Brian West

Arrow “Keep Your Enemies Closer” Episode Review

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Arrow and his crew do some good team building exercises……..in a Russian Gulag
Keep Your Enemies Closer
Spoilers Ahead……You’ve been warned..

The Arrow writers have been seriously good at their job this season. Every week we are introduced to so many new characters, story lines, plot twists, and secret reveals that I’m seriously starting to think I need my own Arrow whiteboard to keep it all straight. Now while this weeks episode didn’t have the massive reveals and impact that the recently concluded Canary arc did, it still did manage to drop some new good sized plot twists and character introductions that should have pretty big implications this year.Keep Your Enemies Closer “Keep Your Enemies Closer” also manages to give us some much needed quality time with the rest of Oliver’s recently much neglected crew as they travel to Russia for a little R&R, Arrow style.

One of the unfortunate side effects of introducing so many new characters this year has been the lack of time we’ve gotten to spend with Felicity, Diggle, and to a lesser extent Roy, this week Arrow takes steps to rectify that. First off, we finally got to see a teaser of Roy (with his red hood up) working with the Arrow as a sidekick. I don’t know if Arrow is ever gonna transform Roy into Speedy/Red Arrow, but it was fun to see what the possibility could look like. Hopefully if he does become an official sidekick, he will learn at least one more move than tackle a guy and punch him, not a very effective hero tactic. Next up was some official acknowledgment of the chemistry between Oliver and Felicity. Since she was first introduced back in season one, there has always been a little awkward flirtatiousness towards between the two. ARROW But it almost always seemed more humorous attraction than legit feelings, and Oliver always seemed to regard it as such. With Felicity being added as a series regular and given how much closer the two have become this season, I wondered if the show was going to make their relationship something more(especially given Ollie’s deposition towards hot blondes). Looks like it could be be. Felicity’s quinine hurt feelings over Oliver sacking up with his partner, Isabel Rochev (more on that later), and Oliver’s response that because of the life he leads, its better that he not be with someone he could really care about, does make it look like there could be something more than friendship in their future. Lastly, Diggle finally got the chance to headline an episode. From the story that centered around going to Russia to save his ex-partner, who is later revealed to be his ex-wife, to having him face off and then forced to team up with Deadshot, this was a great John Diggle story. Diggle has been a great addition since the very first episode, I was happy to see his character explored and that he got a chance to show what a bad ass he really is.

The island flashbacks are really starting to get interesting. Like I expected, Sara Lance looks to be sticking around, at least in the flashbacks anyway, and she really does add a new level of drama to the storyline. Even with everything Oliver has already been through on the island, watching Sara betray him to Dr. Ivo, still looked like it was the worst thing he’s had to endure so far. The show has really done an excellent job taking us through each painful moment that changed Oliver into the Arrow, by the time the flashbacks finally end there should be no doubt as to what transformed him. We also are getting a clearer glimpse at what is going to drive the final dagger into Slade and Ollie’s friendship, Slade’s in love with Shado. This has been hinted at for most the season, but now that Oliver is trapped on the boat, Slade looks like he is finally going to make his move.Keep Your Enemies Closer Don’t know if Shado feels the same, but love triangles and islands seem to go hand in hand. I just hope there isn’t a giant cork holding this island afloat somewhere….

As usual, there were some important reveals, more DC characters, and some plot movement worth discussing. Bringing in Amanda Waller is a big deal. She has always been an important character to the DC universe and being that she is always neck deep in superhero business for the government, her presence means there is more likely some other reason she is on Arrow besides telling Diggle where to find his missing wife. I’m guessing she will be playing a larger role as this season goes on. There was the usual S.T.A.R. Labs and their particle accelerator tease that is now popping up in about every episode. With all this foreshadowing, I’m now convinced that this has got to be what gives Barry Allen his powers later this year. Looks like the writers want to make sure everyone see’s how they they plan on bringing powers to Arrow. Isabel Rochev seemed a little out of place in this episode. Outside of sleeping with Oliver, her big contribution this week was to tell him that she knows he is more than he appears, and then tagging along with the team to Russia. With her comic book counterpart being a villain, I wonder if this is just more set up for another big reveal later this year? This weeks big reveal however, was that Deadshot didn’t accidentally kill Diggle’s brother. He was paid to kill him by a group who call themselves the H.I.V.E. The kicker is that if the show sticks to the DC comics, the H.I.V.E.’s main hired gun is none other that Slade Wilson/Deathstroke. This might be the link that is going to bring Slade to the present story, something I know I have been dying to see.

Once again Arrow has delivered another great episode. “Keep Your Enemies Closer” gave us a chance to see more of our favorite bodyguard in action, while introducing even more big story lines into a show already full of them. This stand alone style episode managed to move the show forward and showed us that Team Arrow is starting to be an international well oiled crime fighting machine.

I give “Keep Your Enemies Closer” an 8/10 reasons you never go to Russia without hot women and warm vodka

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