- "You want the the pain to end and I can do that with Vertigo"
- —Count Vertigo blackmails Starling City into taking Vertigo
Oliver is concerned when a mysterious illness sweeps the city, infecting hundreds of people, including Diggle. Oliver discovers Vertigo in Diggle's blood and realizes The Count has broken out of prison and is once again distributing his drug, only now to unsuspecting citizens of Starling City. It's Vertigo withdrawal that's making everyone sick. Meanwhile, Moira goes on trial for her participation in the Undertaking. ADA Adam Donner collapses in court with Vertigo withdrawal symptoms and is kidnapped by the Count to send a message to Starling City, that another dose of Vertigo will cure their symptoms. Due to his absence, and the fact that he publicly endorsed taking Vertigo (under severe duress), Laurel must step in and try the case against Moira. Oliver is torn between standing by his family during the trial and catching The Count. However, things change when Felicity follows a lead and walks straight into a trap set by The Count.
It is revealed that the Count escaped from prison during the earthquake in the Glades. Six months later, Moira's trial begins and Oliver, noticing that Diggle is ill sends him home to rest. Moira's trial begins and Diggle returns to Queen Consolidated instead of going home. Felicity suggests he has the flu and he reveals that's impossible because he got the flu shot and then he passes out. Felicity, Oliver and Diggle convene at the Foundry and Felicity reveals that Diggle has trace amounts of Vertigo in his system and they figure out that the Count escaped the same time as the Dollmaker. Oliver gives her the antidote dart and returns to court when the Assistant District Attorney collapses in court, leaving Laurel to finish the prosecution of Moira Queen. Oliver returns to the Foundry to find that the antidote dart had no effect (the Count changed the formula) and just in time to see a citywide broadcast from the Count. The Count kidnapped the A.D.A. en route to the hospital and reveals to the city that the cure to their sickness is to take Vertigo, implying (along with Diggle's blood analysis) that they are suffering from withdrawal.
Meanwhile, Laurel begs Moira not to take the stand as she has evidence that could damage the relationship amongst the Queens and she doesn't want to have to use it. Instead Moira tells Oliver and Thea the truth before court (even though Thea had previously asked the same question) and in court, Laurel uses an affair Moira had with Malcolm Merlyn to prove that Moira was never in any true danger from Merlyn (he didn't kill Walter because of her persuasion) and there was no reason for her to truly fear him which casts doubts on Moira's entire defense.
Felicity is able to locate the Count, and Oliver manages to save the Assistant District Attorney, but at the expense of allowing the Count to escape, after the Count reveals he knows The Arrow is no longer killing people. Later, Felicity and Diggle work out that though the victims have nothing in common, their places of employment show a clear pattern throughout the city, that of the immunization van that is giving flu vaccines. With Diggle out of commission and Oliver focused on Moira's trial, Felicity investigates the van alone without telling Oliver because it could be nothing. She finds the van and Vertigo inside and is promptly captured by the Count.
While Oliver and Thea wait for a verdict in Moira's case, The Count calls Oliver revealing that he's figured out, by Felicity's work badge, and the proximity of Oliver's attempt to score Vertigo with The Count's previous encounter with the Hood, that Oliver Queen is, in fact, The Arrow. Oliver, much to Thea's dismay, leaves the courthouse to help Felicity. Confronting the Count at Queen Consolidated, the Count attempts to kill The Arrow (on someone else's orders as well as for revenge) and when that fails, threatens to kill Felicity with a Vertigo overdose. When Oliver reveals himself and lowers his bow and drops the arrow he had prepped to shoot, he tries to convince the Count to leave Felicity out of their battle. Instead, the Count moves to poison Felicity anyway. In order to protect Felicity from being injected with Vertigo, Oliver is forced to break his vow and kills the Count.
After returning to the courthouse, Thea and Oliver go back for the verdict. To Oliver's confusion, Thea's surprise, and their lawyer's warnings to the contrary, Moira is found "not guilty" by the jury. After the verdict, Oliver returns to the Foundry to quickly check on Diggle and Felicity, before picking up his mother after she's freed. He's glad they're both okay but also bemused as to how his mother wasn't convicted, but leaves the questions he has for another day as they are all either injured or exhausted from their encounter with the Count and he's grateful that his team is alright. After Diggle retires, Felicity tries to apologize for The Arrow having to kill the Count, Oliver comforts her by saying there wasn't a choice to make with her life in danger.
Moira finds out later after she's freed, that Merlyn is still alive and rigged the trial. Merlyn also reveals that he knows the what she's tried to keep hidden from him: Thea is his biological daughter. Despite her protests, he's already confirmed it with a covert paternity test.
In a flashback to the island, Shado and Slade rescue Oliver and Sara when Dr. Ivo and his men come to the island to find a stone arrowhead left by the Japanese soldiers. After Slade and Shado have rescued Oliver, and Oliver included Sara in his return, Shado reveals that she has the arrowhead Ivo was looking for on the dead bodies. It has coordinates to where the submarine Ivo is looking for wound up. Sara reveals whatever is on the sub will save the human race and Oliver wonders if it will save an injured Slade. Meanwhile, elsewhere on the island, Ivo, due to the Captain's failure to prevent Oliver and Sara's escape, kills him and promotes his other companion to the position, revealing how cold blooded Ivo personally is, despite whatever he's told Sara about using whatever is on the sub to save the world.
- This episode marks the name change for The Count to Count Vertigo.
- This is also the first time that someone has figured out Oliver Queen is The Arrow, with pure deduction and Oliver not being involved in any way.
- Malcolm Merlyn makes his first appearance this season, and is revealed to be alive despite his apparent death in the first season finale, "".
- Felicity Smoak, speaking of Count Vertigo's possible location, says "He could be also in Markovia". In the comics, Markovia is Brion Markov's kingdom to which Count Vertigo seeks to stake a claim.
- John Barrowman (Malcolm Merlyn) is uncredited, most likely to make his sudden re-appearance to be more of a surprise to viewers.
Preparation ran from September 9 until September 17, 2013. Shooting ran from September 18 until September 27, 2013.
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