“A Matter of Trust”
Warning Contains Spoilers
This week’s episode of Arrow was not on the same level as the first two. It felt almost like a filler episode to me. I mean, there were some fine moments of relationship and character development, but where was the progression of the overall arc of season five? We didn’t even see Tobias Church or Prometheus—the Big Bad,s of this season—this episode. This is only the third episode, we shouldn’t be seeing a filler episode yet. But who am I kidding? This is Arrow.
Oliver still tries to teach his new team a thing or two about being a vigilante. Sure, they are good at fighting and they have the costumes down, but what about making smart choices and getting information? Oliver has them watch him from a computer while he is on a mission so that they can learn like football players do before games with game tapes. He still doesn’t trust them yet, so he is still going out at night alone. He goes on and on about them not trusting him, but it is him that needs to trust them! At some point you have to let your baby birds fly out of the nest. Wild Dog is mad about just watching because he is antsy to get to the action. So he and maybe-new-Black-Canary Evelyn go on a recon mission to find out about Derek Sampson, a drug dealer who created a new synthetic drug, “Stardust.”
This was my first inclination that this might not be a driving-the-plot kind of episode, since they introduced a new villain and used a storyline they have already visited. The whole synthetic drug thing is so season one–remember “Vertigo?” Luckily the drug isn’t the central conflict in the episode; it was just part of the journey. Wild Dog and Evelyn’s recon mission turns out to be a full-on fight mission. Wild Dog brings his hockey mask–he never planned on only scouting. He ends up setting off a chain of events that leads to the creation of this episode’s villain–chemicals mix with the Stardust and Wild Dog pushes Sampson into it. Later, Sampson wakes up during his own autopsy (nightmare fuel) not being able to feel any pain. So, of course, he goes on a rampage and becomes an evil villain—what else would he do? Basically, because Wild Dog disobeyed Oliver, they now have this crazy man loose on Star City.
Sampson’s big plan is to create more like him so they can all join together and take down Tobias Church. He steals a device with a long name no one can really pronounce that is supposed to replicate Sampson’s powers in others. We figure out quickly that the whole point of this one-off villain is to finally have the new team fight an actual fight. This whole episode has a theme of trust: trusting yourself, and trusting others. Oliver worked hard last episode to gain his recruits’ trust but he didn’t really work on trusting them. It took a while for him to trust his old team. I mean, it was just Arrow for a while before it turned into Team Arrow. So it’s understandable for him to take his time with these newbies, especially with someone like Wild Dog who does his own thing. The team works together without a hitch and takes down Sampson and his goons for good. I love me some Arrow fight sequences. It is weird, though, seeing a new group of vigilantes fighting together–a good weird, though. I will forever love the OG Team Arrow (never forgive, never forget about Laurel). They worked well together and loved each other, so it meant more. This team is in its early stages and they have a long journey ahead of them, but they are well on their way after one awesome fight. Oliver even lets them finally see the Arrow Cave! They all stand in front of the wardrobe cases, looking at the four costumes of OG Team Arrow, and know that they have big shoes to fill. They are ready to take it on, though. I, for one, can’t wait to see everyone’s for-real costumes–these pre-costumes are just not cutting it for me. I also can’t wait for Curtis to become his own vigilante character from the comics: Mr. Terrific. Right now he’s still just Curtis and it sounds weird when everyone else has codenames.
We dive further into Diggle’s weird storyline. He’s now back in the states, in jail for crimes he did not commit: espionage, treason etc. These were all crimes he was set up for in last week’s episode. Lyla visits him in jail and tells him she is going to do everything she can to get him out of this. Diggle asks if she is okay and then asks about John Jr. If you can recall, John Diggle and Lyla have had a daughter named Sara for quite a few episodes now, and now Diggle is asking about a son. For those of us who watch The Flash (if you don’t, you should ), we know that Barry went back in time and when he came back to the present, people were affected by the time shift and a few things had changed. John and Lyla having a son instead of a daughter is one of the ways Arrow was affected. We don’t know what else has changed just yet (bring back Laurel!).
