Katie Yu / The CW

Arrow Takes On The Second Amendment

It's a Very Special Episode as everyone debates the pros and cons of gun control for an hour. Really.

Normally, the biggest questions raised on Arrow tend to be things along the lines of "What weird costume is the bad guy going to wear?" or "Is Oliver currently the kind of person who murders people?" This week, however, things get weirdly patriotic. We learn about a street gang called "The Pilgrims"; there's a company called "Forefather Repair"; and, of course, about 90% of the episode is about what degree of gun control is appropriate in a world where any public gathering is probably going to get shot up by machine guns.

It seems that there's a man whose wife and children were killed in a mall shooting. And then there's talk of a Star City Gun Registry, but the law never passed, so now he's shooting up places to express his anger. Curtis takes the "guns should be registered" side, while Rene is more "guns protect us from bad guys." Quentin takes Curtis's side; Dinah is with Rene. Felicity just wants everyone to stop with the Sorkin knockoffs, because it's hard for her to do her job while people have political debates at her desk.

The show clearly wanted to show both sides of the issue, but it also didn't want to get too involved in the way it's explicitly glorifying vigilante justice. As someone with a dishonorable discharge, Rene's not even supposed to be carrying a gun, but he certainly doesn't let that stop him. But he considers most of his discharges to be honorable anyway. See, I used "discharge" in two different ways there.

Eventually, the problem is resolved when Oliver and Rene write the Star City Firearms Freedom Act, which doesn't even begin to restrict ownership of guns, while at the same time providing exactly the right level of public safety. All sides are satisfied and happy! We don't learn what the act actually does, because solutions are harder than stroking our chins while thoughtfully commenting on how difficult the problem is. Personally, I don't think this new law is going to do anything, even in the world of Arrow. Everyone acts like this is the first time they've seen an AR-15, but they seem pretty common in Star City. There's been full-on heavy artillery out on the streets. What they need is some kind of ordnance ordinance.

Whoo. Sorry about that. I think I've nearly got the puns out of my system. I'd be surprised if I had even one more coming later. Anyway, how Arrow-y was Arrow?

Arrow-ish Element Present?
Trick Arrow Oliver is only Green Arrow very briefly, and he's holding an AR-15 during that time. Bullets would be very tricky arrows indeed, but I don't think they count.
Oliver Queen: A Jerk There's no time for Oliver to be a jerk this week. He has to look thoughtfully conflicted about the many complex issues that have been ripped from the headlines. As a result, he's Reasonable Oliver, who's able to broker a deal with a councilwoman and negotiate the safe surrender of the guy who's been shooting up the city.
Comic book reference It doesn't look like the Pilgrims are an official comic-sanctioned gang, which is a shame. I naturally assume they're like the gangs in The Warriors, where everyone dresses on theme.
Someone walks into the Arrowlair without warning I was confused when this one unfamiliar woman walked in, but she's just Thea. Remember her? Oliver's sister? The joke here is that she's been gone from the show a long time because The CW can't afford for her to be in every episode.
Flashback scenes mirror the present day We learn the origins of Rene's feelings about guns being needed to protect the home (a gun killed his wife), and they turn into Rene's origin story. Basically, he was drinking alone, very angry, and saw a news report about the Green Arrow.
Things get gory Adrian Chase (who is clearly Vigilante) doesn't look great, and there's some aftermath from the City Hall shooting. But I've seen a lot of violence on this show, and I think I'm becoming desensitized to it.
The Only Hospital Room In Town Oh, there we go! If you're going to do a story about the human cost of violence, you've got to show someone in the hospital.
Someone gets kidnapped It's a stretch, but Rene's wife was being held hostage by that drug dealer in the flashback. Briefly.
Someone goes shirtless Oliver has to spend most of the episode in a suit and tie, because violence is a problem that should be addressed by dignified mayors, not vigilante heroes. But other members of the team show up in T-shirts here and there, because when all is said and done, this show is still in favor of the right to bare arms. BOOM.
3 / 9
Final Score
Civics lesson
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