Nothing probably sums up the all-new tone for Arrow better than Oliver handing Felicity a paper bagged lunch in the first few minutes of “The Candidate”. Less you think Arrow is all sappy Olicity moments now, that is far from the case. There are still the bad guys, the fights and the attempted murders but everything is a lot more fun now in Season 4, even the attempted murders. OK, maybe not the attempted murders, but everything else in “The Candidate” was a lot lighter stuff than normal. Surprisingly so because Arrow started to pick up some its darker plot threads left dangling from last season, mainly the mystery of what is happening to Thea.
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Another Mayor, Another Death Threat
Team Arrow (or is it Team Green Arrow now?) are fighting the Ghosts. Now that Oliver is on their side, they take the Ghosts very quickly but Diggle is still dissatisfied with their progress. Oliver is all kinds of bubbly on the other hand. He even makes Felicity a bagged lunch for her first day as the new boss of Palmer Tech. There is just the little problem of Thea. She is still a tad too aggressive following her little bath in a Lazarus Pit. There’s not much time to for Oliver to lecture Thea because the two queens have a meeting with their mother’s old friend.
An old friend named Jessica Danworth who wants to run for mayor despite it being a certain death sentence. Oliver and Thea accompany her to her campaign announcement only for it be interrupted by someone mysterious and murderous but not a Ghost. Oliver and Thea jump into action, sans costumes, and save Jessica from being kidnapped.
Trouble in Star City
Felicity’s start of her new job is going about as well as Jessica’s new venture. Palmer Tech is struggling in the wake of their CEO disappearing in an explosion and the new head of the company being someone in their early twenties with no experience in business. The board uses an algorithm from a young employee named Curtis Holt to figure out who to fire and it’s a lot of people. No one, especially Curtis, is happy about it.
Felicity’s job at Palmer Tech does allow her to find out more about Team Green Arrow’s mystery man. The evidence she uncovers leads Oliver and Thea into a closed paper mill that Palmer Tech owned. While there Thea uses the old Arrow technique of interrogation (aka kicking the crap out of people for no reason). She even breaks one guy’s arm and Oliver sends her to her vigilante room.
Meanwhile, Dig and Laurel are staking out Jessica to make sure that she is not attacked again. In the car, Laurel gets Dig to open about his emotional distance lately. He tells Laurel about his mission to find HIVE and how they killed his brother. Laurel tells him she understands but she knows better than anyone this can’t end well if he keeps all to himself. (I’m so here for this new mature and life-savvy Laurel.)
Back at the new lair, Oliver and Thea’s disagreement grows physical as she attacks him. Oliver tells her that Malcolm said the pit might affect her negatively. Thea is so not buying it but then again it could just be because she is already crazy.
During Felicity’s next day at Palmer Tech, she has to fire a whole new mess of people. Felicity (and Curtis) are all startled to find out that Curtis is at the top of her list for the day. They’re both real sad about it, but we both know that this isn’t going to happen. Curtis is seemingly the only person at Palmer Tech who isn’t a complete douchenozzle. He’s sticking around.
Crossing the Line(s)
Oliver goes to check in with Jessica and they discover that her daughter, Madison, is missing. Jessica holds a press conference asks for her daughter to be returned. Across town the perpetrator, who Felicity has now ID’d as a criminal named Lonnie Machin, is meeting with Damien. Damien is not too happy that Lonnie is crazier than a basket of cats. Damien is cool with mass murder but he draws the line at daughter kidnapping. At the very least, he objects to this very specific daughter kidnapping.
Damien meets with his new BFF or lackey, Lance and gives him the location where Madison is being kept. He also not so subtly reminds Quentin that he can take and/or kill his daughter at any time. I guess this is supposed to make us feel bad or understand Quentin, but I don’t. I just can’t get over how the man has made the same angry duckface expression for four seasons.
Anyway Captain Duckface calls Oliver and gives him Madison’s location so Oliver can “prove himself.” You know, like Oliver hasn’t been nearly single-handedly saving the city and even Lance personally for years. Oliver and crew show up at the place just in time. Madison is in the midst of being tortured. While Laurel and Dig take Madison to safety, Thea and Oliver take on Lonnie. Well, Oliver tries to take on Lonnie, but Thea is the one to take the guy down. She also … kind of … sets him on fire. Oliver puts out the blaze but his look of disgust at Thea could start a fire of its own.
Before we get into the episode wrap-up let’s do our customary flashback rundown. Oliver lands on the island and is quickly taken in by some kind of military force who know him but he is clueless of their identity. They blackmail Oliver into working for them. Though he has to do that anyway since it’s the job Waller gave him. Oliver is now one of the guards on the island’s new quasi-slave plantation. Most importantly though the dreaded wig is gone and Stephen Amell gets to use his real hair in the flashback scenes. (Praise whatever deity you choose to worship… or not, I don’t control your life.)
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Dumb Decisions Close Us Out
In present day Star City, Lance gets all self-righteous with Oliver again because that’s his shtick. Felicity finds a way to save the company and her employees’ jobs. She promises (lies) that she has a new project that will make them tons of cash. Lonnie escapes from the police and rechristens himself Anarchy.
Then we have a pair of some really terrible decisions. Oliver decides that he can’t just be Green Arrow and inspire hope. He should run for mayor. This is a storyline straight out of the comics, but it is still doomed to failure. Laurel learns the full history and truth about Thea’s resurrection and she decides it’s time for the Lazarus Pit to spread the sibling revival wealth. Laurel tells Oliver that she’s going on a spa vacation with Thea. Really Laurel just goes to the graveyard. Laurel digs up and takes Sara’s body to go to Nanda Parbat. The mature and life-savvy Laurel lasted about 22 minutes.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm on The CW
(Image courtesy of The CW)