Arrow Season 5 Episode 13 – TV Review
What’s the solution to gun control, CW show about superheroes?
Well, at least they’re not debating Trump.
TL;DR Everything grinds to a halt so Arrow can do a Very Special Episode about the gun control debate; without offering a solution, of course; Thea returns uneventfully; Vigilante cameos, but Prometheus is still missing; Tina gets an apartment; flashbacks show how Wild Dog’s wife was killed.
Being an ex The OC cast member will do that to you.
It’s that filler time of the season, baby, and Arrow takes the supposedly brave step of involving itself in a real world issue. A shooter massacres staff at city hall, and the topic of gun control becomes the focus of everyone’s world. Curtis (anti-gun) and Wild Dog (pro-gun) bicker at each other constantly, while Mayor Oliver Queen is forced to find a solution. At the end of the day, with both sides having aired their grievances, Oliver apprehends the shooter (who had been planning another attack) using the power of Because The Plot Says So, and he also enacts some nebulous new gun law that is never explained. It’s progress? Meanwhile, Wild Dog’s position on the gun control debate is made clearer via flashbacks that show his wife (Samaire Armstrong), a junkie, getting killed by her dealer because (at least in Wild Dog’s opinion) Wild Dog couldn’t get to his gun fast enough to save her. His daughter was later taken away because he fell into the bottle. Aww. Meanwhile, Tina gets an apartment and applies to the police force, and bonds with Diggle; Adrian is injured in the city hall assault, but he’s fine (Vigilante pops in for a hot minute, too); Thea is back to snark about how much she hates Bitch Reporter; and Felicity finds a hidden reserve of sanity hidden somewhere within, and is the only character who tries to put a stop to Curtis and Wild Dog’s gun feud.
The Season 4 creep has been stemmed for the moment.
I’ll admit I’m not a comic book reader. But from what I’ve gleaned, the Green Arrow has always been a bit of an SJW type, and isn’t shy about the Big Issues. So I suppose it should make sense that it would get political.
But did it have to pick gun control? Why not take one of the easy ones, like gay marriage? Or the legalisation of recreational marijuana?
Like I’ve said before, I’m not convinced the CW is the best place to make grand proclamations about the state of society.
Why I hate this episode:
The most disappointing part of all is that Oliver, and Arrow, don’t actually have any point of view on gun control. Curtis and Wild Dog’s arguments do a decent job of presenting both sides of the debate, but the episode doesn’t have the balls to choose a side. Oliver’s solution, after lengthy discussions with a pro-gun councilwoman who had blocked an earlier gun control ordinance, is to put in place some new law regarding gun ownership. But we don’t find out what it does. All that’s said about it is that it in no way restricts gun ownership as it currently stands. So what exactly the fuck does it do?
Also, when two of Team Arrow’s members’ powers are “has guns,” I’m not sure this is the minefield Arrow should want to enter.
Curtis, our bleeding heart liberal, is predictably holier-than-thou about guns. His points are legitimate, but his face is just so punchable that I didn’t care to hear them.
Similarly, Wild Dog’s pro-gun argument doesn’t make a lot of sense. His wife was killed when her dealer errantly shot her after Wild Dog shot him. How does he go through that equation and get to a result of “me want gun?” What the fuck?
The shooter’s motive doesn’t make sense, either. Oliver and the gang assume he’s mad about the previous council shutting down that gun ordinance, which led to the shooting murder of his family. But during their confrontation, Oliver explains that the perp got his gun illegally, so the ordinance wouldn’t have mattered, anyway. And the shooter acknowledges that he already knew that, and his motive was, like, just being a dick? Huh?
The team is still convinced that Prometheus is Claybourne’s son. Come on, guys. Be smarter.
The Bertinelli crime family appears, but Helena does not. Boo.
Samaire Armstrong’s wig is dowdy.
Oh, and Curtis pulls the race card during his arguments, stating that as a black man he’s more likely to be shot. I’m pretty sure that putting yourself in harm’s way intentionally as your hobby cranks up your likelihood of getting shot enough to exclude you from that kind of statistic. You’re not a black civilian, Curtis. Don’t try to shield yourself with numbers that don’t apply to you.
But it’s not all bad:
But hey, at least he didn’t pull the gay card this time.
And Curtis actually manages to close out the episode on a high note. After Wild Dog reveals how his daughter was taken away from him due to his alcohol abuse, Curtis offers to help find a lawyer who can help bring her home. Aww.
The debates between Curtis and Wild Dog lead to an actually interesting point about how debate and disagreement has devolved in modern times. In the past, it was possible to discuss and object to someone’s opinion respectfully. But now, any opposition is met with frothing rage, boycotts, and fingers-in-ears extremism. There’s your Big Issue, Arrow. It was right there, and you missed it. Oh, well.
Wild Dog’s flashbacks are a nice change of pace from the regular Bratva bullshit. Samaire Armstrong ain’t ever gonna win no Oscar, but she’ll always be a guilty pleasure of mine. She was cool on The OC, and It’s a Boy/Girl Thing is probably the best teen movie you never saw. Give it a shot. You’ll be surprised.
Tina’s wangst isn’t original or especially compelling, but it’s nice that she and Diggle get along. Just don’t go getting any sexual tension, you two. We don’t need any of that rubbish.
I’ve got to give Felicity mad props for trying to de-escalate Curtis and Wild Dog’s bickering on multiple occasions. Keep it up, baby.
Vigilante gets the best line of the episode after he guns down a Bertinelli goon Oliver, as the Green Arrow, was interrogating: “The only difference between us is I use a more efficient weapon.” He’s got you there.
Oh, and Thea is immediately sidelined for most of the episode after her entrance. But one thing is clear: she really fucking hates Bitch Reporter.