While last week’s villain, Firefly the somewhat singed, vengeful fireman, wasn’t all that antagonizing, this week things get personal when Diggle’s (David Ramsey) commanding officer from Afghanistan – a guest stint by Ben Browder – becomes Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) next target from THE LIST. Yes, the list is back and we need to trust the list because Ollie’s father told him so. Even though as Dig points out he only retrieved the list from his father after he was dead. To which Ollie tells him he later received a message from his father confirming the list’s importance and reliability. When he got this message is left unknown, but it wasn’t while Ollie was on the island, at least not that we’ve seen. And we won’t see, not in this episode.
But that doesn’t mean “Trust But Verify” reveals nothing, in fact there’s quite a few revelations dropped this week. The first being Ollie’s father, Robert, wasn’t all that faithful to Moira (Susanna Thompson) while they were married. Apparently, fidelity is hard for the Queen men. Shocking, I know. Thea (Willa Holland) though, always the spiteful daughter, believes it was Moira who was unfaithful and misconstrues Moira’s secret meetings with Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) as the beginnings of another affair.
And Mr. Merlyn isn’t without his secrets, either. (And who’s going to argue with giving Barrowman more screen time, he’s perfect as the smarmy Well-Dress Man.) While trying to reconnect with his son, Tommy (Colin Donnell) he drops the bombshell his wife, Tommy’s mother was murdered. Well, it’s a surprise for us and Laurel (Katie Cassidy), Tommy clearly knew about it though he was eight when it happened. After that Malcolm shut his son out and disappeared for a while, during which we can assume he learned the skills necessary to become the dark archer. Hmm, not so unlike Oliver who when struck by tragedy molded himself into a weapon to combat those responsible. I wonder if this similarity between the two will ever play a role in their conflict? I’m gonna say, yes.
And speaking of archers, back on the island, Yao-Fei (Byron Mann), the hooded green archer who taught Ollie how to survive is also not who he seems. All along he was working for Edward Fyers (Sebastian Dunn), the man who captured Ollie and had him tortured by Deathstroke. This is a big turn of events as the only ally Oliver had on the island turns out to be anything but, and you have to wonder if it was a coincidence he washed up on this island at all.
Back in Starling City it’s the Diggle show, finally getting an episode where he does stuff, even if it’s not always the right stuff. Ted Gaynor is on the list and therefore becomes a target for The Hood, but Dig wants Ollie to trust him over the list. Diggle joins Blackhawk Security Firm, – another nice little nod to DC lore – where Gaynor and other ex-military personal are working, in order to investigate Gaynor and prove he’s an innocent man. Not leading an elite squad of mercenaries in robbing armored trucks all over the city, which is what Ollie suspects him of since the robbers are using military tactics. The Hood does his thing and tracks down Gaynor, swipes an encoded data file, but is then stopped by Diggle before he can really lay into his interrogation.
Not surprisingly, this causes a bit of rift in the broship of Ollie and Diggle, but never fear, they’ll work it through come episode end. Especially when it turns out Gaynor is indeed behind the robberies – proven when the encrypted data is cracked by Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) in an all too brief appearance of the tech savant – and he kidnaps Diggle. Gaynor forces him to work their next job because he’s also kidnapped Dig’s sister-in-law, of Big Belly Burger, and will kill her if he doesn’t cooperate. Then Gaynor does something unbelievable stupid. I mean, so dumb I don’t understand how this guy became a respected military anything. He gives Dig the grenade launcher. Yes, he arms his prisoner who he’s coerced to come with him by taking a hostage. With a grenade launcher!?! The guy really deserves an award for dumbest criminal yet, and that’s saying something. Remember Firefly?
Anyway, obviously Diggle turns on them but when it comes to delivering the final blow and dispatch Gaynor, it’s all The Hood. Ollie planted a bug on Diggle so he knew what was up, which Dig noticed and was expecting him to make an appearance.Back in the Arrow cave, Ollie apologizes to Dig for not trusting him, revealing that trusting anyone is hard for him since his time on the island, in particular the betrayal of Yao-Fei. But he needs Diggle because he needs people who seek the good in others, something Ollie finds trouble doing. Then they kiss and makeup. They’re such a receptive couple.
“Trust But Verify” was a definite improvement over last week’s return from hiatus. Honestly, they could have just dropped “Burned” and come back from break with this one. The mysterious, though platonic, relationship of Malcolm and Moira was explored, as was their troubled relationship with their children. Ollie and Diggle came to a new level of trust and understanding, and Diggle again proved his value as Ollie’s partner. The plot progressed and the events held actual ramifications for the series’ characters, not a ridiculous expectation if you ask me.
Leading into next week’s episode, Thea, during a bout of teenage rebellion, took the new narcotic sweeping Starling City, Vertigo, crashed her car and was arrested for driving under the influence. Next week we’ll meet Count Vertigo (Fringe‘s Seth Gabel), now a drug peddler, not an Eastern European monarch with vertigo-inducing mind powers. Check out a preview of “Vertigo” below,
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm on the CW.