The little things are important. From Tommy getting mixed up in a murder investigation because of two unrelated pieces of evidence and Oliver learning to see when death is not the best option. We get to see the subtle shifts in our characters as they grow up and apart through trials of their secrets.
So what are Oliver and Tommy going to do with one another? They have been running pretty cold ever since Tommy found out Oliver’s big secret. Even in his most huffy moments, Tommy still has his buddies best interests at heart. A payoff to a city councilmen to avoid an inspection on the club leads to the police looking a bit too close at their business dealings. Good thing Tommy swung into action and covered up all evidence of Arrow-ness before Cop Daddy showed up to search the premises.
The big problem here is that Oliver does not necessarily show the same amount of care when dealing with Tommy. He seems to have no problem looking at the weak evidence and siding with Cop Daddy on the initial assumption that it is not out of reach for Tommy to be a dealer. This, of course, drives Tommy further away by the end and Tommy walks out on the business to join ranks with his father’s company.
The big bad this time was the menace that Vertigo still causes in the city. Of course, the last time we saw the count he was quickly slipping into a pit of crazy a bit too slippery to crawl out of. Having your body flooded with a hallucinogen in its purest form can do that I guess. Arrow is not even sure what to do with the count when he slips into the insane asylum to pay him a visit.
Oliver’s walk down his familiar path of driving people away continues when he does not get Diggle’s help during a hostage situation. The Arrow did not need him after all, but Diggle not coming when called, puts a sour taste in both of their mouths. In the end, when Oliver really needed him, Diggle swept in and saved him from another Vertigo overdose. The bad guy is dispatched and Oliver and Diggle come to an understanding. Sometimes, Diggle’s priorities need to be Oliver’s and they resume their hunt for Dead Shot.
Island Oliver had gotten some training already from Slade. But his sense of discipline is about to be tested. Shadow begins his training with an old school kung fu gimmick, complete with Confucius style message at the end. It turns out that the subtle act of slapping water for extended periods of time builds up one’s muscles and patience. After a time of water slapping, Oliver is finally strong enough to pull back a bow. Now to get on with the serious business of learning how to let loose on some dastardly tennis balls.
In a show that is not always subtle with its messaging, the writers are good enough to find ways to not be heavy-handed when they are handing down the learning. Oliver’s acceptance that the insane and babbling Count is no longer a threat was a big leap. It showed that Oliver is not just a killing machine. That compounded with his continued ridicule from Tommy for being a murderer, Oliver is starting to dull his taste for blood. At the start of the episode he was hell-bent on killing whoever, preferably the Count was flooding the streets with Vertigo. Granted he did end up killing the culprit, but when faced with the choice of putting the Countdown as well, he chose mercy.
This was the message throughout. Things change. People change. Sometimes killers are no longer killers. Sometimes good people do bad things. There is always going to be that choice floating in front of Oliver. I think he has lived as a survivor for so long, it is just taking a long time for him to come to terms with the idea that he does not have to be such a blunt instrument all the time. Sometimes, it takes tweezers instead of the jaws of life, if all you are doing is pulling out a sliver.