As the title of this week’s episode of Arrow highlights, trust was a major theme in most of the story lines in “Trust but Verify.” Moira uses the phrase specifically when talking to Malcolm about Walter, but it seemed to be a phrase Malcolm had used, so I assume she must have learned her lesson from experience.
After a series of armed truck robberies, Ollie and Digg found themselves in a serious disagreement over Ollie’s next target, Ted Gainer. When Digg was in the military, Ted saved Digg’s life, so he had good reason to doubt Ollie’s mysterious book when he discovered that Ted’s name had been written inside of it. The two argued over Digg’s trust in Ted, Ollie’s trust in Digg, and Ollie’s blind trust in his father’s little book of targets.
Ollie revealed that, years ago, his father had left him a message explaining the meaning of the list. Ollie argued that while he could make mistakes, the list did not. I wish Ollie would have gone into more detail about this posthumous message his father left him that gave Ollie solid proof about the infallibility of the hit list, but unfortunately the topic was dropped almost as quickly as it was brought up.
Things went smoothly for Ollie this time and the list turned out to be spot on about Ted Gainer, but in the five years since Ollie has had the list, it is possible that some of those people might have changed their tune. Ollie doesn’t have access to the most recent updates, but Ollie trusts the list more than he trusts himself. That’s a little too much trust considering he only recently discovered that the names inside were not actually written by his father. Knowing that his father carried a heavy guilt linked to the names in the book, I’d want Ollie to be a little more cautious and maybe even a little skeptical in his approach to his investigations.
That little book is Ollie’s guiding light and his crutch. I’m anxious to see him find a fault in the book so he can stop relying on it so much and seriously develop his instincts as a crime hunter. In many cases, Ollie acts as judge, jury, and executioner, so while he hasn’t been misled by the book yet, it’s frustrating that he doesn’t seem interested in knowing why or how all the names in the book are linked together – or if he already knows, it’s frustrating that he hasn’t revealed the big scheme to Digg or anyone else yet.
In Ollie’s island flashbacks, the twist revealed that he had been double crossed by Yao-Fei after returning to the camp to help him. In an earlier episode, Fyers had explained that Deathstroke was also at one time a prisoner on the island just like Yao-Fei, so I wasn’t all that surprised to see Yao-Fei take up a mercenary role after being captured. In fact, I had a strong suspicion that the masked man talking to Ollie was Yao-Fei from the start, I just wasn’t sure what his angle was going to be. I’m still not positive if Ollie’s capture will play out to be part of Yao-Fei’s plan to help Ollie escape the island, or if he’s truly joined ranks to help Fyers hunt other prey.
Meanwhile, Thea was busy turning 18 and whining about almost everything again. She has good reason to be messed up in the head, but she can get on my nerves when she’s complaining for too long. Her misinterpretation of Moira and Malcolm’s relationship led to both her and Ollie confronting Moira about it. I don’t often agree with Thea, but when she told Ollie that he didn’t know their mother and that Moira was a “liar and a cheater” I couldn’t help but think that she was spot on. Whether she’s been doing it to keep her family safe or to protect her investments in Starling City, Moira has been spinning a messy web of lies for a very long time.
Malcolm’s character got some more interesting development in this episode. Although his “apology” to Tommy was spoiled by his ulterior motives, Malcolm’s dinner conversation with Laurel and Tommy gave us some insight into what might have turned Malcolm into the villain that pulls the strings behind the scenes. Malcolm’s wife, was shot and killed when Tommy was 8 years old. The way Malcolm looked at the photo of his family and talked about the incident seemed to imply that Malcolm’s grudge wasn’t just with a single shooter, but with an entire demographic of people in Starling City. The Glades. The lower-income world that Malcolm’s wife served at her free clinic and, in his view, put his wife’s life in danger. It’s no surprise then that the same area seems to be the target of Malcolm’s mystery master plan.
Thea’s joy ride landed her in the hands of the police because of the drug they tested in her system, Vertigo. Ollie’s surprise at hearing that a drug popular in The Glades had made it into the socialite drug circle makes me think that The Glades are going to become a major topic in the Arrow story line, especially as this Vertigo plot comes into focus in the next episode. Thus far, we haven’t really seen the contrast between the affluence of Ollie’s world and the poverty of The Glades (we see a lot of Ollie’s hideout and club, but that’s all pretty high tech and cool looking as far as I’m concerned.) If The Glades do become more prominent in Arrow, I hope that means we’ll hear less second-hand stories about The Glades and that we actually start seeing that neighborhood and all its problems.