For a show that is constantly hip deep in violence, it may seem laughable for Arrow to go off the reservation a bit and do an episode centered on gun control. To that end, it was not entirely successful in pulling it off. However, it did surprise me a bit and combined with the Rene origin flashbacks, also surrounded by gun violence, it made for a nice change of pace, warts and all.
The episode begins with Oliver going about business as usual in the Mayor’s office, reunited with his sister Thea (finally) who has a few nice lines about what she’s missed, including her feelings on her brother’s new girlfriend. Then everything quickly goes to hell as an armed man in a mask pulls out a weapon and starts shooting everyone in his path. It is a rather brutal and bloody scene, as graphic as it can be for a CW show and this of course leads right into the gun control debate.
Just as interesting were the flashbacks (I can’t believe I’m saying that for a second week in a row) which gave us the origin story for Rene. We all knew there had to be some violent event that sent him down the path he’s on now, but no one knew that it involved his wife and daughter, both of whom suffered along with him because of this tragic event in is past. It might not have made Rene more lovable but we definitely understand him a little bit more after seeing this. Also, it was nice to see a flashback that didn’t center around Oliver for once and after seeing this, I’m impressed with the showrunners/writers idea to make Rene a much deeper and more tragic figure who can still do good, not just another damaged soul running around using violence as a means of revenge.
There were also some other plot threads that went on in this episode, such as Diggle and Dinah bonding over their past, Felicity continuing to get in deeper with the special people on the dark net and the appearance of Vigilante (basically The Punisher with a different costume) who showed up and dealt out his brand of justice, while the Green Arrow would not kill.
They were interesting enough but let’s face it, the whole episode centered around the issue of gun control and how this show was going to deal with this rather sensitive topic. The problem lay in the fact that a lot of characters had their chance to pipe in on the subject and while they made some good points it came off as far too preachy and this is something Arrow needs to get away from. The fact that Oliver realized he could solve this problem better as the Mayor was a good step but even better was his realization about how important this issue was and that he had, not officially anyway, no real stand on the matter. That came later and to me, was much less effective but it was still good to see Mayor Queen come out and play and leave the Green Arrow behind.
I will give the show credit for attempting to tackle this incredibly difficult subject and thinking outside the comic show box but it was too preachy and drawn out for my taste.
Three and a half stars out of five
- Gutsy move taking on gun control as a story line
- Nice to see Mayor Queen be the go to guy instead of Arrow
- Interesting flashbacks with Rene
- Characters got far too preachy on the subject of gun control
- Thea is back...does anyone care?