ex was the in loco parentis person. 4. Allowing an in loco parentis thingy even though Thea has a competent parent.  5, Ok, this has more to do with the upcoming season finale,

but good grief, Laurel, ANOTHER REASON to digitize your files is so that you can easily sort them by date rather than having your community service intern tediously go through files. Since she's there, how about asking her to scan in the documents for you so you can have them on some nice easy to remove external hard drives if, say, someone just HAPPENS to threaten the city with an artificial earthquake. I realize this sounds unlikely, but you never know.


Number of times Laurel fails as a human this episode, six:  1, Her catty response to Tommy's observation that she doesn't like cuddling. Laurel, as he's about to remind you, he manages a night club. A job which was your idea. Thus, by definition, he will be out late and sleeping late in the morning. It'd be one thing if he worked a normal 8 to 5 job, but he doesn't. 2, Based on what you're wearing, you haven't exactly been up that long either, Laurel. 3, Instead of saying, "Sure, Oliver, OF COURSE I'LL HELP WITH THEA," immediately protesting, forcing Oliver to beg. 4. Ok, this is unfair because Laurel doesn't know the full story about the Queen's Gambit

neither do viewers

but no, Laurel, from what you know, your sister didn't get herself killed, she was killed by a hurricane.


Could we avoid the victim blaming here? 5. Using Sara's memory to blackmail her father into helping Thea

whoa I seriously did not realize that until now. Kudos, writers; I think this is the only consistent Laurel trait.

6. Her condescending "Do you think you can do that?" Laurel, yes, Thea is a spoiled brat who has never held an actual job. I'm with you there. But she's also NOT SIX, so yes, she can probably find "2007" on documents. Geesh.


And all this during one of her nicest, least self-absorbed episodes so far. Sigh.


Number of times characters or the show comment negatively on the Laurel/Oliver relationship: Thea briefly mentions that Laurel is Oliver's ex, and Quentin and Laurel bring up Sara's death again because, obviously, the show hasn't driven it in hard enough that SARA IS ALL DEAD

especially since she isn't. 


Otherwise, this isn't brought up, and indeed, this is one of the few episodes so far where they interact effectively as a couple: he has an idea, she agrees to it, they confront Thea together, and have two scenes where, for the first time, they at least look like a convincing or potential couple: on the couch, and later in her office when he's thanking her.


Which is what makes it all the more interesting that this is the episode that starts off two new romances for Oliver Queen.


McKenna's introduction is quick, but establishes that this is a woman from his past who a) apparently had a lot more in common with the playboy Oliver we've been introduced to than Laurel, b) is also on the legal, not the vigilante side, and c) still likes Oliver.  Also, she's competent.  She provides an interesting contrast to Laurel here, especially because she's proof that a woman from Oliver's past doesn't have to be in an antagonistic position to Oliver, even if she is an antagonist for the Hood.


Felicity, of course, had already been introduced, but as the comic relief/tech character. Here she starts moving into another role, first, by acknowledging that she's been checking Oliver out (causing him to laugh nervously), and second in the "Can I trust you?" scene. Asking "Can I trust you?" is often one of the first romance beats in caper movies. Here, it also starts to establish that this can be an equal partnership/friendship. It started with Oliver coming to her for help and information; now, she's going to Oliver for help and information.


More critical here is the framing: the show almost goes out of its way to frame this romantically (and both of their scenes get emotional music): what with the glowing light which will get repeated with them later like lots, the eye contact, and the location outside the work environment. They are framed – not for the first time – as if they could start dating.


Not that their conversation is at all romantic.  But then again, the writers knew their first romance had gone very, very wrong.  Switching to a non-canonical couple?

This one they needed to get right.

So, a slow start of friendship and trust, first - after, of course, a bit of physical interest had been acknowledged.



Laurel at various times asks the Hood and Oliver "Why should I trust you?" and usually finds reasons not to. Felicity asks once, and finds reasons to trust him.


By this point Laurel had not been part of the main plot for 5 out of 11 episodes. In two of those episodes, she and Oliver never appeared on screen together; in a third, they are in the same location, but never interact.  Even here, she's in a supporting, not major role: the main people involved in the Vertigo plot are Oliver, Diggle, the Bratva, Quentin, McKenna, Felicity and the Count. It says something – quite a lot – when the Bratva, who are not major players in this show, play more of a role in the plot than Laurel does; it's possible that one idea behind the Thea intern plot was to ensure that Laurel would still have something to do on screen other than be Tommy's girlfriend.


I've said before that the writers were aware by at least episode two that the Laurel/Oliver romance was in trouble. Thus the changing of Laurel out of the original planned role of romantic antagonist/crime solving partner who works within the law while Oliver works outside it, to....well, the show hadn't quite found the new role yet.  

Still hasn't!

 And now, the start of something else. 

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• I have mixed feelings on the judge making an example of Thea. On the one hand, I feel sorry for her. On the other hand, yay for rich people not getting to buy their way out of trouble. 

