This week’s episode of Arrow may very well be the strangest episode yet. Even though Oliver’s been Star City’s mayor all season long, this was the first time the show decided to really dive into the political realm. And, boy, did ‘Spectre of the Gun’ dive in all right — head-first with guns blazing.

The entire episode was both an allegory and a commentary on our country’s never-ending debate on gun violence and gun control. Great pains were taken to present both sides of the argument, but the storyline and the dialogue had all the subtlety of a jackhammer.

The story was pretty basic, as far as Arrow episodes go. A masked gunman makes his way into City Hall and goes on a shooting rampage, killing at least seven people and injuring dozens more. Team Arrow spends their time trying to track down the gunman, while Oliver, Quentin, and Thea focus on a proper political response to the incident.

Hello. My name is Rene Ramirez. You killed my wife. Prepare to die.

We got a break from the Russian flashbacks this week. Instead, we learned how Rene (aka Wild Dog) came to be the jaded vigilante we all know and love(?). It was a heartbreaking (if not trite) story, but it ultimately seemed a little pointless. Rene’s argument seems to be that his wife wouldn’t have died if he’d had his gun on him, but in the context of the flashback story, that makes very little sense.

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The drug dealer had a gun pressed against his wife’s head when Rene returned home. Even if Rene had his gun with him, there wouldn’t have been an opportunity to take out the dealer. Second, the shot that killed his wife was an accident. If Rene had the gun with him the whole time, I suppose you could argue there would have been no accidental discharge, but that requires several large leaps in logic.

As sad as it is to say, the person truly responsible for Rene’s wife’s death is his wife herself. If she hadn’t relapsed and bought drugs she couldn’t afford, there would have been no confrontation in the first place. (Sidenote: do drug dealers really give out their product on credit like this? Seems like a stupid way to do business to me. Also, $500 isn’t that much money; why the hell didn’t she just pay him?)

Gun Battle

Anyway, eventually the team figure out who the shooter is and Oliver talks him down before he can shoot up the hospital. Again, this is another area that doesn’t make a lot of sense. The shooter wants vengeance because he believes a failed gun control ordinance would have prevented his wife’s death in a prior mass shooting in Star City. But as Oliver points out, the shooter in that incident purchased his guns illegally, so there’s nothing the city could have done. I find it incredibly hard to believe this guy wouldn’t have already known that. That’s not something the police would have kept confidential; in fact, it’s likely the first question the press would’ve asked after the shooting.

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The episode ends with Oliver leading a candlelight vigil for the shooting victims and announcing a new gun control ordinance designed to satisfy proponents on both sides of the debate.

Assorted Tidbits

Just one little tidbit this week:

  • What’s going on with Vigilante? In the comics, Vigilante’s real name was Adrian Chase, a Gotham City district attorney whose family was gunned down by criminals. Josh Segarra has been portraying Adrian Chase all season long as the new Star City district attorney. Last night, though, we met his wife — alive and well. Shortly thereafter, Green Arrow had an encounter with Vigilante, even though Chase was in the hospital with a gunshot wound. At first, I thought we were supposed to believe the City Hall gunman was Vigilante, but I realized afterward that’s not the case. So if it’s not Adrian Chase behind that mask, then who is it? Or is it still Chase, and this was all a big fake-out?

Next week, China White, Cupid, and Liza Warner break out of Iron Heights and come looking for trouble!

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What did you think of ‘Spectre of the Gun’? Share your thoughts in the comments below!