Arrow, S4 Ep02 – The Candidate

Arrow heads into new territory as it enters its fourth season. The Emerald Archer is now referring to himself as the Green Arrow, and he’s fighting alongside a more cohesive team including his sister Speedy, Black Canary, and Diggle in a Magneto mask, all while Felicity and her new fern help them from the Arrow Cave. Some things in Star City (formerly Starling City) will never change, as there is a new villain trying to tear the city apart who calls himself Damien Darhk. With Star City constantly under attack no one wants to step up and become the new Star City mayor. That’s where Jessica Danforth (Jeri Ryan) comes in as Star City’s new mayoral candidate. But as she enters the playing field, so does a new villain, played by Alexander Calvert, who wants nothing more than to cause anarchy.

Damien Darhk confronts Anarky

Damien Darhk confronts Anarky

As soon as Danforth announces her candidacy she and everyone at her press conference are attacked by Lonnie Michin, a character referred to as Anarky in the comics. Being that both Ollie and Thea are at the press conference they try to assist in the situation, but end up losing Anarky in the process. We find out that Anarky is working for Damien Darhk, sort of rehearsing to be officially part of his team. Immediately we see that Darhk doesn’t fully approve of Anarky’s methods, especially considering he still failed to take out the candidate, and gives him one last chance to redeem himself.

Unlike his comic book counterpart, Arrow‘s version of Anarky is just a man in a leather jacket and is missing his signature mask. That being said this episode works almost as an origin of Anarky, as he doesn’t even adopt his “A” symbol until the very end. I would like to see this character return in his full super villain getup, especially since Arrow has proved in recent seasons that it’s not afraid to embrace traditional comic book elements.

Throughout this whole ordeal some issues occur between Ollie and Thea. Ollie is constantly afraid Thea is going to go too far one day and kill someone. He states that her revival in Ra’s al Ghul’s Lazarus Pit changed her for the worse. At one point the two have a fist fight in the Arrow Cave following one of their patrols, which Ollie actually starts. I found it a little odd that Ollie would just go ahead and start a fight with his sister, but she defends herself against him well. It seems he just wanted to see how far she would go against him just to get an idea of how much she has changed.

Later in the episode, Danforth’s daughter is kidnapped by Anarky. This is in order to drive Danforth out so he can finish the job he was originally set out to do. Although, Darhk still doesn’t seem to approve of Anarky’s methods and informs Captain Lance (who is currently being forced to work with Darhk) of Anarky’s whereabouts. Lance shares the information with Team Arrow and they confront Anarky at his hideout. What follows is pretty fun fight scene with Ollie and Thea against Anarky, while Black Canary and Diggle take Danforth’s daughter to safety. Anarky proves to be a very formidable opponent, successfully taking down Ollie. With Ollie down, it’s up to Thea to finish the job, and just as Ollie feared, she goes too far and burns Anarky alive. Fortunately for Anarky, Ollie puts out the flames in time. Later he breaks out of the ambulance that was transporting him, killing the EMTs, and writing the letter “A” in their blood.

Arrow, S4 Ep02 - The Candidate (6)

Jeri Ryan guest stars as Jessica Danforth

The idea that the Lazarus Pit changes those who enter it for the worse is a concept that has been seen numerous DC comic books and animation. Usually after some time, the after effects of the Lazarus Pit begin to wear off, so I’m sure Thea will go back to her normal self sooner or later. It’s always possible that Arrow could be using the Lazarus Pits differently. With Thea still having her issues, Laurel decides to bring Thea back to Nanda Parbat to get some answers, but that’s not all she’s going there for. The episode concludes with Laurel digging up her sister’s grave in the hopes of bringing her back to life via the Lazarus Pit.

Honestly, this would have been a nice twist to end the episode on if we didn’t already know that Sara Lance would be brought back to life. We know she will be a main character in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. That being said, it will be fun seeing The Canary back in action fighting alongside Speedy and Black Canary. Now I’m wondering how Ollie will take the news, or if he will even be told of Laurel’s plans, given that she did hide the fact that she was going to Nanda Parbat from him.

Felicity had her own unique plot line in “The Candidate,” as she adjusts to her new role as CEO of Palmer Technologies. Unfortunately, her first task is to start firing off employees, because the company is sinking financially. Thanks to an algorithm created by newcomer Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum) she is able to see who is needed less at the company in order to justify firing them. By the end of the episode, she decides this goes against everything Ray would have wanted and teams up with Holt, promising the board he has something new up his sleeve that will bring Palmer Technologies back to financial success. Felicity’s side story helped break up the tension of what was happening in the main story and didn’t feel out of place. It also successfully introduced Curtis Holt, a character from DC Comics. Whether or not Holt will take on the same role he has in the comics is uncertain.

Arrow, S4 Ep02 - The Candidate (5)

Laurel has plans for her sister

As usual, not much happened in the flashback scenes in “The Candidate”. Ollie is forced back into Lian Yu by Amanda Waller in an attempt to infiltrate an organization doing… something. We’ll know more about what that something is as Ollie continues to gain their trust. While I usually dislike the flashback scenes on Arrow, these were so short that they didn’t bother me all too much and brought past Ollie into some new grounds.

Overall, “The Candidate” was a satisfying episode with good action, a decent new villain, and a somewhat surprising ending as Ollie decides to run for Star City mayor. It will be interesting seeing Ollie run for mayor while simultaneously deflecting attacks from those who don’t want to see anyone in that position. Something I really like about this season so far is the inclusion of Damien Darhk and H.I.V.E. Darhk’s organization is one that was mentioned back in season two as being responsible for the death of Diggle’s brother. This is a plot thread I’ve been waiting for Arrow to address and I’m glad they are finally doing so. As the season progresses, in the back of our minds we will always have the question of at whose grave were Ollie and Barry looking, at the end of last week’s episode. I would hate to see another main character die, but I guess this is just something we just have to accept from Arrow.

Next week Damien Darhk will unleash a card-throwing meta-human on Ollie and Diggle, while Thea and Laurel attempt to revive Sara in Nanda Parbat. Check out The CW’s official promo for “Restoration” below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “The Candidate” in the comments.

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