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Arrow is going on a hiatus after tonight’s midseason finale featuring Oliver’s fight against Ra’s al Ghul, but when it returns, we’ll be seeing a lot of familiar faces reappear, including Caity Lotz (Sara Lance), Manu Bennet (Slade Wilson) and Bex Taylor Klaus (Sin). Now we can add another name to this list, but it won’t be someone that has Starling City’s interests at heart. Next year, Oliver will have to face the first villain he fought this season: the second Count Vertigo.
EW is reporting that Prison Break actor Peter Stormare will reprise his role as the new Count in Episode 13 this season. Although details on the episode are being kept under wraps, executive producer Marc Guggenheim said that it's the “culmination of a lot of elements” they set in motion during the first 12 episodes, so it made sense to bring back the villain that kicked this season off. Vertigo’s return occur after the three-episode arc featuring X-Men: The Last Stand’s Vinnie Jones' stint as villain Danny Brickwell, a.k.a. Brick. Since Episode 13 is titled “Canaries,” Laurel will presumably be helping Oliver in her new role as the Black Canary.
This version of Count Vertigo, whose real name is Werner Zytle, debuted in the Season 3 premiere “The Calm.” His predecessor, played by Fringe alum Seth Gabel, was killed in Season 2 by Oliver when he nearly overdosed Felicity with the Vertigo drug. Zytle subsequently took over the drug operation and enhanced the narcotic so that it would reveal the user’s deepest fear, much like Batman villain Scarecrow’s fear gas. He was defeated after Oliver, Roy and Sara Lance stopped his assassination attempt on a rival crime boss and was left for the police to take into custody. His last words to the archer was that there would always be someone to take the Count Vertigo title. As this news informs us, no one will be taking that away from Zytle anytime soon.
While the first Count was a decent villain for Seasons 1 and 2, he was a bit too Jokerish for my taste, and I’ve found myself preferring Stormare’s Count and his calculating demeanor. In the comics, Count Vertigo uses a device that disorients his foes by induces nausea and vertigo (hence the name), but Arrow has foregone that in favor of the Vertigo drug.
While the drug has provided an interesting challenge to Oliver and his allies over three seasons, I’m hoping that the show will eventually give Zytle the vertigo device, or something similar. Obviously he's still earning his living by selling that poison, but to take out his main nemesis, he’s going to need to up his game, and that drug isn’t cutting it anymore. It’s time to break out the big guns to take out the big archer!