You know what, as far as gun safety or message of the week episodes go it wasn’t that bad. I mean sure, it was heavy handed and seems to have refused to accept a side, but in the long run it wasn’t a complete waste of an hour. “Spectre of The Gun” manages to say just enough about this season’s most surprising character Rene Ramirez. His brash and blunt attitude has made for some fun antics, but here we actually get to dig into the character and see what makes him tick and what motivated him to join Oliver’s team in the first place. We also manage to get a much more human perspective on his character which truly helps to elevate him from ancillary to necessary. What also ranges to make this episode stand out from your average episode with a message is we actually get to see Oliver do his job.
Let’s talk about the star of this episode, Rene. Rick Gonzalez does a really good job with some tough material and you can see where he is coming from in terms of not only gun advocacy but also protecting his family. Rene knows that not everyone who owns a gun is a bad person and that there are limits to what gun safety/restrictions will actually be able to prevent. At the same time it was nice to have him realize that his gun did indeed become a source of his problems. It was a nice bit of balance that needed to be struck in order for Rene to not completely come off as one sided in the argument. The downside of this story was unfortunately Curtis’ gun registration arc was kind of lacking and he made it feel like a very one sided argument. I would have liked for Curtis to at least value Rene’s views and try to see where he is coming from rather than simply being full on against Rene.
At least with Oliver there was a clear point/ counter point in his argument with the city counselor. Oliver’s argument was exactly what Rene and Curtis’ argument should have been compassionate, well thought out, and clearly reasoned. Even though Oliver was being motivated by tragedy he did not let this cloud his judgement and sought out opinions from all perspective rather than simply closing off his entire would view. We also were lucky to have this be a problem Oliver could not solve as the Green Arrow. It had to be an issue which Oliver confronted as himself as the violence the Green Arrow has perpetrated a metric ton of violence and it would probably not be the right way to solve the issue. Also to have Oliver takes the villain down and empathize with him makes the entire episode feel way more natural.
The best part of the episode in my opinion though were the flashbacks to Rene’s past with his family where he was a seemingly normal parent. I do appreciate just how much he cares for his daughter and the lengths he is willing to go to in order to protect her, even from those who care about her on some level. I just wish the flashbacks had ended stronger as Rene’s reason for becoming Wild Dog is kind of vague at best and lacks the necessary push that Ragman’s arc had.
Overall it was a solid episode that could have been more.
Final Grade B