TV Review: Arrow S5E13 Spectre of the Gun

arrowAn attack on City Hall brings back painful memories for Rene; flashbacks reveals Rene’s transformation from family man to a hero named Wild Dog; Oliver realizes the best way to find the attacker is to do so as Mayor Queen.

Arrow goes “very special episode” with this entry that focuses on gun violence and the debate over gun registration. The topic feels about a year too late to be relevant and the actual politics of the show is muddled and summed up with “it’s a complicated issue” and “we need to do something.” About the one thing that the show does get right is the need to enlist gun supporters to figure out what an actual solution might be and make it happen.

At its core, the episode is about Rene and why he became Watch Dog. He represents the pro-gun side of the argument, but the story presented is a pretty tragic one. We learn about his wife, his kid, and his origin in many ways. It’s a pretty average origin, but as presented it adds some depth to a character that was lacking one.

Most of the other characters are in the anti-gun crowd or are used to give information about weapons and throw out stats about the increased likelihood they get shot, the police perspective, the military information, or more. It touches on “Blue Lives Matter” as well as “Black Lives Matter” without really saying much. It’s all pretty by the numbers.

And that by the numbers makes the episode both a success and a failure. It presents the difficulties of the situation. The shooters in the episode are white men. Some of the dialogue though is stilted and feels like stats just being thrown out, exactly like an Afterschool Special. The fact this episode airs today as opposed to a year or two ago is puzzling.

I went in hoping the series would take an interesting stand, but by the time it was through, it really said very little. Even issues like “Black Lives Matter,” though touched upon, isn’t given much play. There’s a lack of depth and emotion that fits such an issue.

The episode goes through the motions but in the end says very little.

Overall rating: 7.05