Arrow 1.11 “Trust But Verify” REVIEW

Episode 1.11
Writer: Gabrielle Stanton
Director: Nick Copus

THE ONE WHERE: Oliver comes into conflict with Dig when he confronts a crooked security team targeting armoured trucks – and remembers betrayal during his island exile. Thea suspects her mother of infidelity and ends up arrested after taking drugs on her 18th birthday. Yes, all human life is here, folks.

THE VERDICT: This one’s all about trust issues. For once the island flashbacks fit thematically with the main storyline – and the end-of-episode revelation that Yao Fei appears to be in league with Eddie Fryers certainly makes for an effective rug-pull. There’s an equally striking moment when Dig turns up to sabotage Oliver’s little tete-a-tete with Ted Gaynor (a surprisingly low-key turn by Stargate and Farscape fave Ben Browder). It’s moments like these that let you persevere through such poor material as Tommy, Malcolm and Laurel’s dinner conversation, a spectacularly awkward collision of stilted dialogue and laughably overripe emotion (“And when did she teach you that?” “When she was lying dead in the street with a bullet in her head!”). Director Nick Copus lifts this episode with a couple of flourishes that bring an authentically comic book sense of kinetics to the show: the camera follows a rocketing cannister as it hurtles into a truck’s windscreen while one of Oliver’s expertly-judged arrows knocks off a robber’s mask in a moment that genuinely feels like a frame of four-colour action on the page.

TRIVIA: Blackhawk Squad Protection Group is a tip of the flying cap to DC icons the Blackhawk squadron. Created in 1941, the team were classically depicted as international air aces.

DID YOU SPOT: Dig makes a disparaging reference to Oliver’s subterranean lair as an “Arrow Cave”. Green Arrow did indeed possess an Arrow Cave in Golden Age comic book lore, a period when the character shamelessly xeroxed the crime-fighting trappings of DC’s rather more successful Batman.

DID YOU SPOT 2: Thea takes a drug named Vertigo, a nod to DC’s Vertigo imprint, the line of horror/fantasy focused titles for mature readers founded in 1993.

BEST LINE:
Oliver: “I’m going to have a pointed conversation with Mr Gaynor tonight.”

Read all our Arrow reviews.

Arrow airs in the UK on Sky1