‘Arrow’ Season 1, Episode 11 Review – A Question of Loyalty

Published 2 years ago by

Susanna Thompson and John Barrowman in Arrow Trust But Verify Arrow Season 1, Episode 11 Review – A Question of Loyalty

In the kind of world where people assume alternate identities to either fight crime or engage in it, trust becomes a commodity that is truly rare. When an individual slaps on a cape, cowl or, in the case of Arrow, a green hood, the unfortunate side effect is that they become something of an example for why the folks they deal with cannot be trusted – as anyone with an alter ego is not exactly operating on the principle of transparency.

As with most Arrow episodes, there is a common theme running through all of the primary characters, and this time, ‘Trust But Verify’ sees them all wondering if they can truly trust the people they know. Thea (Willa Holland) is turning 18 and although she’s getting a new car for her birthday, her primary concern is with her mother’s behavior as of late. After Moira (Susanna Thompson) assumed leadership of Queen Consolidated, she’s been exhibiting certain emotional highs and lows, which her children correctly assume has to do with the recent disappearance of her husband, Walter Steele (Colin Salmon). Of course, what the Queen children don’t yet realize is that Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) – a.k.a. the Dark Archer – is manipulating Moira into doing his bidding. While nearly everyone on the show has secrets, if anyone stands as a model for dishonesty, it’s Malcolm.

Added to the mix is a somewhat tepid Tommy (Colin Donnell) subplot, in which his father contacts him under the pretense of making amends, following his cutting Tommy off of his trust fund and apparently calling him a “loser.” Tommy reluctantly agrees to dinner with his father and Laurel (Katie Cassidy), only to learn that Malcolm’s objective was to get Tommy to sign off on the closure of his late mother’s free clinic. While the row between father and son bears little importance to the overall plot of the episode, it does provide some background on Malcolm, suggesting that the murder of his wife may have played some key role in shaping him into the man he is today.

Stephen Amell in Arrow Trust But Verify Arrow Season 1, Episode 11 Review – A Question of Loyalty

Primarily, though, ‘Trust But Verify’ sees Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Diggle (David Ramsey) in a dispute over Ted Gaynor (Ben Browder, Farscape) a former military commander of Digg’s, who is now heading up a Blackwater-esque security company called Black Hawk, and is suspected of being the mastermind behind a string of armored car robberies. For his part, Diggle refuses to believe a person he once trusted with his life could now be a name on Oliver’s list, so he sets out to prove his new partner wrong by keeping close tabs on Gaynor and his crew by joining up with them, after disrupting Arrow’s initial confrontation with the man.

For the time being, Ollie and Diggle agree to disagree on Gaynor’s involvement in the robberies, and despite his contrary opinion, Oliver steps back so his partner can investigate. While scoping out his former CO, Diggle is introduced to another military acquaintance, Paul Knox (Colin Lawrence), who has clearly earned a not-so-pleasant reputation and Diggle’s distrust. Gaynor assures his friend that Knox is on the up-and-up and that he’s reformed, giving Diggle the “everyone deserves a second chance” speech – which serves to further confuse the whole situation.

Forgoing the direct approach he normally takes with those suspected of poisoning his city, Oliver heads over to Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), so that he can gain access to a flash drive he lifted from Gaynor. Oliver gives the unofficial Arrow IT department a typically hackneyed reason for why he’s trying to break into a drive with military grade security, but nevertheless, Smoak comes through, giving him access to the group’s next planned robbery. After Arrow’s intervention, it looks as though Knox is behind the whole thing, and Diggle sets off to gather evidence, only to discover Gaynor was behind it all along.

John Barrowman Katie Cassidy and Colin Donnel in Arrow Trust But Verify Arrow Season 1, Episode 11 Review – A Question of Loyalty

Gaynor and Knox pull a Point Break on Diggle, forcing him to participate in their last heist by holding his former sister-in-law hostage. The situation plays out pretty much as one would expect: with Gaynor winding up on the business end of an arrow, while Diggle has to deal with the fact that even his judgment in people can sometimes be off.

But what the episode does well is incorporate the overall theme into the sometimes-contrasting action of what transpired on the island. ‘Trust But Verify’ includes not one, but two fairly large admissions regarding Oliver’s time away from Starling City. For one, Oliver provides a somewhat oblique confession that he may not have been on the island for the entire five years. While the audience has probably figured that out by now, hearing Oliver say that to Diggle is a big step in uncovering more of his past. Meanwhile, the episode drops a more significant bombshell in revealing that Oliver’s would-be savior, Yao Fei (Byron Mann) is actually in cahoots with Edward Fyres (Sebastian Dunn) – a revelation that will likely open the flashbacks up to more compelling events.

