Things we learned… 5×13: Spectre of the Gun

Arrow tackles gun control and Wild Dog’s past in its thirteenth episode, with mixed results to say the least.

Points for trying. To begin with, I’m going with a positive. They took on gun control and I think that deserves credit. ‘Filler’ episodes that step away from the main big bad plot tend to be dull, so at the very least the show chose to try and elevate itself above that. However…

This was disappointing. It was as subtle as a brick. One of the initial lair scenes was ridden with clunky dialogue as the show ticked off the various view points on gun control. I could have quite easily been reading an essay on ‘discuss the pros and cons of guns’. Yes, it explored a big issue but that’s all it did. It rode through it without coming up with anything groundbreaking or overly memorable – Oliver’s grand solution for it was nothing more than a soundbite to ensure the show didn’t have to take a side. This was an episode that could have been truly compelling and very memorable, but for me, it really missed the boat. There’s part of me that feels it tried too hard. None of this was natural enough. As I said, it was very clearly an exploration on gun control rather than a story on gun control.

Perhaps as a Brit, I don’t get it. From afar, the notion that the USA won’t implement gun control seems nonsensical to me. It’s the only developed country on the planet where these mass shootings happen, so perhaps that was going to eat into things during my experience on this. I was never going to have the patience as the whole thing is completely brainless, idiotic and exasperating to me.

Chase has a wife. This is interesting, if you look into his comic book namesake and throws a spanner in the works of a certain theory… It’s not a nail in the coffin by any means, but interesting nonetheless.

Wild Dog flashbacks missed the mark. There’s a scene in the excellent Daredevil where Frank Castle explains to the devil of Hell’s Kitchen what happened to his family. It’s a monologue. We’re shown nothing. We’re told all. It’s nothing short of superb, it’s touching and it’s simply far beyond anything that a flashback could have managed. Although I’m not against learning more about Rene, like the rest of the episode these just didn’t really do all that much nor were they all that groundbreaking. I don’t feel it was worth missing Russia for.

Overall, Arrow gets points for trying but not a lot else. This episode didn’t do a lot for me and that’s a shame. It could have been a hell of a lot more than it was.


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