Anarchy reigns over “The Candidate,” and not just because Anarky has appeared in Star City. The members of Team Green Arrow, and many of their friends and family, are leading lives that become more chaotic by the day as the city grapples with new threats around every corner.
And the terrors of the world are driving some to consider raising the dead, while others are doing all they can to prevent their loved ones from ending up in the ground (and as the end of the season premiere indicated, that fate awaits at least one person close to Oliver).
“The Candidate” also dabbles in the anarchy of the show’s constantly growing ensemble of secondary characters. Three new faces, all of whom have the potential to return, are introduced, including the person who, for most of the hour, seems to be the titular candidate, Jessica Danforth.
Jeri Ryan guest stars as an old friend of Moira Queen’s, who has resurfaced in Oliver and Thea’s lives, along with her red-shirt daughter, to run for mayor of Star City. Sure the position’s last few occupants were all murdered, but hey, Danforth believes she can be the symbol of hope for the city in a way the Green Arrow can never be: a face that is ever-present in the citizens’ lives.
Danforth wastes no time entering the mayoral race to compete against exactly zero other candidates, holding a public press conference to announce her intention to run. But like all good public gatherings in Star City, a gun begins firing in the atrium, which Thea goes to investigate. She finds an auto-firing gun meant simply as a diversion, and as Oliver catches up to Danforth, he realizes why.
Her escort out of the building isn’t actually part of her detail, which we learn from a security guard who this mystery man electrocutes. Ollie appears just in time to throw him over the bannister (self-defense classes, he explains to Danforth), but this unknown assailant flees, rushing out into traffic and escaping Oliver’s grasp when he’s struck by a car.
Luckily, they were able to pull some of this guy’s prints from a windshield by buying the truck the windshield was attached to. Felicity is rich now as head of Palmer Tech (more on that in a bit), but they have difficulty putting together his identity.
In the meantime, Quentin has put a 24/7 detail on Danforth to protect her, but he’s not quite ready to let Oliver and the team help out on their investigation. He doesn’t trust even the Green Arrow to be responsible, to act any differently than he did before, and so for now they have to go about their hunt without the police force’s aide.
But it looks like this mysterious anarchist has some assistance of his own in the form of Damien Darhk. The new Big Bad isn’t quite so happy with this man’s botched mission, though. He offers him a second chance to make good on his promise, but Darhk is not a man who gives third chances.
So Lonnie Machin (Alexander Calvert) decides to throw a little kidnapping into the mix, but not of Danforth — of her daughter. Oliver has Danforth call her daughter, who is supposedly at the library, only to find that no one is answering her phone. It’s a move Darhk disowns Machin for, but the troublemaker doesn’t mind. He continues his plan, bringing Danforth’s daughter to his torture chamber, where he has a cabinet full of weapons ready to use on his captive. Luckily by this point, Felicity is able to crack through on his identity and help the team find him.
They narrow down his location and break in through the skylights (“Something wrong with the front door,” he asks), but the fight soon literally heats up. Temporarily trading in his electrocution stick for a flamethrower, Machin diverts the team enough to find a new hiding spot.
Oliver and Thea search the building for him, only for him to spring up and electrocute Speedy. He begins fighting Oliver and proves he’s not a force to be trifled with. He beats down and shocks Oliver as well, but Speedy, spurred on by her recent, more violent behavior, re-enters the fray. She gives Machin a taste of his own electrotherapy, lighting him on fire in the process. Oliver is furious, and moves swiftly to put the fire out before another foe is added to the body count that he’s trying to keep down.
Danforth’s daughter is safe, and the concerned mother’s mayoral future comes into question as a result. But while she’s happy to see her daughter alive, Quentin is unhappy with how Oliver went about it. Shooting people with arrows was bad enough, but now he’s lighting them on fire? The Green Arrow sure seems different, and Quentin’s not too pleased with the result. (Tough criticism coming from a guy who’s paired up with a mystically powered man who oozes evil.)
But Oliver takes what Quentin has to say at heart, as well as Danforth’s reasoning for originally running for mayor.
“The city needs something the Green Arrow can’t offer. Hope, inspiration, someone who can do things in the light and who isn’t afraid,” he tells Felicity, right before explaining he plans to run for mayor. Because surely nothing wrong can come of that, right?
NEXT: Felicity’s in charge and Speedy’s got a violent streak.