Arrow’s new episode, “A Matter of Trust,” has a lot of trust issues in it. Maybe it should have been “Matters”? It does open with a pretty good idea for the new team. Green Arrow is running down a drug dealer, while the team watches via some version of a body camera. That’s a pretty clever training technique, even if most of them aren’t impressed, especially the ever-impatient Wild Dog. After dropping by for a brief chat with the recruits, Oliver heads out again to a report of a gunman with an AR-15. This proves to be a false alarm by Billy Malone, Felicity’s new boyfriend and Star City Police Detective. Malone wanted to meet the archer, among other things, to warn him about Prometheus and his declared vendetta against the hero.
Diggle is now in prison after the ugliness last episode. He gets a visit from Lyla, who is understandably worried about him. He fills her in about the plot against him. Things aren’t looking great, and even worse when he gets back to his cell and has a surprise waiting for him.
Oliver gets to his office, and apologizes for being late. Thea has her own surprise for him, which if nothing else shows that she’s learning to deal with his inability to be on time. Maybe he needs to start asking Barry for favors at least to get him around town. They have a strong difference of opinion about Quentin Lance’s future with Oliver’s administration.
To no surprise at all, some of the team have gotten restless. Rene/Wild Dog and Evelyn/Needs A Codename are out on the streets looking for the source of the new drug Stardust. Things go from bad to worse as they find the new lab and Wild Dog decides to suit up and deal with it himself. He’s definitely on the trigger-happy side, and isn’t shy about using his guns, which at least is true to the original character. He ends up knocking the head bad guy into a vat of chemicals in a very Batman/Joker moment.
Oliver ends up having another meeting, with new character Adrian Chase, Star City’s newest DA. District Attorney in Star City is almost as dangerous a job as mayor from what we’ve seen so far. Then again, Adrian Chase is the real name of the Vigilante, a character whose costume we’ve already seen this season. Chase is not happy. His office was working to bring down the Stardust network, but now someone has killed their informant. When a puzzled Oliver says that doesn’t sound like Green Arrow, Chase grouses that it was maniac in a hockey mask.
This leads to a very expected scene of Oliver lecturing Rene about being reckless and not seeing the big picture. The argument gets heated and Oliver finally ends up storming off, radiating fury and impatience. Onlookers Rory/Ragman and Curtis/Mr. Terrific offer a few comments on the whole mess.
In a pair of short scenes, Thea goes to the news studio to talk to the Channel 52 reporter about her coverage of Oliver’s administration. Thea might have a handle on how to manipulate Oliver’s schedule, but she’s not too good with the media yet. Diggle has a surprising discussion in his cell with a ghost of adventures’ past.
Ever notice that being a coroner on an adventure show is pretty much never a good thing? This is no exception as the medical examiner gets the surprise of his life when his autopsy of Wild Dog’s victim gets interrupted by Sampson, the drug lord, getting up and walking out on the procedure. Bet that doesn’t happen too often, even in Star City. We also learn that, post chemical bath, Sampson has gone metahuman, at the very least not feeling pain, but he seems to have gained strength and some degree of resistance to injury as well.
The team is training at their Hive complex as all this is happening. We get some bad, slightly forced background on Curtis’ idol and costume inspiration, and Felicity frets about telling Rory the truth about what happened to Havenrock, his home city. Green Arrow goes to Starling General (guess they didn’t get the memo on the change to Star City) and fights the newly resurrected Sampson, even breaking out his old, “You have failed this city!” line. Not expecting superpowers, Green Arrow gets surprised and Sampson escapes. Amusingly, Sampson the Stardust dealer is played by Cody Rhodes, a pro-wrestler Steven Amell had a “feud” with on WWE, whose wrestling handle is… Stardust.
Oliver can’t catch a break this week, as he and Chase have another meeting where Chase complains about not being able to get a warrant as part of the Stardust investigation. Oliver knows the judge and is going to use his influence, but gets more unwelcome news from Thea. Her attempt at dealing with the reporter has gone spectacularly badly, and made things much worse.
Felicity and Curtis have a talk about her hand in what happened to Havenrock and her guilt over it. As they debate telling Rory, Sampson has called a meeting of various criminal types. He’s loving his new powers and plans on sharing with everyone. This is not good news for the heroes of Star City.
Oliver is getting patched up at the lair after his go around with Sampson. Felicity helps him out, but also tells him he needs to take more responsibility in both his lives. She finally manages to get through to him, because when an alarm comes in about a break-in at one of the chemical companies in town, he goes to get the team to back him up.
Diggle has decided to give in to his ghosts and stop fighting the charges against him, shocking Lyla. While she’s getting used to this idea, Oliver drops in on the team as they work out and allows that he might not be taking Wild Dog as seriously as he should. He finally brings them to the Lair. There’s an amusing bit of teasing Wild Dog about his hockey mask, which Oliver says he likes. This might well be a joke about Amell’s recent role as hockey mask wearing vigilante Casey Jones in the last Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
Team Arrow attacks as Sampson’s thugs are trying to steal what they need to recreate his accident. It’s nice seeing the team in action together, and Curtis finally in his full Mr. Terrific gear. The fight between Green Arrow and Sampson is really well done. Green Arrow wins by fighting smart, but nasty.
Later, Oliver holds a press conference and handles the rumors about his administration, and the annoying reporter, really well. Thea gets some small payback with the reporter. Felicity finally decides to tell Rory about Havenrock. He’s understandably shocked, and walks out, for how long we don’t know. The episode ends with a surprise visit from Lyla, who has an unusual request for Oliver.
FlashBratva Theater is more about Oliver working is way into the ranks of the Russian Mafia. He learns that while Anatoli is being ruthless, he’s doing it in a smart way and isn’t quite as bad as Oliver thought. It’s enough to give Oliver something to think about.
What I liked: It was good seeing the team in action, and great seeing Curtis as Mr. Terrific finally. I’m excited at seeing Adrian Chase, and looking forward to Vigilante popping up. He screwed up, but I understand Wild Dog getting impatient. Oliver’s training video at the beginning was a good idea. I liked seeing Diggle’s special ghost star again.
What I didn’t: They need to do something with Evelyn. She’s allegedly going to be playing a version of Artemis, but she hasn’t shown any sign of using that character’s weapons. For that matter, why did she give up her highly effective Black Canary gear? I’m also getting a little tired of snarky reporters. Are Clark Kent and now Kara Danvers the only “good” ones left?
It was a slightly uneven, but overall good episode. I think Arrow is continuing to get better this season. I’ll give it a high 3.5 out of 5.