TV REVIEW: ARROW Season 2, Episode 7 State v Queen

arrow-tvreview-logosmall Arrow Season 2 continues apace with Moira Queen facing trial for her involvement in Malcolm Merlyn’s great undertaking. Read on to find out if my patience was put on trial or if the episode was found not guilty of crimes against television drama!

A deadly illness sweeps through Starling City. When Diggle is struck down, Oliver confirms that the source of the illness is a new version of Vertigo. Tracking down a lead, Felicity is soon captured by The Count, who has escaped prison. Meanwhile, Moira fights for her life in the courtroom against a death sentence, and Laurel is forced to prosecute her when DA Donner is stricken down by the same illness.

Count Vertigo is back this week, having escaped from Iron Heights when Merlyn’s Earthquake Device struck six months previously. Returning villains are always great fun as the writers can skip over origin explanations and there’s an antagonism formed already between hero and villain that can be drawn upon. Such is the case here. Vertigo is portrayed as a bit more of a “care not what”, Joker type villain. After all, he has been to the brink and back after being injected with an overdose of his own drug in the previous season!

Vertigo’s plot is also larger. No longer is he just targeting those who will buy his product. This time, he’s infecting the population of the city on a larger scale without them being aware. Again, this is reminiscent of the Joker, particularly in the 1989 Tim Burton film. Seth Gabel is superbly cast in this role, bringing a believable madness to the character without making the Count too over the top. This element of the story is nicely progressed and has a satisfactory resolution … providing the consequences of Oliver’s actions are addressed. I personally believe they will be, based on the current direction of the show.

Our civilian plot this week concerns the trial of Moira Queen. I thought this strand would perhaps take place over two episodes but although the timescale seemed abbreviated, the episode crammed enough in to get the relevant plot points over. During the course of events, a rather unsurprising revelation is made regarding Mrs Queen and former villain Malcolm Merlyn. Honestly, I thought her big secret was going to be something far more revealing and foreboding than what I think was abundantly clear from season one anyway…

This plot strand ends after a rather surprising verdict to the trial. I have to admit, for a while I was very put off by this. For some reason, I’m all about the consequences these days. I don’t suppose I should have been concerned, as there was method to the writers’ madness. The final reveal was a double-whammy. Call me naïve, but I hadn’t seen the Comic Con panels or read anything about the season really, so that final cameo was something I didn’t expect. Not this week anyhow. I’m still slightly concerned about cameo man’s final statement. He either says “is” or “isn’t”. I think it was isn’t, which in my head was more of a surprise than the alternative! Bad annunciation doesn’t help matters here! Ah well, I’ll have to wait until next week to have this confirmed or not.

Thea is run slightly through the mill this week and it’s great to see Roy stepping up and offering her a way to vent. It’s one that works for him and is a nice little scene. I’ve seen some speculation on the inter-web that maybe Thea will join team Arrow as a sidekick, but I can’t see it myself. It’s a bit of a leap to go from therapeutic boxing to vigilante badass. Maybe next year, or the year after!

Back on the island, Oliver is reunited with Slade and Shado along with a familiar face. Due to Slade not being in a good way due to one side of his face being (rather neatly) burned, the gang determine their best course of action, lay their plans and off they go. There was little in the way of changes to the dynamic this week, with concern for Slade naturally being the group’s focus.

What I really liked though was seeing Shado hooded up. Not in Ollie’s green-leather fetish garb, but in an outfit more reminiscent of the one her father wore last year when Oliver first encountered him. It must have been this outfit that Sara was referring to back in episode five, as I can’t imagine Shado taking the time to stitch leather together. Also Ollie’s a slightly different size to Shado, I think!

Overall, I enjoyed this episode. It wasn’t the most emotional or high octane of episodes but it progressed the various strands of plot of Arrow season 2 along quite nicely. Given the lingering shot on the news of the Count after his encounter with Oliver and my growing faith in the creative team, I think there will be repercussions from this week’s happenings. Good stuff, gimme more!

Rating: 3 / 5
Reviewer: Wedgedoc

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