Someone’s Actually Running for Mayor?
This week opens up with Team Arrow defusing a bomb set by Damien in one of the better action sequences the show has done for quite awhile and is easily the best so far this season. During the fight scene though, Felicity mentions that she and Diggle should probably use code names (not that I disagree but three years seems like a pretty long wait to bring that subject up).
Unfortunately, Team Arrow has no time to celebrate, as Oliver and Thea go meet with some old family friends, Jessica Danforth (Jeri Ryan) and her daughter Madison. During the meeting, Jessica tells Oliver and Thea about her plans to run for mayor, which naturally have Oliver and Thea more than a little concerned. Those concerns are proven well justified pretty quickly when a hitman tries to kill Jessica at the press conference announcing her candidacy. Oliver and Thea are able to prevent her death but the hitman gets away.
Back at Arrow HQ, the team tries to figure out the hitman’s identity which even for Felicity proves to be a challenge, but Oliver is adamant that he isn’t one of Damien’s regular goons. Meanwhile, Jessica is put under 24 hour protective detail by the SCPD, but Oliver being well aware of their record for ineptness insists on providing backup, which Captain Lance takes about as well as you might expect. The good news though is that Felicity is eventually able to ID the hitman as Lonnie Machin (better known as the Batman villain Anarky), who we find out had been hired by Damien as sort of a tryout for the Ghosts.
Back at the police station, Oliver makes another effort to talk Jessica out of running for mayor but she is insistent that Star City needs a figure that inspires people so that the Green Arrow’s efforts can actually mean something. Oliver notices however, that Madison isn’t around because she had to go back to school which makes Oliver visibly nervous. Oliver’s worries are proven right because as it turns out, Anarky has kidnapped Madison and killed her SCPD protective detail which apparently consisted of two random cops. Good one, Captain Lance.
Meanwhile, Damien is none too happy with Anarky’s decision to kidnap Madison and now finds him to be a complete psychopath even by H.I.V.E. standards and cuts all ties with him. He also decides to give an understandably ticked off Captain Lance the address of where Anarky is holding Madison, which Captain Lance passes on to Team Arrow (with Team Arrow oddly enough not questioning how Captain Lance got the address in the first place). Team Arrow successfully rescues Madison and apprehends Anarky though not exactly in a way that improves their relationship with Captain Lance (more on that later). That proves not to matter much however, since Anarky makes a pretty bloody escape soon afterwards.
In the aftermath, Jessica less than surprisingly decides to withdraw her mayoral candidacy, but her belief that Star City needs somebody to look up to as a symbol of hope still sticks with Oliver so he decides to run for mayor himself.
Thea’s apparent bloodlust was mainly a background issue during the season premiere but this week the issue has been brought front and center. At first, Thea dismisses Oliver’s concerns about her as being overly paranoid but as the episode goes on it gets harder to ignore. At first, she’s simply overly aggressive against some Ghosts but later breaks a drug dealer’s arm in an interrogation and when Oliver confronts her about it she attacks him like a rabid dog, all of which Thea doesn’t think is that big a deal. However, when Thea ends up setting Anarky on fire with his own weapon, even she begins to admit she has a problem.
After all of this, Oliver confesses to Thea that Merlyn had warned him beforehand that her trip to the Lazarus Pit would change her and not for the better. Laurel, hearing this, tells Oliver she’ll take Thea away for the weekend to clear her head. Secretly. however, Laurel really wants to take Thea back to Nanda Parbat to get some answers from Merlyn on how to help Thea deal with her Lazarus Pits side effects. Laurel also decides that she wants to use the Pits on her dead sister Sara because apparently she learned nothing from this episode about what a terrible idea this is.
While all of this has been going on, Felicity is busy trying to keep Palmer Tech afloat which proves to be easier said than done. The board informs her that the most practical approach is to start downsizing and “luckily”, an employee named Curtis Holt (better known to DC fans as Mr. Terrific) has come up with an algorithm to determine the company’s most expendable workers.
Felicity is none too happy about this and confronts Holt about the rather callous way he’s determined who gets to keep their jobs. Holt reveals however that his algorithm was originally intended to argue for employee raises but he was ordered by a bean-counting board member to use it as a downsizing equation instead. Also, in a bitter touch of irony, it turns one of the employees put on the chopping block by Holt’s equation is Holt himself.
Felicity then decides to hire back all the workers she just got done firing and tells the board that she plans to boost the company’s profits by creating some new world changing technology courtesy of Holt (which doesn’t actually exist yet but hey that’s just a minor detail) and they need a full work force to get it done. The board is somewhat skeptical but they give her until a shareholder’s meeting in six months to complete this new technology.
When we last left flashback Oliver, he was being held at gunpoint by a mercenary very shortly after returning to Lian Yu on a mission for Waller to “infiltrate the island.” Unsurprisingly, the by now well trained Oliver kills the guy pretty easily and gets to work trying to figure just what the heck is going on in Lian Yu. He witnesses some workers harvesting some crops under heavily armed guard. Seeing this Oliver, decides the best course of action is have the dead mercenary’s body get blown up by a land mine and claiming to some other mercs to have been surviving on the island for the last three years after his yacht sank (which to be fair is at least half true). They take Oliver to their boss who interestingly recognizes him as Oliver Queen. Impressed by Oliver’s ability to survive on the island for the last three years and now in need of a new employee, he offers Oliver a job, which he accepts.
I suppose I should start this analysis by talking about Anarky. While his debut doesn’t exactly display the political and philosophical themes the character is known for in the comics, I thought he made for an effective villain for Team Arrow. While the actor’s (Alexander Calvert) performance reminded a bit too much of the Heath Ledger version of the Joker, he still had a way of being downright unsettling at times. To me, it really says something when a guy is such a nutjob even Damien Darhk wants nothing to do with you. I suppose then I shouldn’t be surprised that Arrow has apparently decided to make him a recurring character.
Now for Oliver running for mayor. While I admittedly laughed at this idea the first time I heard it, I suppose it’s no more ridiculous than his mother being a pretty serious mayoral candidate herself just two years ago despite very recently and narrowly beating a mass murder charge. Also, Oliver had a brief tenure as Star City mayor in the comics, so there’s at least some precedent for it.
Tune in next week when Team Arrow faces faces an especially unusual adversary in ‘Restoration.’