This was a stronger episode for Arrow. It had some of the same old problems. A lot of the groups internal tension still seems forced, and some of that may be that there’s so much of it going on at once. I can’t help but feel like if they’d settled Diggle and Oliver’s issues before having Thea go haywire, it wouldn’t be so much, but the show handled it better this week by at least picking one thing to focus on. They made it clear Diggle is still angry at Oliver, but they devoted the screen time to Thea, and making it a little clearer that the effects of the Lazarus Pit are what have her out of whack is a good way to make the conflict more believable.
Some of the show’s minor conflicts seemed to crop up and find themselves settled much too easily, and too soon for me to care about them. The layoffs at Palmer Technologies, and the Danforth mayoral campaign are what come to mind specifically. They weren’t bad ideas, they just happened to quickly.
Dialogue was a trouble spot again. Going back to the layoffs at Palmer Technologies, the exchanges between Felicity and the layoff victims felt contrived, and that’s putting aside the fact that there’s no way a CEO does their own firing. That just does not happen, but it’s a minor thing to pick on.
Maybe the most egregious bit of bad dialogue came near the end, when Captain Lance was cued for a dramatic reveal of this week’s villain’s name, that being Anarky (it’s spelled that way in the comics, really). What I found annoying was the cop who said she had no idea what the insignia meant. Frankly, there’s no way a cop doesn’t know that an “A” spilling over the boundary of a circle means anarchy. Has this cop never seen graffiti? It’s not a huge deal in and of itself, but it’s emblematic of some of the sloppiness the show has displayed when shoe-horning in bits of a dialogue.
The flashbacks were entertaining enough, even if they feel like a backward step, putting Oliver back on the island. My big concern is that it’s not really going anywhere at this point. If the show wants to continue using flashbacks to introduce elements of the comics, or to setup current story lines, that’s okay, but it runs the risk of slowing down the pace of the episodes.
Oliver running for mayor is interesting enough, but it stretches believability. I’m not sure he’s supposed to be thirty yet in the show, and it’ll be a tough sell to have him run the city by day and be Green Arrow by night. Something will have to give there.
Finally, the big tease for the next episode was interesting. I won’t spoil too much, but I do like that they seem to be addressing one of the show’s big questions, at least for me, since they first introduced the league and Ra’s.
All in all, I think this week’s episode is a step in the right direction.
Comic book shows need to rethink the skipping ahead several months to account for the summer break plot device. It doesn’t work most of the time and the improper use of this device rears its head in Arrow again. Felicity would’ve never met—let alone fire—those employees because she left Palmer Technologies to sit and spin for five months. Companies don’t hemorrhage money for five months before cutting employees and they certainly don’t wait an additional six months to see if things turn for the better. Yes, we saw a little bit of Thea’s descent into Lazarus Pit induced madness but most of her turn occurred in the five months we missed, so there was a lot more telling instead of showing in that regard. And that’s before you get to all the other threads that are rushed because we lost time. If DC/CW wants to continue the jump ahead, I don’t know why Arrow doesn’t use its flashbacks for the summer months. We could’ve seen some of these issues deepen worsen during these flashbacks and it wouldn’t slow down the pace too much.
I know it doesn’t sound like it but I, for the most part, liked “The Candidate.” I have many of the same reservations as Jim and I totally called the Lazarus Pit about a year ago. Whenever you introduce something like that, you run the risk of bringing back characters from the dead at an alarming rate. It took longer than I expected but I knew the end of this episode (no spoilers here) was going to happen sooner or later. Still, that moment was well done.
If you want spoilers, here’s a link to our Arrow secrets page.