Arrow Review – S04 E02 – “The Candidate”

Arrow’s second episode The Candidate has come and gone and we here at Nerdo are maybe a tad bit late getting you the review, but after a slight change in creative, we are back!

Laurel zip-lining in to stomp some Ghosts.
Laurel zip-lining in to stomp some Ghosts.

Last week Oliver smiled, got a wardrobe change, and finally took up the mantle of the Green Arrow. It seems that the show is finally changing course and hopefully delivering a much more familiar (to comic fans anyway) Oliver Queen instead of the brooding Bat-esque man we’ve become accustomed to. That said, this episode explodes with action right off the barrel of the bat. The opening scene throws us right into a heated battle between Team Arrow and the Ghosts that have been plaguing Star City.

Take note of the fluidity of battle here. The fight choreography on this show has stepped up their game every season and I can tell you this may be one of my favorite fight scenes in the series. Better than that, however, is how great it is to see these heroes working as a team. Oliver assisting Black Canary with the zip-line arrow? Yeah, give me more of that. My favorite thing about this season so far?

Thea? Mia? Whatever.
Thea? Mia? Whatever.

Yeah, Thea Queen has been tearing it up as Speedy thus far. Having preferred Mia Dearden to Roy Harper myself in the literature, it’s been great seeing Thea go from useless, whining sister to certified ass kicker in a couple of seasons. It’s a shame that Roy didn’t get the oppurtunity to shine like this (and should have last season. I know, Jarryd), but I’m excited to see where Thea’s story goes this season. Maybe they’ll give her HIV so she can really be like Mia. I dunno, I’d be hyped.

After the fight, Oliver lectures Thea again as she’s suffering the side effects of a dip in the Lazarus Pit and then just as quickly throws a smile on his face handing Felicity her lunch for her first day as CEO of Palmer Tech. Now, I’m just going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that inside that little brown bag, is a cup of Ollie’s world famous chili. If I ever find out it’s not, this show should be cancelled immediately.

We get introduced to two new and key characters for the season:

Oh...terrific (Photo cred: www.hollywoodreporter.com)
Oh…terrific. (Photo cred: www.hollywoodreporter.com)

Echo Kellum debuts as Palmer Technologies employee and resident genius Curtis Holt (eventually AKA Mr. Terrific). Curtis here develops an algorithm with the intention of saving jobs and acquiring pay increases for the staff. The board has other plans because big bad corporate obviously wants to keep bonuses and eliminate the little man.

Honestly? I assumed I would absolutely hate this character, but he managed to be very endearing. The show ended up changing his first name and turned him into the show’s first openly gay character. Look out for the creation of the T-Spheres this season, but they may hold off on that until the end. I think his first duties will somehow coincide with finding Ray Palmer.

Anarky in the SC! (Photo cred: www.screencrush.com)
Anarky in the SC! (Photo cred: www.screencrush.com)

The big bad for the episode and, possibly, a recurring baddie for a portion of this season is Lonnie Machin played by Alexander Calvert. You may know Lonnie as a Batman rogue named Anarky, but it seems he hasn’t made that transformation yet in this episode. In fact, there are almost no references to his socio-politcal position at all. Lonnie is but a skilled combatant who seems to be doing dirty work for Damien Darhk.

The episode itself sets up an interesting scenario as close friend to the late Moira Queen tosses her name in the hat as a candidate for the mayor of Star City. Darhk sends in Machin to take care of business during the speech, but is easily stopped by the very civilian team of Ollie and Thea.

As stated before, Lonnie doesn’t quite portray the traits of the Anarky we know from the pages of DC comics or even the Arkham series of video games, but it seems as they’re taking a slightly different approach. After he fails at doing away with Danforth, he kidnaps her daughter which for whatever reason doesn’t sit well with Mr. Darhk. After a brief confrontation, he makes it clear to Lonnie, that while he himself represents order and precision, Machin is sloppy and represents anarchy (surprise!).

It seems as if CW wants to take Anarky in less of a political direction, and more of a Joker-esque (and that’s not to say they’re turning into a Joker rip-off) character who does whatever he wants to get the job done. Almost as if he doesn’t have limitations. After a fight with Team Arrow, a very Lazarus-hate-fueled Speedy seemingly burns our villain alive.

The cop didn't know what this symbol meant. DumbAF.
The cop didn’t know what this symbol meant. DumbAF.

Seems as we’ll be seeing more of Lachin in the future and seems like he’ll be brutal.

Otherwise the episode delivered on furthering the whispering about H.I.V.E. and Diggle’s vendetta against ’em. We’re getting a slow burn to all of Damien’s intentions and how the rest of the organization will play into this season. Felicity has become much more tolerable this season, which, after the end of last week’s episode made me believe she was a goner.

However, after her begging for a code name this time around, I’m under the impression that H.I.V.E. will cripple our little blonde genius, and we’ll call her Oracle. I mean, you can’t have the name Oracle AND maintain the use of your legs. Sorry, can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Possibly the weakest point of this episode, was the very rushed decision for Laurel and Thea to travel back to Nanda Parbat to see the League of Assassins and get some answers as to what is leeching on Thea’s temper. Oh, and yeah…let’s raise Sara from the dead too because as we see from Thea, it turns out fantastic. Even with the relationship between Laurel and Nyssa, I’m not sure the League would welcome uninvited guests. Either way, it’s a vehicle to boot DC’s Legends of Tomorrow series and many people will be excited to see Sara return.

The baddest man in Star City.
The baddest man in Star City.

The most important development, and admittedly, the one that got me the most hyped was Oliver deciding to run for Mayor. Straight out of the pages of Judd Winnick’s memorable run on the character, Oliver realizes the city needs a mayor who can stand up to the violence plaguing candidates and the city, so the Green Arrow is JUST the man for the job.

WRAP-UP

The second episode of the season succeeded on maintaining my hype level and backed up my shit talk to the rest of my CBFU bandmates, that Arrow could very well be as good or better than Flash. Mostly, I was excited to see various elements from the comic come alive to breathe life into my favorite comic book hero.

RATING

9/10

Just the end of this episode where Oliver reveals he will run for mayor was enough for me to give this a 9, but solid action sequences with Speedy and the rest of the team, some slow development for Anarky, and me not hating Mr. Terrific made this a phenomenal second episode. I’m excited for what this season will bring.

Fre
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