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From Russia, With ARROWs…


Episode 206 “Keep Your Enemies Closer”


[photos: Diyah Pera/CW]

Somebody give Isabel a drink all the time. Really. It was really good to see Summer Glau doing something besides The Robot. The lady is talented, no question, but nine roles out of ten are cold, heartless, ruthless… I want more Drunk Isabel.


But we have to fly all the way to Moscow to do it? OK. Here’s the deal: A.R.G.U.S. agent Lyla Michaels has been taken by the Russians because she was tracking a lead on Deadshot for Diggle, who gets captured by A.R.G.U.S. black-bag style so Amanda Waller #3 can stand over him and be all tough and junk and tell him his girl’s been snatched and Diggle’s team is probably the only ones who can go in and get her under the radar.

So A.R.G.U.S. knows about Oliver Queen’s nightly escapades. Hmm.

Keep Your Enemies Closer

[The reason I call her “Amanda Waller #3” is because this is the third live-action version of Amanda Waller — who has appeared in Smallville and Green Lantern, each time played by a different actress.]

Taking the bull by the horns, Diggle is going to go to Russia and find Lyla. Because — soap opera time — Lyla used to be his wife. They connected in Afghanistan, but couldn’t make it work over in the States without people shooting at them. So she went to A.R.G.U.S. and he went back for another tour.

Oliver and Felicity decide to make a road trip out of it, with Oliver using the excuse that he needs to check on Queen Consolidated’s Moscow office. Only this doesn’t sit too well with Stiff Isabel, who has to keep reminding Oliver that they’re partners (on paper). So she’s joining the party. Otherwise, she could decide to be suspicious that Oliver’s taking his favorite blonde “secretary/assistant” on the company plane for some somethy-somethin… Says she: “What are her qualifications, besides an abundance of short skirts?”

Yes. We noticed the short skirts. They’re not so bad, Isabel.

Keep Your Enemies Closer

In Russia, Oliver reconnects with Anatoly Knyazev (also known as the KGBeast in the comics — missed him last week), who spent time with Ollie on the Amazo, where flashbacks tell us Sara is working for Professor Ivo in his search for a miracle drug supposedly put together by the Japanese Navy, working to enhance strength and healing. The drug — Mirakuru.

Keep Your Enemies Closer

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Miraclo has just been introduced to the Arrow universe. Will Rex Tyler be far behind? Especially now that we know CW is working up Hourman.

Keep Your Enemies Closer

Anatoly helps get Diggle inside the gulag, by getting him arrested for drug trafficking, and he manages to get locked up in the freezer — alongside Deadshot! Turns out, Lyla wasn’t following a lead. She’d actually found him. Only now Diggle has to make a deal with the devil to find Lyla and get out of the prison. Doing this, Diggle has to honor his agreement and let Deadshot go, but not before the assassin reveals that brother Andy was actually the target. Deadshot didn’t miss. He was hired to kill John’s brother by a group called H.I.V.E.

Keep Your Enemies Closer

Ladies and gentlemen, H.I.V.E. is from the Teen Titans comic, usually associated with Deathstroke. But since Slade hasn’t shown up in present day yet, one wonders if Deadshot is his opening act. We’ve seen the burned face now, which will explain why Slade wears the iconic mask, but will he show up flying solo, or part of the H.I.V.E. operation? And why would Andy Diggle (the character, not the Green Arrow artist) be a target for assassination?

So, that’s the main thread of this episode. Now, let’s look at the other bits and pieces.

Isabel really needs to let her hair down more in Starling City. Her question to Oliver shows that she’s paying attention a lot more than anyone expected. “Why do you try so hard to make me think you’re a lazy idiot?” She sees him as intelligent, driven, lonely — a reflection of herself. The scene in the bar between her and Ollie was fun to watch, mainly because we get to see Summer Glau open up and play a person. With feelings. And smiling. Yes, fine. Isabel is a cold-hearted ruthless suit who’s main priority is the company she just took over, but geez Louise, writers, she needs to lighten up a bit. And not just when she’s full of vodka.


And not a hair out of place as Oliver’s leaving? Some good hair spray, that.

Her tryst with Oliver also allows the show to address some bits of the growing Olicity shippers — mainly saying a relationship between Oliver and Felicity isn’t likely to happen. But at least they acknowledge that Felicity has some kind of feelings for Ollie. Besides wanting to watch him work out shirtless… But this also shows Oliver maturing a little with him saying he can’t get involved with anyone, which could result in serious danger coming to that person. If Oliver is making out with someone who doesn’t matter, it will be easier for him to detach when it comes time to make the hard decisions that would effectively crater a real relationship. It’s backwards logic, but I can see where Oliver is coming from. He’s wrong, but he’s growing as a character. This may backfire on him.

The smaller plot thread this week: Roy Harper and his superhero ambitions. Don’t tell me you didn’t get the Green Arrow/Speedy vibe from this:

Keep Your Enemies Closer

Even if he goes with Arsenal, Roy is on his way — although slower than he likes — to becoming a proper sidekick. Now, if he can just avoid getting arrested so much. Lance has a great line with, “It’s been a while since I arrested you. I’ve forgotten how good it feels.”

Keep Your Enemies Closer

Oh, wait. Just mention to the arresting officer, some guy named Lance, how they’re both working with/for the same guy. This time, Roy’s actually in the right, because he wasn’t at that warehouse in league with counterfeiters. He was trying to help. So Lance lets Roy go, not out of any feeling of solidarity, I’m sure. But the arrest makes the news (along with the protests against the accelerator at S.T.A.R. Labs — more on that in a moment), and it comes out that Thea Queen is dating a felon. Bad for the trial, so Jean Loring (still sans Ray Palmer) pays Thea a visit to let her know with some very deliberate hints, that Roy needs to be put away for a while.

Keep Your Enemies Closer

Which, apparently, is against Moira’s wishes. Thea should be free to date whomever she wants, especially since it seems to agree with her — in a solid relationship, running the Verdant nightclub (successfully, it would seem). Thea has grown up, and Moira thinks as long as she’s happy, Roy is OK in her book.

Now, the bit about S.T.A.R. Labs — that’s been showing up a bit. And we know Barry Allen is about to make his first of three appearances on Arrow before jetting off on his own show — which looks likely, given that they’ve set up a production office in Vancouver now, and there are rumors that Grant Gustin is being eyed for a cameo as Allen in Man of Steel 2, depending on how audiences react to his work on the small screen. So could the accelerator at S.T.A.R. have something to do with this particular Flash origin? Time will tell.

And now that H.I.V.E. has been introduced, together with Deadshot and Deathstroke, with strong hints that Nightwing is about to show up, do we have the beginnings of a Teen Titans of sorts here? They did it in Smallville with a mini-JLA. Why not do it here? Green Arrow, Flash, Black Canary, Huntress, Speedy, Nightwing. All they need is a Wonder Girl analogue…

Wonder what Serinda Swan’s doing these days…?

Oh, and Scion? You have a dumb commercial.


[Official Show Site at CW]     [Previous Recap: “Crucible”]


Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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