Arrow “A Matter of Trust” Review (Season 5, Episode 3)

I’m not really an Eminem fan, but when I was watching this week’s Arrow something I once heard him say popped into my head. He said something to the effect of the reason his circle of true friends is so small is that trust is a hard thing to come by. He’s not wrong. Trust is also extremely fragile. Once it’s broken, it’s next to impossible to get it back. Most importantly, though, trust must be earned.

Oliver was trying to take baby steps with his team, but shockingly, they were kind of impatient. Especially Wild Dog. I understand how frustrating it is to feel like you’re doing nothing when you’re capable of getting the job done. But that’s not what was happening here. None of them has worked as a team before. They’re not trained soldiers or assassins, and it would be reckless of Oliver to toss them right into the thick of things. It’s important for them to get a feel for how Oliver does things and what each of their responsibilities to the team will be. It’s kind of difficult to make that happen when you have people like Wild Dog refusing to fall in line. Rene is not only stubborn, he’s impulsive and short-sighted. He thinks he knows everything, but the whole situation with Derek Sampson should have taught him that he doesn’t know nearly as much as he thinks. And I’m kind of disappointed with the show that they didn’t let that narrative play out. Oliver was angry because Rene’s decision to go rogue not only put himself and Evelyn in danger, but it also destroyed the district attorney’s office’s chance to flip Sampson and get to his supplier. It also lead to the death of the coroner, several police officers, security guards, and other innocent people. Those are major consequences. Instead of the show actually dealing with that, they once again had Felicity tell Oliver how wrong he is and have Oliver apologize to Rene even though Rene was the one in the wrong.

As I said in my review of last week’s episode, Oliver needs to be able to trust that his team is physically capable of doing the job, but he also needs to be able to trust that they will follow orders. Because at the end of the day, Oliver is the leader. If he can’t trust them to follow his orders, that jeopardizes his safety, their safety, and the safety of the people they’re trying to protect. Just because it all worked out mostly ok in the end doesn’t negate the fact that Rene was wrong and he needed to be held accountable for it. People are dead that might not be dead if Rene had just waited. Or if maybe he had just done the recon and taken that information back to Oliver. Felicity keeps telling Oliver that he needs to trust his team, but they need to earn that trust. They haven’t done that yet. Especially Rene. Rene has shown a pattern of behavior the indicates he’s unwilling to fall in line, and his mantra of ‘beg for forgiveness rather than ask for permission’ is a dangerous mindset to have when the success of the mission as a whole depends on each member doing their job and following orders. Thankfully, they did that in the end and that was several steps down the road toward Oliver being able to trust them. The fact that the narrative keeps calling for Oliver to apologize to Rene even when Rene is the one in the wrong is starting to grate on my nerves a bit.

While Oliver was dealing with the growing pains of developing a new team, he was also faced with some political woes. Thea’s decision to hire Quentin Lance as deputy mayor wasn’t working out the way she’d hoped. On the one hand, it was right of Thea to recognize that Lance has helped them out too much for them to leave him out in the cold. He’s alone and hurting right now, so him falling off the wagon isn’t particularly surprising. Thea recognized that he really needs a friend, and she wanted to help him get back on track. That’s what friends do for each other. However, on the other hand, Thea had to know that appointing Lance as deputy mayor was going to come with at least some blowback. Lance was a public figure who fell very hard and very publicly. I get that Thea was trying to help him, but appointing him to that type of position given his background was a pretty stupid thing to do. It was also pretty stupid to think that the reporter was actually planning to help her out. It really didn’t take a genius to see that the reporter was lying through her teeth when she agreed to walk the story back. Hopefully Thea has learned her lesson, and it seems she may have found herself a new nemesis.

While things are (very) slowly coming together in Starling City, John was having his own troubles. He’s in the brig charged with murder. It also appears he might be losing his mind just a little bit because he had a waking nightmare that he was sharing a cell with Deadshot. As it turns out, that was just John’s guilt over killing Andy manifesting itself. John loved his brother and he was devastated to discover that Andy wasn’t the guy John thought he was. He was also afraid of what Andy was going to do to his family. That was a justifiable fear given the fact that John had just witnessed Andy help Damien Darhk murder Laurel. But whatever Andy may have done and whatever monster he chose to turn himself into, he was still John’s little brother. That’s not a switch that can just be flipped off. At least not for non-sociopaths. And let’s be honest, Andy was a sociopath. He didn’t love John. He didn’t care about John. And if he decided the situation called for it, he would kill John and his family without a thought. John believes he didn’t have to pull that trigger, but he really did. Andy wasn’t going to stop and John’s family wasn’t safe. But what I, or anyone else thinks, doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that John believes he shouldn’t have killed Andy, and he’s carrying around a massive amount of guilt about it. He feels like he should be punished for it, and even though he didn’t do the crime for which he is currently imprisoned, he’s decided prison is where he belongs. He wouldn’t listen to his wife when she tried to talk him out of it, but maybe he’ll listen to his best friend.

All in all, this was an ok episode. It’s primary focus was building up Team Arrow, and I’m ok with that. In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t regularly watch The Flash, so I don’t really understand why John and Lyla have a son instead of a daughter now. But since Barry was in the little intro clip, I’m guessing it has something to do with an incident that happened on The Flash. Felicity finally told Rory that she redirected the missile to Havenbrook. Rory seemed understandably stunned, but hey, at least he didn’t immediately choke her to death. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this new district attorney. He seems like an alright guy, but I’m wondering whether that little throwaway line about Oliver stealing his girlfriend twelve years ago was supposed to be foreshadowing something. I kinda hope not because Oliver already has his hands pretty full trying to balance his work life with his other work life. And he’s also learned that there’s yet another individual who has come to Starling City to kill him. Good times. So what did y’all think of this week’s Arrow?