On last week’s episode of “Arrow” Oliver announced his crimefighting identity to the world as the Green Arrow, the new protector of Star City (the former Starling City, now with a name matching its comic book counterpart). Oliver decided to stay in Star City because he and Felicity knew the best place for them was fighting side by side with their friends Laurel, Diggle and Thea. While Oliver was gone, supervillain and mystical metahuman Damien Dahrk had the city overrun. Now the team is back together, diffusing bombs, taking down bad guys and doing their best to clean up the mess that Darhk and his “ghosts” left behind.
Tonight’s episode, “The Candidate,” features Team Arrow tracking down a kidnapper: comic book antihero Lonnie Machin a.k.a. Anarky, played by Alexander Calvert. We’re also introduced to Curtis Holt (the show’s take on comic hero Mr. Terrific), played by Echo Kellum, and Moira Queen’s old friend Jessica Danforth, played by Jeri Ryan, best known as Seven of Nine from “Star Trek: Voyager.” This episode follows the traditional “Arrow” format of pursuing the villain of the week, but it also deviates to explore two very important plot points: Felicity’s life as Palmer Tech CEO and Thea’s struggle in her post-Lazarus Pit existence. She was never told about Malcolm’s Lazarus Pit warning, and the side effects are starting to catch up to her.
The episode starts with a flashback. As we saw last week, Oliver’s flashbacks this season take place on Lian Yu, the “hellish island” where Oliver crashed in season one. Once there, Oliver is told to infiltrate the group on the island to gain their trust. Oliver meets the island’s new leader — Baron Reiter — played by Jimmy Akingbola. Baron Reiter, while named after Baron Blitzkrieg, will not have the same Nazi ties as the original comic book baron. The character will however remain the leader of “Shadowspire,” a group associated with trafficking weapons, technology, and drugs.
Last season, Starling City was left mayorless and remains so until this day. While Star City’s council members and officials have been administrating the city without a mayor, many of them were killed last week by Darhk’s men. Without strong leadership, Star City is in desperate need of a mayor, and Moria Queen’s old friend Jessica Danforth intends to run. Danforth announces her candidacy to Oliver and Thea over breakfast, citing the Green Arrow’s message of hope as the inspiration for her desire to lead Star City as mayor. Danforth holds a press conference to formally announce her bid as mayor, but an assassin quickly attempts to take her life. Danforth flees the scene with one of her security guards — who turns out to be her assassin. Oliver thwarts the impostor, and Danforth remains unharmed. Felicity is able to run his fragmented finger prints and discovers the assassin is Lonnie Machin. Machin is a familiar name in the DC Comics universe, as the man who adopts the moniker Anarky. It is later revealed that Machin wanted to kill Danforth as his audition to Darhk. Darhk is displeased with Machin’s failure, which forces Machin to kidnap Danforth’s daughter, Madison (Tiera Skovbye).
While tracking down Machin, Oliver and Thea interrogate a drug dealer. Thea uses excessive force while interrogating the man, and breaks his arm. Back at the Arrow Cave, Oliver confronts Thea about her overly violent tactics, which sparks an all-out Arrow/Speedy fight. Surely Oliver and Thea fought as children, but now that they are trained killers, it’s no small thing when they take swings at each other. Thea tackles Oliver, forcing Diggle and Laurel to pull her off. This confrontation forces Oliver to finally come clean to Thea about the Lazarus Pit, Malcolm’s warnings and the possible side effects. Laurel watches all of this unfold, then asks what happened to Thea in Nanda Parbat — which she hadn’t been told about. Later in the episode, Thea finally tells Laurel that Ra’s killed her, and then brought her back to life using the Lazarus Pit. As Thea shares her incredible tale of resurrection Laurel’s eyes widen — she’s clearly thinking about Sara, and if the Lazarus Pit could also bring her back from the dead.
Over at Palmer Tech, Felicity is forced to deal with her board of directors, who all want to downsize the employees of the company. Felicity agrees to fire a large number of employees, but only under great duress. There she meets a young inventor named Curtis Holt, the future Mr. Terrific. Holt has invented an algorithm that would help Palmer Tech employees get paid more, but the board is using it to determine who should be fired first. Felicity decides not to fire anyone, promising her board that she and Mr. Holt will have an astonishing new piece of technology that will revolutionize Palmer Tech and recover all the profits the company lost when Ray Palmer “died.” The board gives Felicity and Curtis six months to finish the project.
The last moments of tonight’s episode reveal the successful rescue of Danforth’s daughter. Damien Darhk tips off Captain Lance as to her whereabouts, giving Team Arrow the opportunity to confront Anarky face to face. Thea incapacitates him, and in a gleeful rage, sets him on fire. Oliver puts the fire out, leaving Machin alive. He escapes after killing the EMTs attending to him and writing a bloody anarchy symbol on the wall. These traumatic event force Jessica Danforth to withdraw her bid as mayor, leaving room for a new candidate to rise. Who is the new candidate? Oliver Queen. As CBR theorized earlier this year, Oliver’s run for mayor lines up with 2006’s “One Year Later” comic book story.
Lastly, Laurel offers to take Thea on a spa trip, to help her relax after the tensions of the week. Laurel is lying of course, and invites Thea to join her in Nanda Parbat, to see if The League can help Thea cure her madness. Laurel and Thea also do a little grave-digging and uncover Sara’s body, in order to take her to Nanda Parbat and put her in the Lazarus Pit. We already knew that Sara’s resurrection was coming, as she was already revealed to be part of the “Legends of Tomorrow” main cast as “White Canary.”
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