Basically, ‘Trust But Verify’ deals with the notion of betrayal, and how too much confidence in a person can sometimes become a point of weakness. While Thea mistakenly interprets her mother’s interaction with Malcolm as infidelity, she’s right in believing something doesn’t add up when it comes to Moira Queen. Oliver’s inability to recognize the same may prove disastrous for him as the Dark Archer’s plans for Starling City begin to coalesce.

Sebastian Dunn in Arrow Trust But Verify Arrow Season 1, Episode 11 Review – A Question of Loyalty

Other Items:

  • In Arrow Easter egg news: The name Tommy wanted to give to his puppy seems to be a direct reference to Arthur King, the Merlyn from the comic books. Additionally, the name Ted Gaynor and his association with the Blackhawk Squadron will certainly prove to be a treat for comic book fans.
  • Having the episode use Thea’s drug-induced car wreck as a lead-in to next week’s episode featuring Fringe‘s Seth Gabel, as The Count (Count Vertigo) is a nice, comic book-y touch.

Arrow returns next Wednesday with ‘Vertigo’ @8pm on The CW. Check out a preview of the episode below:

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  1. :/ I wish the character “The Question” would appear in the show already.

  2. One the best episodes so far great writing and action reveled more about his past and great usage of time nothing seemed forced in or try hard. All episodes should be like this one all it needed was Deathstroke to come out and kick ass to make it over the top awesome.

  3. Whoa, “The Question”? Good call, I would love to see him come to Arrow with some conspiracy evidence that correlates to the list somehow.

    In any case Arrow is officially back! Last night’s ep rocked, and has me very excited to see what will happen on the back end of the season.

    I’m glad they’ve started to delve into the fact that he didn’t spend 5 yrs on the island. I kept wondering how the hell he has “Bratva” connections and that tatoo showing he was one of them (revealed in Deadshot ep when he hooked up w/ the Bratva cell to get info on the assasin).

    Poor Thea, I find myself really enjoying what her story brings to the show… I just hope a time will come when Oliver can confide in her. The fact that Oliver knows so much about their late father and leads a double life is a huge wall between them.

  4. Another great ep. The show is evolving as it goes into a very good super hero show. Tommy’s dad is a beast, this guy is flat out an intriguing character, and I look forward to his growing role in this show. The return of villains such as Deadpool is a solid addition to the show over all. The island back story is getting very interesting as well. I can’t wait for next week with Virtigo!

    • Uh, DeadSHOT I think you mean. and NOT Deadpool.

        • Or do you mean Deathstroke?

  5. I loved the twist at the end. Very good episode. The writing seems to be better than most of the past episodes.

  6. I cant believe how impressive this show has been from the beginning. I hope this gets a second season. I have no idea what are good rating numbers for the CW, but i heard the premier had very good ratings so i hope that continues.

    • Re: Barrowman: I could not agree more. When I see Barrowman on screen with a guy, I have flashbacks of his witty banter with Ianto, and I half-expect him to start making out with every guy on screen. It’d be an easier sell if he changed his appearance a bit more. Still, as far as his acting is concerned, he’s holding his own.

  7. awesome ep!! cant wait to see count vertigo next ep

    • Yeah seth gabel seems like he had fun with the role.

  8. Again we have an episode where the writers/directors have painted themselves into a corner and need to use Thea to drive the story. We have enough going on in the show that we don’t really need Thea:

    Arrow -> Diggle
    Arrow -> Lauren
    Arrow -> Thea/Mom
    Arrow -> Island flashbacks
    Arrow -> Best friend
    Best friend -> Best friend’s dad
    Mom -> Best friend’s dad
    Lauren -> her dad
    Lauren -> Arrow’s best friend
    Arrow -> Lauren’s dad
    Thea -> Arrow’s best friend
    Arrow -> villain of the week
    Arrow -> Dad and the list

    Writers/producers/directors: if you are reading this, F-O-C-U-S! I’m getting whiplash over here. It’s becoming a soap opera.

    • … I think you mean Laurel.

