Spoilers ahead for “A Matter of Trust,” the latest episode of The CW’s Arrow!
The short version: Oliver starts to trust his new team; Deadshot (kinda) returns; that wrestler dude is a Baddie of the Week; and Diggle’s in jail.
The good: The new team isn’t terrible, city hall drama
A major component of Season 5 is Oliver’s quest to rebuild Team Arrow in the wake of Laurel’s death and pretty much everyone else calling it quits. After spending the past couple weeks training these new recruits, the team goes on its first (unofficial and official) mission this week. Seeing Oliver and Wild Dog butt heads was starting to get a little too alpha male, but Oliver showed some maturity this week and took a major step toward trusting the capabilities of these new heroes he’s recruited. That angle looks to be a whole lot less annoying moving forward.
Oh, and we finally got to see Curtis suit up as Mr. Terrific (they’re still nailing down the name). He rocked the iconic mask for the first time (though it did look a bit silly in execution) and killed it in that Fair Play jacket. He still has a ways to go in the superhero-ing department, but getting him in the field was a great moment.
This episode also featured some juicy city hall drama, which is a welcome change of pace as the show enters its fifth year. The action has typically been counterbalanced by corporate intrigue and storylines in the past, but Oliver’s mayoral term has taken up the reins of those B-stories. This week it really shined, as Thea gets a chance to deal with a shady reporter and Oliver faces backlash for the decision to hire Quentin Lance as his deputy mayor. We’re told so often that it’s tough for Oliver to balance his two lives, and it’s nice to see him actually deal with that here.
The fact that Felicity guided a missile to a city of tens of thousands of people (though she, of course, did it to save millions of lives) was pretty much glossed over at the end of last season amid all the Damien Darhk insanity, so slowing down and addressing her lingering guilt through the lens of Rory/Ragman (who is the only survivor from the explosion) was a great move. There’s real drama there, and they’re circling back to actually mine it.
The bad: A WWE rematch, Diggle’s dilemma, Deadshot’s return
It’s no secret that Arrow star Stephen Amell loves him some WWE wrestling, and he’s shown up and participated in a few of the wrestling franchise’s major events. His big “rivalry” is with the wrestler Stardust (aka Cody Rhodes), who makes his DC universe debut as the villain Derek Sampson. Sampson is dumped in a vat of experimental drugs (nice Joker nod there) and comes out much stronger and with his pain receptors blocked. The Stardust drug (a bit on the nose there, guys) gets him juiced, and we get a scripted rematch between the two here. Not surprisingly, the Green Arrow came out on top. They handled the story fairly well, and if you were unaware of the WWE connection, it might’ve just zipped on by. But despite the best of intentions, it did feel a bit gimmicky.
Diggle’s story this year followed his mission in the military as he attempted to reacquire a rogue nuke from Damien Darhk’s crusade, and ended with him framed with killing his team and stealing the nuke. Seriously? His wife is literally the head of Argus, and we are supposed to believe they can’t disprove these charges and get him out of prison? It’s at least a different type of story, but c’mon.
One huge surprise from Diggle’s incarceration was the return of Michael Rowe as Deadshot, who turns out to be a figment of Diggle’s imagination (the character was last seen seemingly being killed, in part of a larger push by Warner Bros. to phase out the small screen version of the Suicide Squad). Here, the hallucination is used as a way for Diggle to process his grief, but it lacked some of the subtlety it really needed to hit home. Deadshot hit Diggle over the lead repeatedly with his points. Had those conversations been a bit more cerebrial, Diggle’s trauma would’ve felt more real. But regardless, its always great to see Rowe don the eyepatch again.
How will Ragman respond to Felicity’s confession about nuking his hometown?
Green Arrow met Felicity’s cop boyfriend, Billy Malone, for the first time (did Oliver know who he was?) in this episode. You know they’ll certainly cross paths again.
Diggle ends the episode vowing to remain in prison over guilt for killing his brother (though the dude did vow to never stop trying to kill his family, but whatevs). It’s a poignant moment, but are we to believe he would really volunteer to stay in prison on bogus charges and not be a father to his son (thanks, Flashpoint)?
Quentin Lance is officially the deputy mayor of Star City. Let’s see how that turns out, shall we?
We also meet Star City’s new district attorney Adrian Chase in this episode, who really seems to hit it off with Oliver. As comic fans likely know, he’ll soon turn out to be the DC anti-hero Vigilante. Could Green Arrow have another ally on the way, or will they not see eye-to-eye?
The new team has officially entered the Arrow Cave. nice to be back on the fancy set, right?
Lines of the night:
“He must be great at parties.” - Curtis
“So is this green arrow brooding, or mayor brooding?” - Felicity
“Suit up!” -Curtis
Up next: It’s a Diggle jailbreak!