Arrow Spoilers

As Arrow Targets Gun Control Issue, Oliver Tries to Play Hero — as Mayor

Arrow is taking aim at one of the country’s most divisive subjects.

During this Wednesday’s episode (The CW, 8/7c), a shooter opens fire in the mayor’s office, forcing Oliver Queen – not the Green Arrow – to take a stance on gun control.

“We went into Season 5 wanting to do an episode about an issue,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim, who wrote the installment, previews. “I grew up on St. Elsewhere and Picket Fences and L.A. Law. I grew up in a time where it was commonplace – like, literally every week – for a one-hour drama to tackle the issues of the day. Somewhere along the line, the whole industry got away from that.”

Today, comedies such as black-ish and The Carmichael Show frequently explore hot button topics, “but as far as network dramas are concerned, [they’re] really not tackling current events, current issues.”

Having been on the air for five seasons, Arrow has “hopefully earned the freedom to” get weighty once in awhile, Guggenheim hopes. “In 23 episodes of television, you can have 22 pieces of candy and one episode of vegetables.”

For his healthy side dish, the EP chose to mine gun-related crime “because of its topicality, but also because of the level of gun violence” on display on the CW drama.

Arrow Spoilers“There was an opportunity also to do an episode where [Oliver] wasn’t going to get in the Green Arrow costume,” co-showrunner Wendy Mericle notes. “From a story perspective, it was really [about] the challenge of figuring out what would an episode look like where we had to solve the issue of the day or the problem of the week with Oliver Queen as mayor as opposed to him gearing up as the Green Arrow.”

While Oliver tries to puzzle out how to protect Star City via his day job, Curtis and pistol-packing Rene – whose backstory is explored in this week’s flashbacks – butt heads over their opposing viewpoints on gun control.

“[Rene] was someone whose background we really wanted to explore,” Mericle says. “He carries a gun, so he’s a natural spokesman for that point of view.” Curtis, on the flip side, argues for stricter regulations, noting that he’s more likely to be shot as a black man.

Just as important as thosee two sides coming together to find a middle ground is the need for open discussion. “I wrote the first half of the script before [the presidential election on] Nov. 7, and the second half of the script after,” Guggenheim shares. “As you watch the episode – I write chronologically and linearly – I think you can see that in the second half, it’s about guns and gun violence, but it’s also about the state of discourse in our country.”

When Felicity at one point begs her friends to stop debating, Guggenheim realized she was speaking for “the segment of the population who considers talking about politics to be impolitic, something you’re not supposed to [do] in polite company. When did that happen?”

“Whether you voted for Trump or not, I think maybe the only thing we can agree on as Americans is that the country is as fractured now as it’s ever been since the Civil War,” he argues. “And my point of view and suggestion as a writer is it happened because we all stopped talking to each other.”

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57 Comments
  1. mollys44 says:

    yeah i’m going to have to pass on this episode. i mean, i’m not watching anyways– but arrow is not the type of show that should handle this type of topic.

    • peterwdawson says:

      This is a weird one for a show where at least two heroes employ guns. I mean, you can use them and still be against gun violence of course, but that’s a really hard nuance to hit and I’m super skeptical they’ll pull it off.

  2. Agent 86 says:

    The Green Arrow kills plenty of people with arrows. Is the TV show also going to discuss “arrow control”? And what about “metahuman powers control”?

    This just seems like a really bizarre show on which to address this issue. Wild Dog and Spartan use guns on a day to day basis to kill their opponents, whether they’re just hired thugs or the main bad guy. Vigilante uses guns to kill bad guys, but that makes him a “bad guy” in the eyes of Green Arrow for … reasons. Green Arrow is happy to kill some bad guys, but wouldn’t let Black Canary V3.0 / Artemis kill. And he made the same argument to Black Canary V4.0.

    Seriously, I don’t see how Arrow can really address this issue in any sort of logical manner. Then again, when has logic ever been a strong point of Arrow!

  3. Jeff hunter says:

    I’ll be watching anyway like Mister G. Said,like him I grew up with the shows he mentioned as well,and I’m a comic book where you have a crossover after crossover and you get that one issue where you get chance to”sit back and relax” for a few minutes,this episode will do that for me!jeff

  4. Izzie says:

    This show shouldn’t be talking be about this issue considering the premise of this show is about breaking the law in the name of “good”. EVERY single arrow team member has used guns (which are more than likely acquired illegally because what? they’re going to register them?) at one point or another and for there to suddenly be an issue regarding this is completely hypocritical.

