As Arrow‘s mostly grounded third season continues, we now see Ollie and Felicity working with an all-new crime fighting team featuring Curtis Holt, Evelyn Sharp, Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog, and Rory Regan/Ragman. “A Matter of Trust” focuses primarily on continuing to set up this new team, as their trust for each other continues to be problematic. Additionally, Felicity is faced with a difficult decision regarding the bombing of Havenrock last season and Diggle is stuck in prison following the events that occurred in “The Recruits”. “A Matter of Trust” guest stars former WWE wrestler Cody Runnels, a.k.a. Cody Rhodes/Stardust, as this episode’s villain-of-the-week, and contains a surprise guest appearance from Michael Rowe as Deadshot.
Rene proves to be very problematic as an ally in this episode and doesn’t give Ollie much of a reason to trust him. It’s due to his actions, and Evelyn’s, that a new super villain is created. Surprisingly, Ollie doesn’t seem to show as much animosity towards Evelyn as he does Rene, even though both are guilty of going against orders and investigating a stardust drug facility on their own. Of course Rene is the one who escalates things, leading to drug dealer Derek Sampson gaining superhuman abilities.
It’s fun to see Cody Rhodes guest star on Arrow for obvious reasons if you are a WWE fan. Personally I’m not a wrestling fan, but I did enjoy watching the drama between his wrestling persona Stardust and actor Stephen Amell which ultimately led to the two duking it out in the ring at SummerSlam 2015. With Rhodes guest starring on Arrow as Derek Sampson, as a stardust drug dealer nonetheless, we get to see a rematch between the two. Rhodes also does a commendable job as this episode’s villain-of-the-week, and the only issues I found with Sampson were in the writing of the character himself.
While Sampson’s newfound abilities allow him to be more threatening and formidable, it’s only due to the fact that he can’t feel the physical pain being placed on him from his run-in with cops and Green Arrow. While this allows Sampson to be a bit braver, it still doesn’t change the fact that he is not indestructible in any way whatsoever. So, even though their first run-in didn’t turn out well for Ollie, Ollie is able to exploit this weakness later on in the episode and defeat Sampson by cutting his tendons.
This brings me to something I really like about Ollie this season so far. He is brutal. While his no killing rule is a little wonky, when he doesn’t kill he is still not afraid to delve out great amounts of pain on his enemies. Whether it be slicing all of Sampson’s tendons so he can no longer move or fight back, or dropping a criminal off a rooftop potentially paralyzing him in the episode’s opening scene.
On the non-superhero side of Arrow, Thea Queen faces some issues running Ollie’s mayoral stance in his absence. While it should be pointed out that Ollie is making for a terrible mayor, devoting the majority of his time to crime fighting and leaving a very heavy load on his sister, Thea does make some very ill-advised decisions. The hiring of Quentin Lance as Deputy Mayor is a bit on the dumb side considering his history, but can be defended considering other aspects of that same history. What I found funny was the fact that Thea approached the reporter that broke the story about Quentin, and tried to defend it by stating Ollie had nothing to do with the choice, only solidifying his incompetence as Mayor. Fortunately, Ollie was able to fix everything at the end of the episode, keeping Quentin as Deputy Mayor and convincing Thea to stay on his team despite her mistakes
Following the events of last week’s episode, Diggle is now spending time in prison. While he remains in prison for a crime he did not commit, he feels he deserves to be there, feeling guilty over killing his brother. Seeing this aspect of Diggle is a bit annoying, though it did allow for a nice reunion between him and Michael Rowe’s Deadshot. Honestly, I was surprised to see Deadshot pop up again. I never really bought it that he died in that explosion all the way back in the show’s third season, but I figured that character would be off the table for Arrow considering we received another Deadshot played by Will Smith in this year’s Suicide Squad. That being said we do now have two different Supermen, one in DC’s movie universe and one on The CW’s Supergirl, so maybe there is no clear rule on what characters can be used in what universe.
A constant issue on Arrow in previous seasons has been lies, and so far this season has contained few secrets between leading characters. Curtis Holt even blatantly states to Felicity, in regards to her Havenrock decision, that keeping secrets never does any good. So, I’m glad to see that in “A Matter of Trust” Felicity quickly informs Ragman of the fact that it was her decision to destroy his hometown of Havenrock and explains why it had to be done. As of right now it’s unclear how this will affect Ragman’s status with the team and Felicity going forward. Will he choose to forgive Felicity and continue to work beside her?
So far season five of Arrow is starting off strong and the more grounded feel not only returns the show to its roots, but has made it feel superior to elements of last season. While I’d much rather see Thea and Diggle suit up again, the new team is beginning to grow on me, even though I’m not fond of Curtis Holt’s “Mr. Terrific” costume. The Russian-based flashback scenes haven’t been all bad this season, though the ones in this episode were forgettable. Still, I’m highly anticipating Dolph Lundgren’s debut as Ollie’s Russian antagonist. On the negative side, I’m still not happy with the decision to erase Diggle’s daughter from existence thanks to Barry Allen ruining the timeline in The Flash. I realize they probably wanted a simple way of bringing the character of Connor Hawke into the Arrowverse, who was originally introduced in a future-based episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, but they didn’t need to get rid of Sara Diggle in doing so.
Overall, “A Matter of Trust” was a well balanced and entertaining episode that provided some fun super heroic crime fighting, some compelling complexities in the relationships between characters, and a bit of political intrigue. Next week Ollie will attempt to break Diggle out of prison upon Lyla’s request, though technically, as the director of A.R.G.U.S., couldn’t Lyla find a way of removing Diggle herself? Can’t she just say he’s going to be another prisoner on her Suicide Squad? Either way it seems Ollie is going to have some trouble convincing his team that breaking Diggle out of a military prison is a good idea. Check out the trailer for next week’s episode “Penance” below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “A Matter of Trust” in the comments.