[TV Review] ‘Arrow’ Episode 4.02 – “The Candidate”

Due to a satellite snafu, I actually missed last week’s episode of “Arrow” and didn’t catch it until days later. As a result, I decided to save my review of it until today, as a sort of primer for tonight’s episode.  Enough with the technical difficulties, however.  So how did last week’s episode fare?  Pretty well.  While nothing all that major happens (aside from the final revelation), a solid amount of movement was made on a few fronts, plus a handful of new characters were also introduced.

Anarky (Alexander Calvert), or at least the man who will become him, has finally entered the series.  Not too much has really differentiated him from past villains, even with Damien Darhk himself being irritated with his tactics and selling him out.  Here’s hoping he rises above standard “villain of the week” status as the season goes on, since he is clearly here to stay.  I’m sure he’ll have a bone to pick with both Green Arrow and Damien Darhk once he recuperates from the injuries he sustained during the finale, preferably appearing in costume when the time comes.

While Lonnie Machin (aka Anarky) was the “A plot” this week, the true focus was placed on Thea’s mental state in the shadow of her Season 3 resurrection via the Lazarus Pit.  She is a changed woman and far too aggressive given her heroic line of work.  Oliver noticed it right off the bat in the premiere, but now the others are seeing it too.  Thea needs help and if she doesn’t get it soon, someone is going to get killed.

You’d think Laurel would learn a lesson from all of this, but apparently not.  Her lunkheaded-ness continues, with her now deadset on resurrecting her sister Sara….Lazarus Pit side effects be damned!  I’d roll my eyes at such a stupid idea for a character to have, but the writers have at least made Laurel’s constant idiotic choices a constant for the character.  Rewatching the premiere last week, I was still dumbfounded at how often she walked through the police station with her father while openly talking about Team Arrow and not being quiet about it.  Her stupidity is now at a level where I kind of hope that the mysterious grave glimpsed in the flash forward during the premiere is hers.  I’m sure it won’t be, but let me dream for at least a little while.

Moving on, Felicity finally returned to work at Palmer Industries this week.  Faced with a failing company and potential firings, it certainly wasn’t a fun time for her.  Sad Felicity makes me sad, so having employee Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum) to confide in as her own Felicity was a nice breath of fresh air.  Kellum already looks to be an interesting addition to the series as is, so I’m super curious to see where things go with him, given his destiny to become the hero Mr. Terrific.

The flashback stuff is clicking better now that it is actually going somewhere, with Oliver now forced to join the ranks of Reiter’s (Jimmy Akingbola) army of goons on Lian Yu.  We still aren’t sure what Reiter, who is based upon Baron Blitzkrieg, is up to just yet, but it’s nice that Amell has something to do in the flashbacks again, beyond just moping around.  As with Anarky, I’m holding out hope that we get some crazed costumed shenanigans from Reiter.  I suspect I might get my wish with Anarky, but probably not our would-be Blitzkrieg.

The big move this week, is Oliver deciding the run for Mayor of Star City.  We’ve seen a bit of “public Ollie” in the past, but never to a large degree.  It looks like that is about to change with his decision to move into politics to protect the city in a more official capacity, in additions to his nightly vigilante movements.  Whether he succeeds in being elected or not is anyone’s guess at this stage, but I hope it allows Amell to showcased a different side of Oliver Queen, perhaps even pulling in some of the character’s deep-rooted political leanings from the source material.

Other highlights…

  • Jeri Ryan has finally arrived on the show as Jessica Danforth, a friend of the Queen family.  She came off well in her debut here, but I fear she’ll be another side character lost in the narrative like Colin Salmon and Nicholas Lea before her.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen this time.
  • Despite not being showcased much this week, it was interesting to see a different side of Darhk.  Apparently even he has his limits.
  • Poor Oliver had once last chance to prove his changed ways to Quentin and Thea went and screwed it up by lighting Anarky on fire.  Way to go, little sister!
  • Felicity is asking for a codename and while I support her 100%, what’s up with her assertion that everyone has one but her?  I haven’t heard one for Diggle yet, beyond his old handle for the now-defunct Suicide Squad: Freelancer.  By all means, give them all codenames, but actually share them with the audience when you do.
  • I’m honestly surprised they have waited until the third episode to pull Malcolm Merlyn back into the narrative.  Bravo for being patient in that regard.  Season 3 was cluttered beyond belief for the majority of its run, so some restraint being shown is nothing but a good thing.  Same goes for the still-absent Ray Palmer.
  • Tonight brings the villainous metahuman Double Down, according to the preview.  That should be fun!