    Curtis didn’t seem to have an issue with guns when Rene went guns blazing in the field. Nobody from the team had an issue when Tinah shot that man in cold blood, what 2 episodes ago? Now all of a sudden there’s a debate amongst these criminals (face it no matter how much good they might do that’s what they are) about gun control regulations?? This show’s existence revolves around the idea that law isn’t enough and that you should take matter into your own hands. How can they even begin to argue both sides of this argument considering the 100+ arsenal of military grade weaponry in that lair alone. It’s completely ridiculous.

    I understand that the showrunners wanted to do an episode tackling real life issues. They want their work to be about something that matters for once. But this? It can’t be taken seriously. Arrow asks us to suspend disbelief every episode. Yet, this is different. Gun control regulation debate in a show

    Arrow takes itself too seriously and the worst part is that it doesn’t know it’s nothing more than a tv show about people running around in Halloween costumes who think they’re somehow above the law because their father told them to wrong his rights way back when or because they think its cool and they want to defend themselves (Curtis will always have the lamest reason for joining this team) or because of some warped idea of what it means to be a good person.

    If they wanted to take on social issues, they should have picked something more in their wheelhouse and taken into consideration the world in which Arrow asked place. A gun control debate on Arrow is one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard.

  5. pnr says:

    When Felicity at one point begs her friends to stop debating, Guggenheim realized she was speaking for “the segment of the population who considers talking about politics to be impolitic, something you’re not supposed to [do] in polite company. When did that happen?”

    So apparently Marc hates Felicity? JFC

    The second I found out this episode would be about gun control I knew it was going to be disingenuous and hypocritical. Not only that but they’re throwing a character under the bus simply to spread a message that will end up not meaning much because the team will continue to use guns/arrows/and other weapons. How gross.

    • jbj says:

      While I do think Marc is mistaken if he thinks that people who consider talking politics rude are new, ask Emily Post, I think his comment suggests he HATES Felicity.

    • Lex says:

      Exactly. Since when did Felicity become a wilting flower with no opinion? Where’s the girl who locked Oliver in the foundry so he wouldn’t go out and indiscriminately kill someone with a young son? Going “dark” and heading into Anonymous hacking territory is not exactly an apolitical stance, so why is she the one hoping everyone can just get along? Considering the misogyny she’s experienced in the STEM field, I’m certain she is well aware of the consequences of being quiet and polite and trying to not rock the vote

      Gun control seems like a sham issue to focus on. What about Curtis arguing for Black Lives Matter? What about Rene speaking out as a second-generation immigrant? Or Rory and Felicity talking about antisemitism? Or Dinah, Felicity and Thea talking about the double standards women face in workplaces like police departments, STEM, and politics?

      Maybe I’m just sad I’ll never get to see Mayor Queen get radically progressive and stick it to Trump, declaring Star City a sanctuary city or overseeing protests like the Women’s March or protestors at the airport speaking for banned green card holders. These are the kinds of political debates we see in the real Green Arrow comics, not something that’s fundamentally in conflict with the vigilantism the show espouses? Also, is Rene the best person to argue in favor of the second amendment? Where’s the gun-toting hunter arguing his right to the rifle he uses for deer season should be just as protected as an AK-47?

      In a rather ironic note, I’m certain Laurel would have been at the airport, working for the ACLU to file lawsuits against the Muslim Ban…

  6. T.W.S.S. says:

    They’ve made this episode sound like a boring after-school special. I hope that’s not the case. I also hope that whatever debates they have will have a lasting impact. Either John and Rene will use different weapons or ammunition from now on, or they’ll explain why they’ll stick to their guns and their indiscriminate shooting, despite the team’s “no kill” policy.

  7. Liz says:

    Arrow writers are not good enough for a PSA on gun control omg. Hard pass on this episode, not just because of the subject matter but because it’s Rene focused and I just don’t care about him. I also find it ridiculous that Felicity, of all people, wouldn’t have an opinion on guns when she was shot many times and paralysed as a result of them. Talk about not know your own characters. Awful!

  8. Sorry, but Arrow hasn’t earned anything for giving us 2 years of great, 1 year of meh and 2 years of complete suckage. I wish the writers would focus on making Arrow a good show again rather than trying to inject politics and real issues into the show.

    BTW, I’m a gay conservative that voted for Trump but supports logical gun control (background checks, limited ammo clips, etc.), so basing opinions off of whom voted for which candidate isn’t fair or accurate but rather is just another form of stereotyping. .

  9. Tyre says:

    This seems as random as the bizarre abortion at the end of that one episode of scandal. It really makes me want to quit my job and become a writer. I couldn’t do worse than so much of what makes it on the air.

