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'Arrow' Review: "The Candidate"

Nora Dominick ’17/Emertainment Monthly Assistant Stage Editor

Willa Holland and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode "The Candidate." Photo Credit: Katie Yu /The CW
Willa Holland and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode “The Candidate.” Photo Credit: Katie Yu /The CW

Arrow season four is shaping up to be the best season to date. Last week, fans watched as Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) had to leave their domestic life behind and return to Star City to fight crime alongside the new Team Arrow. This week Arrow continued to showcase some of its best work to date with the latest episode entitled, “The Candidate.”

“I had to become someone else… I had to become something else… I had to become The Green Arrow.” Arrow kicked off this week with Team Arrow suiting up and continuing to fight the elusive Ghost criminals. Oliver and his relationships are taking center stage in season 4 of Arrow. Last week focused on Oliver and Felicity and their budding romance, but this week turned to another important relationship in Oliver’s life: his relationship with Thea (Willa Holland). Holland and Amell are continuously adding layer after layer to their sibling relationship. The duo went from having a strained relationship in season one to a crime-fighting duo this season. Holland and Amell have both grown tremendously as actors and Oliver and Thea’s relationship reflect this.

There were several key moments for Thea and Oliver in this week’s episode of Arrow. When The Green Arrow and Speedy are out fighting crime, Oliver notices that Thea fights to kill, not to disarm. Once they return to the Arrow Cave, Oliver finally tells Thea that there were severe consequences for being resurrected using the Lazarus Pit. This season Amell is playing the softer side to Oliver Queen and it’s a side that is exhibited through his interactions with Thea. Amell and Holland play effortlessly off of each other and continue to add layer after layer to their characters. After this revelation, Thea yells back at Oliver saying, “You left and it doesn’t qualify you to judge me or anyone else.” Holland has masterfully transformed Thea Queen into a courageous female character that doesn’t need anyone to tell her what to do, even Oliver. Holland is shaping up to be one of the heavy hitters on Arrow season four and it’s something fans have been waiting for.

Emily Bett Rickards and Echo Kellum in the Arrow episode "The Candidate." Photo Credit: The CW
Emily Bett Rickards and Echo Kellum in the Arrow episode “The Candidate.” Photo Credit: The CW

This week Arrow introduced fans to a soon-to-be fan-favorite character, Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum). Holt enters the Arrow universe as an employee of Palmer Technology and right from the start his rambling is on par with Felicity Smoak. Felicity begins her first day of work as the CEO of Palmer Tech and things are worse off than she believes. Curtis aids Felicity in firing numerous Palmer Tech employees per the board’s instructions. If anyone was to go toe-to-toe with Felicity Smoak in terms of quirky, lovable qualities, it would be Curtis Holt. Kellum defies expectations in his first episode and his work opposite Rickards is spectacular. The introduction of Curtis Holt also allows Felicity to florish outside of Team Arrow, which is an important step for Felicity. The duo creates some of the most memorable scenes in the latest Arrow episode.

DC Comic Book fans already know about Curtis Holt’s alter ego is Mr. Terrific. In the comic book universe, Mr. Terrific is known for inventing the T-Sphere, an artificially intelligent device that he controls with his mask and earpiece. The device can fly, create holographic images, release electrical charges and most importantly it constantly cloaks Holt against detection and recording of his image by any and all technological means thus making him virtually invisible to anything but human sight. By episodes end, Felicity tells the board at Palmer Tech that she would not fire Curtis and he will build a revolutionary new project in six months in order to save the company. Chances are the T-Sphere will be this revolutionary new product. Kellum is a triumphant addition to the cast of Arrow and his scenes opposite Rickards add an extra layer of comedy to the already quirky and hilarious character of Felicity Smoak. If his storylines continue to grow from here, chances are Echo Kellum could go the route of Emily Bett Rickards and becomes a series regular by seasons end.

