- For the titular character, see Jessica Danforth.
- "Hope, inspiration. Someone who can do things in the light, who isn't afraid, someone who can protect himself. Felicity, I'm going to run for mayor."
- —Oliver Queen deciding to run for Mayor of Star City
"The Candidate" is the second episode of the fourth season of , and the seventy-first episode overall. It aired on October 14, 2015.
|When an old family friend, Jessica Danforth, tells Oliver and Thea that she is going to run for mayor, both Queens are concerned considering the last three mayors have been murdered. Despite their protests, Jessica makes her announcement so Green Arrow and Speedy vow to protect her. Meanwhile, Thea begins to exhibit effects from the Lazarus Pit. In addition, Felicity is faced with a tough business decision and looks to one of her employees, Curtis Holt, for help.|
After defeating a team of Ghosts trying to blow up the Star City water treatment plant, Oliver is worried about Thea, who he thinks is overly aggressive and in danger of killing an opponent. She assures him she knows where the line is. Later, Jessica Danforth, an old friend of Moira, tells Thea and Oliver that she plans to run for mayor, inspired by the Green Arrow's broadcast and the memory of their mother. When she announces it publicly, the event is attacked; Thea and Oliver save Jessica from an attacker, but he escapes. The assailant isn't masked like other Ghost operatives, and they are able to find prints, but it seems the man may have gone to extreme lengths to obscure his fingerprints. Oliver thinks the team need to help protect Jessica, but Laurel doesn't think Captain Lance will go for it. She's right; Quentin still doesn't think vigilantes are the answer, despite Oliver's promise that things will be different now he's the Green Arrow.
At Palmer Technologies, Felicity discovers the company is in dire straits and is told by the board she must lay off a large number of workers, despite her protests. She does so personally, meeting Curtis Holt, an employee whose algorithm was used to determine who should be fired. He reveals that was never his intention; the algorithm was supposed to show which employees should receive raises. The employees had hoped Felicity's return would turn things around, but Felicity doesn't see a way out. Curtis' name appears on her list and he tries to make her feel better about it.
On stake out at the police station, Diggle reveals to Laurel that he thinks Damien Darhk's "hive of followers" is connected to H.I.V.E., the organization that hired Deadshot to kill his brother, and that he's been secretly investigating them for two years. Meanwhile, Darhk meets with the man who attacked Jessica's announcement, Lonnie Machin, who took on the assignment in an attempt to join H.I.V.E. Darhk tells him he's failed, but Machin asks for more time; Darhk agrees, but warns him that unlike Machin's previous employer Rick Pinzolo, H.I.V.E. doesn't give third chances.
Investigating a lead on Machin, Thea breaks the arm of a drug dealer who challenges the authority of "masks". Back at HQ, Felicity finally discovers Lonnie's identity from his prints just as Oliver angrily confronts Thea on her recent behavior, including unnecessarily using crippling strikes during the earlier battle. Thea loses it, attacking Oliver, who reveals that Malcolm warned him about possible side effects of the Lazarus Pit. Laurel wants to know more, and later talks to Thea, who tells her about the Lazarus Pit.
Oliver visits Jessica at SCPD; she refuses to drop out of the race, believing that as well as the Green Arrow, Star City needs someone in the public eye to inspire them. They then discover Madison has been kidnapped, and the police guarded her murdered. Jessica makes a desperate media appeal, while Oliver gives Captain Lance Lonnie Machin's identity, and asks him to let the team help. Lonnie meanwhile meets with Darhk, who doesn't appreciate his efforts; he believes in order, but Lonnie is sloppy, and represents anarchy. Darhk orders him to clean up his mess. Quentin afterwards visits Darhk, angry about the kidnapping and wanting out of their deal, but Darhk threatens Laurel to remind Quentin he has now choice. He then gives Quentin the address where Lonnie is holding Madison, describing the abduction as in "bad taste"; Quentin gives the address to Oliver, asking him to prove that things really are different now.
Team Arrow arrive just in time; Diggle and Laurel take Madison to safety while Oliver and Thea go after Lonnie, who stuns them both, but Thea recovers and, after kicking Lonnie into a shelf of flammable chemicals, uses Lonnie's own stun baton against him, setting him on fire. She watches him burn, laughing, until Oliver sets off the warehouse's sprinklers to save him, and Thea realizes what she's done. Afterwards, reunited with Madison at the SCPD, Jessica announces she is going to withdraw her candidacy. Quentin angrily rejects Oliver's claims to be reformed after Lonnie had been set on fire, and tells him he'd be up on murder charges if Lonnie hadn't survived.
Back at Palmer Tech, Felicity confronts the board, having rehired all the fired employees. She claims she's discovered revolutionary work by Holt which will save the company, but this is a lie - she's betting that Holt is genius enough to come up with something before the next shareholders' meeting in six months' time.
Oliver visits Thea, who has realized there is something wrong with her. Oliver apologizes for not telling her about the Pit immediately, and Laurel suggests that she take Thea out of town for a spa weekend. After Oliver leaves, Laurel reveals her actual plan: to go to Nanda Parbat. She wants to keep it a secret because has her own reason for going.
Later, Lonnie has escaped police custody despite his wounds, slaughtering the officers escorting him and leaving an anarchy symbol painted on the ambulance. Oliver tells Felicity that in order to really do things differently, he's going to run for mayor. Meanwhile, Laurel and Thea go to the cemetery to dig up Sara's body.
In flashbacks to Oliver's return to Lian Yu, he kills the guard who discovered him and is given orders to "prepare for infiltration"; he finds an opium farm watched by more guards, and disguises himself. He disposes of the first guard's body in a mine field, drawing two more guards whom he tells his name, claiming to have been on the island since his boat was wrecked three years earlier. They take him to meet Reiter, who recognizes him; the Baron refuses to let him go, but offers him a job replacing his dead guard. Later, one of the laborers collapses. The other laborers plead that he needs medical attention, but Oliver, who now joined the other guards, refuses and demands they get back to work.
- Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow
- Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Canary
- David Ramsey as John Diggle
- Willa Holland as Thea Queen/Speedy
- Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak
- John Barrowman (credit only)
- Paul Blackthorne as Captain Quentin Lance
Special appearance by
- Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt
- Jimmy Akingbola as Baron Reiter
- Alexander Calvert as Lonnie Machin/Anarky
- Elysia Rotaru as Taiana Venediktov
- Tiera Skovbye as Madison Danforth
- Jeri Ryan as Jessica Danforth
- Crystal Balint as Officer Thompson
- Robert Corness as Homeless Man
- Jaeson Lee as Mercenary
- Kurtis Maguire as Drug Dealer
- Dean Monroe McKenzie as Dennis
- Jonathan Mubanda as Mercenary #3
- Fanta Sesay as Karla Groves
- Kent Thompson as Bodyguard
- Nigel Vonas as Mercenary #2
- Thea mentions that Madison previously wished to be J.T.'s backup dancer, possibly referencing Justin Timberlake.
- Jessica says she wants to take Moira Queen's place as mayor. On Star Trek Voyager, Jessica's actress, Jeri Ryan, played a Borg named Seven of Nine and Moira's actress, Susanna Thompson, played the Borg Queen. There were several episodes where it was said or insinuated that Seven of Nine wanted to take the Borg Queen's place.
- Thea compares running for mayor of Star City to being on the Titanic.
Preparation ran from July 14 until July 22, 2015. Filming ran from July 23 until August 5, 2015.
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