There’s some interesting material in “A Matter of Trust” – a title that would have seemed far more fitting last week – and while this is an overall solid hour of Arrow, it is dragged down considerably by the B- and C-plots.
WWE’s Cody Rhodes, aka Stardust, guest stars as villain of the week Derek Sampson, a small-time dealer selling a new drug called Stardust. With the danger posed by Sampson growing, and Oliver still reluctant to allow the team to help fight crime, tensions build. It follows on nicely from last week’s developments, highlighting the flaws in each new team member as they begin to get used to the idea of them working together. One of those flaws causes quite a bit of trouble, and the fallout that’s explored from it makes for good character progression and for an entertaining story.
But what could be an otherwise excellent episode is hindered by many of Arrow’s sideplots. The flashbacks remain intriguing, and reveal more about Oliver learning to trust his Bratva brothers, but much of what happens elsewhere in the present day is weak storytelling. Oliver’s mayoral stint, which has the potential to be a strong part of his character moving forward, is undermined here as Thea’s decision last week to give Quentin the deputy mayor job backfires. Throughout, Thea is shown to be considerably more stupid and reckless than we know her to be, and while it’s frustrating on a character level, it’s also frustrating on a story level, because it makes for problems in the plot Arrow wants to explore.
Past sins haunt both Felicity and Diggle, and while both are addressed, neither are especially terrific. Felicity’s supposedly long-standing guilt over shifting the nuclear missile’s target to Havenrock – which only seemed to manifest itself after learning that Rory the town’s lone survivor – comes into play, and the show’s handling of it continues to be poor. Diggle, however, is given more on his guilt from killing Andy, and while there’s a bit to be desired from how Arrow portrays his demons, it is, on the whole, solid.
Some teaser quotes:
1. “Ok, so that’s what those 5 voicemails were about.”
2. “Your mask looks cool, by the way.”
3. “Sorry about the fake radio call, but I didn’t have your e-mail address, and I thought we should meet.”
4. “Well, good thing I was a biochemistry major in college.”
5. “What I don’t understand is who you are and what you’re doing in my office.”
“A Matter of Trust” airs on Wednesday, 9th November at 8pm on Sky 1.