Arrow Episode 11 - Trust But Verify (2013): TV Recap
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There is a squad of ski-masked men knocking over armored cars in Starling City. Oliver watches security camera footage of the most recent robbery and matches the thieves’ method to a Marines swarming technique. Turns out one of the guys on Oliver’s list, Ted Gaynor, who works for Blackhawk Squad Protection Group, has the Marine training and expertise with grenade launchers to be Oliver’s prime suspect. Diggle has reservations, though; Gaynor was his commanding officer during his first tour in Afghanistan. Besides Diggle trusting him, he’s “a few hundred thousand dollars short of being on the list.” Despite the strong evidence against his friend, Diggle wonders if Oliver could be wrong. “I could be wrong, but the list isn’t.”
Wearing his Arrow gear, Oliver breaks into Blackhawk and subdues a few guards using tranq darts. It’s nice to see he’s putting guys to sleep instead of putting arrows though their chests, but how is he delivering these darts? I’m pretty sure he didn’t use his bow, so is he carrying around a dart gun as well? A mini-crossbow? A blowgun? Oliver makes his way to Gaynor’s office for “a pointed conversation,” but when he gets ready to interrogate his prey, he finds that Diggle has his gun trained on the hooded vigilante.
Instead of killing his partner, Oliver fires his bow into a computer monitor (which looked like it was packed with explosives and smoke bombs), using the blinding flash to swipe a flash drive from Gaynor and make his getaway. Gaynor likes Diggle’s style and says Diggle has passed his job interview. Back in the arrowcave, Oliver and Diggle argue about Gaynor. Diggle believes in him, but Oliver trusts his father more. Since Diggle now has a job at Blackhawk, he promises to investigate.
Thea and Moira are supposed to spend the whole day together in preparation for Thea’s 18th birthday, but Malcolm Merlyn calls Moira and needs to see her immediately. Moira disappoints Thea by cutting the day short. When Moira and Malcolm actually meet, however, it’s dark outside. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just spend the rest of the day with her daughter and meet Malcolm later without ever mentioning it to Thea? Malcolm’s big issue is that Moira’s friend is trying to gentrify the Glades, despite knowing that that’s not part of the organization’s plan. He wants Moira to shut this down. In return, Moira asks Malcolm for proof that Walter’s still alive. Thea, obviously suspicious of her mom, followed her and has been watching this meeting through the glass walls of the office.
While Oliver is trying to crack the code on his stolen flash drive, Thea bursts into his room with her theory: their mom is hooking up with Tommy’s dad! A few months before Ollie and their dad went missing, Moira was having all kinds of lunch meetings with Merlyn, and now she’s back at it with Walter missing only a few months. Oliver tries to defend his mom, but Thea won’t hear of it. “She’s a liar and a cheater, and you really don’t know her at all.”
Tommy’s father arranges to have dinner with Tommy and Laurel under the pretense of getting to know Laurel better, but it’s really a ruse to get Tommy to sign papers authorizing the closing of his late mother’s free clinic. Tommy is enraged that his dad would use getting to know Laurel as a ruse to have him shut down something that was so important to his mother. The most interesting tidbit to come out of this conversation is that Tommy’s mother was killed with a bullet to the head. Was this something that Merlyn engineered? Was it something carried out by the organization? Was this the trigger that pushed Merlyn into the organization, so that he could try to control the city that stole his wife?
Diggle is unimpressed with some of the men Gaynor has hired on his team. He recognizes Knox from his active duty days as someone not to be trusted. It’s hard for ex-military guys to get jobs, though, so Gaynor is willing to give him a second chance. If he wasn’t working security, he’d probably be out robbing liquor stores or banks. The timing of Knox’s hiring and the start of the robberies raises a red flag for Diggle.
Unable to get through the flash drive’s military-grade security, Oliver drops it off with his unknowing tech expert, Felicity Smoak. He claims it’s for a scavenger hunt, which is highly unbelievable, but Felicity buys it because Oliver promises her a nice bottle of wine, the big prize, if he wins. When she finally cracks the code, she realizes that the flash drive contains routes and schedules for the armored cars being robbed, and wants to send it to the police. Oliver tells her to just send it to him, and he’ll send it to the police. Felicity is kind of bummed out that she’s not getting any of that sweet, sweet scavenger hunt wine.
