Arrow: Spectre of the Gun Review


By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

“Spectre of the Gun” is the first time Arrow has taken on a larger political, hot-button issue in society: gun control. It was a different change of pace in a so-far excellent season, but was an odd choice of placement within the season itself.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

I’m surprised it took this long for Arrow to take on a political issue. Oliver has been mayor for half a season and all of a sudden, the show decides now to take on a hot-button issue. This episode would have been better received if the series decided to take a political angle in the first few episodes of the season. If they had established they were going to do political storylines from the onset, this gun control storyline wouldn’t have felt out-of-the-blue.

According to Green Arrow comic book canon, Oliver’s turn as mayor is highly political and for that matter, quite liberal. I have been surprised that Oliver’s political stance has yet to be shown on Arrow. Instead, he comes off as apolitical and a man without a party affiliation. But right now, with everything going on in the world around us, I’m glad he doesn’t have a party affiliation. I watch TV for escapism and I’m glad Arrow recognizes this. It keeps both sides of the aisle happy and does not anger or alienate a large section of their audience.

However, gun control feels like an odd topic for the series to cover. Last season, Darhk nuclear bombed an entire city of thousands of people with little uproar and hundreds died in the Undertaking during season one, but then the show makes a large deal about seven people dying in a shooting. It felt a little like tonal whiplash.

In a past episode, Oliver has stated that he doesn’t like guns, so his position to have some sort of regulation should not surprise any viewers. Thankfully, the series decided to not take one specific side in this debate and let it feel balanced enough for both sides to be represented.

Elsewhere in the episode, Wild Dog got some major character development. Up until the past two episodes, he has been largely portrayed as a lone wolf and a punk who refuses to listen. In the previous episode, “Bratva,” he had some fantastic scenes with Lance about his childhood on the streets and his interaction with the then-Officer Lance.

“Spectre of the Gun” delved further into Rene’s past. Making him a father who has lost his daughter was such a fantastic choice by the writers and his experience with gun violence was a welcome – and needed – parallel to the episode’s political narrative. Now he has more layers and is much more sympathetic as a character than just the one-dimensional hoodlum character. With this new character development, he is the best newbie to introduced in Arrow’s fifth season.

Finally, thank goodness Thea is back. Her being MIA was not okay. She continues to show why she is Arrow’s fifth season MVP.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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