Review: Arrow Season 4 Ep. 2 “The Candidate”

by Paul DePaola
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Oliver has committed himself and his team to a new direction to save Star City from the forces of Damien Darhk.  However, it will take more than Green Arrow to save the city.  Star City needs leadership and a proper government.  An old friend of the Queen family has decided to step up and announce her candidacy for mayor.

Guest star Jeri Ryan is Jessica Danforth.  She has been inspired by Moira Queen’s example and wants to step up and help restore order to the city.  However, it doesn’t take long (quite literally) for someone to try and dissuade her from running.  Team Arrow is now facing a new villain who seems to be even more than Damien Darhk can control.

The Positive

Candidate 2Not everyone sees Oliver’s return to Star City as a good thing.  He is still having to deal with everything that happened last season.  Captain Lance and Diggle, especially still don’t quite trust him.  Felicity is dealing with a company that is suffering financially and a board that is forcing her to lay off workers.

The episode opens big with a great action scene as Team Arrow takes down a group of ghosts.  The fight and stunt choreography continues to impress.  The team members are working together much more cohesively than they did last time, but Thea is still a wild card often times taking things too far.  The episode itself is more action oriented than last week as they hunt down the new villain, Lonnie Machin.

The villains really shine here.  Neal McDonough’s Damien Darhk is terrific, he is constantly tense as if the power inside him is too much and he is about to explode.  On the opposite side is our new villain Lonnie Machin, known in the comics as Anarky.  The name is only alluded to here, but it sums him up quite well.  Machin wants to join Darhk and H.I.V.E. and goes to extreme lengths to earn Darhk’s favor.

Candidate 3

The Negative

Jeri Ryan is great as someone who is trying to step up and take back the city.  However, her character seems to be a mostly one and done, which is a waste of a character and an actress.

The final scene would be a great twist and reveal if it hadn’t been spoiled by ads for the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow all summer long.  As soon as we hear them talking about Lazarus Pits and going to Nanda Parbat, we can see where this is going.  It still works in the story, but it would’ve been nice to not know about the character’s return yet.

The Verdict

This is a solid, action-packed episode.  The fact that we know one of our characters is going to die by the end of the season hangs over everyone and I was constantly guessing about whether they were foreshadowing or not.  Every character got a moment to step forward and have their moment.  Best of all, Flashback Oliver has finally cut his hair.  No more wigs!


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