Arrow “The Candidate” Review (Season 4, Episode 2)

Arrow "The Candidate" Season 4 Episode 2 (2)

It’s always so much easier to point out other people’s faults than it is to look in the mirror and face our own. If I could point out one recurring theme in this week’s Arrow, it would be hypocrisy. With few exceptions, each of the characters called out another for something that they themselves were doing. I know that’s how life is sometimes, but that didn’t make it any less frustrating.

Since he’s the most obvious, let’s start with Captain Lance. I haven’t always been a Captain Lance fan. Although I understand how painful it was for him to lose his daughter, I really didn’t like the fact that he blamed Oliver for Sara’s choices. I did gain respect for him when he re-evaluated his position on The Arrow though. After he finally stopped wallowing in his own hatred and pain, he was able to step back and look at what The Arrow was trying to do and realize that it was an attempt to protect Starling City and her citizens. I started having problems at the end of last season when he decided to work with Ra’s to bring The Arrow down though, and my primary issue with that was the hypocrisy of it all. Lance jumped down Oliver’s throat about how he brought back all this hatred and pain from the island and blamed Oliver for all of the death and destruction that had occurred in Starling City. He lambasted Oliver declaring him nothing more than a criminal and then turned to the League of Assassins to help him bring Oliver down. I don’t know if Lance is confused, but the League of ASSASSINS is just a bunch of highly trained, fanatical killers. I was hoping this season would see Lance get his head screwed back on straight, but alas, no. He’s joined forces with Damien Darhk, and there’s no way he can’t see that Darhk is nothing but pure evil. Then on top of making back room deals with Darhk, Lance has the nerve to essentially spit in Oliver’s face when Oliver asks him to let the team help. For someone who claims to want the rule of law to prevail, Lance sure is going about it the wrong way. How can he denounce Oliver for putting on a mask and fighting the good fight when Lance himself is in bed with a known criminal? What is Lance’s end game here? It’s clear Darhk has nefarious plans for Starling City. Is Lance just going to sit idly by and let innocent people get hurt?

Then there’s Diggle. I get that he’s angry about Oliver kidnapping his wife. That’s totally reasonable and completely justified. However, John’s problem isn’t just that Oliver kidnapped Lila. His problem is the fact that Oliver lied to him. He said in last week’s episode something to the effect that Oliver didn’t trust him enough to bring him in on the plan. Well, Dig, what about the fact that you’ve been investigating Hive for at least the past two years and haven’t shared that tidbit of information with anyone? And he was keeping that secret long before his falling out with Oliver. As a matter of fact, I don’t think he ever even told Oliver what Deadshot said about Dig’s brother. How is it ok for Dig to be so angry with Oliver for not trusting him when it appears he doesn’t trust Oliver either? That is disturbing for two people who have been through as much as Oliver and Dig have been through. Even more than that, I’m disappointed to see this kind of behavior from Diggle.

Moving on the Laurel. Shortly after she called Dig out about lying to her, she turns right around and lies to Oliver. Instead of admitting that she’s going to try to bring Sara back (despite how swimmingly that’s working out for Thea) she lied and told Oliver that she was going to take Thea out for a “spa day.” I get why she didn’t tell Oliver. She knew he would try to stop her, but the only thing Laurel seems to be good at is making seriously bad decisions. I’m not a Laurel fan and I haven’t been since season one. Initially, I thought she had some potential because she and Oliver have so much history, but the writers decided to switch her from being a smart, capable character to the damsel in distress. It was frustrating and I haven’t been able to get into her ever since. And I find her transition into Black Canary ridiculous. She hasn’t added very much of anything to the overall story in the last couple of seasons, and if this season is going to be more of the same, I’m not looking forward to that at all.

Thea is having some problems. Understatement. I know. But her hypocrisy was probably the worst of all. After the events of season two, Thea decided that she wanted out of Starling City. She wanted a new start and she wanted to learn not to be afraid all the time. After everything that she’d gone through that year, I can’t say I blame her. So why was it ok for her to do that after the year she’d had, but not ok for Oliver to do that after the year he’d had? Granted, some of Oliver’s heartache was of his own making, but a lot of it wasn’t. Let’s not forget. Oliver died and was pushed off the side of a mountain last year. And then when he came back he was at war with one of the deadliest foes he’d ever faced. Once again, not saying Oliver made all the best decisions last year, but he did have a rough year. He wanted to get away, start over, and try to give himself an opportunity for happiness. Why is he any less deserving of that than Thea was when she left? I’m guessing that some of Thea’s aggression and hostility toward Oliver is a symptom of the Lazarus Pit, but I’m sure that a lot of that is all Thea. The larger issue is how to control whatever that is wearing Thea’s face because I don’t think that’s Thea. Whatever came back is a twisted, dark thing and I have no doubt it’s only going to get worse from here. It’s going to be difficult for Oliver to help her though because she doesn’t seem to see that there’s a problem. And she’s not the only one. Even after everyone saw her basically turn into a rabid dog right there in the super secret lair, no one seems to be worried about it. I don’t think that’s a particularly healthy or safe approach to take regarding this particular problem.

In reading this review, you may come to the conclusion that I didn’t like this episode. You would be mistaken. I actually enjoyed this episode very much. It was well-written, well-acted, and the fight scenes were amazing. I especially enjoyed Thea fighting the guy while he was on fire. That’s not something you see every day. I have no doubt that Laurel’s plan to bring Sara back is not going to go well, but good luck trying to convince her of that. I’m intrigued by Oliver’s decision to run for mayor. I wonder whether he realizes that being the mayor means that he has to know more than how to shoot an arrow and fight off physical attacks. Those skills will certainly come in handy, but he’s gonna need to bring so much more to the table than that. I guess we’ll see how that works out. So what did y’all think of this week’s Arrow?