TV – Arrow Season 4, Episode 2

Arrow: TheCandidate

Steve Taylor-Bryant returns to Star City to see how Green Arrow will cope with this week’s episode and The Candidate…

“Let's get one thing straight. The only person who gets to talk in sentence fragments around here is me.”

Team Arrow pick up with more fighting of Ghosts, Felicity is tracking another bomb and wants a code name, complaining that even Oliver is on his second, and Thea still has rage issues which are concerning Oliver although Thea keeps telling him she is fine. Back on Yian Lu in the past Oliver kills the soldier that has captured him but Waller sends instruction that he must infiltrate whatever it is that the soldiers are on the island for. Friends of Oliver’s mother, Jessica Danforth and her daughter Madison, come to have brunch with Oliver and Thea and Jessica announces her intention to run for Mayor of Star City. Oliver explains the risk but she is determined and wants the Queens’ backing in her campaign.

Felicity attends her first Palmer Technologies board meeting and immediately gets everyone’s back up with her jokey style. Palmer Technologies is in financial trouble and the board have used the algorithm designed by an employee, Curtis Holt, to work out which staff have to be laid off as there is no money left. At Jessica Danforth’s Mayoral campaign announcement a gun attack starts but the gun is an automatic one and just a distraction for someone to kidnap Jessica. Her kidnapper is fought off by Oliver who gives chase after the perpetrator runs but Oliver is stopped when a car hits him. The kidnapper had touched the windscreen of a truck during his escape so Oliver uses Felicity’s new found wealth and buys the truck but, when the prints are analysed, it appears he has mixed and matched his own prints so they won’t identify him, although he wasn’t wearing a mask so they rule out him being a Ghost.

Oliver goes to see Captain Lance to offer Team Arrow’s help but he is mocked for his new moniker and Lance doesn’t believe he’s changed enough to help. In another flashback, Oliver discovers a village controlled by soldiers. He uses the dead body to set off a mine and makes himself look attacked with his ripped clothes and some dirt. Felicity is at Palmer HQ talking with Curtis, the technician, and he explains his algorithm was originally designed to look at growth and pay increases but it was used by Mr. Dennis on the board to look at cost cutting instead. Felicity has to fire her first employee, reluctantly, and the employee makes her feel worse but saying how everyone had hoped she would improve things.

During a stakeout Diggle confesses to Laurel what he knows about HIVE and the death of his brother whilst Damien Darhk meets with Lonnie Machin, the elusive attempted kidnapper of Jessica Danforth. Darhk is not impressed with how sloppy Machin was but Machin snaps back and demands more time, getting it but with a harsh warning from Darhk that HIVE don’t give third chances. Felicity managed to put some fingerprints together to identify Machin by using the fragmented bits as a jigsaw puzzle, leading Team Arrow to an old paper mill that Felicity had actually shut down during Palmer Technologies cost cutting. Green Arrow and Speedy come across a drug dealer and Speedy breaks him arm which leads to a Queen sibling argument about her crippling technique. Oliver explains that when he took Ra’s' offer he used the Lazarus Pit to save Thea’s life and it has had some rage side effects. Thea, whilst hating Oliver, wonders why the effects are kicking in six months later. On Lian Yu, Oliver gets taken to the leader of the mysterious soldiers, Baron Reiter.

Felicity doesn’t want to fire anyone else and wants to find a different way and Curtis, knowing he is on the list to be made redundant, tries to make her feel better. Danforth is still in solitary being protected by SCPD and, when Oliver visits, he is told Madison has gone to the library to study for her exams. Oliver senses something is wrong and asks Jessica to phone Madison to discover that Madison’s protection detail have been attacked and she has been taken. Jessica is distraught and holds an emotional press conference begging for Madison’s safe return. Oliver begs Captain Lance to let Team Arrow help on this one. Back on Lian Yu, Oliver is meeting with Baron Reiter who refuses to help Oliver get home, instead he will put him to work in his army. Machin meets with Darhk who his livid that Machin has kidnapped Madison and no longer wants anything to do with him. Captain Lance confronts Darhk who doesn’t like his tone and threatens Laurel’s life if he tries that again but admits he didn’t take Madison and gives Lance the location where she is being held. Lance gives Team Arrow the location and tells them it’s time to prove they are different now.

Machin is about to torture Madison when Team Arrow turns up. Machin tries to flee with Green Arrow and Thea in pursuit and, when they catch up, Machin gets inventive with some electricity to try and put them down but Thea sets fire to him. This upsets Lance, who doesn’t like the reasoning of ‘at least he’s alive,’ and Danforth withdraws her candidacy for Mayor. Felicity storms into the Palmer boardroom, they are all quite angry as she’s stopped firing people, and announces that Curtis Holt has a project that will save the company within six months and she has hired back all the staff she laid off. Thea finally realises she has some issues and Laurel tells Oliver that she will take Thea to a spa but really she is going to Nanda Parbat to reuse the Lazarus Pit. A flashback shows soldier Oliver on Lian Yu and his hair is shaved. The ambulance taking the badly burned Machin to hospital never made it to its destination. Machin killed the medics and left the sign in blood for Lance to find – Anarky is born. Oliver tells Felicity he should be the one who stands for Mayor and, before they depart for Nanda Parbat, Laurel digs up Sara’s grave.

Season 4 has started strongly. I can only hope it's not a front loaded season and that some consistency is going to occur because if this level of excitement, character development, and writing continues for 23 episodes I will be a massively happy fanboy. Seeing Felicity stay a little kooky but become a stronger character in her own right is very pleasing, Darhk is still menacing and looks like he will play an important part in the season's outcome and the thought of Thea returning to Nanda Parbat, which should introduce her father Malcolm Merlyn as new Ra’s excites immensely but not as much as the now obvious introduction to new show Legends of Tomorrow as we are soon to witness the rebirth of Sara and the start of White Canary. As if all this wasn’t enough we have Oliver standing for Mayor, that ridiculous wig from the flashbacks has gone – finally! And we have a new villain in CW Universe with Anarky played wonderfully by Alexander Calvert (Lost Boys: The Tribe) who gave me the same buzz watching his insanity as I got when I first saw Robin Lord Taylor as The Penguin in Gotham. There is room for some proper psychopaths in television and Calvert is going to be a welcome addition.

Image - CW.