Arrow S05E13 “Spectre of the Gun” Review

“Spectre of the Gun”

Warning Contains Spoilers

 

This week’s episode of Arrow tackled the difficult topic of gun control. It’s interesting that Arrow would get so political, but I think they did a good job, covering the issue from both sides.

The episode begins with the return of Thea (thank heaven) without a real explanation as to where she has been. I’m so glad she’s back, though– this show needs her and her sassiness. It isn’t long before she takes a few snarky jabs at Oliver’s relationship with sleazy-reporter Susan. He tries to defend her, but Thea just keeps saying she might throw up (love her). I actually can’t wait for the reveal of Susan’s lies, so many “I told you so’s” will be said! Another new change while Thea was gone was the apparent appointment of Rene as Quentin’s assistant. That kind of came out of left field; it was just last week that they had a real conversation, and now he’s working for him? Thea doesn’t understand either. I guess Team Arrow is slowly but surely infiltrating City Hall.

Gun control became a hot topic when a gunman opened fire on City Hall, killing numerous staff and injuring others. On the injured list was District Attorney Adrian Chase, who wanted to get up and fight after being stabilized at the hospital. Seeing as he is most likely The Vigilante, this didn’t come as any surprise; he wants to clean up the streets of Star City, so of course he would need to go after the gunman. Oliver enlists his help on a lead dealing with the Bertinelli Family, and when Green Arrow is interrogating a member of said family, Vigilante  shows up! Coincidence? I think not. There are no coincidences in the superhero world– Adrian Chase is The Vigilante.

Rene is very much for people having access to guns. Curtis and him get into an argument about gun control, each on opposite sides of the debate. It’s often hard to have discussions about politics among friends and colleagues because people have such strong opinions, this was true between these two. Curtis just did not understand–given what happened at City Hall and all the violence in the city–why Rene wasn’t against guns. Through a series of flashbacks we find the answer to this question.

It has been hinted at before that Rene might have or had a child, especially when he had a heart to heart with Diggle a few episodes back. Tonight this was confirmed; Rene, in fact, had a wife and a daughter. His wife was a junkie, and upon returning home from a hockey game with his daughter, he found her held at gunpoint by her dealer; she owed him money from her last stash. Earlier she wouldn’t let Rene take his gun out of the safe, so he didn’t have it on him when he arrived home. When he got it out of the safe, he shot down the dealer, but not before the dealer killed his wife. After losing his wife, he turned to the bottle and lost custody his daughter. What a devastating turn of events for Rene. This definitely explained a lot about his behavior; why he’s been so moody and defiant. He is for guns because if he had a gun that day, his wife would still be alive. This puts Rene in a whole new light for me and I now feel bad I disliked him. We got Dinah’s backstory immediately to understand where she is coming from, but with Rene we were only given glimpses until now. All we knew was that he was unreasonable, defiant and moody. I think they should’ve had his backstory a lot sooner, but better late than never I suppose. We finally know how he became Wild Dog and it was well done.

Once Curtis finds out about Rene’s wife, he does a little digging and finds out about his daughter, too. They make up and he tells Rene, “let’s get your daughter back”. I think–like the audience–Curtis also understands Rene a lot more now with the new information. I hope he’s able to get his daughter back, but I’m sure it will take time. In the meantime, Rene has this fancy new job and a few new friends!

In order to save the city, Oliver had to be Mayor. He couldn’t solve this issue using violence; so many times Oliver has used violence to win and he knew this time was different. Instead, he met with a councilwoman to come up with a solution to the gun problem in Star City. He actually was more of a mayor this episode than he’s ever been. He actually had to do duties without the crutch of his bow and arrow. I was actually quite proud. He also is able to talk down the gunman when he almost opens fire on a hospital. It turns out the gunman lost his entire family in a mass shooting, and he blamed the city for not having stricter gun laws. The city isn’t safe, but people also have the right to protect themselves, so it’s difficult to figure out. Arrow was able to show both sides of this issue without seeming like they leaned either way. They ended up drafting a pretty solid plan that allowed people to protect themselves but also keep the city safe; it was the best of both worlds.

Dinah and Diggle become good friends in this episode. I guess they understand each other: her being an ex cop and him being a former soldier. They understand not knowing how to be assimilate in a normal world again. She didn’t want to rent an apartment because it seemed too normal for her, so she ended up–after some advice from Diggle–renting the apartment and she even signed up for training at the SCPD. She’s getting her life back together, one step at a time. It was way too easy for her to rent an apartment, by the way; I wish it were that easy and quick in real life! I really like Dinah, she’s no Laurel of course, but she has heart, and she brings something new to Team Arrow.

This week’s Arrow had some amazing character moments. I liked that Oliver was able to solve a problem without violence– it was a huge step for him. That was something I thought I would never see from Oliver. This season is all about moving forward and finding a new normal, and each episode continues to honor that. I just also want them to get back on track on defeating Prometheus. It seems like Felicity is the only one who is still on task.

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