Arrow Season 4 Episode 2 Review: The Candidate

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Damien Darhk took a backseat to the core characters, setting them up for what are sure to be some amazing stories on the horizon.

While Arrow Season 4 Episode 2 touched upon a lot of little plot threads, the main arcs were Felicity's return to work, the implications of Lazarus Pit and Oliver's drive to be a new man.

All three of these arcs promise to change the landscape of Arrow for the foreseeable future. 

Felicity's return to Palmer Tech wasn't as smooth as she anticipated, but she handled it very well. She just needed a little time to gain her bearings and to remember how well she functioned in that environment.

Curtis Holt is pretty terrific and a perfect sidekick for Ms. Smoak. They're like two peas in a pod, and by presenting him as a gay character from the get-go, they've eliminated anybody worrying the two will get any closer than the friends they seem cut out to be.

Let's get one thing straight. The only person who gets to talk in sentence fragments around here is me.

Felicity

The scene with the first employee to be fired sharing everyone at the company had put their faith in Felicity's return with the expectation she was coming back to put things right seemed just a little over the top, but it was effective in that it made Felicity think outside the box. Felicity works well when emotionally challenged and that proved to be true when she went up against the board. 

Now we don't have to worry about how she'll present things to an alive-and-kicking Ray Palmer when she discovers he's alive. From the Arrow Season 4 Sizzle Reel, we already know she'll feel bad enough.

Also in that sizzle was the promise of a dual Canary and Speedy action scene coming our way, and that can only be accomplished with the resurrection of Sara Lance.

Well, that appears to be coming on Arrow Season 4 Episode 3. It's hard to believe Laurel has gone all this time without the knowledge of Thea's Pit experience, but once she learned about it, the wheels were turning. 

Even though Laurel is hearing what Oliver is saying about Thea and probably has concerns of her own after Thea tried to roast Lonnie Machin alive, there isn't much she wouldn't do to get her sister back. She's using the trip to Nanda Parbat to both address Thea's ongoing side effects as well as to bring her beloved sister back to life. Expect the consequences to be far greater for Sara than they were for Thea.

Sara doesn't look too hot, but what lies ahead? Bring it on. 

To dig into Oliver's story, I'm going to dive headfirst into my issue the flashback scenes because during this hour the disconnect between present and past suddenly became very clear. And it's not just a general rant because they are annoying and ill placed (which they are), but because in being so, they rob viewers of answers to important questions and Stephen Amell of meaty material.

When Lance asked the difference between Arrow and Green Arrow, a very pertinent question, Oliver flashed back to the island, to a scene holding absolutely no relevance to the situation at hand. It was almost a bait and switch tactic to take our minds off of the importance of the topic. There was even an explosion, but no answer.

The same thing happened when the team was discussing Thea and the Lazarus Pit problems. Diggle asked very clearly what Oliver wanted to do about Thea now that it's apparent she may be suffering from side effects. Instead of addressing it further, he immediately flashed back to the island. The flashback? Two men asking who he was, and him sharing his name and that he washed ashore and survived. Huh? That pertains to the gravity of Thea's situation how? That he survived?

It's taken a long time to figure out why the flashbacks are so annoying, but there you have it. They are placed at the most important moments of Oliver's present life, making it appear as if he's incapable of or disinterested in dealing with them, and we rarely pick those moments back up within the same hour to finish off where we started. They're intrusive and interrupt the flow of an otherwise intense ongoing story.

They also rob Stephen Amell of the opportunity to sink into some really meaty material, because when Oliver is faced with tough questions that require introspection, he sinks back into the world from which he came, and that rarely offers much in the way of deep thinking. 

Eventually we learned what kind of person Oliver had to become to survive again on the island. It was a very long and winding road to get to that point, and it turned out the flashbacks weren't even needed, because more useful were discussions he had with Jessica Danforth and Lance.

Hope. Inspiration. Someone who can do things in the light who isn't afraid. Someone who can protect himself. Felicity, I'm gonna run for Mayor.

Oliver

So Oliver will be stepping into the light with his candidacy, desiring to be someone who inspires hope in the citizens of Star City in a way the Green Arrow cannot. There is nobody more capable of taking care of himself while standing before said citizens to speak about the issues and promise protection against those who wish to do the city harm.

Will Oliver and Felicity become the Mayor and First Lady of Star City? That doesn't sound too bad, does it?

Other Points: 

  • How could Oliver spend money on a truck when he knows Palmer Tech is so broke they're near bankruptcy? He doesn't seem to be paying the closest attention to Felicity's predicament.
  • Oliver got Felicity a new fern!
  • Diggle chose to share what he knows of HIVE with Laurel. At least someone knows, even if her mind is now elsewhere.
  • I thought Anarky worked for Damien Darhk. Turns out Lonnie Machin was named Anarky by Darhk after he screwed up and was cut loose. That surprised me. Darhk has a line.
  • Is there any particular reason Capt. Lance learned where Jessica Danforth's daughter was being held and sent Team Arrow instead of the police? He was that easily swayed to be on the side of Team Arrow again? Wow.

This was a pretty great hour in terms of plot development. If only those pesky flashbacks could catch the hell up and be nearly as interesting as the present day, all would be well in the Arrowverse. How do you feel about the big stories? Felicity, the Lazarus Pit including Laurel, Thea and Sara and Oliver's decision to run for mayor? Hit the comments!

If you need to catch up, you can watch Arrow online right here via TV Fanatic!

The Candidate Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (86 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Arrow Season 4 Episode 2 Quotes

What this city needs is somebody who can stand out in the light of day, not lurk around in the shadows. You said you were gonna be different this time, huh? How?

Lance

Oliver: He left behind evidence.
Diggle: Fingerprints.
Laurel: How'd you get the owner to part with his windshield?
Oliver: I bought his truck. It's one of the benefits of your girlfriend inheriting a multi-billion dollar conglomerate. We have money now.