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"If you want me to help you with Carl, I want something in return. Proof Walter's still alive."
"My word isn't enough?"
"What's that saying? 'Trust but verify'?"
"Words to live by.
Moira Queen and Malcolm Merlyn

"Trust but Verify" is the eleventh episode of the first season of Arrow, and the eleventh episode overall. It aired on January 23, 2013.



Main cast[]

Guest starring[]



John is shocked when the Hood's next target is his former commanding officer and former mentor, Ted Gaynor. Oliver suspects that Ted was involved with recent armour truck robberies. As the vigilante, Oliver infiltrates Blackhawk Squad Protection Group, the security company Ted works for. While confronting Ted, John intervenes and Oliver is forced to improvise a quick escape, during which he steals a secure drive containing top-secret information. Ted gives John a job at the security company. In an argument with John, Oliver reveals that during the five years he was away, he found a message from his father off the island, which explained the inclusion of each name on The List. However, eventually, Oliver agrees to give John a chance to prove Ted Gaynor's innocence.

While shopping with Thea for her birthday dress, Moira receives a call from Malcolm Merlyn. She agrees to stop Carl Ballard from going against Malcolm and Tempest's plan in exchange for proof of Walter Steele's life. Thea witnesses their meeting and begins to suspect that Malcolm and Moira are having an affair. She brings this to Oliver's attention and also mentions that Moira and Robert had been fighting for some time before the sinking of the Queen's Gambit. Oliver confronts Moira, who reveals that Robert had actually been repeatedly unfaithful to her but requests that Oliver never tell Thea about it, as it would tarnish her father's legacy in her eyes. Oliver agrees.

While working on the construction of the night club, Tommy receives a call from his father. Malcolm apologizes for his harsh words and invites him and Laurel to dinner that night. Tommy, after some encouragement from Laurel, hesitantly agrees. The dinner seems to go well. At the end however, Malcolm attempts to get Tommy to sign an agreement to shut down a free health clinic in the Glades that had been run by Tommy's late mother and Malcolm's late wife, Rebecca. Tommy angrily refuses and storms out.

Oliver gives the secure drive to Felicity at Queen Consolidated, claiming that it's for a scavenger hunt with a case of Château Lafite-Rothschild 1982 at the end. Felicity agrees to crack the drive for Oliver in exchange for a bottle.

Meanwhile, John and Ted discuss old jobs at Big Belly Burger, where Carly is working. John is re-introduced to Paul Knox, also a former soldier, but not someone who he got along with.

Felicity cracks the drive, and finds information on it about the truck robberies. She forwards this information to Oliver, who says that he will hand it over to the police and hangs up. However, he winds up disrupting one of the robberies in his Hood persona, seriously wounding one of the men.

In flashbacks to the island, Oliver obtains a disguise and goes back to rescue Yao Fei. His attempt is uncovered by Edward Fyers, who knocks him out and has him locked up.

At the Queen mansion during Thea's 18th birthday, she receives a Maserati from her mom, much to her excitement. Some friends of Thea also give her a packet of a new drug called "Vertigo". She goes upstairs to hide the drugs and witnesses Moira and Malcolm meeting. Malcolm is simply providing Moira with proof of Walter's safety, but Thea misinterprets the situation as having romantic undertones and is furious. She storms off, but not before telling Moira that she should have died on Queen's Gambit the day it went down instead of Robert.

Oliver meets with John at the party, who informs Oliver that Ted could not have been responsible for the attack, as he'd been with him. Oliver acknowledges this, and John lets him know about Paul. Oliver asks John to poke around at the security company, as one of the men had been badly wounded and there would likely be blood in one of the vans. John agrees, and Oliver discreetly plants a bug on him in case something goes wrong.

John locates the van used in the robbery. However, he is confronted by Paul and Ted, who was in on the whole scheme. They are one man down due to Oliver, so they coerce John into participating in the next heist by kidnapping and threatening Carly. Oliver overhears all this and sets out to help John.  

Meanwhile, with her emotions running rampant, Thea takes her new Maserati out for a joyride. She veers over into the wrong lane, overturns to avoid oncoming traffic, and gets into an accident.

John is armed with the grenade launcher, while Paul and Ted are in a van containing the other weapons and Carly hostage. He fails to launch the canister at the armored truck and lets it go by. When he is confronted by Ted, he fires the launcher at him and Paul, creating a distraction and allowing Carly to escape. Ted pursues her so John sprints after Ted, picking up a gun on the way. Paul grabs a weapon and is about to shoot John in the back, but Oliver arrives in time to disarm and kill Paul before he can get a shot off. John catches up to Ted, but finds himself unable to shoot him when Ted draws his weapon. Oliver is forced to kill Ted before he can kill John. John is arrested, but released when he reveals he only participated in the heist under duress.

Oliver and Moira go to visit Thea in the hospital. She wants nothing to do with Moira, and later leaves her room with Oliver after being cleared. However, they are confronted in the hallway by two police officers, who arrest Thea for driving under the influence as she had taken the entire packet of Vertigo before getting into the car.

In the final flashback, Edward tells Oliver that his men wear balaclavas so that only their eyes are seen, as you can learn everything about a person from his eyes. At this, the soldier with Edward, who had also been the first to talk to Oliver earlier, lifts his balaclava. It is revealed to be Yao Fei, who has apparently been working for Edward the whole time.


Preparation ran from October 22 until October 30, 2012. Shooting ran from November 2 until November 13, 2012.[1]


  • With the exception of Robert, everyone in the original Queen family has been in the hospital due to some kind of accident as of this episode.
  • Oliver reveals to John that he found a message from his father which explained the nature of The List and implied it to be off of Lian Yu. This is the first indication that Oliver didn't spend all of his five years away on the island, which was confirmed in the final flashback of the Season 2 finale "Unthinkable".
  • Thea confides in Oliver that she believes Moira and Malcolm were having an affair before Oliver and Robert were lost at sea. Moira denies the accusation when confronted by Oliver and revealed it was Robert, not her, who was having affairs. In Season 2, it was revealed that Moira did have a brief fling with Malcolm, resulting in Thea's conception and birth.
  • This episode is set on January 19, 2013, evidenced by the fact that in the next episode, "Vertigo", Thea's lawyer mentions that she was two days shy of her 18th birthday when arrested.
  • Terry Chen, who played a soldier in this episode, would go on to play Genghis Khan in the DC's Legends of Tomorrow episode "Mortal Khanbat".


  • Malcolm tells Laurel that Rebecca was shot in her head and died but in "The Undertaking" and "Sacrifice", it was revealed that Rebecca slowly died of blood loss after being shot.
    • However, since it is possible to not die instantly from a bullet wound to the head, it's not that far-fetched to say Rebecca could’ve survived long enough to call Malcolm and leave him messages.