• I think Cassidy did a good job of conveying Laurel’s desire to help Thea in a they were never able to help Sara. Definitely one of her better acted scenes of the season so far :) . 

• Oliver’s casual murder in the garage. Damn that was cold :s . OH WAIT! He didn’t actually kill him yay Oliver. I have to admit they caught me out with that! I was expecting ‘the murder’ to be used as a way of showing us Oliver is still suffering PTSD from the island. 

• The Count has a joker like vibe going on... I like it!

• Did I miss and or forget the explanation... What exactly is the plant Oliver is using to heal all his injuries?

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On 3/17/2018 at 8:54 PM, Wayward Son said:

• Did I miss and or forget the explanation... What exactly is the plant Oliver is using to heal all his injuries?

At one point we were calling it the "Plot Convenient Herb," with a small group in a favor of "Letting Us Celebrate Shirtlessness Herb." I'm pretty sure neither name was was used on the show. 

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10 minutes ago, quarks said:

At one point we were calling it the "Plot Convenient Herb," with a small group in a favor of "Letting Us Celebrate Shirtlessness Herb." I'm pretty sure neither name was was used on the show. 

I bet Felicity said it in her head at some point.

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112 (Vertigo) – Oliver Queen’s voiceover intro:

112 (Vertigo) – Oliver asks Felicity to test an “energy drink”:
Oliver: “Felicity. Hey, they said you'd be up here.”
Felicity: “You look like something the cat dragged in. Not that there are cats in this building. Well, once a cat did get in, but a guard tazed it. It smelled like fur and static in here for like a week.”
Oliver: “Ahem. Would you mind stepping away from the window for a moment? I have a little bit of a hangover.” 
Felicity: “Sounds like you need a bloody Mary and a pretzel, not the I.T. Department.”
Oliver: “Actually, my buddy Kevin is starting an energy drink company. He says it's fantastic for curing hangovers, but I am very particular about what it is I put in my body.”
Felicity: “I've noticed. I said, not noticed. Right?”
Oliver: “I'm trying to find a secret recipe. Could you please do a spectro-analysis of the sample and find out exactly where in the city it's made?”
Felicity: “If it's an energy drink, why is it in a syringe?”
Oliver: “I ran out of sports bottles.”
Felicity: “Okay.”
Diggle: “Your B.S. stories are getting worse.”
Oliver: “I'm well aware.”

112 (Vertigo) – Felicity asks Oliver if she can trust him before turning over to him a notebook entrusted to her by Walter Steele:
Felicity: “Thanks for meeting me. I was nervous to come to your house.” 
Oliver: “Okay.”
Felicity: “The thing is, I've been debating whether or not to share this with you for weeks. Can I trust you? I'm not an idiot. You've dropped some fairly ridiculous lies on me, and yet I still feel like I can trust you. Why is that?” 
Oliver: “I have one of those faces. (Felicity looks at him) Sorry. Yes. You can trust me.”
Felicity: “Then I have something to show you. (Pulls the notebook out of her purse and gives it to Oliver, he opens it up and see names written on its pages) Have you ever seen this before?”
Oliver: “No. Where'd you get it?” 
Felicity: “From your stepfather.”
Oliver: “From Walter. Um, well, where did he get it?” 
Felicity: “He said he found it in your house. That it belongs to your mother. Walter thought she was hiding something, something more. And he wanted me to look into it, but then he vanished. I think this list might have cost Walter his life.”

Edited by tv echo
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Gif-posting is not usually my territory, but the Olicity scene at the end was staged and filmed in such a lovely way I had to post it. The show put more time and effort into letting these kinds of scenes breathe in the early seasons.


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3 hours ago, lemotomato said:

Gif-posting is not usually my territory, but the Olicity scene at the end was staged and filmed in such a lovely way I had to post it. The show put more time and effort into letting these kinds of scenes breathe in the early seasons.

It's that scene and the one before it in ep 8 after Oliver says he "napalmed" his relationship with the "right girl (Laurel" and Dig says when you meet the right person you'll be ready for her CUT to Felicity that makes people think they started planning Olicity pretty much as soon as EBR joined the show as a serious contender, if not definitely switching their end game. 

I mean look at that scene with the rain and the lighting and music. It's very intimately shot and Felicity is taking a risk showing the notebook to Oliver and unknowingly blowing a hole in his world. She doesn't fall for his "playboy Oliver Queen" persona and he drops it and starts getting real with her. And it's the start of Felicity semi knowingly getting deliberately into Team Arrow territory.

Edited by Featherhat
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3 hours ago, Featherhat said:

It's that scene and the one before it in ep 8 after Oliver says he "napalmed" his relationship with the "right girl (Laurel" and Dig says when you meet the right person you'll be ready for her CUT to Felicity that makes people think they started planning Olicity pretty much as soon as EBR joined the show as a serious contender, if not definitely switching their end game. 

I forgot about that scene. I'll add it (plus a few more scenes) to my 108 transcription post.

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