Spectre of the Gun
Original Air Date: Feb 15, 2017
Brianna – Managing Editor
Tonight’s Arrow opening had something I don’t think the show has ever had before…a viewer advisory.
“Spectre of the Gun” dealt with the issue of gun control as Oliver and the team had to deal with a shooting in Star City City Hall. The hour also offered more on Rene’s past leading up to him putting on his mask and joining the team.
In theory and a vacuum, this episode would have been a solid commentary on a very prevalent issue in America and how it’s handled in terms of addressing it. Within the context of the show’s history, however, it felt like an hour that felt just a little off in terms of tone and made some unusual decisions regarding a pair of characters that were surprisingly low-key about the whole issue.
A Problem the Green Arrow Can’t Solve
In the wake of the shooting that has left City Hall staff members seriously injured or dead, Oliver immediately turns to his Green Arrow suit to try and figure out who was behind it. What forces him to change tactics and discover that the best course of action is through his Mayoral persona is the discovery that it wasn’t a mob family like Bertinelli or the second coming of Tobias Church that carried this mass shooting out, it was just a man who lost his wife and daughter.
The fact that it was just a regular person presented the chance to actually see Oliver put in work as the Mayor on an important issue. Seeing Mayor Queen was an aspect of the episode I enjoyed in that we got to see more City Hall action and know that Oliver can do the job we only rarely see him do. Seeing him handle it from the angle of a politician left room for both sides of the argument to be on display and made for an optimistic (and slightly idealistic, if reality is any indication) result with policy that allowed for both sides to be happy.
More About Rene
With the topic of gun control and violence also came more background on Rene and his time leading up to the moment that he was recruited to join the team. His flashbacks and story were the highlights of the episode as we got to see why he was very much a proponent of gun ownership and the fact that he had a wife and a daughter that he couldn’t protect from a drug dealer. It was heartbreaking to see him lose the two people closest to him but offered more insight into who he is.
Now that Curtis has offered to help him get his daughter back from foster care, I’m looking forward to seeing how that works out for him.
Those Noticeably Quiet on the Subject
For the most part, we got to see the team share their viewpoint on the issue of gun violence and gun control which was important in an episode like this. However, there were two members that were almost glaringly quiet on the subject that struck me as odd. Given the past two years or so for Felicity and Digg’s entire military background, not to mention what happened with his brother, I would have thought they’d have an opinion on the matter.
Let’s look at Digg’s situation first. The hour didn’t leave him with much to say on the subject or even a stance despite the fact that the man has presumably lived most of his life around guns because of his time in the military, as a bodyguard, and on the team. I found this to be incredibly odd and a little out of place considering the topic.
Another odd move by the writers was to have Felicity actively avoiding any debate on the topic. I’m not exactly sure what they were going with in terms of that motivation considering that she is one of the members of the team most affected by guns. From being held at gunpoint by Cooper back in season three to getting the limo she was riding in be shot up causing paralysis, she should have been one of the more outspoken people talking about it and taking a stance. It’s a little puzzling that she wasn’t.
- Thea is back! It was nice to have her back after a bit of time away, and her return provided us with a solid moment before things took a turn where she let us know what she thought of Oliver’s girlfriend, and it was great. Also, the term “dragon lady” was uttered and it was fantastic.
- The Green Arrow faced off against Vigilante again, and the (somewhat) new masked man seems to think he and Oliver are working toward the same goal. It will be interesting to see if (or when) Oliver will be finding out who’s behind the mask.
- We get Digg and Dinah bonding as he offers her advice on moving forward with her life. It was nice to see, but it felt like it fell to the wayside in an episode that had two other stories with a more interconnected issue.
- Though it wasn’t the first time, the show has covered gun control (Sebastian Blood and the cash for guns episode back in season two), the way the show addressed it felt different this time around in terms of focus and character reactions and how it blended with the overall story.
- I did appreciate the line about how discussing issues like this has become this unsavory form of dialogue and considered impolite.
Next week on Arrow: “The Sin-Eater.”