Arrow: Keep Your Enemies Closer, Review

John Diggle takes center stage as the Arrow crew flies off to Moscow to track down Deadshot. Plenty of superhero goodness ensues.

While there’s still plenty of DC Universe insanity packed tightly into “Keep Your Enemies Closer,” this one neither went off the deep end with the references or relied on them to make up for a mediocre story. In fact, since so much of this episode centered on developing John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Isabele Rochev (Summer Glau), with the least amount of Oliver-as-vigilante time as we’ve yet seen, it was fairly daring as far as Arrow episodes go. 

Lyla Michaels (of ARGUS fame…and whose codename of Harbinger gives DC fans goosebumps) has landed herself in a Russian gulag while chasing down Deadshot, who John Diggle still has a score to settle with. So, it’s off to Moscow for the Arrow team (plus Isabele Rochev for…some reason) to get Diggle on the inside so he can rescue Lyla, and take out Deadshot once and for all. Meanwhile, Mrs. Queen’s lawyer tries to convince Thea not to see Roy anymore in order to make it not look like her mom raised someone who sleeps with sketchy people. Right. Anyway…there are some SPOILERS ahead, most are mild, but some aren’t, so you’ve been warned…

There’s plenty to like about this episode, that’s for sure. For starters, more Diggle is a good thing. Doing anything at all with Isabele Rochev, who has been an automaton/caricature of the “driven business woman” since her introduction, is also a good thing. The thing is, I’m not sure having her sleep with Ollie (or even come along on that trip) made any sense at all. Still, it’s nice to see Ms. Glau actually get to do something other than scowl in this episode, so I suppose that we can get on with things.

Now, the intro, which was a terrific action sequence featuring Green Arrow and Speedy…erm…I mean ROY busting up some counterfeiters was pure comic book, also brought up another issue. Officer Lance, who otherwise had very little to do this episode, arrests Roy when he finds him pounding on a thug, but later releases him when Roy basically (and rather calmly) calls him out about also working for the vigilante. Quentin’s face says it all, there. Now that he knows what became of his other daughter, he’s far more forgiving and understanding of other folks’ extracurricular nocturnal activities, it would seem. I gotta say…they really earned it with Quentin. I’m sure he’s toast before the end of the season, which is a damn shame, as we’re just beginning to like the guy.

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This was really Diggle’s episode, though. It’s about time, too. Aside from the fact that we get to see the big guy REALLY whup some ass in convincing fashion, we get some face time with him and Deadshot. And it doesn’t exactly go as you might expect. “That’s the thing about honor. You can’t turn it on and off.” Brilliant. And while Arrow is doing a great job of bringing in as many characters from the comics as possible, John Diggle is so cool that he’s making the jump from the TV show to the comics! That’s a good sign.

In an episode that really did some great character work, I gotta say, I was pretty disappointed in Felicity. While her little crush on Oliver has been obvious virtually since her introduction, I’m thoroughly annoyed that they’ve chosen to go with the full-blown love triangle between Felicity, Isabele, and Ollie. Is there a single major female character on this show (other than Mrs. Queen and Thea) that Ollie HASN’T slept with, other than Felicity? And what…now she’s feeling left out? I realize Mr. Amell is rather handsome and those abs won’t quit and everything, but…c’mon guys. Let’s develop a female character who is interesting and ISN’T in love with the leading man and/or related to him. Also…where the hell was Laurel? Not even mentioned! Is she in rehab or something?

Now, for the fun stuff. SPOILERS AHOY!

DC Universe Watch: 

– That news broadcast about the protests at the STAR Labs particle accelerator…yeah. Firestorm is coming, folks! And note that episode 10 of this season is called “Blast Radius” which seems like a logical time for something to go wrong over there. I’m talking about that special kind of “wrong” that only happens in superhero origin stories. 

– Deadshot tells Diggle about a little organization known as HIVE. Please tell me this means we’re going to have an ARGUS vs. HIVE war before this season is over!

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– During the flashbacks, Doctor Ivo is back, talking about a mysterious WWII era stem-cell treatment. It’s name sounded an awful lot like “Miraclo.” Still no word on whether that was the same stuff we saw Brother Blood using a few weeks ago. And with the news that there’s an Hourman show coming to the CW, well…that sure does make sense.

– The KGBeast is back! Alright, not really…it’s just plain old Anatoli Knyazev, who we see both in the boat flashback AND in the present helping Ollie and Diggle out. 

– This may be a coincidence (although knowing this show, it probably isn’t), someone sure did radio back to someone named “Mockingbird” at the beginning of the episode. With all the Birds of Prey/Secret Six references this show dances around on a weekly basis these days, I feel like I should remind everyone that it was “Mockingbird” who put together the Secret Six. I should also point out that in at least one instance, “Mockingbird” turned out to be Lex Luthor! I ain’t saying it’s gonna happen, but if Ra’s al Ghul can be part of this show, then why not Lex?

– Always nice to see Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) on this show…especially in an episode as Deadshot-heavy as this one. A proper Suicide Squad episode seems inevitable, doesn’t it?

Did I miss anything? Let us know down below!

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4 out of 5