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For an hour-long piece of exposition, “The Candidate” pretty much did it’s job. While last week’s season premiere was tasked with introducing us to Damien Darhk, this week was all about setting up conflicts that will continue throughout the first half of the season. And, aside from the rather weak plotline involving Jeri Ryan’s Jessica Danforth and her failed quest to run for mayor, the character beats and the storylines set up within the episode were solid. I’m eager to see how a number of them play out over the next several episodes.
It’s not particularly surprising that Laurel has decided to use the Lazarus Pit to bring back Sara. In fact, I was pretty much expecting as much once Sara’s role in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow was confirmed. But I’m really intrigued as to how that resurrection is going to occur. I can’t imagine Malcolm will be looking to bring another Canary into the game, and using the Lazarus Pit will likely also not be at the top of his to do list, considering Thea’s personal struggles after her return. Considering Thea was only gone for a matter of minutes before she was brought back, just imagine how messed up Sara will be, since she’s been dead for well over six months. Yikes. And, to make matters even more complicated, Thea was the one who killed Sara, so I’m guessing that reunion won’t go over all that well. Perhaps Laurel’s new BFF Nyssa will help with the resurrection? Either way, I’m thrilled at the prospect of having Caity Lotz back on Arrow, even if it’s only for a little while. She was such an excellent part of the series and she has certainly been missed.
I’m also particularly impressed with Damien Darhk at this point in his arc. Neil McDonough is really great as the menacing and powerful villain. He’s imposing without being clearly bigger and stronger, while still having the charisma to command a room. His scenes with Paul Blackthorne’s Captain Lance were excellent. Lance is still in the realm of irredeemability due to his association with Darhk, but at least the storyline is giving Blackthorne a chance to stretch his acting chops a bit after being put on the sidelines for so much of season three.
However, my favorite part of the episode was the introduction of Curtis Holt (who will eventually be taking on the mantle of Mr. Terrific) as a future member of Team Arrow (I mean, he pretty much has to join at some point, right?). It’s great to see someone match wits with Felicity without it feeling forced (I’m looking at you, manic Ray Palmer). Curtis was fun and refreshing, and if Felicity is going to be running a multi-billion dollar corporation, she really can’t be spending every night in the Arrow cave, now can she? I’m less enthused with the idea of the duo trying to come up with revolutionary tech when they already have Ray’s nano technology, but considering how dark the show can get (although it’s much less so this season), I’ll take some light in the form of Felicity and Curtis brainstorming.
The one element of the episode that felt incredibly flat for me was, as usual, the flashbacks. I’m thrilled Oliver got rid of that truly awful wig (I have to believe Stephen Amell had a hand in that decision), time on the island takes away from time I would rather spend watching the characters in the here and now. We could be spending time with Diggle and Oliver, having them start to work through their issues. Or see Laurel doing something other than fighting bad guys and talking to her father (it would go a long way toward making Laurel more three dimensional, as she’s been trending down in interesting stories of late). Or, hey, maybe we could check in a bit more often with Malcolm Merlyn? A little John Barrowman is always a good thing. Considering we still have two years left in the Oliver Flashback Saga (including this season), I’m not holding my breath for anything to change.
— I’m almost sad at the thought of Thea getting over her rage issues. She’s really interesting dealing with the affliction and I don’t want that inner conflict to go away.
— Glad the writers reaffirmed that Oliver and Co. aren’t actually killing people. Because a number of those arrows look pretty close to vital organs.
— Here’s your interesting Star Trek fact of the day: Jeri Ryan played Seven of Nine on Star Trek Voyager back in the day. Yeah, I know, that’s something everyone knows. But here’s the fun part: Susanna Thompson, who portrayed Moira Queen on Arrow (and who was apparently Jessica Danforth’s best friend) played the Borg Queen on several occasions on the series.
— Since Anarky escaped, I presume he will be returning at some point?