Wow, I actually didn’t imagine I would be saying these words but Arrow three for three on the season. Well, done Arrow, you get three more episodes unless you somehow manage to catastrophically shit the bed. So, “A Matter of Trust” decided to seemingly focus less on the overall season plot involving Church and Prometheus in favor of building actual character relations. You know, that thing Arrow basically forgot about after Oliver was stabbed by Ra’s in the middle of season three. For the most part the episode mages to work because of this fact, by focusing on the characters and the issues of not only this new team but also the problems of the old one. Showing us that everyone has issues they are dealing with whether it be Felicity’s dealing with Ragman, Diggle in prison, or Wild Dog trying to not be an utter bastard. This character growth was supremely missing from the show last year.
So let’s start with the fact the team is slowly earning Oliver’s trust. I have to say even with only half the team being fleshed out it is still enjoyable to watch them pair off and interact. Watching Ollie and Wild Dog/Rene actually seemingly come to terms about the way they want to operate has been a nice slow burn. I appreciate that Rene is basically season one Oliver except without the humility or willingness to admit his wrongs. Rick Gonzalez has been doing the heavy lifting of all the recruits and it is easy to see why as he actually is able to carry a scene and show a good range of emotions with remorse for screwing up and joy at being Evelyn’s big brother. Same goes for Ragman who I can’t quite figure out if he is supposed to be comic relief or a badass. Joe Dinicol does some nice work as Rory this week as he is slowing building rapport and learning to trust these reckless idiots. The only downside to his character is we really don’t have a concrete way of looking at him. I mean he can be comic relief, but I would much rather see him deal with Havenrock more which is now definitely happening.
Unfortunately where those two characters succeed Curtis and Evelyn are really struggling. I don’t know what it is about Echo Kellum, portrayal of Curtis but he certainly doesn’t remind me of Mr. Terrific or hell even the smart Curtis of last season. I feels like he is only in scenes in order to bring a laugh which is fine when done at the right time. None of Curtis’ “funny” moments are even remotely funny, I mean there was definitely a better time to crack jokes with Ragman then while you are taking out the bad guys. Thankfully I can actually say something about Curtis because Evelyn has literally done nothing at all in the two episodes she has been in. Hell Deadshot had more development tonight and he was a freaking hallucination. Eventually the writers will have to give her some sort of arc or else she will be entirely useless. Also we need to diversify the skill set of these recruits. Everyone is super punchy and I would prefer another bowman/bow-woman on the team.
Luckily where these characters failed the original team was aces. Despite my hatred for seeing Diggle locked up, David Ramsey is doing excellent work channeling his inner demons. It’s always fun to watch Diggle and Lawton chat and I had a brief moment of hope for Deadshot to not actually be dead. Sad to see Deadshot is still apparently dead, but what he brought to the table this week was great. I love the idea that Diggle quit the team because he couldn’t live with the fact his brother was evil and he had to kill him. Diggle’s escape and having everything he trusted in be shattered should add some nice depth to the character who has been sorely underserved the past couple of seasons. I really can’t wait to see how this arc actually develops and how Ramsey plays this.
Same goes for Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity who did what I have been asking for since the bomb dropped, actually showing the tiniest amount of remorse for her actions. By introducing Ragman as a constant reminder of Havenrock I was worried the writers were going to drag out the tension for bullshit reasons. However, this wasn’t the case and having Felicity own up to destroying Rory’s town is a huge step for her character and easily helping her rebound from whatever she was supposed to be the last couple of seasons. Usually Rickards isn’t very good with the emotional material but she definitely dug deep and sold the sadness and self hate for her actions, and ti was easily some if not the best material in this entire episode. Now we just have to wait and see how Rory reacts to this information, and whether Felicity has a target on her back. Really good stuff.
The last part of the episode I want to talk about is Cody Rhodes and the action this week. While the action was great, especially that final fight between Sampson and Oliver, Rhodes left a lot to be desired as a villain. His reasoning was bland, his imposing nature became goofy after a while, and it felt like there were plenty of better options for possible comic villains who fit the bill like Solomon Grundy. Hopefully if Rhodes character appears again for some reason he will actually be fleshed out or not even talk because the middle ground sure wasn’t pretty.
Overall it was a really strong episode all around. I can’t say Arrow is fully back yet, but we are definitely trending in the right direction.
Final Grade A-
+Wild Dog and Ragman characterization
+Felicity being honest with Ragman about Havenrock
+Diggle dealing with killing Andy
+Great action scenes
-Evelyn and Curtis are the weakest members of the team
-Yeah, Thea had a whole subplot involving a reporter who is married to Green Lantern’s brother in the comics. It was not very exciting and I am only tolerating it if Hal somehow shows up.
-Flashbacks were minimal this week but we got to see how Ollie got a few of his scars.
-Billy from Sirens is the new DA and all I can see whenever he is on screen is Billy.
-Ragman has no idea where the whispers are coming from in his suit. Not creepy at all, but you should probably call Constantine just incase.
-Felcity’s boyfriend shows up for one scene to tell Oliver about Prometheus. That was a time waster.