Review: Arrow Loses Some Momentum With 'The Candidate'

Wednesday, 14 October 2015 - 11:19PM
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Arrow
Wednesday, 14 October 2015 - 11:19PM
Review: Arrow Loses Some Momentum With 'The Candidate'
Last week's episode of Arrow was enough to make fans believe that the show could be great again. Sadly, the second episode of the season failed to retain that momentum. While 'The Candidate' certainly wasn't a terrible episode, it definitely didn't live up to its potential, either. Other than a couple of important plot developments and character introductions, there wasn't much going on in the second episode of the season, which is quite unfortunate as the show is still in need of a strong comeback after a poorly received season 3.

'The Candidate' mainly focused on one of the Queen family friends running for mayor and the consequences she had to face because of it. Of course, this season's big bad Damien Darhk simply can't have that fouling up his plans, so he has a thug who will evidently become the DC villain Anarky to take care of the problem.

Over the course of the episode, Oliver has to convince Detective Lance to let Team Arrow help out when the man who will become Anarky kidnaps the candidate's daughter. Likewise, Thea continued to act extremely aggressive when up against the bad guys, and Ollie was forced to confront her about this yet again. Curt Holt (the future Mr. Terrific) was also introduced as an employee of Palmer Technologies, and Laurel finally found out about the Lazarus pit. The episode closed with the candidate dropping out after all of the trouble that came along with trying to run for mayor, and Thea and Laurel digging up Sara's grave as they plan to head to Nanda Parbat to resurrect the Canary. Finally, Oliver makes his intentions to run for mayor of Star City known.   

So what exactly kept this episode of Arrow from being all that it could be? First of all, drama on Team Arrow has already started to crop back up, and that's definitely not a good thing at this point. Part of what was so great about the season opener was that it seemed to start doing away with all of the bad blood and emotional problems that the team experienced throughout all of season 3. 'The Candidate' saw Ollie get upset with Thea, Thea get upset with Ollie, and Felicity get upset about certain issues she had to deal with at Palmer Tech. As season 3 emphasized these emotional dynamics and the tension between members of the team quite heavily, it's well past time for the show to move away from this side of things for a while.

Likewise, the villains featured in this episode of Arrow weren't too compelling either. Relatively recently in Detective Comics, Anarky has been turned into quite an interesting character with some very intriguing reasons for doing what he does. While it's still too early in the game to tell, there just wasn't that much to set him apart from the run of the mill killers and criminals in the show. Just as well, this week's episode tried to make Damien Darhk come off as serious and intimidating, but in the end it did a very poor job of conveying just what he's capable of. Arrow definitely needs to up its game with the villains if it hopes to achieve its potential.

On the plus side, Curtis Holt seems like he could end up being a terrific Mr. Terrific. Sadly, there wasn't a whole lot revealed about him during 'The Candidate,' but hopefully he'll become a more well developed character as the season progresses.

It was also fun to see that the flashbacks from this week's episode seemed to be somewhat inspired by one of the most popular Green Arrow comics of recent years, Green Arrow: Year One. For those who haven't had the chance to dig into it yet, Year One tells the story of Oliver's time on the island, and presents it as a place where a certain criminal organization forces the natives to grow drugs. It'll be interesting to see how the flashbacks pan out over the course of the season and if there'll be any other references to Year One as the show goes on.

In the end, 'The Candidate' was a decent, yet very mediocre episode of Arrow. It failed to emulate the excitement of the season opener, and the show already seems like it could be heading for some of the same pitfalls it faced last season. However, 'Green Arrow' was definitely proof that Arrow still has the ability to be a really terrific show, and so fingers are crossed that it'll pick up next week with the same energy that the first episode of the season had. 'The Candidate', however, get's a 7.0 out of 10.

Catch the next episode of Arrow, entitled 'Restoration,' next Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.
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