TV REVIEW: Arrow Season 2, Episode 6 – “Keep Your Enemies Closer”

Arrow Season 2We’re approximately a quarter of the way through Season 2 of Arrow now, and it’s been a pretty non-stop, action-packed ride to this point. What does this episode bring, and does it stand up to the excellence that’s come before? Click on to find out my thoughts.

 

 

 

A.R.G.U.S. recruits Diggle to rescue Lyla, who has disappeared in Moscow following a lead on Deadshot. Oliver and Felicity volunteer to go with their friend, but run into trouble when Isabel insists on accompanying them. Meanwhile, Moira’s attorney suggests that Thea stop dating Roy because it’s hurting Moira’s defense.

Ah, Arrow. You were doing so well with your re-imagining of characters. Then you do this. Amanda Waller should not be a slim and attractive young woman. I know that the character has been reset as such recently, but frankly I think that’s a disservice. Waller was a woman who had lived, who enjoyed life and worked her way up to be in charge of a secret government unit. The woman had (pardon the expression) balls. Sigh. Now, we’ve not seen a lot of this version, so I shouldn’t really judge but honestly, when you have a cast full of eye-candy already, why not include the occasional bigger-build character?

This week, team Oliver find themselves heading oversees. This time, Ollie has Diggle’s back and his hunt for Deadshot has placed A.R.G.U.S agent Lyla (no surname?) in a spot of bother. The aforementioned Waller turns up to recruit Diggle’s help (and, as an aside, to let him know that she’s aware of Queen’s night-time antics) in recovering the missing agent. In the course of events, our heroes head to Russia with Queen’s partner, Isabela Rochev (Summer Glau) tagging along for the ride. Pardon the pun.

I think what I liked most about this episode may seem a little odd. With the action moving to another country and Diggle taking on the active role, there’s no chance for Oliver to don his leathers. Handy, really, as I doubt he’d have got the archery stuff through customs unquestioned. Oliver is reduced to being the man who has the contacts (via a fellow prisoner from the Ship) and the exit strategy. As events turn out, he also has an entrance strategy which leaves Felicity somewhat bothered.

There were strong elements this week, but somehow it seemed like a quiet, padding episode. That’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable, but I’ve gotten used to the more high-octane action that Arrow hasn’t really let up on since its return to the screen. I also have to say that there was a certain hotel-based sequence that didn’t work for me. It came out of the blue and other than to perhaps put a bit of a barrier up between Ollie and Felicity, it really didn’t seem to serve much purpose. I’m sure there will be a follow-up to this, but I’d have liked to have seen at least a little build up to the event beyond the brief verbal sparring that has occurred thus far in the series.

As hinted at in the blurb, this week saw the return of Deadshot and allowed Diggle to have his moment of retribution. Of course, Diggle being an honourable sort, this doesn’t play out as perhaps the audience would have expected. The two are forced to work together, locate Lyla and escape the Russian Gulag they were in. I’m going to have to go into spoiler territory than I usually like to avoid, so here goes.

SPOILER WARNING!

Okay, if you’re still, here I assume that you’ve seen it or don’t mind the spoiler. So, Diggle has infiltrated a Russian Gulag to save his ex-wife Lyla, who in turn was trying to locate Deadshot for him. It turns out that Deadshot was in the prison and Diggle inevitably runs into him. In the course of events, they rescue Lyla and escape the Gulag. Once away, Diggle has the chance to end Deadshot for good. Given the hate and build up that’s been at work throughout the series, no one would blame Diggle for exacting a little revenge in the form of a nine millimetre round through the ocular implant.

After all this, Diggle decides that, meh. He’s honourable. Away you go, killer of my kin. Walk into the … erm … night. But thanks for that tip off about H.I.V.E. Now I’m glad that Diggle didn’t follow through because, well, I like honourable Diggle. If I was Lyla, I’d be a little peeved though. After all the pre-amble, ignoring orders and infiltrating a dangerous Russian prison to find a killer AS A FAVOUR … the man lets Deadshot go! If I was Lyla, I might be justifiably pissed off. She isn’t, though, and even rewards the bloke. Weird.

END SPOILER

To conclude, the episode was perfectly watchable and enjoyable. I think the occasional quieter episode (and I know that’s a relative term) is required in any series to give characters chance to breathe and develop. Having said that, Arrow manages quite happily to build its characters week in week out anyhow. Frankly, some of the developments this week seemed counter-intuitive to me. Despite appearances from the above, and the rating below, I did enjoy the episode. It just had elements that didn’t appeal to me. In addition, for a Diggle-centric episode, the man had far less development than I would expect.

 

Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Wedgedoc

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