ARROW Season 4×02, “The Candidate” recap

15 Oct

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Welcome back, Arrowheads! Ollie and Felicity head back to Star City after playing happy suburban couple for a while. What they’ve come back to is a reticent Diggle, a slightly vicious Thea, and a new threat in HIVE, led by the not quite human Damien Darhk. Darhk wants to lay waste to the city, and has help…in a maybe reluctant Quentin! Also in the flashback portion of our tour, Ollie gets picked up by Amanda Waller and sent on a secret mission to a familiar haunt…Lian Yu! Also, someone will be in a grave six months down the road. But let’s get to this episode, shall we?

“Who are you?” Our flashbacks take us back to Lian Yu as Ollie gets caught by a soldier as he parachutes in on his secret mission. Well, Ollie kills that guy, and takes a minute to contact Waller about what he needs to do. All he’s told is to find a camp, and then infiltrate it. He finds a camp with soldiers like the one he’s killed, working slaves in a poppy field, and figures a way in. That way is setting off a mine, having himself found by some more soldiers, who immediately recognize him. He’s taken to a commander named Reiter, who knows who he is and sees that his survival on the island might be an asset worth exploiting. So, one quick haircut later, Ollie’s now a soldier ordering slaves around! Um, success so far?

Ghost Busting. Team Arrow is taking down an attack by HIVE to poison the city’s water supply, and Ollie can’t help but notice is getting a bit too tough on the baddies she’s fighting. After that, in the ArrowCave 2.0, Ollie’s pointing that out to Thea, who would rather get ready to meet some family friends for breakfast. Ollie also has a present for Felicity’s first day back at Palmer Tech, like a fern and bagged lunch. Awww.

At Ollie’s loft afterwards, Ollie and Thea are having breakfast with old family friends, Jessica Danforth, and her daughter, Madison. It’s during this breakfast that Jessica breaks some news: she’s planning to run for mayor! Considering the mortality rate of elected officials in Star City over the years, you can understand the Queen siblings apprehension towards this. But they’re invited to her announcement conference, and hey, it’s not like something horrible will happen there. Oh wait, it will, won’t it?

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Really, they’re not done fixing that building after it got Ray splattered around those floors?

First Day At Work. Felicity heads to a boardmember meeting, and gets some rough news: either they have to downsize or the company will be in serious trouble. This news comes from data complied by one employee, Curtis Holt, and its a sobering diagnosis for Felicity. Meanwhile, Ollie and Thea are showing up at Jessica’s candidacy announcement, and you what else shows up? Gunfire at the podium. Thea takes off to find the shooter while Ollie shadows Jessica, and both siblings discover in order: its a rigged automated machine gun, and her guard isn’t her guard. The taser wielding mystery man gets knocked over a balcony by Ollie, and escapes.

Target Candidate. at ArrowCave 2.0, the team meets up regarding the failed assassination plot, and run into a few roadblocks, meaning their suspects fingerprints are so intentionally carved up its almost impossible to identify who it is. Ollie thinks he can help protect Jessica, so he goes to ask Quentin to help do that. But Quentin is apprehensive about this whole “Green Arrow” thing, so that’s a no. Felicity heads back to talk to Mr. Holt about his algorithm that determined who should get fired, and to start the layoffs, which she takes pretty hard.

At the precinct house, Diggle and Laurel are staking out the place, and Laurel asks about what’s wrong with him. He mentions the whole “HIVE killed my brother” situation, and is advised maybe he’s better off telling Ollie about this, and keeping secrets are bad (she speaks from experience), and obviously, he’ll promptly ignore that advice until it blows up in his face. At a mystery location, our mystery hitman is meeting with Damien Darhk, who really isn’t impressed by his audition/failed attempt to handle Jessica for HIVE. But he promises Darhk he has one more way to handle this problem.

At the HQ, Felicity managed to discover the identity of the mystery man: mob assassin Lonnie Machin, and where he might hang out based on the evidence he left behind, being a former company building Felicity closed months ago. Ollie and Thea roll in to find some bums squatting there, and start asking questions about if Machin has been there. But when one of them starts giving them lip, Thea gets real nasty and breaks the dude’s arm. Ollie tells her to head home, which jeez, way to pull rank on your little sister, man.

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“Have you seen this man? I will not accept ‘no’ for an answer.”

Sibling Concerns. When the siblings get back to Arrow HQ, Thea’s irritated by Ollie sending her off. But he decides to give her an impromptu fighting lesson by showing her attacks aren’t subduing ones, but life-ending ones. Her response to that slightly painful lesson is to go all blood rage and attack Ollie, forcing the rest of the team to pull her off him! She heads off, and during all of this, Laurel hears about Thea being put in that Lazarus Pit after that mortal injury, and is all, “wait, no one brought THAT up over the last few months I’ve been working with her?” So, it seems she’s been less obvious with that whole “Lazarus Pit turns people Cray-Cray”, but when Laurel talks later to Thea about what happened, you can almost see a light bulb go off. Not a good light bulb, but a light bulb nevertheless.

