TV Review: Arrow - Season 4 Episode 2 "The Candidate"
Join us each week as we review the latest episode of ARROW. Warning: the following review contains major spoilers for the newest episode of the show.
Episode 2: "The Candidate"
Synopsis: When an old family friend, Jessica Danforth, tells Oliver and Thea that she is going to run for mayor, both Queens are concerned considering the last three mayors have been murdered. Despite their protests, Jessica makes her announcement so the Green Arrow and Speedy vow to protect her. Meanwhile, Thea begins to exhibit effects from the Lazarus Pit. In addition, Felicity is faced with a tough business decision and looks to one of her employees, Curtis Holt, for help.
Review: Since the successful spin-off of The Flash from Arrow, the first CW series has evolved into the lynchpin for the DC Arrowverse. So, the fact that tonight's episode starts the route towards the mid-season premiere of Legends of Tomorrow should come as no surprise. Still, the debut of Damien Darhk last week feels more like a looming shadow rather than the driving force for the overarching plot this season as we get a Villain of the Week episode that sets the table for the true path for Oliver Queen this year. It starts with Green Arrow back in the swing of his superhero duties but ends with a decision that could alter both identities for the titular hero.
Darhk's introduction last week also revealed to John Diggle that the organization H.I.V.E. that killed his brother is the same group that the new bad guy in Star City has under his control. He reveals this to Laurel Lance but does not share the same with his former best friend Oliver. The team is firing on all cylinders aside from the fact that no one is really speaking to one another and Thea is demonstrating more side effects of her time in the Lazarus Pit last year. This all comes coupled with the announcement that Queen family friend Jessica Danforth has announced her candidacy for Mayor. This also introduces hopeful H.I.V.E. operative Lonnie Machin, aka Anarky.
After an attempted assassination at Danforth's press conference, Oliver and Thea track down Anarky. Oliver is still trying to do things differently now that he has been reintroduced as Green Arrow, but he is finding it harder than anticipated. After three years of being a hero that killed, then didn't kill, and then gave up his former ways, it is easier said than done to adopt a different approach to things. But, Oliver still tries and shares the truth with Thea about her resurrection. The honesty doesn't exactly fix the problem as Thea and Oliver's showndown with Anarky results in the villain suffering a horrible fate. Barely alive, Anarky is taken via ambulance to the hospital but escapes en route, killing his guards and painting his symbol in blood on the wall of the vehicle. Anarky is traditionally a Batman foe in the comics so it will be interesting as to how he recurs on this series.
Oliver changing his ways will likely tie into the flashback sequences which have returned Queen to Lian Yu, his original island home, where he has been sent by Amanda Waller to infiltrate a group of militants on the island. Oliver pretends to have never left the island and joins the group who are harvesting a purple flower with the aid of captive labor. As the workers toil and collapse, Oliver steps forward in the gear of the mercenaries with a newly short haircut. What this means is unclear except now we don't have to pretend that Stephen Amell's terrible wig was remotely believable. It is interesting to note that the military group's leader is named Reiter who in DC Comics is better known as Baron Blitzkreig.
By episode's end, Laurel has made a decision to take Thea back to Nanda Parbat under the guise of a girl's spa excursion to keep Oliver off their scent. Laurel reveals to Thea that the League of Assassins will be the only ones with answers as to what is happening to her, but she also has an ulterior motive. The episode closes with Thea and Laurel unearthing the coffin of Sara Lance. We can assume that Laurel plans to resurrect her dead sister who is surprisingly shown as an emaciated corpse. Most already know that Sara will become the White Canary on Legends of Tomorrow, so maybe she will spend some time with Oliver and company before going to her own series. At Palmer Technologies, new CEO Felicity Smoak spent the hour trying to find a way to save the company and not have to fire any employees. In the end, she and her new colleague have six months to develop a new technology to save the company which would lead right into the return of Ray Palmer from his shrinking accident last season.
The biggest reveal for this season was what Oliver Queen will do this year. We know Damien Darhk's plan is to destroy Star City and prevent a new mayor from taking power. In fact, this entire episode was designed as a way to force Jessica Danforth from withdrawing, which she does. But, like Danforth invoking Moira Queen's run for mayor as her inspiration, Oliver Queen reveals that he himself will run for mayor of Star City. Whether this actually happens by season's end or not, this will be the most duality Oliver Queen has had to face since the first season of the show. Since then, there really hasn't been much need for Queen to balance his two identities and I like where this is taking the series. This hour didn't really do much but continue to set the table for the rest of this season but I am already liking where things are headed more than I did last year.
Next on ARROW: "Restoration" airs October 21st: The growing tension between Oliver and Diggle puts both their lives at risk when they go after Damien Darhkand a H.I.V.E. deployed meta-human. Meanwhile, Laurel talks Thea into returning to Nanda Parbat to ask herfather to put Sara into the Lazarus Pit. However, Laurel is surprised when Nyssa refuses to do it.