Jack Rowand/The CW
Adam Carlson
January 31, 2013 AT 05:33 AM EST

Don’t worry, you aren’t seeing things (more on that later): Nuzhat has again been called away, so I’ll be filling in.

Entitled “Vertigo,” this week’s Arrow saw revelations, counter-revelations, a little morning-after banter, a lot of secret lair banter, and one very nifty lesson about strangling someone.

We begin in darkness, with some lowlife on the run from Arrow. He leaps and bounds, but can’t get away from our vigilante, who goes the extra mile by pinning him to an overheard bar. But still, the lowlife pleads his case: “Man, I’m just trying to make an honest living!”

Arrow is unmoved: “There’s nothing honest about what you do.”

Turns out, the guy is a Vertigo dealer, and in exchange for his life he gives up the name of his supplier: People call him “the Count.”

And then Arrow disappears…

Back to headquarters, where we learn that he’s been at it all night, having already taken down three Vertigo pushers. Dig is worried: Isn’t Oliver losing sight of why he started going after these dealers? It’s about Thea — which means it’s also about Oliver being at her court hearing in a few hours. He’s right (of course he is), and Oliver heads back to the family mansion, and fancier clothes, in time to pass on a few pearls of penal wisdom to his little sister. Most important? Don’t play tic-tac-toe in front of the judge. Also he calls her “speedy,” because that nickname is still definitely a thing. (I know, I know: blah blah comics blah. But there is no one on the show who can’t say the word without taking a half-breath before and after.)

En route to the courthouse, literally on the steps outside the door, the Queens are swarmed with paparazzi. One of them suggests rehab for Thea, which isn’t a terrible idea, the terribleness of paparazzi swarms notwithstanding. In the courtroom, the judge reviews the details of the case: Thea is charged with possession and a DUI, but both parties have come to a plea agreement based on her then-status as a juvenile. Except this TV judge is one of those activist TV judges who occasionally wander off the set of Law & Order: SVU. He wants to send a message: Drugs are bad, and if you do drugs you are bad also. He voids the plea agreement and sends the case onward to trial. The Queens are shocked.

Moira tries to comfort her daughter, but Thea is still very much of the opinion that her mother is a liar and maybe also the devil. She throws her mother’s promises right back in her face: “Like you promised Walter you’d always be faithful to him?”

Thea storms out of the room, leaving Moira to wonder both how her daughter can be so thoughtless and how the judge can be so cruel for punishing her daughter’s thoughtlessness. Thea is facing prison.

Bam: We’re flashing back to the island, in the first of the episode’s parallel jumps. Because just like Thea, Oliver is also dealing with prison — namely, how to get out of his. And also: Why did Yao Fei (I figured out his name, y’all) turn against him? Oliver asks, but his former ally just stares until Oliver, fed up, begins to shout: “Get me out of here!”

NEXT: Laurel finesses the law

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