Jeri Ryan (center) in the Arrow episode entitled "The Candidate." Photo Credit: Cate Cameron /The CW
Jeri Ryan (center) in the Arrow episode “The Candidate.” Photo Credit: Cate Cameron /The CW

Arrow also revisited the ever growing problem in Star City: finding a new mayor. Fans were also introduced to Jessica Davenport (Jeri Ryan), an old friend of Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson) who has interest in running for Mayor of Star City. Of course fans know this won’t go according to plan because every Mayor over the past several years has been tragically killed. Cue Lonnie Machin/Anarky (Alexander Calvert) to enter and stir up some trouble. The big bad of the episode is another minion of Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) and looks to help destroy Star City. Calvert brings Anarky to life in a new and exciting way in the latest episode of Arrow. Calvert and McDonough play off each other perfectly. McDonough continues to saunter into scenes of Arrow and knock every encounter he has out of the park. McDonough is one of the greatest assets to Arrow season 4 so far.

With Anarky causing trouble for the Davenport campaign, Team Arrow springs into action especially when Anarky kidnaps Jessica’s daughter, Madison (Tiera Skovbye). The action sequence with Team Arrow crashing through the ceiling to save Madison is another testament to the incredible stunt team behind every Arrow episode. With Diggle (David Ramsey) and The Black Canary (Katie Cassidy) bringing Madison to safety, The Green Arrow, Speedy and Anarky engage in a fight that exemplifies everything the stunt team has to offer. In the last minutes of the fight, Speedy has lost her way due to the effects of the Lazarus Pit and sets Anarky on fire and sending him to the hospital. Calvet proves to be a formidable foe for Team Arrow and he helps add another layer to the Damien Darhk storyline.

Alexander Calvert and Neal McDonough in the Arrow episode "The Candidate." Photo Credit: Katie Yu /The CW
Alexander Calvert and Neal McDonough in the Arrow episode “The Candidate.” Photo Credit: Katie Yu /The CW

One major component of Arrow season four that was introduced last week was Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) working alongside Damien Darhk. This major plot twists seems to be here to stay when Quentin confronts Darhk about Madison’s disappearance. Quentin wants out of his little deal with Darhk, but of course in a typical villainous way Darhk threatens the safety of Laurel. Blackthorne has always played Quentin as the cop who obeys the law, so this is an interesting dynamic at play in this season of Arrow. With this only being episode two, the Quentin and Darhk partnership appears to be playing an intricate role in season 4 of Arrow and it will be interesting to see how this overarching story will pan out as the season progresses.

Of course an Arrow episode couldn’t go by without some adorable, gif-worthy Olicity moments. Amell and Rickards continue to explore the relationship dynamic on Arrow and it’s something very satisfying for long time fans of the show. In this episode of Arrow, Oliver surprised Felicity with a “’First Day as Boss’ Fern,” a nod to the “Love Fern” that sat in the Arrow Cave last season. The juxtaposition between the action sequences and the cute, innocent moments between Oliver and Felicity help add a lighter tone to Arrow this season. Rickards and Amell continue to be the heart of Arrow. By episodes end, Oliver and Felicity share a poignant, domestic moment in their loft where Oliver announces to Felicity that he’s running for Mayor. He wants to offer the city hope and inspiration. Amell’s acting has progressed tremendously throughout the four seasons of Arrow and his work opposite Rickards continues to be outstanding.

Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode "The Candidate." Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW
Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode “The Candidate.” Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW

The flashback sequences in Arrow this week gave more insight into Oliver’s recent return to Lian Yu. The flashbacks pick up right where last week left off with Oliver crash landing on Lian Yu and trying to infiltrate a camp. Oliver becomes a soldier for a militant leader on Lian Yu in order to gain intel for A.R.G.U.S. The flashbacks are already shaping up to be more intriguing than last seasons and it will be interesting to see how they progress from here. There weren’t many flashbacks scenes in this week’s Arrow episode, however one good thing, for both the audience and Stephen Amell happened, the longhaired wig is gone.

By episodes end, Oliver is running for Mayor of Star City, Felicity has found her footing as the CEO of Palmer Tech, Anarky escapes and Diggle confides in Laurel about his knowledge of H.I.V.E. A lot was jammed into this episode, however one of the most intriguing moments comes at the end of the episode when Laurel and Thea exhume Sara Lance’s (Caity Lotz) body and prepare to bring it to Nanda Parbat. Arrow is continuing to grow in terms of storylines and action sequences. With each episode adding more and more exciting characters and upping the stakes, Arrow is continuing to grow into a powerful entity on The CW.

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on the CW

Overall Grade: B+

Check out the promo for next weeks episode entitled “Restoration”

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