If Arrow Season 03 taught us anything, it’s that you can have a fantastic and jaw dropping start (aka Sara getting killed suddenly and brutally), but then fizzle out shortly after. The Arrow Season 04 premiere had some twists, but went for a more consistent tone throughout. Leaving some wondering how it would proceed. “The Candidate” kept up that consistent tone, while adding a few wrinkles to the mix, and playing out what was built upon. And it worked beautifully.
“The Candidate” was very simple in premise and execution. An old friend of Moira, played by the amazing Jeri Ryan, inspired by her lost friend and the arrival of Green Arrow decided to run for Mayor of Star City. Naturally…Damien Darhk didn’t seem to like that idea…at all. But in a twist, he used this “inconvenience” to test out a new player. One who would raise some serious…Anarky.
Damien Darhk had a powerful entrance in the premiere, and this episode truly brought out some of the depths of his character. He’s willing to give people a shot to prove they are of use to him (something that may continue to play out through the season), however, he has limits, psychotic as he is. And if you’re not in with his “order”, you’re going down.
It was fun to see the birth of Anarky, and in a way that didn’t need a lot of forcing. Felicity noting that’s he’s been an enforcer for the Triad and others showed that he wasn’t just some punk off the streets, he was someone to be taken seriously. Which he proved when he actually held his own against both Ollie AND Thea in the climatic battle.
Speaking of Thea, i’m glad that her “rage” issues continued to blossom. To the point that Ollie had to literally fight her in order to show her, and the others, that something was wrong. That was very unexpected, but very powerful. And when it came to where Thea literally (almost) burned Anarky to a crisp? You knew, that she knew, that something was wrong. Then, to add to the fun, and horror in some ways, Laurel hearing about the Lazarus Pit…and then deciding to “resurrect” Sara…and even digging up her corpse herself!!!!…yeah, that happened. True, we KNEW it was going to happen. But this was a bit dark. Even my dad (who doesn’t read the internet on these shows very much) didn’t see this coming.
The flashbacks were actually very interesting this go round, and thankfully (seriously, I’m REALLY grateful) they’re not sticking to the “Ollie has to fight to survive on the island against unknown foes!” thing. No, this time, he’s one of them!…sort of. And hearing that the bad guy not only knows who Ollie is, but was appreciative of his skills enough to offer him a job? Simple, yet probable. Oh, and now Ollie doesn’t have to haircuts! Sweet!
Felicity also had a good storyline, as she finally got to become head of Palmer Technologies. Sadly, for her, this meant having to fire people in order to keep the company afloat for the time being. It was good seeing how this was affecting her, and that she hated having to do it. Especially with one Michael Holt (*cough* Mr. Terrific *cough*) who is quickly going to become a good friend to her. Also, I loved how she bluffed her way into letting them all keep their jobs. I see great things on the horizon for Palmer Technologies…maybe a T-Sphere revolution?
One thing I had a little problem with was that they did away with Jeri Ryan’s character too quickly. Yes, you knew something was going to happen to her. But they could’ve done a two episode thing. Sure…this does now lead to Ollie being mayor (something that has happened in the comics, and some fans predicted), but I wish it didn’t come so quickly.
Overall, “The Candidate” was an incredibly good episode all around. Ollie is taking big steps towards being the HERO that Star City needs. I like where the direction of Season 4 is going. If it can keep up? Season 04 will be one of the best Arrow seasons, period.