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Arrow - S5E13 - Spectre of the Gun

Previously on Arrow, “Bratva”

There are serious superhero shows and there are silly superhero shows. Jessica Jones is serious. Legends of Tomorrow is ridiculously, wonderfully silly. Some shows manage to straddle the line (Agents of SHEILD is one), but Arrow firmly belongs in the silly camp. It’s a show that you watch for the hot people in tight costumes, the highly choreographed violence, and for sweaty shirtless training montages (yes, two of my three reasons are ogling hotties; like you guys are so perfect). It is not a show that should take itself too seriously, which is why “Spectre of the Gun” is such a complete failure of an episode. To be fair to Arrow, gun violence is a very complex issue that even shows that understand nuance have difficulty covering. On the other hand, nobody forced them to do an ill thought-out episode that comes across like a ‘very-special-episode’ from the eighties. This may be the single worst episode of Arrow, which is saying a lot given that I have sat through every season of this dumpster fire of a show.

Images: The CW

The Good

Thea is finally back from her contractually obligated absence conference. The six or so seconds of screen time she got sure were something.

The Bad

I’ve been warming up to Rene over the last couple of episodes, which makes it even worse that his flashbacks were so badly done. It would be bad enough if they were just the tired story of Rene tragically losing his previously unmentioned family to inspire him to become Wild Dog, but we had to also sit through the experience being used to support lax gun laws.

Samaire Armstrong (or as she’s more commonly known, Anna from The OC) was criminally underutilized as Rene’s junky wife. Part of me hopes that there will be more flashbacks to justify her casting. The other, larger, part of me hopes that we never again revisit this boring, clichéd storyline. As if this show needed more woman to die to inspire vigilantism.

In what world does a black, gay man reminisce about how great America used to be at civilized debate?

It was a nice change to see Oliver actually trying to do some good as the mayor for once, rather than immediately turning to violence. Too bad that the episode makes it glaringly obvious that Oliver believes in nothing. He has no political leanings whatsoever, which would normally be fine if the show hadn’t gone and given him a job in politics, and then specifically written an episode about an incredibly divisive political issue. This, added to the fact that Oliver Queen is iconically left leaning in the comics, makes his meaningless cop out of a speech at the end of the episode all the more offensive. For him to magically come up with a (non-specific) policy that somehow “respects our freedoms, and our lives” and pleases both sides of the debate is frankly an insult to our intelligence as an audience.

How the Arrow writers managed to make an entire episode of TV about gun violence without once even hinting at an opinion on the matter is an astounding feat, which I hope they never attempt to repeat.

Quotes of the Week

Thea on Oliver’s relationship with Susan Williams: “People talk Oliver, and some people vomit a little.”

Dinah – “It’s so stupid.”

Diggle – “Dinah, I work with Oliver Queen. Try me.”

Arrow S5E13
  • 2/10
    Plot - 2/10
  • 4/10
    Dialogue - 4/10
  • 7/10
    Performances - 7/10

"Spectre of the Gun"

Starring: Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Emily Bett Rickards, Paul Blackthorn, Echo Kellum

User Review
3 (2 votes)
About Alison Millward (103 Articles)
Alison is a big nerd living in Melbourne, Australia. She is a lover of all things television, particularly anything in the "hot young people in depressing sci-fi situations" genre. When not watching tv, Alison enjoys long walks on the beach, corrupting young minds, and actively avoiding thinking about her future.
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