TV Review: <i>Arrow</i> 4×02 “The Candidate”

This week’s story for Arrow opens with our little group of heroes fighting off the HIVE Ghosts atop storage containers, and the choreography is pretty consistently punchy. Also, there’s the one moment with Black Canary riding a Zip-line arrow that made me geek out more than I think I should. Throughout “The Candidate” I find that the action sequences of Season 4 thus far have taken a considerable shift in tone with more quips and lighter attitudes from our heroes, -case in point- Felicity nagging about a codename for herself throughout. Except for Thea of course, we’ll get back around to her plot.

Felicity finally gets her own side plot all to herself this week where she is running PalmerTech and gets to be a bossy boss. The meat of Felicity’s plotline is when she arrives at her new job to find the company in difficult times, and is required to lay off a good few dozen people, once again characterizing the depressing state of Star City. It’s through her convening with the board of PalmerTech that we see Felicity in a role where she can be the sensible, intelligent human being that we adored her for in the first two seasons, but now evolved into a leadership role. Elsewhere in her story, she’s introduced to a character named Curtis Holt, a new science whiz character to enter the fold, working in the company’s Design Innovations department. While his role hasn’t become quite clear yet, I’m sure he’s destined for something terrific, as Felicity keeps him on to build something impressive for the board after the struggle of downsizing the company staff in the first of many moves to protect Ray Palmer’s legacy. Felicity’s partnership with Holt could be fun down the line, as they have quite similar characteristics to the degree that she had to talk down to him that she could only speak in sentence fragments! That’s her schtick, dammit!

A new villain for the week is introduced in the thwarting of our primary plot where an old friend of Moira Queen, Jessica Danforth, decides she’s going to run for the position of Star City’s Mayor. Of course, Oliver and company decide to be protective of Jessica and her daughter during the campaign, as all three previous Mayors of the city have died, and Damien Darhk is certainly not in a position to allow her to win. So, Darhk hires a criminal named Lonnie Machin, a pure anarchist in nature, to kidnap Danforth’s daughter. Most of the primary plot revolves around the team actually finding Machin through dusty fingerprints, but the sequences in which the actor, Alex Calvert, gets to portray a would-be supervillain is satisfyingly grim, providing a perfect contrast to Thea’s plotline of over-expressing her aggression. Even more so however, Machin worked wonderfully opposite Damien Darhk, who functions completely different as an evil character. Darhk is one that requires order and calculation to his chaos, and is infuriated by Machin’s sloppy work. So far, Neal McDonough has done nothing but impress me as Darhk, with every monologue more revealing of his sense of character and intent, but despite being evil has a likable sense of pragmatism in him that I find the actor really pulls off.

The strongest in content is our B Plot for the episode, where Thea’s aggression is taken way too far, as I have previously described as animalistic. There was no doubt that Ra’s Lazarus Pit is what changed Thea, but it was nice to have a poignant reminder in this episode that this was the last big secret that Oliver had kept from pretty much everyone, which sucks since his new movement as the Green Arrow is largely about keeping hope and trusting his friends and family. This plotline is memorable if not just for the sheer brutality that Thea is practicing from breaking the arm of a homeless man to lighting Machin on fire, of course Oliver has to deal with the problem, but his initial reaction is to yell “get out of here!” at her like a wimp. The scene that follows however, is great, in that Oliver shows the difference in his defensive fighting style learned on Lian Yu, compared to that which Malcolm taught Thea. It’s interesting to see her problems being resolved so quickly on a short trip with Laurel, but as it turns out we’re being served another plot entirely, as the episode ends with Laurel digging up the grave of Sara.  At least, I think it’s Sara. My guess is, Laurel is desperate to have her sister back now that she realizes the existing power of the Lazarus Pit. When the two get there, will we encounter Nyssa? If they do, would she even be willing to help them? If it has to do with our original Black Canary, my assumption would be probably.

Our final moments with Oliver and Felicity this week turn into House of Cards briefly as the two stand on a balcony over the city, and one of the two in the couple decides they’re going to run for Mayor of Star City. There’s less smoking in this scene though, and less menacing music, just the typical Arrow theme.




→) Oliver takes out his opponent, and has some funky messaging gadget from War Games.

→) Oliver comes across abused poppy field workers, and accidentally blows up a merc? Or on purpose? So, he pretends he’s been stranded the whole time, the mercs take him to their leadership.


→) Oliver plays dumb by thanking them for saving him. They can’t send him home but they have no reason to kill him, so they enlist him, and give him a haircut so Stephen Amell doesn’t have to wear the Jamie Lannister wig anymore.

Arrow 4×02 “The Candidate” (7/10)

Are you a fan of Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl? Check out Ally’s review of this week’s other episode in the DCTV Universe! 


The Flash 2×02

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