Add “Trust but Verify” to the long, long list of ways Oliver has failed the Starling City. Because this episode is nothing but more confirmation that Oliver absolutely shouldn’t be the only hero running around, or even the primary one.
As of “Trust but Verify,” Oliver doesn’t actually research his list. Apparently, he just sits around waiting until one of the people on the List pops up on the news. He just trusts the List. This becomes a problem when Diggle knows, and was even saved in Afghanistan by, one of the men on the list. Oliver is finally spurred into actually doing the needed research. For all the research, which actually leads him in a different direction, Oliver is eventually proven right. So he probably didn’t learn anything. On the upside, finally researching something means Oliver has to go back to Felicity. She ought to do all his research and be awesome in all the episodes. Plus we get to see more of Diggle who is always awesome, but sadly doesn’t don the hood like he did last time he worked with Oliver. Diggle really would make a much better Green Arrow, even if he did screw up in this particular instance.
Speaking of awesomeness, Tommy continues to be better at this reformed billionaire playboy thing than Oliver. In that Tommy is actually trying to be one, and Oliver just wants to dress up and shoot things. Tommy’s plot is, sadly, only a small bit once again. He starts to enjoy actually working and then has a very awkward dinner with his father and Laurel where Malcolm tries, and fails, to convince Tommy to close the late Mrs. Merlin’s free clinic. As small as this storyline is, it also gives some insight into Malcolm and why he does what he does.
There’s also a very, very weird subplot where Thea catches Malcolm and Moira together, and assumes they’re having an affair. The biggest problem is that Thea is shown as only being able to overhear them when she first catches them. Malcolm and Moira’s conversations are absolutely chock full of threats, and the one Thea overhears involves Moira demanding Malcolm give her proof Walter is alive. None of this adds up to an affair, especially not if similar conversations were going on before The Queen’s Gambit was sabotaged. It’s very frustrating that neither Thea nor Oliver after she involves him can put two and two together. This is part of Oliver’s job description!
All “Trust but Verify” does is make Oliver look grossly incompetent. It’s supposed to be explained because he has trust issues from his time on the island. But, even that fails. Oliver trusts the List above all, and has trusted Diggle with all his secrets up until then. Giving him issues just for the sake of one episode that wouldn’t work otherwise is just lazy writing. Even worse, it’s makes for a supremely boring episode. Only Diggle and Tommy have any actual action, and their parts are, of course, minimal.