A matter of trust is a return to form for the series. After last week I was starting to lose faith again but this episode is a step back in the right direction. Things get started with the Green Arrow back on the rooftops of Star City hunting down a drug dealer who sells “Stardust”— the latest designer drug in circulation on the streets which makes Vertigo look like child’s play. It was a good action scene that got the episode started in the right way to get us interested. I really appreciate when the score kicks in ramping up to the main title card.
The recruits are still in training and continue to prove they still have a long way to go. It’s good to see them getting some experience, even if they are making some pretty bad mistakes. Wild Dog is reckless and shortsighted but after his screw up when he killed (or so he thought he killed) the Stardust supplier, Derek Sampson (Cody Rhodes) — who the District Attorney was working on flipping — he was able to see the error in his ways and was better for it.
Echo Kellum was hilarious this episode as Curtis Holt/Mr. Fantastic. We even got the backstory for the inspiration behind his super persona. Echo has really started to come into his own on the show. As far as I’m concerned he needs to put Felicity in the backseat and take over for the comic relief full time. He needs to toughen up quickly though otherwise, he’s going to get himself killed.
Ragman was a big surprise for me this week. I absolutely hated him in the previous episode. I think his costume looks like something he pulled out of the trash and I can’t understand a word he says with his mask on, but as Rory Regan, he was actually pretty good. Definitely one of the most reasonable personalities bouncing around the training facility. Felicity coming clean about her decision to redirect one of the missiles on Genesis day to Havenrock — sacrificing thousands in order to save millions — was a good surprise. It’s not often I find myself happy with Felicity these days but telling Rory the truth showed growth and maturity on her part. Let’s just hope she doesn’t scold Oliver in front of his subordinates again (so inappropriate).
It’s not all positive for the recruits, though. Evelyn Sharp wasn’t bad but she has a long, long way to go. While she had an awesome moment jumping off the wall onto the stairs and taking down a goon, most of her action was pretty sloppy. I just don’t buy her as a crime fighter yet. Her young age doesn’t help very much either.
Continuing with the negative, the flashbacks are still pretty half-baked. If the last we saw from them wasn’t what seemed to be the final test in Oliver’s initiation into the Bratva, they would have been totally worthless in this episode. But I guess anything is better than chopping up a scene and doling beat after beat in flashback after flashback throughout the episode like the past two seasons.
Diggles’s storyline was a major improvement from last week. He’s now in jail and working through his demons. Literally. When it was revealed his cellmate Deadshot was a figment of his own imagination I was shocked. I was really excited thinking Floyd Lawton was back after the big wigs at D.C. wrongly forced the producers to exit the character from the show because of the Suicide Squad film. Will Smith was an alright Deadshot but he wasn’t able to bring the depth to the character that makes you care about him while still being a really bad guy like Michael Rowe is able to.
Now for Stardust. Everybody give Cody Rhodes a round of applause. The former WWE superstar obviously cut his acting teeth in the ring over the last ten years but never has he been involved in a Hollywood production. I thought his performance in this episode bested Chadwick Boseman’s performance as Tobias Church in this season so far. The action was great and exceeded my expectations for the rematch I had hoped to see between Amell and Rhodes in the ring. It’s a shame the producers didn’t cast him as something more than a throwaway villain. But death isn’t enough to stop some people in the Arrowverse from returning so I have hope a couple of sliced tendons won’t be enough to keep Derek Sampson down.
Overall, I think Gregory Smith did a fantastic job directing this episode. Smith directed season three’s episode titled “Nanda Parbat”, one of my favorite episodes in the series to date (just before things went completely off the rails). Smith fell in love with the show in it’s early days and was definitely the right guy to help steer it back to how great the show used to be. Arrow still has a long way to go but this episode had the style and tone that made the show great but also felt fresh as it balanced Oliver as the Mayor while he also continued to train the new recruits.
-The new D.A. is totally sketchy and I don’t trust him, however. I do appreciate his sense of urgency.
-Quentin is definitely still drinking.
-Shut up Felicity. Just shut up.
-Hey, wait. We didn’t actually see anyone under the effects of Stardust…
8.0 – GOOD