Knowing the routes of the armored cars helps Ollie disrupt the next robbery. He shoots the mask off one thug and hits another in the chest. As the thieves get away in their Inter Global Cable van, Knox rips off his mask. So he is involved, as Diggle suspected! While Ollie was busting up the robbery, Diggle was with Gaynor, so he couldn’t have been involved. Still, Diggle heads back to Blackhawk headquarters to check for a van with blood in it. As he leaves, Oliver plants a bug in Diggle’s jacket.
At Thea’s 18th birthday party, Thea is thrilled to have gotten a new convertible, but even better, her friends give her some Vertigo pills, a new drug that is all the rage in the Glades. Worried about what would happen if her mom found it on her, Thea heads upstairs to put the pills away. Malcolm is near the stairs showing Moira the “proof” that Walter is still alive, a cell phone picture of him. Is a cell phone picture really good enough here? The picture could have been taken the day they abducted him. It’s not like he’s holding up today’s paper or anything. And even that could be faked with today’s technology. Shouldn’t she have tried to listen to his actual voice or something? Anyway, as Malcolm fulfills his end of the bargain, Thea walks upstairs and sees them together. Thea immediately accuses Moira of infidelity, says she wishes that moira had gone missing instead of her father, and storms away to get high on her Vertigo.
At Blackhawk, Diggle snoops around and finds blood in one of the vans. He reaches for the Blackhawk logo on the van and finds that it peels off, revealing an Inter Global Cable logo. Knox sneaks up behind him with a gun. He had a feeling Diggle would be here after seeing that someone had hacked their firewall, plus his boss didn’t think Diggle would be very cooperative. His boss? Who could that possibly be? Oh, it’s Gaynor walking around the back of a van. So he’s the mastermind behind it all, just like Oliver said in the first few minutes of the show!
Frustrated with the lack of job opportunities for guys like him, being knocked down from conquerors in the field to “nannies with tasers,” Gaynor decided to start robbing armored cars. Tonight was supposed to be the last job, but because the hood interrupted it, they have to do one more. And thanks to Oliver’s well-placed arrow, they are now down a man. Gaynor has captured Diggle’s sister-in-law Carly, and threatens to kill her if Diggle doesn’t help them rob the last armored car. (How are they down a man? Gaynor wasn’t at the first robbery, so couldn’t he step in and do a little leg work? Wouldn’t that be easier than trying to force Diggle to take over?) Fortunately, even though there have been a rash of armored car robberies, the armored cars are still running their same routes without any extra protection, and there’s another one out tonight!
During the robbery, however, Diggle doesn’t hit the armored car with his grenade launcher. Instead, he fires it at the Blackhawk group. Luckily, Oliver has been listening in on his begged partner, and arrives on the scene to take down Knox. Diggle catches Gaynor, but Gaynor’s not worried: he knows Diggle won’t shoot him (although how he knows this is beyond me; wasn’t Diggle a former soldier?). Oliver has no such qualms, though, and sticks Gaynor with an arrow. Unlike the previous time he shot a man wearing this exact same gear in the chest, this arrow kills its target.
Tommy ignores multiple calls from his father, but Laurel wonders if Malcolm is somehow just trying to protect his son. Tommy’s not buying this. He was only eight when his mother died, and after that his father completely shut him out, then went away for a year or two. He only cares about himself. Meanwhile, Malcolm is in his Merlyncave, contemplating a picture of his young son and his wife. As the camera pans to his face, we see a costume similar to the one seen on the island. Was the time he spent away from his son spent training to become an archer? Did he find his way to the island that Oliver washed up on? Did he train with Deathstroke, or even Oliver’s teacher?
During the flashbacks, Oliver tries to infiltrate Fyers’s camp to find the archer that saved his life, only to be immediately discovered and imprisoned. As Oliver sits in a cage, says, “You risked everything to save your friend, someone I warned you about. And yet you trusted him. But that trust was misplaced.” The soldier next to the cage removes his balaclava, revealing the face of Oliver’s friend, apparently working for the man who captured him! But why would he spend so much time hiding and nurturing Oliver, only to betray him? Wouldn’t it be easier to just not take him in, or turn him in immediately? Obviously, there is more to this story.
Following the argument with her mother, Thea, both high on Vertigo and a woman driver, crashes her birthday present and has to go to the hospital. This necessitates a toxicology test, and as soon as she’s ready to go home, the police are there to arrest her. With Thea under arrest and back to taking drugs, it looks like Oliver will be tackling the source of the problem next week: Count Vertigo!