Arrow Five Point Review: The Candidate

It worked for Flash (sorta), now let's see Arrow.



The Leader of Star City: This particular story has been a longtime coming.  One of the better things about Arrow is that it doesn't ignore the obvious: if all these horrible things keep happening to Star City, then why would people want to live there?  And why would anyone want to serve in any kind of leadership capacity if everyone involved always dies horrifically violent death?  It might have been a tad convenient to have the Queens still possess one more "friend of the family" in order to give Oliver and Thea a victim to connect to for the episode, but it was a contrivance that served to get the series to a familiar point to fans of the comic book: Oliver Queen, mayor of Star City.  It works on a number of levels. Oliver Queen's the boy who left Starling City a spoiled son of a multi-millionaire, but returned from a horrible experience in his life utterly changed and wanting to help save his city in its greatest moment of need. Or  Green Arrow, the superhero who's spent the better part of four years attempting to make his city a better place, finally attempting to become a beacon of hope in a way that doesn't involve skewering people with arrows.  It's a status quo that's worth keeping for however many seasons the series has left.

On Felicity Smoak, CEO: Felicity appears to have this terrible habit of falling into jobs she's completely not trained for.  First she was basically assistant to the CEO of both Queen Consolidated and Palmer Industries, now she's flat out in charge of things.  One can only imagine what the board of directors thinks of her--and even though it's absolutely wrong, they still make it plain in this episode that she's utterly in over her head.  Still, her entire subplot has pretty interesting parallels to the real world, with a big name corporation going through difficult economic times and having to deal with the choice of firing a significant number of employees or risk having to close down entirely.  The "solution" for her conflict was slightly annoying in how convenient it was, but it's worth giving the show the benefit of the doubt in presuming that this is a plot point heading towards something greater.   Also, Felicity's devotion to the her employees is the best part of the episode.  "The first thing we're going to do is cut some of your bonuses!" is something one imagines comes from the working class upbringing she experienced with her mother.

On Mr. Terrific: Speaking of Felicity, the show has another new addition to its cast, Michael Holt, or as comic fans know him, Mister Terrific.  Unfortunately, so far the only thing these two characters have in common are their genius-level intellects.  It's an interesting dilemma: the original Felicity has gone through three seasons of cataclysmic events, super-powered monsters and seeing people return from the dead, and though Emily Bett Rickards plays the part just as adorably as she did in her first appearance, uttering lines like "Only *I* get to trip over words" with perfect believability, she's maybe a little too battle-tested to be in the same "everyperson" role she's been playing.  So the writers solution?  Create Felicity 2.0: black, male, and gay, but just as smart and just as new to the craziness as Felicity was three years ago.  It's a far cry from the ultra-capable, "third smartest man in the world" Michael Holt, but...at least the show's still going for some diversity?

Lazarus Pit Shenanigans: It's finally time to deal with Thea's issues...or so the show would have viewers believe.  First it appears we're doing a bit of a side trip to bring back Sara Lance before "Legends of Tomorrow" starts in the mid-season.  This subplot might be a bit of a pain to sit through overall--it features what's probably the two most unlikable characters in the series having an adventure together, and it's hard to figure out why.  In exactly the same episode that Oliver mentioned Thea's recent anger problems are a result of her coming back to life, Laurel decides to bring back her sister the exact same way?  It feels as if down this path lies madness, yet down this path the show's going.   At the end of it all though, this is how they're going to bring back Nyssa, Malcolm, and most likely introduce Constantine, so one supposes it's for the greater good.  But still.  Do we have to?

HIVE Watch: Anarky and Quentin: Arrow continues to steal villains from other superheroes.  This time it's Lonnie Machin, longtime foe of Batman as the anti-establishment villain Anarky.  Of course, there've been quite a few tweaks to the character--the comic version is a "too smart for his own good" child prodigy who uses his intelligence to try and bring down corporations and the government.  Arrow's Anarky is just some creep obsessed with torture, but he's played well enough by Alexander Calvert, and judging by the way his story closed this episode there's a good chance we could see him again, hopefully played with the same level of panache as the original Count Vertigo, as Oliver's desperately missing a "Joker" type character to go up against.  

Meanwhile, Quentin is starting to become more annoyed with HIVE's behavior, but what's becoming more curious by the episode is just how he ended up joining this group to begin with.  If it was truly because of his beef with Oliver and the rest of Team Arrow, then that certainly lends more credence to the theory that it was his grave Oliver found himself at in the flash-forward at the end of episode one.  Either way, it's only a matter of time before HIVE's true nature is revealed and he has to reckon with what he's done.

Going forward, hopefully the show can spend a bit more time dealing with Oliver's past.  This episode introduced "Reiter", a (seemingly African) leader of a group of militia that's forcing the inhabitants of the island to do...something.  Reiter's quite possibly the character the writing team behind Arrow has taken the most liberties with--as the now African character was formerly known as the Nazi villain Baron Blietzkreig.  Why the writers didn't simply create a new character altogether is a mystery, but Oliver's only got two more years before they have to line him up with where he was at the start of season one, so hopefully the writers have a good idea of where they're going.

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