The Diplomat (Netflix) – Season 1 Episode 7 “Keep Your Enemies Closer” Recap & Review

Keep Your Enemies Closer

Kate and Hal lie in bed having spent the night together as episode 7 of The Diplomat begins. They seem to have rediscovered the magic in their marriage and wonder what went right in the past few days.

Kate asks Hal if he is alright about being the backup singer’ to Kate. Make no mistake though: Hal brings his own unique strengths to the table. Being an Ambassador is a thorough people’s job and you must be a good man manager. Kate’s attitude towards others is too ossified and direct, something people don’t often like. You need some of those qualities from Hal to balance the scales.

Hal won’t be content being a silent partner but will respect Kate’s position. She isn’t sure if she wants him to stay but doesn’t want him to go. How about that for complicated? Speaking of, Eidra asks Stuart to postpone making their relationship status public. She wants the Russia thing to be over and calm to settle in the embassy corridors. Stuart takes offence and becomes passive-aggressive. Their exchanges show the difference in their professional training, while Eidra’s CIA rigour surfaces in her hardened and equitable stance to live in the world of grey areas.

Kate is meeting Oleg Balakin that day. All the back channels of communication are stagnant and they must resort to official routes. Balakin is the Russian Ambassador in London and Kate will meet him at the Foreign Office to inform him about the Lenkov Company. And, that Britain is marching against Lenkov troops in Libya with the blessings of the US.

Kate asks Hal, in front of Stuart, to call Sergei, their Russian counterpart and acquaintance, to get more info about Oleg. Stuart is taken aback by their candidness. Is this a sign of Kate accepting to run for Vice President?

She reaches the FO and exchanges a naughty repartee with Dennison, which Stuart finds weird. Oleg is already there and Kate goes in, prepared to make a defiant stand. To her surprise, Oleg begins a deeply passionate harangue against the US (which is oddly true to every word). But it is a front for something else.

He does not stop speaking and gives Kate instructions on a piece of paper. “Down two flights. Left. Third right. Stoudt Wine Co.” He keeps the charade up and Kate hurriedly heads towards the wine shop. She finds a woman who takes her to the basement and tells her that Lenkov has a family in La Colline and will be visiting them 10 days from then.

Kate comes back without alerting anyone else. Oleg keeps speaking the memorized speech and continues to do also as he leaves. Kate immediately convenes a meeting with Eidra and Stuart. There can be two possibilities behind the reason the Russians are giving up Lenkov: first, they are trapping them in a ploy; second, they did not do it. The second seems the likelier possibility as Lenkov is a well-protected and important figure in his world. The real question, in that case, is: who hired Lenkov and why?

Eidra thinks it is best if Kate goes to Washington and briefs the President. Unbeknownst to them, Hal has been called in for a meeting by Billie. The meeting was just not about making sure Kate is taking to the VPship idea; it was also about Ganon being fired by Rayburn.

Eidra and Kate meet Carly Green from the Russia desk. Kate needs to be briefed before she can go to Rayburn, and Alysse pulls Kate to talk to Hal, who tells her the news. Kate is animated and so is Stuart. Even though she doesn’t like Ganon, she does not want to mess up his career and feels partly responsible. Interestingly, Kat does not tell Hal about Lenkov and his family.

First, Kate will brief Roger and Michelle at Langley (CIA Headquarters) and then to the State Secretaries. And then she goes into the White House. Eidra will inform MI6 of the developments and they will brief Trowbridge.

Kate is concerned about Dennison and wants him to be in the loop. The relationships she has cultivated might be damaged if that doesn’t happen. Kate almost has a faux pass before the briefing, but Rayburn is given the green light by all intelligence and military sources that Russia’s tip is correct.

France will not like the US marching in and arresting a foreign national – let alone a known terrorist – on their soil. Ganon has already spoken to Trowbridge behind Kate’s back but he isn’t too happy about the idea. She hardly gets a chance to get her word in and the meeting ends. Kate meets Jill for drinks. It seems like she has taken over from Kate in Kabul, while Kate is unhappy that things are not in order there and her hard work has somewhat been affected.

Hal has lunch with an old friend, Lewis, who mentions the possibility of Hal taking over as Secretary of State. He is dismissive of the idea in the moment but also intrigued by it. Kate comes back hungover since she is upset her informants in Kabul have all fallen by the wayside. Trowbridge wants to meet her within the hour as he’s livid about the change in plans.

This does not make him look good in public and taking the “de-escalation” step was not something they had previously discussed. She assures her that the UK’s position is not being undermined by this change.

Trowbridge leaves dissatisfied and cross with Rayburn, and she updates Hal on her terrible day back at Winfield. As she is about to call Dennison about the situation, Hal gets insecure and tells her it can be done in the morning. Kate agrees and they sit on either end of the bed, taking in the reality of the future. Is this the fate set to befall her once she becomes the VP?

The Episode Review

After the eventless episode 6, this episode brought back some vigor to the fore. Kate’s action-packed day saw her come face to face with the possibility that the Russians might not be involved in the explosion after all and a taste of what being in the Oval Office is really like. In the context of the series, episode 7 was like an eye-opener for her.

Her controlling nature prevents Kate from ever having the clarity she cannot fight all the fronts on her own. The decorum of US politics might not be her cup of tea after all. Episode 7 further emboldened the chances of another season happening and the characters of The Diplomat becoming even more densely intertwined in the universe. For now, the finale is enticingly set up with no clear winners. There is little space for diplomacy now but a surprise might be in the offing.

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