This episode was a turmoil of messy emotions and tragic misconceptions. Friends were foes and foes seemed to be friends. And then, at last, a figure of deadly purity rose from the mire and lent an extraordinary moment to this episode.
A lot of people took a chunk out of Oliver Queen in this episode, but only one stood out as a creature too beautiful, too pure, for this world. We will get to him in time. For now, let us examine those who fell short.
In the flashback, Shado and Slade hurt Oliver terribly. Not because they deploy a karate kid schtick and have him slap buckets of water until he finds the strength to draw back the string of a bow. Not because they mock him mercilessly while doing so. No, they hit him right where it hurts: They out-sexy him. They engage in a spar at the beginning at the episode that would make mothers in the '50s march on the CW offices with burning torches. All your shirtless work-outs have come to nothing, Oliver. I know it hurts, but they came by it honestly.
Tommy decides to take a shot at Ollie with passive aggressiveness, putting him through a series of emotional tests so subtle and infuriating that I felt I knew what it was like to have an emotional disorder. I ended their arc with my head cocked like a terrier thinking, "So this is what it's like when other people have feelings you can't possibly understand." A woman is killed by the Vertigo drug just after she leaves Verdant, Ollie's club. Quentin Lance comes straight to the club, asking questions of Tommy, finding out the woman texted Tommy, and finally hitting the club with a search warrant when he uncovers evidence that Tommy blackmailed an inspector because their ventilation system wasn't up to code. At first Tommy covers for Ollie, warning him so that they can disguise the Arrowcave. Then Ollie and Tommy have a big, air-clearing fight in which they seem to understand they're equally guilty of mistrust. At the end, though, Tommy interprets a single look that Ollie gave him early in the episode as proof that Ollie briefly thought that he dealt drugs from the club, and walks out - to the waiting arms of his evil father. Obviously, Ollie is hurt, but the real victim of this all is Quentin, who has had the right instincts since the start of the series but by now is so broken down that he's actually confesses to Laurel that he "can't let things go," as if that were anything other than an admirable quality in a detective. Poor guy.
Digg needles Ollie with the truth. He starts by pointing out the hypocrisy of Ollie telling him to stop tracking the guy who killed his brother while Ollie seeks vengeance against Count Vertigo — who seems to be behind the drugs and has escaped from an asylum. Digg also pouts wonderfully when he gets the assignment to buy some Vertigo so they can track the money he gives the dealer. He smacks the drugs down on the table and announcing, "All right, a person of color has successfully purchased drugs for you." They would have done better sending Ollie; David Ramsey is ridiculously wholesome-looking. His acting role history is rife with ADAs, detectives, and even a mayor. To make him look sketchy here they have to put him in a hoodie so big he looks like a wandering monk. His arrows of truth fly straight, but in the end he is the one who saves Ollie from this episode's real, pure villain.
The true villain? The one with the strength to break The Arrow? Orderly with a Shovel. Ollie's huge grudge against Count Vertigo gets deflated when it turns out that the Count's doctor has been reverse-engineering the drug. Ollie is about to take out the doctor when — BAM! Orderly with a Shovel hits him right across the back of the skull, and Ollie is out. It's a moment of terrible beauty, like a shark flying out of the ocean to kill a seal in a nature documentary. The show could have ended right there, but we continue. The doctor forces Ollie to take another dose of Vertigo. Ollie takes a dose of his magic herbs and fights valiantly — and I see Orderly with a Shovel creeping up behind him. I don't dislike Ollie. I love The Green Arrow character. But I want to see it happen again — the same way you want to see the Alien take out an entire crew, or all the settlers on a space colony. You have to admire its purity. Alas, Digg comes in and kills Orderly with a Shovel via a defibrillator to the head. Goodbye, Orderly with a Shovel. You were something too unearthly to stay on this big ball of dirt we call the world. Ollie kills the doctor, but spares the seemingly brain-dead count, and that's all for this week.