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‘Arrow’ Review: Oliver steps up in ‘The Candidate’

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We’re only two episodes into Arrow’s fourth season, but so far, so good, right? Last night’s episode delivered another solid hour of television that gave us plenty of teamwork, a lighter side of Oliver, and continued to set up major story arcs for the season, all of which I’m looking forward to seeing. Sure, there’s still a lot of Batman references floating around and the mayor candidate vs. the bad guys felt like The Dark Knight, but it’s part of the fabric of the show at this point. No need to keep harping on it – not when the show is enjoyable.

So let’s talk about the highlights of “The Candidate.” We’ll start with the title, which of course refers to Jessica, an old family friend, who decided to step up and run for the job no one else in Star City wants: mayor. For a would-be politician, her reasons for running seemed on the up and up: she wanted to take up Moira’s mantle and do right by the city. Oliver and Thea tried to warn her away from the job, but she remained determined. She wanted to be a symbol of hope (like Harvey Dent).

arrow-402-candidate-02Naturally things went to hell when the latest bad guy, Lonnie Machin (a take on the comic villain Anarky), kidnapped Jessica’s daughter and threatened to do some terrible things to her. Damien Darhk wasn’t on board with that because it turns out he’s a gentleman villain. Remember what I said last week about him being just another version of Arrow’s past villains? I take it back and declare him my favorite. A bad guy with a code is the best bad guy in my book and that look on his face when Lonnie touched him? That spoke volumes even though his tone stayed calm. BAMF.

On the opposite end of the calm spectrum, we have Thea. She continued to go way too hard against the bad guys and Oliver called her out after she broke a man’s arm. Thea responded with physical violence against her brother (as one does) and Laurel and Digg needed to separate them. Oliver told Thea the truth about the Lazarus Pit potentially ruining her and she assured him she was fine and then set Anarky on fire. Thea’s always been one of my favorite characters so I love that they’re exploring her dark side. Let’s just hope they can pull her back from the edge and she’s not the one in the grave.

arrow-402-candidate-03The Lazarus Pit news was also brand new information for Laurel. Side note: how did she not know Thea almost died? That happened in Star(ling) City. Did no one mention it to her? (You were so messy, Season 3). Anyway, Laurel saw Thea struggling and it gave her the idea to secretly take Thea to see the League so they can help her. But she also decided to dig up Sara’s body and take her too so they can bring her back. Obviously we knew this was coming because of Legends, but as far as terrible ideas go…this one is off the charts. That being said, Laurel loves her sister and she sees a way to get her back so I can’t really judge her for that. Her heart’s in the right place.

Felicity headed back to work at Palmer Tech and made a new friend, Curtis. He’s a tech guy who was forced into working with the board to create a list of people to fire. It included him (ouch). I know nothing about his comic character (Mr. Terrific), but I like what we’ve seen of Curtis so far. I like seeing Felicity have a story separate from Oliver and while we’re on the subject of Palmer Tech, when do we get Ray back? From the quick snapshot of the building, it looked like they never cleaned up the mess after his lab exploded. Is he still in there? Just chilling all small and waiting to be discovered?

Flashback Oliver shaved his head (bye, wig) and infiltrated a group of not-so-nice people on the island (So basically the same story as every year?).

We didn’t get much Digg this week. He’s still mad at Oliver and he opened up to Laurel about HIVE and his brother. I like that Digg and Laurel have bonded (I waited SO long for her to be part of the team). But like I said last week, keeping secrets that could help get into Damien’s MO is a terrible idea, Digg. Laurel agreed and gave him some sound advice about how it won’t work out in the end (something she promptly forgot as she was digging up Sara’s grave later).

Now let’s circle back to Oliver and Jessica. The team stepped in with Lance’s permission and helped get Madison back. Unfortunately the whole thing with Thea almost killing Anarky soured Lance on Oliver again (although Anarky killed more cops and got away so maybe Thea had the right idea). Jessica decided not to run for mayor, but her words, as well as Lance’s, got through to Oliver. Green Arrow and his team are efficient against the bad guys, but the city needs someone who’s willing to stand in the sun or in this case, stand at the podium and not get killed. I think we all knew where this was going (even I had this comic knowledge). After giving it some thought, Oliver returned home to Felicity and told her that he wanted to run for mayor.

Odds and Ends:

-Oliver made Felicity’s lunch for her first day of work – how cute was that?

-The Green Arrow/Black Canary zipline move – teamwork at its finest

-Felicity wanting a codename – comic relief, but also valid point

-We can just pretend like it’s fine that Sara still looked like Sara after being dead for a year because TV

-Who else is excited for Nyssa’s return next week?

 

About the author

Mandy Treccia

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.