I review “Trust But Verify”, the eleventh episode in the first season of Arrow, written by Gabrielle Stanton and Directed by Nick Copus.
“An entertaining episode based on trust and fleshes out the cast – but is sadly not perfect.”
I’m two episodes behind on my reviewing for Arrow, and as this is currently being written on the 5th when a new episode airs in America on the 6th, I will be three behind. But needless to say, Trust But Verify is a pretty decent instalment, and whilst it isn’t spectacular, it does its job and will keep me watching the series as it goes on. Once I get sucked into a series I’ll watch it, even if the episodes start to become increasingly poor – mainly because I just want to know how the show (or season, if it’s a long running show) ends.
This episode presents an interesting question: What could shake Diggle’s faith in Ollie, and what could cause these two characters to come to blows? This is explored in Trust But Verify, and Gabrielle Stanton, the writer – has penned an interesting episode as we delve into the world of not only Arrow, but also the main DC Universe – there’s a nod to the Blackhawks, a group of characters that I remember from that New 52 Series that got cancelled and never got around to picking up, only there are two major differences. In that series, they’re (presumably) the heroes. However, in Trust But Verify, the Blackhawks have been remodelled and villainised, becoming one of Arrow’s many underdeveloped bad guys, which is starting to prove a major flaw in the series, preventing it from becoming a great show. It’s certainly a entertaining series, sure – but whether it’ll reach the heights of series such as Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead or Firefly remains to be seen. However, at least it’s better than the tripe that was Torchwood: Miracle Day, the series that started off strong and then had several filler episodes to bulk up the show when it could have easily been reduced to 5.
Ollie’s back hunting the list again, and the main focus of Trust But Verify is Arrow’s next target, a man called Ted Gaynor, who is believed to be a robber of armoured trucks. However, this is where the show diverts from its simple “stop the guy on the list” premise that has been going on for a part of the first half of the season so far, and has Diggle share a connection with Gaynor from their time in Afghanistan. It’s good to see that Diggle’s background is explored here, and he’s quickly becoming one of my favourite characters in the show. Naturally, Diggle believes that Gaynor isn’t responsible for the crimes that Ollie thinks he’s committing, and he must make a choice, whilst being assured that all the names on the List are there for a reason.
The episode itself is pretty interesting and although I thought that the villains were again underused, it provides an intriguing flashback to Ollie’s time on the Island as he launches a rescue attempt to save Yao Fei from captivity. But is all as it seems?
The flashbacks are very enjoyable in this season so far and it almost feels like we’ve got two different storylines running alongside next to each other, and as we learn more about Ollie’s present, we also know more about his past. For those who complained that the time jumps in the Dark Knight Rises didn’t work as well as they should have, you’ll be pleased to know (and you should already, if you’ve been watching the last 10 episodes of Arrow) that you can easily tell when a flashback’s going to happen, mainly due to the fact that Starling City is set in a completely different setting to The Island.
This episode, like the title suggests, focuses around the trust building (and breaking down) between the lead members of the cast. Not only do we see Diggle and Ollie’s trust issues being explored in this episode as the primary plot, but subplots also expand on the rest of the Queen family, with Thea and Moria featuring, and we’re also given time to explore the connection between Tommy and his dad, as well as Tommy and Laurel. And this is where I have to take another mark of the rating scale for, because the subplots weren’t really essential to the main storyline. The episode needed more focus and I felt that the Diggle/Ollie thread should really have taken up more of the episode than it did.
And on a final note, whilst Trust But Verify is not the first of a two part episode, it certainly sets up Vertigo, the next episode, with a bang, and as I’ve seen Vertigo, I can tell you now that whilst things don’t get better quality wise, they don’t get any worse. Ideally, by the end of the week – I’ll have a Vertigo review up, and that’ll keep me back on track for when episode 13 airs in the UK and I can get round to watching that. (As it airs on a Wednesday in the USA and on a Monday in the UK.