Mind Your Tone. The next day, Felicity arrives to start during people, and as Curtis Holt realizes after Felicity does, his algorithm has put him on that list. But she can’t fire him! He’s a nice, decent guy with a husband! What to do?

Ollie visits Jessica, who is being protected at the station house, and she talks about how she just wants to follow his mom’s footsteps and make the city a better place, which is better than Moira’s other footsteps, which made her an accomplice to mass murder in Star City. Just out of curiosity, Ollie recommends checking on Madison, who is also under police protection. Too bad that police protection is dead and Madison is kidnapped by Machin, so Jessica does a televised plea for her safety. It gets the attention of Darhk, all right, enough that he wants nothing more to do with him. Kidnapping teens is a big no-no, but as Machin explains what he learned when torturing a HIVE agent sent to kill him, Darhk threatens to kill relatives of people, so who’s the hypocrite?

This kidnapping brings Quentin to Darhk’s office, saying he wants out if he allowed this. But Darhk offers to give him Machin’s location as a sign of goodwill, and reminds him if he leaves this operation, his daughter could meet with a similar fate. So Quentin gives the info to Ollie to prove he’s a changed hero.

Sick Burn. Machin is prepping to torture Madison when Team Arrow flies in through the skylights. Machin sets off a distraction and flees, and Ollie lets Diggle and Laurel get Madison to safety while him and Thea find her captor. They do and end up in a pretty intense two-on-one fight, which takes a really dark turn. Like, Thea using Machin’s taser weapon on a chemical doused Machin and lighting him ablaze. Damn. Well at least she feels bad about her barbecuing the guy in a psycho rage after he’s stopped moving.

Jessica reunites with her daughter, and decides she can’t endanger her daughter any further, and plans to withdraw her candidacy for mayor. Meanwhile, Quentin’s really not impressed Ollie’s gone from executing criminals to almost burning them alive, so that doesn’t mend things over between the two. But later, Quentin is called to an accident regarding Machin’s ambulance, where the medics are dead, Machin’s gone, and a bloody “anarchy” logo is on the ambulance wall. Aw, Speedy just made her first bad guy! Congratulations!

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Machin planned to write a more elaborate “screw you” note to the cops, but hey, you can only use so much blood for writing purposes.

Bold Moves. At Palmer Tech, Felicity makes a bold announcement to present a new tech at the next board meeting in six months that will rejuvenate the company’s profits, all with the help of Curtis. He takes her aside later and knows of no such thing, but she’s betting both their brains can figure something out in that time. That night, Felicity is talking to Ollie in the loft and talking about how someone should stand up and try to fill the mayor’s position. Ollie’s solution is…he can run for mayor! Um, somehow I don’t think that’ll end up in Oliver Queen’s Best Life Decisions List.

As for Laurel, she wants to take Thea away on a vacation to clear her head, but that’s what she tells everyone is what’s going on. What she tells Thea she wants to do is take Thea to Nanda Parbat to get her help, and oh yeah, a little something else. That something else is dig up Sara’s corpse and take it to the Lazarus Pit to be resurrected! You are aware you are enlisting the poster child for the effects of the Lazarus Pit to help you, right, Laurel? It’s finale full of bad decisions this week!

–Comic book connections: Curtis Holt may be better known in the DCU as superhero Mr. Terrific (he’s much cooler than the name suggests), and Machin will be taking on the mantle of a recent era Batman villain if that “anarchy” logo is any indication.

–Quentin has some serious safety issues to think about. Laurel’s out fighting bad guys regularly and yet he agrees to help Darhk because he’s threatened to kill her? Why not just tell her she’s in danger from this guy? Is he still on the sauce?

–Big difference between seasons: if season one Thea tried to almost kill Ollie, I would’ve called ‘shenanigans’. This season’s Thea? Yeah, I can believe that. And the way she almost lights up with glee torching Machin? Creepy stuff.

–At least we didn’t get a completely normal looking Sara when her casket was opened. Yeesh. And buried in her Canary bustier, no less.

–Good news for the flashbacks that Ollie loses that long hair, because that wig was, woof.

–Thea’s thought on a vacation: “As long as its nowhere near hot tubs, because that’s what got me in this situation.”

–“She announces her candidacy, and two seconds later, someone tries to kill her? That’s a record, even for this city.”

–“Something wrong with the front door?”

–“It’s the most depressing game of Whack-A-Mole ever.”

That’s it for now, but leave your comments and discuss below, and come back next week for the recap of “Restoration”…

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