The CW‘s Arrow The Candidate TV Show Review. Arrow: Season 4, Episode 2: The Candidate gave us a new villain, a new hero, a brutal sibling dispute, and a new aim for Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). We also got a better glimpse of the new lair and how the team worked within it. The revolving shots of team conferences were a bit dizzying, but gave me a sense that the team was actually beginning to work together. I even loved the scene where Green Arrow and Speedy (Willa Holland) ride together on their matching motorcycles, but let us get down to business.
Palmer Technologies is in the red and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) must initiate lay offs. After an admittedly adorable exchange where Oliver gives her a “work fern” and a paper bag lunch, it hurt my heart to see Felicity’s bubble burst by the realization that she had to let go of a large percentage of her workforce. Dealing with Palmer Tech will be a constant challenge for her. I like that Oliver is firmly removed from her business dilemmas while still getting firm support from him. I think we will get to see Felicity’s business acumen develop organically even in the face of a particularly antagonistic board member. Never fear, Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum) appeared at Felicity’s corporate side, a total nerd with Felicity’s same fragmented speech pattern. Kellum plays his nerdy earnestness terrifically. The tech duo is already fun to watch. Also, Felicity wants a code name…any ideas?
Lonnie Machin aka Anarky (Alexander Calvert) made his villainous debut in The Candidate. Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) enlisted Machin to strike fear into the new mayoral candidate, Jessica Danforth (Jeri Ryan). Danforth approached Oliver and Thea for their political support as she ran for mayor in their mother’s honor. First, it was nice to see a cameo from Ryan of Star Trek: Voyager fame. (Also, she was a guest on the original The Flash (1991) TV series). She was a welcome sight.
Second, we all know that the Queen siblings lost their mother, who was also a mayoral candidate, when she was murdered by arch enemy Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett). After last week’s assault on all political leaders and Star City’s record of murdered mayors, such violence should be a deterrent to running for public office in Star City, but clearly, Danforth’s optimism outweighed her self-preservation. Danforth and Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) gave Oliver food for thought concerning his new way of doing things. Both of them declared in their own way that the Green Arrow is “not enough,” that someone needed to walk in the light of day for the city. My problem already is that Lance’s righteous attitude is overshadowed by his collusion with Darhk (to what end, we do not know), so I really think he needs to give Oliver a break already. Danforth’s bravery, on the other hand, was short-lived as her daughter’s life was threatened – a move apparently not sanctioned by Darhk. Let me get this straight, Darhk constantly threatens to kill one man’s daughter to gain the man’s cooperation, but despises Machin’s kidnapping tactics because they lack “taste.” So, Darhk fancies himself artistically ruthless… ok, I will buy that, for now.
I did understand Darhk’s disgust. Calvert as Machin was convincing as a sadistic kidnapper packing, wait for it… a flamethrower and a lightning stick. The fight scene that ensued when Green Arrow and Speedy confronted Machin was also unexpectedly gruesome, especially as we watched Thea torch Machin and keep on beating his burning body in front of a horrified Oliver. The earlier fight between Oliver and Thea was equally brutal while the rest of Team Arrow looked on as Thea revealed herself to be a rabid animal fighting with her brother. I expected the development of Thea’s distorted state of mind to be a slower burn this season, but the mind-altering effects of the Lazarus Pit were made clear in The Candidate. Thea tortured people, crippled people, and burned people alive. It was a great choice on director, John Behring‘s part to show that Thea was shaken up by her own actions at times instead of being oblivious.
Instead of this clear consequence being a warning, the Lazarus Pit is an obvious draw for Laurel who harbors desperation and longing for her sister. Laurel’s bad judgment has been a serious issue for me for some time, especially last season when she refused to tell her father his daughter was dead. Now, Thea and Laurel have decided to take a trip to Nanda Parbat, presumably to beg a favor of the new Ra’s al Ghul (John Barrowman) to resurrect Sara (Caity Lotz), but of course, they did not tell Oliver. I am beginning to see a pattern forming: Diggle, Thea, Laurel, and Lance all need Oliver, even guilt, coerce, or plead for him to help with some things, but are not asking for Oliver’s help where they truly need it, or telling Oliver what he needs to know. Oliver seems to be on the other side of the flow of information this season which should make for some interesting .
Flashbacks this episode were pretty light. We watched Oliver infiltrate a military installation on Lian Yu through subterfuge and meet a military leader, Baron Reitner (Jimmy Akingbola), giving us a glimpse of a new island adversary, but no other details except that the Baron was using slave labor. Wonderful thing happened though… Amell finally got to shed that horrendous blonde wig we have been subjected to for the past three years and traded it in for a crew cut. About time!
The episode ended with Oliver declaring his intention to run for mayor. With that, show runners are presenting us with Oliver Queen the politician-vigilante early on. Seems like a grand solution, but opens up a whole new host of issues – and possibilities. I mean, as mayor, Oliver Queen would become Lance’s boss. Ha! Then again, Felicity would have to juggle being CEO, tech goddess of the Arrow team, and her duties on the campaign trail. That should put a healthy strain on Olicity – or make the relationship stronger, who knows? I have to say, the lighter tone that EP Marc Guggenheim hinted at earlier this year took a back seat to the darkness that ensued in The Candidate. So, it was good the episode ended on a high note (in a way?).
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