Once Lyla leaves, it is revealed that Diggle has a roommate: Deadshot. A blast from the past and apparently the dead, since last we saw him, he was in a building that blew up. I guess he didn’t die because he’s right there in front of us talking. This is an interesting pairing since Diggle pretty much hates Deadshot. If you recall, Deadshot was hired to kill Diggle’s brother Andy, but if you further recall, Andy never died, he was just recruited to Hive. He later died last season at the hands of Diggle himself. Diggle has never really gotten over the fact that he killed his own brother, which was a huge reason why he quit Team Arrow and rejoined the army. I guess he still hasn’t forgiven himself because it is revealed that Deadshot was never there in the first place. I knew it! It was already a weird choice to bring him back, and why does Diggle need a roommate in prison? It turns out that Deadshot is only there to remind Diggle that he can’t have a happy life and can’t move on from his brother’s death. Diggle believes that he deserves to be in prison and he tells Lyla to stop fighting for him. I still can’t totally get behind Diggle’s storyline this season, but the moment where he tells Lyla that he needs to stay there is one of the most emotional and dramatic moments of the series. I love it when they give David Ramsey something to play with and show his true talent as an actor! Well, Lyla isn’t going to let Diggle rot in prison, so she enlists Oliver’s help to break him out. This means next episode there is going to be a heist!!! I love heists!!!!
I’m really enjoying what Rory Regan, aka Ragman, brings to the table. Since his entire family and hometown was nuked last season–when Felicity had to redirect the missile meant for Monument Point to Havenrock, killing tens of thousands instead of millions–he brings an emotional foil to Felicity’s arc this season. I am so happy they aren’t just brushing off the fact that she killed people with a nuke and are doing something with it–they brought on a freaking living reminder of what she did. It was her secret for awhile; she would barely look at Rory or interact with him. She finally tells him at the end of the episode what she did, so I’m excited to see how that turns out. I hope it spans a few episodes.
Speaking of secrets, Oliver still doesn’t know about Felicity’s new beau Detective Billy Malone, and Billy doesn’t know about Felicity’s crime fighting life. I can’t wait to see Oliver’s face when he finds out the new star detective is with Felicity! It’s going to be glorious! Billy seems like a nice guy who has proven to be quite useful. He fakes a crime call so that he could have a meeting with The Green Arrow. I guess he’s taking on Quentin’s old role as police liaison. He tells Oliver that Prometheus wants to be the one to kill The Green Arrow, and will hurt anyone who gets to him first. So I wonder how much Oliver will still welcome Billy’s help when he finds out that he’s the new love in Felicity’s life!
In the mayoral world, still-normal-girl Thea is still Oliver’s chief of staff and is getting some press backlash over her decision to make Quentin Lance deputy mayor. She apparently never ran the idea by Oliver. Thea thinks she is helping by talking to the reporter woman-to-woman, coworker-to-coworker, but the reporter plays her and ends up airing the story that Oliver has no idea what is going on in his administration. She feels so bad that she wants to turn in her letter of resignation, but Oliver won’t accept it. Instead he publicly announces to the press that Quentin will be his deputy mayor. He takes back his office and shows Star City that he knows what he is doing. Thea gets to keep her job for now it seems, but I’m sure her vigilante days aren’t too far behind her. She corners the reporter and tells her she doesn’t want to mess with Thea Queen. That is the Thea I know and love: the take-crap-from-no-one Thea Queen!
Also, a new character is introduced in the form of District Attorney Adrian Chase. He wants to stop the crime in Star City through the legal system. He is a welcome addition and seems like a nice enough guy. He also has comic book origins as The Vigilante so I’m interested to see if Arrow goes that route with his character. I’m also calling it right now that he and Thea are going to get together. They were giving each other the eyes–I saw it, they can’t hide it!
So, some nice character development and relationship building, but man I like the overall plot to at least be touched upon in each episode. This was pretty much a standalone episode. The team made some great strides towards trust and unity so I guess that sort of progressed the plot. I justed wanted to find out more about Tobias Church and Prometheus. I want to know more backstories of these characters and maybe even the new vigilantes. Arrow has moved way beyond villain-of-the-week episodes. Last season was lackluster, but at least Damien Darhk had a looming presence over the whole season. I know it’s only the third episode, and I should listen to my own advice and give Arrow a chance to show me what this season is about, but I’m still feeling like Oliver–I can’t trust what I don’t know. I just want a hint of what the season is going to be. That’s what these early episodes are supposed to do. “A Matter of Trust” wasn’t a bad episode and I didn’t hate it per say, it just didn’t wow me like the first two did. Season five had a strong start and I just want them to keep that going so they finish strong! Hopefully episode four will show me that I can let go, but at the end of the day it’s a matter of trust.