In “Trust But Verify”, Diggle’s partnership with Oliver is put to the test when Oliver is convinced Diggle’s former commanding officer and mentor, Ted Gaynor (Ben Browder), is behind a series of deadly armored truck robberies. Meanwhile, on her eighteenth birthday, Thea discovers her mother has been secretly meeting with Malcolm Merlyn.
Continue Reading for spoilers on Arrow S1E11 “Trust But Verify”.
This episode gets off to an explosive start. There’s nothing like a tear gas grenade launcher to get the adrenaline pumping. “Trust But Verify” showcases the underrated production value of Arrow. The attention to detail from how each scene is lit to the smoke in the night’s air gives Starling City a lived-in aesthetic appeal.
The obligatory shirtless workout scene gets a change-up this episode. Instead of chin ups on the salmon ladder, Oliver shows off his equally impressive one-armed push ups.
Visuals aside, the crux of this episode explores how trust influences perception and in some situations, causes the eye of the beholder to be blind to betrayal.
One person that has concealed the truth is Oliver himself. Through-out the past episodes, Oliver has opened up, without the specifics, to his friends and family about how his time on the island has affected him. What Oliver hasn’t revealed to Diggle until now is that he hasn’t spent all of the last five years on “Purgatory”. Although this is not a revelation to loyal viewers, it will be intriguing to see how this will play out in forthcoming flashbacks.
The previews for this episode played up the “rift tearing Oliver and Diggle apart”. As expected, by the end of the episode all is good and well between the two. However, their inability to see eye-to-eye, did lead to a great confrontation at the Blackhawk Squad offices and later, acknowledgement of how their differences compliment each other.
Diggle sees the good in people but it’s that very trait that prevents him from believing Ted Gaynor is the criminal responsible for the armored truck heists. Even though Gaynor’s guilt was not a surprise, actor Ben Browder did a solid job of conveying the bond that Diggle placed confidence in but also the disillusionment with civilian life: “Were just nannies with tasers”.
In the short amount of screen time, Browder gives Gaynor a natural authenticity through his line delivery and by not playing him as an over the top arch-villain. For fans of Farscape, an under appreciated science fiction show, and Stargate SG-1 isn’t it great to see Browder back on the television?
Back with another dinner date scene is Laurel and Tommy. We got some back story on Tommy’s mother who was murdered when he was eight years old. This bit of info informs Malcolm’s state of mind and leads to more questions like who killed her and why. Hopefully, this could be a potential storyline for Tommy to play “detective” in future episodes … or we can just have more dates with Laurel.
So what was Malcolm Merlyn’s true intentions? Was it really just to get Tommy’s signature to close down his dead mother’s clinic? If so, what is at the clinic that he’s trying to hide or how would it have helped his master plan? It would have been interesting if Malcolm’s intent was to purposely distant himself from Tommy, in order to protect his son from some upcoming threat, but it wouldn’t explain why he kept calling Tommy while holding a family photo.
To other family drama, Thea is onto Moira’s lies and deception even if Oliver doesn’t see it; although, I’ve always wondered if Moira’s name is in the book. The main thing that I found interesting about Thea’s story was that she was taking the drug Vertigo, which we’ll learn more about next episode.
Overall, I was hoping “Truth But Verify” would be the Diggle-centric episode I’ve been waiting for. It needed more Diggle. I did enjoy, as always, the interplay between Oliver and Diggle such as the reference to “Arrowcave ” and the exchange, “Keep your head on a swivel” – “That’s the way I was born, man.” This episode is an example where the sum of pieces did not add up to a greater whole. But Arrow is a breakout hit for a reason and the future is still very promising for this rookie TV series.
What did you like or didn’t like about this episode? What did you think of the character Ted Gaynor? What do you make of the reveal that Yao Fei is working with Edward Fyers?