After a dip in quality with the trip to Russia, Arrow fires back with an episode full of twists, turns, and secrets. The pacing may have been off at times, but the last ten minutes or so were an action-packed thrill ride that let me shouting in surprise.

“State vs. Queen” had numerous storylines firing across a range of topics that involved almost every single one of our main characters.

It was time for court in one of the main storylines. Moira was finally going to have her day in the eyes of the law, and not everything was as expected. We’ve known for a while that Moira had been hiding dark secrets, but what was revealed by her when put on the stand may not have been what was thought to be heard.

The trial itself was compelling, the prosecution digging into Thea’s reaction to her mothers crime was well done, you knew she wanted to lie, but doing so would hurt her mother more than the true did so she told it. Ollie wasn’t called which was too bad but there’s only so much time in the episode.

One problem of logic though. Laurel (when she takes over) claimed that Moira was more of a threat to Ollie and Thea than Merlyn was, mainly because he respected her wishes in regards to Walter. Very true, however, it was Merlyn who ordered the hit on Ollie when it was thought he was The Hood. Malcolm even admitted it to her, so why not bring that to the table to show off her fear?

I’ll leave the verdict for last so let’s get into the return of an “arch-nemesis”, Count Vertigo was back, and he was ready to poison the city with his product by any means necessary. Many people haven’t been happy with the shows interpretation of this villain. He’s one of the only “pure” Green Arrow villains that people know (outside Merlyn) and his being transformed from an actual count to a drug deal kind of rubbed people the wrong way.

I’m 50/50. I’m all for creative interpretation, heck they even let him use his actual name this round. Also his plan to use vaccines to make people sick, and having the only curative being his Vertigo was brilliant. However, unlike the first time we met him the danger didn’t seem as great. Yes, Diggle and the DA were “poisoned” and it was tragic, but we (at least as far as I saw) didn’t see the pandemic that we were told was happening. I would’ve loved some shots of people running to drug dealers trying to get Vertigo in order to prove the plan was working, but we didn’t get it. Maybe if there were fewer commercials.

I'm Count Vertigo, and I approved this picture!

I’m Count Vertigo, and I approved this picture!

Another problem is that the last time we saw the Count he was well… brain dead. Even Ollie admitted that seeing him vacant in the head made him think he was already dead and thus putting an arrow through him was pointless. Yet, when the undertaking happened not only was he in Iron Heights, he was back to the way we met him the first time. What happened?

Though riddled with problems one must admire his taunting of The Arrow when they squared off the first time. Vertigo mocking the “no kill” rule and standing up on a box to make sure he could be shot easily. It was funny, and slightly unnerving, but whatever. The showdown at the end with him capturing Felicity and figuring out that Ollie was The Arrow was good as well. However, it also led to a predictable, and somewhat depressing end. Forget arrow to the knee, how about trip arrows to the chest?

The Count is dead, officially, finally, slightly anticlimactically. I was fine with the kill rule in Season 1. It made him different from Batman which the show has drawn numerous comparisons to.  I’m also fine with him breaking the rule in emergencies, something Batman wouldn’t and couldn’t do. Yet, I wish it had happened with someone other than Count Vertigo. I’m not saying we needed him to keep the show alive but keeping at least two “pure” Arrow villains around would’ve lent to the mythology without having to grab names from the other side of the DCU (Deathstroke, Ra’s al Ghul, Firefly, etc).

You see much to the surprise of everyone Moira was acquitted on all counts. The thing reeked of a setup, but to what end? We found out quickly as we were met with the VERY surprising return of Malcolm Merlyn. He’s alive! I’m so happy, but it gets better! He adds that after some encounters with Moira? That he decided to do some digging, and we find out that Thea is his daughter! What? How’s that for a complex family tree?

Vertigo’s fall, and Merlyn’s return weren’t the only advances on the villain front. Brother Blood appeared in short bursts and see his chess playing mastermind self in full effect. Him funding The Count was a nice touch, and his progress in building his “army” just reeks of excitement for future episodes.

The island got back on track in full with several tense moments that showed the resolve of both sides. Ivo is a cold-blooded killer who wants his science proven at any cost. Slade is still epic and is willing to shake off serious injuries to save Ollie. Sarah is brainwashed, or at least I think she is. Oh and Shado is wearing the hood. I love progression.

Some character shout outs I want to give is to Roy and Laurel. Roy had very few scenes but they were good for his character. Being at the trial for Thea was a nice touch, and him helping her get some anger out after her testimony went bad showcased how he’s progressing as a character.

Laurel meanwhile was put in a very tough position yet came out of it well in my eyes. Her willingness to get disbarred in order to save Moira, and by extension Ollie and Thea, was very touching. Yet she was also not afraid to stand up for what she did in court. She had a job and she did it, and I’m very glad Ollie understood that. Laurel is coming back to where she needs to be, I hope it continues.

Arrow: State vs. Queen Review
In the end, "State vs. Queen" was packed with story and character moments. To be fair the pacing, especially in the Vertigo storyline, could've been better in spots. The last ten minutes though with its jaw-dropping reveals and twists sets Arrow up well for the upcoming mid-season finale and the second half of the season.
Pros
  • The stories were good and intense
  • The last ten minutes
  • Twists and turns abound
Cons
  • Vertigo was misused then discarded
  • Pacing was off at times
4.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)