Arrow S:04 E:2

Episode Title: The Candidate
Original Airdate: 10-14-15

I’m not quire sure what we’re in for with Season 4 of “Arrow.” Increased responsibility definitely seems to be one of the major themes, but I’m not sold that’s the best way to go for a comic book based series.

After three mayors’ death, a Queen family friend (Jeri Ryan) seeks to make an impact to improve Star City. Her candidacy immediately comes under fire (literally) thanks to HIVE operative Lonnie Machin, a vastly different take on the Batman character Anarky.

With his first plan failing, Machin adapts and kidnaps the candidate’s daughter, triggering Thea to be even more aggressive while trying to find her childhood friend. Oliver’s concerns that the Lazarus Pit exposure is slowly driving Thea mad don’t seem to be that big a stretch at this point. I like the Batman/Damien Wayne dynamic the show has set up with Oliver trying to keep his sister reined in and finding it increasingly more difficult.

One thing that’s becoming more apparent as the season goes on is that Team Arrow has too many members fighting and it takes away from what previously made Arrow special. Now everyone can take down bad guys and in Thea’s case exactly the same.

Felicity kicks off her season story arc as she assumes control of Palmer Technologies and faced with laying off employees. Not that she needs to be emotionless at that prospect, but it’s way too soon in the season for tearful Felicity to make an appearance.

Office politics make for boring storylines in an escapist comic book action series. It  doesn’t get any more interesting with the arrival of hipster tech geek Curtis Holt who may be the show’s version of comic hero Mr. Terrific. Holt is essentially a gay, male version of Felicity and their awkward, stilted banter looks like it will grow tiresome pretty quickly.

Arrow - The Candidate - AnarkyFelicity bluffs that Holt’s got a major company revitalizing project in the works and needs all the employees slated for termination. Despite working in hard numbers, the board agrees to this vague proposal and gives her six months to pull it off. So why did the employees need to get fired right away if they really had a six month window?

Diggle confides in Laurel about Dahrk’s connection to The HIVE, the same group that killed his brother. Diggle not trusting Oliver made sense as they still have a lot of tension to work out, but I was glad to see that wouldn’t be a season long secret for him.

I’m still not clear on the relationship with HIVE boss Damien Darhk and Quentin Lance. Last week it appeared they were somewhat reluctant allies, but this week it came across like Lance was being blackmailed into working with him to keep Laurel safe. That’s twisted logic since Laurel is more than capable of handling herself and is aligned with the city’s protectors.Since Machin has gone off the deep end, Darhk gives him up so Team Arrow can bring him down.

Unlike most of the villains not named Merlyn, Slade or Ra’s, Machin actually manages to hold his own with the two siblings before Thea uses his electro staff to ignite him. GA extinguishes him with a helpful pipe of oxygen hanging overhead, but Machin flees police custody while being taken via ambulance to care for his wounds.

Arrow - The Candidate -Oliver and TheaThe scares prove too much and yet another mayoral candidate has dropped out convincing Oliver he’s the only one who can protect Star City during the day and the night.

Not a lot happened on the island flashback this week save Oliver infiltrating an armed unit that has people working in a field. Oh, and to really sell his commitment to the cause, he got a haircut. No more bad blonde wigs!

Laurel, completely intrigued on the prospect of resurrecting sisters, offers to take Thea for some relaxing spa time. How Oliver doesn’t consider Laurel is going to immediately book a reservation for the first Lazarus Pit seemed a stretch. Sure enough Laurel tells Thea they’re going to Nanda Parbat in part to help Thea come down off her homicidal tendencies, but really to resurrect her sister Sara.

This is really one of those cases where DC TV got ahead of itself with the reveal that Sara was going to return and be part of the “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” team. The big shock factor was absent from what should have been an incredible moment on “Arrow,” not used as a tease for another show.

I did appreciate seeing Sara’s dried-out corpse. She wasn’t magically preserved, but dead dead. Seeing all the grief Thea is confronting, are we sure Laurel’s not the crazy one?

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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