Published on October 22nd, 2015 | by Maggie


Arrow S4E2: The Candidate

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Oliver 2.0, anyone? This review contains spoilers.

The season premiere introduced a lot of new elements to the series. Olicity is a thing. Diggle has a costume. Thea is a full-fledged vigilante. Starling is now Star City. And Oliver, having now experienced a brief retirement, has returned to the hood with the stick somewhat removed from his butt.


The first episode closed and opened many doors. Episode two worked to solidify what’s staying and what’s going. What’s staying? Oliver’s newfound sense of humor, Thea in the red suit, and a fresh fern. What’s going? Romantic subplots, extremely drawn out flashbacks, and Oliver’s crappy island wig.

The second episode seems to promise quite a few other fixtures as well. We’re introduced to Mr. Terrific, Anarky, and Jessica Danforth; we’re seeing somewhat shorter flashbacks (something I hope will stick), and seemingly better choreographed action sequences. Though far from perfect, I recall some pretty bad choreography in season three. Need I remind you of Roy Harper’s lifeless body laying on the ground after the Atom vs. Arrow battle? We’re making progress.

In short, Danforth’s bid to run for mayor goes awry when she is targeted by a Hive groupie referred to as Anarky. His sloppy job gets him a slap on the wrist from Dahrk, who didn’t seem all that threatening. I mean he even says “we don’t hand out third chances.” The fact that he handed out second chances makes the establishment sound more like a fraternity than a hive of criminals, but whatever you say, boss.

Meanwhile, Felicity returns to her role at Palmer Tech and realizes that the ball has been dropped. She confides in one of her employees, Curtis Holt, with the daunting task of damage control.

As the team goes about their rounds, Oliver begins to notice Thea’s erratic behavior. Concerned for his sister, he tells his her that she’s suffering from the effects of the Lazarus Pit.

Oliver realizes that the mayor of Star City needs to be more than just a mayor, but something else. Someone else. See what I did there?

Throw in some flashbacks, Thea being sidelined by secrets all over again, every one of Laurel’s lines being a question, and some old fashioned Arrow-on-Quentin tension and the episode plays out as usual. The freak of the week is defeated, Quentin is salty about it, Felicity is probably about to indirectly create another superhero, and the curtain falls.

However, Laurel convinces Thea to take a trip to Nanda Parbat for answers. Her uncharacteristic behavior tips Thea off and Laurel reveals her true intentions with the Lazarus Pit.

I’m feeling optimistic about most of the show. It feels like showrunners are taking cues from the weaker points in season three and working to correct them. Oliver loosening his chokehold and trusting the team makes the show easier to digest. The confrontation with Thea could have gone very differently were this season three.

My concerns lie in the treatment of characters, particularly new ones. Holt enters as a stuttering, nervous underling to Felicity. Fans would know better and hope that this isn’t etched in stone. Holt isn’t just smart, he’s brilliant. I’m hoping that side of him becomes apparent as the show progresses.

Curtis Holt in Arrow Season 4 Episode 2: The Candidate

Danforth was introduced as a catalyst to Oliver’s agenda and exited as soon as she came. Although she’s not necessarily propping up Oliver’s character, she was a tool in his development and not much else.

Damien Dahrk has a great onscreen presence, but already seems like he doesn’t have control over his own organization. I don’t feel threatened by him and haven’t seen enough examples of his ruthlessness. We might just get another Brick if this continues.

Laurel’s plan has “bad idea” written all over it. Even she seemed to regret it in the last scene. Thea is going ape and your first response is to subject your sister to the same fate? On top of that, she made Thea’s problem serve her own self interests and used the situation to her advantage. It doesn’t sit well with me.

FLASH SPOILER AHEAD: I have a theory that everyone in the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow is in some way dead to the world. Ray is seemingly dead to the world, Martin Stein just collapsed on Flash, and Sara has been dead to the world for some time. Whatever goes on with Sara at this point, I know it’s not going to be happy-fun, sister-sister time.

Finally- I have no reason to believe that Oliver is qualified to become mayor. That too, has bad idea written all over it. Though I know this is his eventual fate in the comics, it just seems as though he was better equipped in the comics than he is here.

Let the bad decisions begin- good decisions don’t make for good TV anyways.

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