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REVIEW: Arrow 4×02 “The Candidate”

Written by Scott Swartz

Ok, so you take the good from last week and you mix it with whatever the hell happened this week and you manage to have brought us back to square one. Arrow, unlike The Flash created a situation where we really didn’t need about half of the episode and the ending few minutes easily could have taken place in the front half of the episode. We know Thea is insane from going into the pit, we know Oliver is looking to find a way to make a difference outside of being Green Arrow, we could even figure out that Anarky was going to be entirely uncontrollable. Yet for some reason we were forced to watch these plots be stretched out in a way that really helped to stall the forward momentum we were experiencing in last week’s premier. I really hope the show isn’t going to be this roller coaster like quality, because if so we are going to be in for a long season.

So let’s start off with Mayor Queen, which at this point is the only way to ensure that Star City’s mayor is able to remain alive. I love the idea as it is one of Oliver’s deepest desires for the Green Arrow to be able to help people even when he is not suited up, but the steps which it took to get there were entirely unnecessary. The Danforths as characters were really one note and since they were one and done made absolutely no impact on me at all. If they were supposed to be such good friends of the Queen’s it would have helped to lay some sort of ground work and build them up to be something other than a filler. It was especially depressing considering the fact that no one wants to be mayor at the moment, so how will there be any sort of drama to this entire storyline.

I had a similar problem when confronting the character of Anarky who really isn’t all that interesting. His prime motivation of joining Hive was never really explained other than he simply wants to be included, and much like the Danforths, he suffered from a stunning lack of depth in any sort of situation. His big reveal and origin towards the end of the episode felt rather cheap and unearned as his threat level was relatively nonexistent beyond the random chaos. Since we never really cared about the kidnapping or how it effected Ollie, Anarky became a place holder villain while Darhk worked in the background to make Ollie’s life a living hell. Hopefully his next appearance will carry some actual weight to it rather than being a place holder for the more interesting villain.

Then we have Felicity, a supposedly important character who is given a completely boring and predictable plot. Of course she is going to have to fire people, of course Holt is going to create the formula that gets him fired, of course Felicity is going to lie and buy six months of time conveniently. I constantly was angry at my tv because I could see exactly where the plot was leading us and it was so by the tubers that I actually felt bad for Felicity for being in such a lackluster plot. She is supposed to be a crucial part of this show and team, yet her “challenge” is not even compelling or out of the ordinary for this type of story. It is so formulaic and contrived that it makes me want to skip over this episode in any type of re-watch.

The only confusing bright spot of this entire episode was Thea being bat shit crazy. Apparently it has taken six months for the pit to have any negative side effects on Thea and now she is using so much brutal force even Ollie is forced to question if she is going to far.Yes, the same Ollie who has murdered  more people than I can count thinks that Thea has lost all sense of control. I loved that Thea fought back against the notion she was going to far and blamed Ollie since he disappeared to suburbia, it brought back some solid tension to their relationship that was largely missing last year. Also, it was suitably terrifying to see Thea light Anarky on fire and seem to enjoy it until she realized exactly what she had done. It wasn’t subtle by any stretch of the imagination, but it works to display that Thea finally understands that something is indeed very wrong with her.

Overall it was a below average episode that was still laying ground work for the season.

Final Grade C

+Thea being crazy

+Mayor Queen

-No reason to care about the Danforths

-Anarky really lame

-Felicity plot was extra formulaic

-Diggle hiding HIVE

Extra Thoughts

-Despite Felicity’s plot being entirely too predictable, Ollie making her lunch was super cool.

-In fact Ollie this season has been nothing but joy, he bought a car for evidence and ran out of I told you so’s

-In what world after knowing what Thea did would Laurel willingly dip Sara in the pit? That is just stupid.

About the author

Scott Swartz