As much as I enjoyed the "Arrow" season 4 premiere, "The Candidate" is really what has me hopeful for this veteran superhero drama again. Tonight's (Oct. 14) episode juggled a lot of ongoing plot lines, while also introducing some major new characters. Through it all, it used the frankly tragic-right-now plight of Star City to hold these disparate plot lines and characters together.
It's too early to call this a return to form — and, yes, the flashbacks are still a major bore — but "Arrow" is back on the right track and I couldn't be happier.
Here are the biggest moments from "The Candidate."
The most dangerous job in Star City.
The real narrative through-line of "Arrow" season 4? Mayoral politics. The last three majors of Star City have died gruesome deaths and the rest of the city leadership was taken out by Damien Dahrk. This week, it's Jessica Danforth's turn to put her life in danger for a career in municipal politics.
Jessica was besties with Moira Queen, so at least we know she's an excellent judge of character — or at least class. (Side note: Do you think Moira chose only friends whose bone structure was as fine as hers?) As an old family friend, she asks Thea and Oliver to support her bid for candidacy, and they do. But before Jessica can even start passing out buttons, Anarky pulls a Slade Wilson and kidnaps Jessica's daughter, Madison, to convince her to drop out of the race...
Meet Anarky, aspiring H.I.V.E. employee.The CW
Yep, Anarky's main motivation here seems to be getting a job with H.I.V.E., the mysterious organization Damien Darhk works for that's also behind Diggle's brother's death. Anarky makes a solid enough impression here — locking a college student in a trunk will do that for you — but I'm not ready to put him on my "best villain of the week" list. Then again, he escapes at the end of the episode and no doubt has a bone to pick with Thea who SET HIM ON FIRE during Team Arrow's rescue of Madison Danforth, so I'm guessing we'll see him again...
The Lazarus Pit still has a hold on Thea.
Honestly, for most of the episode, I didn't think Thea's behavior was that reckless. Sure, it was unsavory, but we've seen Oliver do far worse and it had nothing to do with the Lazarus Pit. Thea has endured just as much trauma as her brother. And, frankly, if I were her, I might have gone after Ollie a heck of a lot sooner.
Then she straight-up lit Anarky on fire. That was harsh. Can I say that I am HERE for this storyline? I've been waiting for Thea to turn evil for a few seasons now and, though I don't think she's necessarily heading over to the darhk side, she's certainly on a darhk path. (Did you see what I did there? Twice.)
In related rants, how did Laurel not know about Thea's little trip to Nanda Parbat?! In the past five months, Thea's RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD hasn't come up? Team Arrow needs to have weekly check-in meetings from now on. Has anyone died in the last week? No? OK, moving on. Anyone made any ill-fated alliances with the city's current big bad? What was that, Lance? Nothing? OK, moving on.
Thea and Laurel are heading to the Nanda Parbat, Spa and Hotel.The CW
Be still my heart! What is this I see? An entire storyline featuring women trying to bring other women back from the dead? That has to pass some kind of Undead Bechtel Test, right? Last week, I was complaining about never getting to see Thea and Laurel's apartment. This week, not only do we get to see it, but we get to see Laurel and Thea scheming in it — which is even better. The episode ends with Laurel straight-up digging Sara's body up while Thea stands guard. Yep, these two are going on a trip to the Lazarus Pit, and you better believe this is my absolute favorite storyline right now.
Felicity goes back to work.
And by "work," I'm referring to her position as CEO of a multi-billion dollar company. Is she qualified? Nope. But she is more qualified than Oliver was, and, apparently, that's the bar we're using. Felicity takes on her new role with her signature optimism and enthusiasm, but barely walks through the door before the board informs her the company must downsize.
By the end of the episode, Felicity has tricked the board into not firing people by telling them she has something awesome planned. Let's be clear, this is the equivalent of distracting a crying child by promising them ice cream, and would absolutely not work on the board members of a multi-billion dollar company IRL. But watching Felicity "Bleeding Heart" Smoak as CEO of Palmer Tech is delightful, and I will follow any storyline that gives her even more to do.
Enter Curtis Holt.
Tonight we met Curtis Holt (aka the future Mr. Terrific), the tech-savvy Palmer Tech employee with a skill for algorithms. It's his algorithm that's being used to figure out who Palmer Tech should fire in their downsizing. Felicity and Curtis obviously have a lot in common: They're both super smart. They both speak in sentence fragments (though Felicity makes it clear that this is her thing). And they both want to save Palmer Tech from firing people.
Given that it's Curtis who Felicity claims is buying the ice cream — er, I mean, saving the company with some money-making invention — we're going to be seeming a lot more of these two together. And, guys? I can't wait. They're going to be the most adorkable best friends ever.
Oliver Queen for mayor.
It's happening, people! This is not a drill. Start making the buttons! Can we recycle Moira's posters? Can someone get Alison Hendrix over her to run this campaign?
Let's be real: To any Star City resident who has been paying attention, Oliver Queen would not make a good candidate. He's the responsibility-shirking, spoiled rich boy who probably still has PTSD from those five years he spent on a deserted island. But hey, beggars can't be choosers, right?
Personally, I'm beyond excited for this storyline. One of the things missing from season 3 of "Arrow" was the balance of Oliver Queen's public persona with his superhero alter ego. This mayoral campaign is the perfect storytelling structure to maintain that compelling theme. Plus, this kind of makes Felicity and Oliver the ultimate power couple.
(Although, did you see Felicity's face when Oliver declared his plan to run for mayor? Maybe pose it as a discussion first, buddy?)
Meanwhile, on the island.The CW
Meanwhile, on the island... we're still on the island. I really wish I could get myself hyped up for another bout on Isle Never Vacation Here, but as long as the flashbacks have no relevancy to the present-day storyline, I can't, guys. I just cannot.
And I know we're supposed to be glad that The Flashback Wig is gone, but I think I'm going to miss it?
Oh, and here's your adorable Olicity GIF of the week.