      I do see where you’re coming from though, especially with Thea’s arc. I love the show, but I am getting a little tired of Thea’s life and problems playing such a big part in every episode. She’s also constantly on a roller coaster ride it seems (angry then happy, angry then happy, angry then happy and then angry again!) The constant back-and-forth acceptance/dissent of her family (especially her mother) is getting old.

      I’m not saying they should kill off Thea though… I really like the character and the whole story arc the writers came up with for her, and Willa Holland is great, but I think they should tone it down a bit and as you say, FOCUS more on Oliver/Arrow first.

    • Not sure I 100% agree with you Royal. You may have a point for an audience that isn’t willing to invest. A lot of movies need to have a linear, ‘trip down the highway’ approach because of the format. This show is allowing us to meander around the world they are creating and explore some of the backstreets and alleyways more leisurely. I think it kind of adds to the depth of the story. At least it keeps me interested.

      • I have to disagree with re: depth. All of these simultaneous story lines don’t add depth – they add width but keep things pretty superficial. ‘m arguing for more depth.

  9. The last few episodes haven’t been up to par to be quite honest, but this one definitely made up for ’em.

    Great story, great writing, quality action for a change and the cliffhanger brought back that feeling I had at the end of each episode when the show started (not wanting to wait another week to see the next episode.)

    I really hope they can keep it up for the rest of the season.

  10. I just hope that by the end of the season we at least get some idea just what the purpose of all that military on the island was all about. That back story keeps getting more and more interesting, but I’d hate to see the season finish without at least some explaination about what was going on. It’s strange enough that if they were doing some top seceret mission where they all ran around with ski masks on a secluded island (That’s a bit silly in the first place), then why did they even keep him alive? There’s that plan that apparently has something to do with Tommy’s dad Malcolm that seem to all be connected. On one hand it seems like he is trying to buy up the inner city, but why would you need your own military force for that? I never seen the comics so I don’t know if the show follows the comics at all.

    Also: What would the Arrow be like if he wasn’t Oliver Queen with basically unlimited resources? It would make things much more difficult. Then again even though he does have all these resources and I’m sure he can list many expenses under the construction of his night club I wonder how he can pay for all those gadgets without it sending up red flags to some accountant for all the money he’s using? He does have some very high tech state of the art stuff for some of his arrows, and equipment in his Arrow cave (Or whatever it’s called).

    • It’s been explained that the island is a prison… so maybe they are more like guards.

      I don’t think the island is part of the Green Arrow comics canon.

      “Arrow Cave”… hilarious line by Diggle.

  11. I think Ms. Smoak is going to catch on to Oliver very soon. She’s to smart not to.

  12. I have a theory on the fate of Thea. She’ll meet and date Roy Harper who discovers Oliver’s identity. He’ll then asked to be trained but Oliver will decline. In the season finale Thea will meet her doom causing Roy to declare vengeance. Oliver then agrees to train him out of anger of the loss of his sister so the two of them can take down whoever is responsible together. Maybe whoever did it is too big of a threat for Oliver to face alone. Roy then fights at Oliver’s side as Speedy in loving memory of his love.

    • The whole sister’s nickname of “Speedy” makes me lean towards your theory, too…

  13. This show is much better than I expected and I actually like the multiple storylines.

    I just wish that Queen will lose that green smudge and actually use eye gear that masks his eyes (like the sonar cowl in The Dark Knight). This will tie into the “balaclava” comment Fyres has about being able to see his eyes, it will look more like the Green Arrow mask and it can be explained that it has functionality (like night vision, heads-up display and tech similar to Google Glasses).

    • Did you ever see the super hero spoof series called The Tic? There was one episode where a Superman like hero was talking to the Tic, but when the Tic turned his head fir a moment the Superman put on his glasses. The Tic looked all around and asked, “Where did he take of to? I laughed so hard at that age old goof about nobody guessing Clark Kent was Superman because he looked so different with glasses

      • I liked how Smallville explained how the Clark Kent persona is supposed to be to protect his identity. Sounded like it borrowed from John Byrne’s retcon of Supes.

        But regardless of changing mannerisms, posture and voice… it is outlandish.

  14. With as many villains as we’ve seen come and go throughout season one thus far, it would be cool to see them all return in a future season where the writers could perhaps put to use David Goyer’s proposed ‘Supermax’ film idea (where Arrow is incarcerated amongst a rogues gallery of inmates and has to fight his way out). To up the ante, they could have him arrested by the quite capable Det. Lance, which could nudge Laurel closer to becoming Black Canary as she fights to free Ollie from the outside.