Things we learned… 5×03: A Matter of Trust

After a solid second episode, could Arrow follow things up as Cody Rhodes aka Stardust had round two with Stephen Amell after their WWE face-off, and a seemingly dead character returned?

The right formula for a filler. I don’t think this was a great episode by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think the formula it had wasn’t bad for a filler episode. Obviously we didn’t have Church or Prometheus make an appearance, which is fine but leaves us with the dreaded villain of the week. However, this episode all had personal strands running through it which were well done. The dilemma with Oliver struggling to trust his team was given focus, while it was well mirrored with his duties as the mayor. As I said, I wasn’t in a hurry to rewatch this episode but nonetheless, it was more meaningful than your standard villain of the week episode.

Wilddog is annoying, yet a useful touch. Felicity said she never expected to meet someone more stubborn than Oliver, yet here he is. The fledgling vigilante may be a bit annoying yet I think he’s a useful character and especially clever to have around during a season focusing on legacy. He seems an ideal sort of character for Oliver to shape, train and develop into a competent, dependable vigilante. He clearly has a lot of room to develop, arguably more than Curtis and Evelyn – although we don’t really know enough about the latter so far.

If you’re going political, use it! The introduction of Susan Williams as a journalistic pest for Oliver as mayor is a good idea. I still remember last season we were building up to a big political debate between Oliver and Ruve, only for it to be skipped completely. If he’s mayor, we’ve got to see him as mayor and we’ve got to see the problems he encounters or there’s no point doing it at all. An issue in the past few seasons has been Oliver fading as a character. He’s becoming a nothing man. The first two seasons had his life outside of his alter-ego, then everyone began to wear a mask and everything became too vigilante orientated. Oliver having a life outside of the Green Arrow and facing other problems can only be a good thing, if it’s done right of course…

Deadshot was a loss. Michael Rowe returned as Deadshot this week. Although he was a figment of Diggle’s imagination, it was good to have the two bouncing off one another again and it got me thinking what might have been in terms of season 4. Deadshot had let Diggle in on the HIVE organisation that had hired him to kill Andy, though obviously never had a chance to play more of a role in the eventual terrible disappointment that proved to be season 4. Could it have been better? At the very least, more Deadshot feeding into things could have provided for more interesting material than the soap opera served up between Oliver and Felicity in the latter half of the season.

The Havenrock fall-out is unconvincing. After no real mention of it whatsoever, Felicity discovering that Rory came from Havenrock seemed to spark that guilt inside of her. They tried to bring that around this week with Felicity being encouraged to tell him the truth, but it’s difficult to invest in a story which has been terribly handled from the outset. Darkh’s initial plan was dreadful. Refusing to really pick up the consequences was a wild misstep. Furthermore, barely hinting at Felicity’s guilt until now was really the icing on the cake. Rory just walking off when Felicity told him was a good move, but it’s really difficult to see how they’re going to handle this storyline well. They bit off more than they could chew with the sheer idea of a nuclear threat in the first place.

Walking away from an explosion in slow motion is not cool. That was not a good move…

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