Mania Grade: A-
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- Episode: Keep Your Enemies Closer (Season 2, Episode 6)
- Starring: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland, Colton Haynes, Summer Glau
- Written By: Ben Sokolowski & Beth Schwartz
- Directed By: Guy Bee
- Network: The CW
- Studio: Warner Brothers, DC Comics
Arrow: Keep Your Enemies Closer Review
To Russia For Love
By Tim Janson
November 15, 2013
To Russia For Love on Arrow
© The CW
Would you like to know the biggest difference I see thus far in comparing Arrow to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? It is the fact that Arrow is written and directed by a core group that has been there since the beginning while S.H.I.E.L.D. thus far, and in looking at the credits for the next three episodes, have different writers and directors on each. Look no further as to why Arrow has developed the kind of continuity that thus far has escaped AOS. “Keep Your Enemies Closer” continues a string of strong episodes in the show’s sophomore season.
Diggle is abducted by agents of A.R.G.U.S. (Advanced Research Group United Support…kind of DC’s version of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and brought before the group’s Director, Amanda Waller. Waller tells Diggle that his friend, Agent Lila Michaels has gone missing in Russia while following up a lead on Deadshot. Oliver and Felicity join Diggle in traveling to Russia to search for Michaels who Diggle reveals as his ex-wife. Complicating matters is Isabel Rochev (Glau) who tags along to keep an eye on Oliver.
Once in Russia, Oliver utilizes his Russian organized crime contacts (which we saw in season one) to discover that Michaels is being held in a notoriously deadly gulag nicknamed “The Nightmare”. Oliver’s Russian allies setup Diggle to be arrested and sent to prison under the guise of a drug charge where he must try to locate Lila and escape from the prison. But Diggle is startled when he is placed in freezer isolation along with another prisoner…Deadshot! Now Diggle has to put aside his hate for the man who killed his brother and work together with him to escape.
In the flashback sequences to the ship Amazo, Sarah tricks Oliver into revealing that Slade Wilson and Shado are still alive. Ivo relates that his is looking for a World War II Japanese sub that was marooned there during the war, carrying a serum which was to be used to give soldiers superhuman strength and regenerative capabilities….hence, apparently, those weird, mutated skeletons that they found in a cave a few episodes back.
Oliver only appears as the Green Arrow briefly in the episode at the beginning which only makes sense as appearing in Russia at the same time Oliver Queen was there just MIGHT be a bit of a giveaway. There were so many great elements to this episode that Joss Whedon ought to sit down and watch it about a hundred times before he produces another episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. We got an episode that focused on Diggle who has developed into a wonderful supporting character and it was great to see him in the limelight instead of just being the sidekick. The introduction of Amanda Waller infuses yet another element into the show and you wonder if she already has anything to do with Deadshot who is a member of The Suicide Squad in the comics.
Summer Glau has been someone wasted or at least overlooked thus far but she was finally able to do something other than scowl and berate Oliver, showing that she isn’t just a cold corporate exec and actually has a lot in common with Oliver. At the same time, sexual tension between Oliver and Felicity cropped up after Ollie had a late night tryst with Isabel. There was no sign at all of Laurel Lance this week whose recent gloomy angst has been about the only annoying aspect of the last few episodes. And did everyone catch the TV in the background discussing the protests over the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator which seem to continue to hint at The Flash since this was the second such reference.
My only knock on the episode keeping it from an A would be the simplistic and contrived plot that saw Diggle arrested and thrown into that particular prison, literally grabbed off the street and hauled off to the gulag. Other than that tiny blip this was another great episode!