“Spectre of The Gun”
The show opens up with Thea’s return, where she finds Rene (Wild Dog) working as an assistant to Deputy Mayor Quentin Lance who’s fresh off a stint in rehab. As the mayor’s office goes about its business, a masked gunman enters the building and begins to open fire with several guns. Thankfully none of our heroes are hit, but the same can’t be said for several others. The D.A. is wounded but survives, 7 others aren’t so lucky as they’re gunned down in cold blood. Rene manages to return fire hitting the unknown suspect, but he’s wearing body armor and shrugs off the bullets. He pops off a few more rounds and makes his escape after leaving one of his guns behind.
Ollie picks up the weapon and stashes it so he can take it back to the Arrow Lair for study. The weapon is an AR-15 rifle, the civilian equivalent to the M16 machine gun. The team debates the ease of access people have to high-powered weapons; Curtis: anti-gun, Rene: pro. Curtis quotes statistics on how he, as a black man, is more likely to be killed by a gun than anyone else with Deputy Mayor Lance backing him up. Rene is firmly on the other side of the debate believing in gun ownership, and the new Black Canary (Tina Boland, who’s a former police officer herself) backs his case up.
Ollie has no time for such conversations and is on the street trying to track down where the AR-15 came from. He trusses up some bad guy to get him to spill the beans. After he questions the guy, the masked vigilante shows up and guns the suspect down. Ollie’s upset the guy is murdered (forgetting he’s killed a football stadium full of people), and the vigilante has to remind Arrow that they do the SAME thing except he uses a more efficient weapon than a bow and arrow.
When they’re not debating the 2nd Amendment, the team find no real clues as to the weapons owners. At the police station, Quentin has a sketch done of the suspect who passed him in City Hall unmasked as he was coming in. When Quentin learns that Rene shot the guy, Lance chastises him for even having a gun since he was dishonorably discharged from the military (although I don’t think that’ll prevent you from owning a gun).
Speaking of Rene, this episode has several flashbacks where we learn his backstory. At one time, Rene was a married father to a young daughter. Instead of an idyllic life, Rene’s wife was hooked on drugs. After finding her stash, Renee gives her an ultimatum: choose drugs or your family. Leaving her to ponder that, Rene takes his daughter out for a night to enjoy some hockey.
After some diligent detective work, the team is able to identify the shooter: a guy whose family was killed in a mass shooting at a mall. So instead of pushing for gun control legislation, what does he do? Turns around and puts OTHER family members through what he himself went through by needlessly killing innocent, random people. He blamed the mayor’s office for his family’s death because a gun registration ordinance was not passed by the previous administration.
Now that they have a name, the team hits the street to try to locate the guy. Rene and Curtis end up at a support group for those who’ve survived gun violence. Curtis hopes listening to the stories of the survivors will help change Rene’s stance, but because of his personal experience he looks at things differently. In another flashback, after Rene and his daughter return from their daddy/daughter night out, they find his wife being held at gunpoint by her drug dealer because she owes him money. Rene tries to calm him saying he’s got money in a safe in the closet. In reality, though, he’s got his own gun. A brief gun battle ensues, and Rene kills the dealer, pumping two in his chest. But as he falls, he lets off one final shot that strikes and kills Rene’s wife.
Back in the present, Curtis and Rene make their way to where the deranged gunmen is staying having gotten his location at the support group. When they arrive in their costumed personas, they don’t find the perpetrator but they do find schematics of his next target: a hospital where his family was treated and died.
As they get this information over to Ollie, he’s actually in a meeting with the city councilperson who was responsible for killing (no pun intended) the ordinance the gunman feels would have saved his family. Mayor Queen arrives at the hospital just as the gunman does, and Ollie uses his powers of persuasion to prevent the man from killing any more innocents. Mayor Queen lets him know that even if the gun ordinance had passed, it wouldn’t have protected his family because the guns had been purchased illegally. The distraught gunman then turns the gun on himself but Ollie talks him out of suicide and the police, already on scene for once, take him into custody.
The show ends on a relatively high note, but it touched on a very touchy subject in reference to gun-control. What did you think of the episode? Hit us up at @ATLCW and @ATLBlerd so we can discuss this, and all, episodes.