Arrow continues to exist. As far as “Vertigo” goes, it’s hard to tell if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
“Vertigo” picks up where “Trust but Verify” ended, by focusing far too much on the Queen family drama. It’s not the family drama is inherently bad. Indeed, if done right, it might have actually been able to ground the show in some sort of reality. But, it wasn’t done right, at all. Moira and Thea have only the thinnest character development. They also go entire episodes without saying or doing anything worth noting, which means that they often change completely off-screen. Arrow might as well be introducing whole new characters every time Moira and Thea come back into focus. The audience certainly has no investment in Moira’s strained relationship with her kids or Thea’s on-again/off-again battle with drugs. Certainly, no one cares about Oliver’s very rare bouts of maturity.
Speaking of Oliver, he actually moves away from the List. However, like the last time he did, he only really seems to care because his family is involved. At one point, Oliver does say that he wants to keep the Count from making the drug Vertigo available to the whole city. But everything he does says all of this is about Thea and revenge. It doesn’t feel heroic, something Det. Lance helpfully and awesomely points out to Oliver. This isn’t a small nitpick, either. There is a certain expectation that super heroes, especially of the DC variety, to actually be heroic. They are supposed to actually be attempting to do some good for their respective cities. That’s what the fans love about them. Stripping that away leaves nothing for the fans to grasp onto in an adaptation. All there is to Arrow is dark and grit, with no substance.
That’s actually a perfect description of Oliver’s flashbacks, as well. There really doesn’t seem to be anything to them, other than explaining what plot-relevant tricks he picked up on the island. They’re also very odd. Supposedly, Oliver’s flashbacks are actually PTSD flashbacks. But he only has them when it’s convenient for exposition and always in a linear fashion. He also never seems to actually notice them in-story, so they don’t have an impact on the story. Nor has anyone in the flashbacks, except Oliver, really showed up in the story. Ultimately, they feel like pointless filler. It sure was a good thing “Vertigo” was full of flashbacks.
Setting aside Arrow’s omnipresent issues, though, “Vertigo” is just straight-up boring. Very little of the episode is even worth noting. The only really good thing was Det. Lance’s and Laurel’s heart-to-heart about Sarah and her similarities to Thea. But, even that comprised a full minute of the plot, and will probably never be spoken of again. Nothing in the episode warrants its full running time, that’s for sure.