Arrow: “The Candidate” Season 4 Episode 2 Review

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What is Arrow season four striving to be about? While the premiere failed to answer that question, “The Candidate” had a much more interesting idea. After most of the episode was spent on what I thought was covered ground, Oliver revealed his intentions for Star City, and they aren’t at all what I expected but could be exactly what the show needs.

With Oliver spending most of the episode telling people how he wanted his return to the city to be different, things were starting to sound a whole lot like season two, when he stopped killing as the Arrow. But old family friend and new mayoral candidate Jessica Danforth puts a drive in his head that makes sense. Star City needs someone to clean up the streets during the day when Green Arrow can’t be out. It means that Oliver Queen could become the city’s next mayor, being both the white and dark knight it needs.

It’s clear that season four is going to need more suspension of disbelief than the ones that preceded it. Oliver was all but exposed as the Arrow last season, something there’s no way the city’s citizens have forgotten. If Oliver suddenly drops the playboy attitude and runs for mayor, he’s bringing even more attention to himself. Won’t it be suspicious if he endorses Green Arrow?

But the potential narrative rewards to this are pretty significant. If Oliver’s campaign succeeds, he’ll be able to put his full attention toward saving Star City every minute of every day. Throw in an endearing connection to his late mother, and you’ve got a storyline with a lot of potential.

The rest of “The Candidate” felt a little more like the path already taken. Thea’s anger issues were a bit redundant, but then it was also rewarding to have this newly enlightened Oliver trying to help her out of her funk. Not to mention, Diggle’s attitude is also getting a little old.

But Anarky fared better than a lot of the villains this show adapts. He was given just the right dose of crazy to be compelling. His off-screen escape, with the back of the van bearing his symbol written in blood, was one of the best moments of the episode. I look forward to seeing more of him in the future.

Overall, “The Candidate” had more of what we needed going into this show’s fourth season with it’s main character having found some form of enlightenment. This new direction, along with some exceptional villains, suddenly have season four feeling much more alive after it’s dull, easy-route premiere. Grade: B+


Some Other Thought Bubbles:

  • Also new this episode was the future Mister Terrific, now known as Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum). At the moment, he seems a little too much like Ray Palmer, which the show didn’t hide well by immediately pairing him with Felicity. But this is a cool hero that I hope is given his due justice in the future.
  • Felicity’s board will review her numbers again in six months, which is right when the premiere told us someone is going to die. Hmmm…
  • Who’s ready to go back to Nanda Parbat next week and visit the League of Assassins?! Looks like White Canary is right around the corner!

By Matt Dougherty

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