Arrow – Season V – Ep. 13 – “Spectre of the Gun”: A Review

Posted: 02/20/2017 in Uncategorized

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This was easily one of the more topical episodes of this series. Working with the subject of gun control pros and cons and using Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog’s (Rick Gonzalez)backstory, this week’s Arrow-sode presented more of a think piece than actioner. There was no dearth of action but the discussion of gun control and the idea that Green Arrow can occasionally solve problems in his city without his alter ego was duly presented. My opening drawn up, on to my review.

We open with the return of The (Willa Holland) a with no real insight as to where she went. Her presence however was welcome. She quickly cautions Oliver (Stephen Amell) on his ‘relationship’ with Susan Williams, apt counsel after her secret meeting with her justice department connection the week before. Thea’s friendship with Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) occurs organically as she remains his staunchest supporter. The addition of Rene to the mayoral office team also delivers as while he maintains his wise-ass demeanor he takes the position of assistant to the deputy mayor seriously. His presence and preparedness proves invaluable with the events that unfold and act as talking point for the entire episode.

I used the term topical earlier but relevant might be a better term. An armed gunman makes his way inside the mayor’s office and summarily mows down staff with a machine gun. Rene is able to get a shot off but the assailant is wearing body armor so does not go down. That Rene’s presence, along with Oliver’s, saves lives is unquestionable. That the issue of gun violence is a grim fact affecting many day to day lives, as well framing the superhero genre, is telling.  The treatment of the issue of gun control and a respect toward both perspectives, namely the stomping on privacy rights versus plainly preventing the taking of lives is a hot topic across the world now more so than any other time. We routinely learn of shootings both accidental and deliberate causing us to question the amendment right of bearing arms’ validity. Arrow ep. 13 does not take a side so much as plead for reason and promote discussion. The debate from a microcosm of arguments among the team, namely between Rene and Curtis/Mr. Terrific (Echo Kellum) played well, particularly with the flashback arc being dedicated solely to Rene versus Oliver’s Bratva/Talia arc.

This was quite simply an excellent run. The wounding of Adrian Chase (Josh Seguerra) brings his personal relationship to light with the introduction of his wife Doris (Parveen Dosanjh). His other half comes into play presenting the ‘harder’ side of gun violence pushing from protection to judgement and execution. There is some chatter that Chase is both the Vigilante and Prometheus but I am not buying it. The presentation of his supportive wife however calls into question what loss he spoke of previously when facing the Green Arrow. This version of the Vigilante differs from the established lore but nonetheless his journey continues to be engaging.

Ultimately points are made for both sides or registration but the mvps in this episode are unquestionably Mayor Queen (Amell) and Rene who demonstrate character rising above loss. Rene’s back story is tragic and informs both the man’s stance on gun violence, namely the cause for possession as a line of defense and protection, all the more notable by what he loses by utilizing said method to save his wife and daughter. The notion that he is from the Glades and like Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) pushes past it and rises above it cinches his place with the team and continues the trajectory of his potential rise as the next in line should GA fall.

Amell can act. He has the chops and watching him at a loss when questioned by reporters to share his honest view on guns plays terrifically. He is lost as he freely confesses to his team/friends stating he is no politician. His own violent acts to save his city fill him with conflict and his actions in this run reflect this. This episode however presented his humanity and empathy in lieu of his normal take down and capture methodology. The villain of the piece James Edlund (Cliff Chamberlain) is not a villain in the truest sense, but a deeply troubled man whose own loss transforms him into a killer. That he is a representative of a path that either Oliver or Rene could have fallen into is ably offered.  This wasn’t a filler episode. There is a message here and it is a simple one. One does not need to be an armed vigilante to be a hero. As corny as this can sound, its earnest delivery in this run pushes Arrow into becoming a show about something more than its genre.

As for sub arcs; Julia Harkavy continues to kill her scenes as Dinah Drake/Canary both with the team and her one on ones with John/Spartan (David Ramsay). She is a warrior and so is he. His counsel on deserving normalcy despite their crazy lives has due resonance and pushes her to make a decision to make roots in Star City. Felicity continues down her secretive dark path though still provides results for the greater good…for now.

All in all, “Spectre” delivered, presenting a welcome change of pace while maintaining solid performances, action and engaging story lines. Arrow Season V remains simply outstanding and well worth your time.

 

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