By Christopher Ross (@boss_ross92)
As usual, spoilers below!
Arrow 5x13 “Spectre of the Gun” tried to tackle a sensitive subject in the American social/political realm. As you might have guessed from the title, last night’s Arrow focused on gun rights vs. gun control. It’s a long heated battle between people who want to regulate who should and shouldn’t have guns, against some who believe regulation is against their 2nd Amendment rights. This article won’t go down the rabbit hole any further, so we’ll just let the recap of the episode explain how they dealt with this issue.
Starting off with the flashback scenes this week, since they laid the groundwork for tonight’s theme and also gave us more insight on Rene’s (Rich Gonzalez) past and his motives for helping out Team Arrow. The flashbacks occur sometime before the end of season 4 and we see that Rene is a family man, with a home, a wife and daughter, and has finally started a better life away from the Glades. Rene and his young daughter are set to go to a hockey game in the Glades, so like any other responsible parent, Rene decides to grab his handgun from his safe. Of course his wife Laura (Samaire Armstrong), questions this decision and initiates an argument to keep the gun in the house. Rene snaps back to reality by bringing up his wife’s problem before the show shifts back to the present.
When we return to the flashback, Rene ask his wife if she is “using” again. Seems he found some drugs in their bedroom and he questions his wife. Shouting ensues but the two are interrupted by their daughter who is ready to go to the hockey game. Before leaving, Rene gives his wife an ultimatum: either she throws all the drugs away or she is going to be thrown out instead.
Rene and his daughter return home after the game to find the house in a wreck. It seems that Laura’s drug dealer is looking for money she owes him and is holding her at gunpoint. Rene tries to calm the situation down and offers to go into the safe to grab the money i.e. his handgun. This all goes badly when Rene’s daughter comes out and the drug dealer knocks down Laura and shoots Rene. Rene manages to grab his gun and shoots the dealer, but a shot goes off from the dealer’s weapon and kills Laura. In the final flashback scene, we see that Rene’s daughter was taken into child custody and she is no longer able to return to her father.
The gun rights talk starts for present day Team Arrow after a masked gunman shoots up City Hall and kills several people. Adrian (Josh Segarra) is shot in the crossfire but luckily Rene is there to scare off the masked man. Back at the Arrow lair, members of the team argue over gun rights with Curtis (Echo Kellum) taking the side of gun control and Rene arguing for gun rights.
The episode played off the different stances between Curtis and Rene on the topic of guns. The two argue over the debate the majority of the episode until Curtis finds out what happened to Rene’s family. Rene’s daughter is in a foster home and he believes she is better off without him. Luckily, Curtis is there to talk some sense in to Rene and offers to help get custody of his daughter back. It’s great to see how this season’s supporting cast is really adding substance to the episodes. Rene continues to grow on us with each episode and Curtis is showing some great strides in this back half of season 5.
Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) manages to identify the masked killer as James Edlund (Cliff Chamberlain) and eventually the team finds out his motives and his next target. Mr. Edlund’s family was killed by guns and he blames the former Star City leaders for putting an end to a proposed gun control law that might have saved his family’s lives. The masked killer turns his sights on a hospital but luckily Oliver(Stephen Amell), as Mr. Mayor and not Green Arrow, is there to save the day. He is able to stop Edlund from killing anyone in the hospital and talks the man down from committing suicide.
To finish up, "tonight’s best performance" award goes to Mr. Stephen Amell. Although the supporting cast has really been great this season, Amell has taken the Oliver Queen character to a whole new level. Although the episode focused primarily on gun control/rights, the Mayor Queen storyline hit it out of the park. With Arrow in its 5th season now, we have seen Oliver’s growth as the Green Arrow and his brooding behavior towards villains. But it is Amell as the lead character who has taken up the responsibility as leader of Star City. Tonight’s episode really hit on Oliver’s vulnerability as the Mayor. He is now accountable for others, those with whom he doesn’t always maintain his alter ego. He also has to use his smarts to come up with a gun control plan that wouldn’t offend both sides of the spectrum, all while talking down a gunman who had a weapon pointed at Oliver’s face. Amell probably gave one of his best performances of the series, but not as the invincible Green Arrow but as the resolute Oliver Queen.
-- If Adrian is truly Vigilante, he quickly recovered from that gunshot wound to take the streets and kill a low level thug that Oliver was interrogating. Hopefully we get a reveal pretty soon here.
-- Rene Gonzalez deserves more screen time. It’s good to see him take a strong handle on tonight’s episode.
-- Will Curtis to cut his hair so he can pull off that Mister Terrific costume better?
-- Good to see Thea (Willa Holland) back. Really miss her in the Speedy costume.
-- It seems that Felicity used her Pandora’s box thumb drive to help find Edlund. Wonder how long the writers are going to tease at this growing issue.
-- The Diggle/Dinah storyline was a great bit this week. Diggle (David Ramsey) is truly the Jiminy Cricket of the group with his words of wisdom after kicking a guy’s ass.
-- The gun debate issue is not the easiest social issue to bring into a TV show, but Arrow managed to have a strong showing without offending either side too much. With a show that displays violence and weapons on the regular, it’s good to see that the cast and crew can also use thought and discussion to bring a point across.
Rating: Arrow 5x13 “Spectre of the Gun”: Great
Rene’s flashback paired with Stephen Amell’s wonderful performance really hit the nail on the head in this week’s episode.
Until next time heroes!
Note: This article is ongoing, check back later for the upcoming recaps/reviews, including:
The Flash 3x13 "Attack on Gorilla City" (Airs 2/21/17)
Legends of Tomorrow 2x12 "Camelot/3000" (Airs 2/21/17)