Spoiler warning: Do not read on unless you’ve seen “Arrow” season 4, episode 2, titled “The Candidate.”
Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) took another step towards his DC Comics destiny in episode 402 of “Arrow,” making the decision to run for mayor of Star City after the latest candidate, Jessica Danforth (Jeri Ryan), was intimidated into dropping out of the race — this time by Lonnie Machin (Alexander Calvert) better known as DC Comics villain Anarky.
While Oliver was trying to move into the light, his ally Laurel (Katie Cassidy) seemed to be taking a darker path in this week’s episode. After learning about Thea’s (Willa Holland) resurrection in Nanda Parbat thanks to Ra’s al Ghul’s Lazarus Pit, Laurel became determined to try and save her own sister, Sara (Caity Lotz), who was murdered last season, by similarly mystical means.
“In keeping with our general theme of family this year, we’re going to keep her in the family, dealing with her sister, dealing with her father, and where do those relationships take her?” previews “Arrow” co-showrunner Wendy Mericle. “It’s a big part of her story for the season, the return of Sara… Lance and Laurel have made peace in the intervening months… When Sara comes back, each of them are gonna have surprising reactions to it, and we’re not gonna replay the rift of last season but we’re going to find new ways to deepen that relationship and complicate it, because this is a central part of her life and her story this season.”
With Laurel and Thea headed to Nanda Parbat in next week’s episode, the show is also sowing the seeds of John Constantine’s (Matt Ryan) first appearance on “Arrow,” which will occur in episode 405. “We knew Sara was coming back and we wanted to have her soul… she needed to be resurrected, and even in the world of the comic books, he’s the guy to do it,” Mericle says of Constantine’s cameo. “We weren’t sure it was all going to work out, but DC was very generous and Matt Ryan’s schedule worked out and we’re very excited.”
“The Candidate” featured plenty of other callbacks to the DC Comics universe — including the introduction of Curtis Holt (aka the future Mr. Terrific), played by Echo Kellum.
“We’re very excited about him, and not just because he’s LGBT and we have an opportunity to explore that, but also he’s just a great character and Echo Kellum is phenomenal,” Mericle says. “He has good scenes with Felicity. He brings a new, fresh dynamic. Obviously Ray [Brandon Routh] is leaving the show so we wanted a new superhero in that vein… It wasn’t necessarily to come at it from any particular angle in terms of gender or sexual orientation. It was more, it’s season four and one of the obvious secrets of keeping your show alive is you’ve got to repopulate, and Mr. Terrific was somebody that we discussed with DC and we were excited about. He’s smart and athletic and cool.”
Curtis’ introduction will also help to widen Felicity’s world outside Team Arrow, after last season saw her spend a lot of time focused on her relationships with Oliver and Ray. “One of the things we’re excited about is getting more into her past and also seeing more of what drives her,” Mericle admits. “She’s hugely important… We’re all very protective — not just the women in the room — everyone has the objective of making sure she has her own agenda and her own drive and her own opinions and it’s not tied to ‘am I gonna get the boy?'”
The hour also saw Diggle (David Ramsey) open up to Laurel about his brother Andy’s connection to HIVE, which Mericle says will be a pivotal story for Digg this season. “With HIVE on the scene, he’s gonna get answers about his brother… this is the season where we’re gonna dig into that, no pun intended. He really wants to get these answers and he’ll stop at nothing to get them,” she notes, admitting that the show will explore, “what kind of impact does that have on his relationship with Lyla [Audrey Marie Anderson] and his relationship with the team? He’s a man on fire and a man on a mission and it’s about his brother, so it hits him where he lives in a way we’ve not really seen him have to grapple with these moral issues and the idea of revenge.”
“Arrow” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.