  10. Maisy says:

    So the character that got shot multiple times, needed multiple surgeries, ending up in a wheelchair, having an experimental surgical implant to regain the ability to walk again is uncomfortable with the debate as it’s not good manners to discuss in public?!!?
    If show runners want to address serious important issues in today’s Trump run America, can I suggest they attempt to tackle mysogyngy? They don’t even need to write a plot featuring it, just stop using female characters pain and tragedy to prop up manpain. They just need to show female friendship, and that the woman are just as worthy of respect, comfort and attention as the men in the show.

    • Lex says:

      Oh, yes. So much this. Let’s let the menfolk have a debate about politics, but the ladies shouldn’t speak up, it’s not lady-like. So much for the 19th Amendment.

  11. pnr says:

    Arrow – a show where vigilantes work above the law and kill people almost every week – is doing an episode on gun control. This is so stupid I can’t even laugh about it. Just a couple of weeks ago the team killed a whole bunch of people. Oh my god this is a train wreck.

    Not only that, but I agree with Liz. Felicity, a woman who was shot by the Clock King and shot and paralyzed by Darhk’s men doesn’t have an opinion? Don’t the writers know they wrote Felicity to be an opinionated woman? Did they lose sight of her character as they’ve lost sight of Oliver’s intelligence?

    W-T-F is this show doing?

    • Liz says:

      Didn’t you know? The writers are playing with the ‘anti-Felicity POV’ this season. So that’s why she’s not allowed a voice. The haters wish she’d just sit there and look pretty or be comic relief.

      This is truly disgusting. Debating gun control when two of the characters use guns as their method of defence is so stupid. But silencing Felicity – an actual victim of gun violence – is even worse. Lowest of the low. This show doesn’t even know what the hell it’s doing anymore. End it already.

  12. Red says:

    you’re talking about felicity? the character on arrow who always speaks her mind? do you even know your own character?

    this show already problematic with misogyny, racism and homophobic and know they add another sensitive issue to screwed over. wow

  13. kath says:

    I understand why Guggenheim would want to make an issue episode, I used to like those on ER too. But since every memmber of Arrow has has shot a gun, who is going to be arguing against guns? And will they use real data because the data for other countries is overwhelming clear that gun control saves lives.

    Why is Felicity the one saying “Don’t talk about it”? She’s never been shy about speaking her mind moreover, she was the one who was paralyzed by gunfire last season.
    Arguing to stop talking is a role better filled by Curtis.

  14. Kristina says:

    Sigh.

  15. Luis Roman says:

    Yeah, there’s one big thing I’ve been wondering. With Oliver’s no killing unless absolutely necessary policy, what’s Wild Dog been firing all this time, rubber bullets?

  16. LOL I’m sure Arrow, where the heroes have all killed people with guns and other weapons will handle this with great care and thought. /sarcasm

    Maybe they’ll do an anti-misogyny & anti-violence against women episode next seeing as how their five main female characters have all been brutalized and/or murdered to punish men in their lives.

  17. “In 23 episodes of television, you can have 22 pieces of candy and one episode of vegetables.” This may be the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. The fact that a show about vigilantes who use guns and other weapons of choice are going to be the voices of a gun control debate? It’s completely absurd and can’t be taken seriously. And comparing their show to “vegetables” is even funnier. There is no way “Arrow” is going to be the voice that edifies its audience about this “issue.” First of all, these type of issues don’t make sense on “Arrow.” Gun control is the last issue they should have picked. Beyond that, this show has been becoming more and more misogynistic. On their issue episode, they felt it would be best to mute Felicity’s voice? I don’t even have words. Arrow is quickly becoming more and more unwatchable. it’s a shame because it used to be really good. But at least some of these quotes gave me a good laugh. Sadly, with vigilantes promoting gun control, I can’t see any other message being presented than “elite” who believe they’re exempt while all the “regular” people have to follow by different rules. Somehow I doubt that was the message they wanted to get across. No one takes hypocrisy seriously.

  18. bbussey says:

    Here’s a thought — why not wait to critique the episode/idea until AFTER the episode airs, instead of bashing it preemptively?

    • Rick Katze says:

      Commonsense is rarely appreciated. It is nice to see some of it. And I believe the 2nd Amendment severely limits the government’s ability to restrict gun ownership.

    • Tina says:

      Experience taught us otherwise. People speculated about a storyline months before it aired and it turned out exactly like they imagined because they KNOW the writing. So here’s 2 points that you should remember before watching the episode
      1) It is highly hypocritical of them to address this issue therefore it’s gonna turn the episode into a cringy crap fest because it WON’T have a point. Vigilantes wearing costumes wil use guns again. 2) Felicity will be silenced despite being paralyzed because of guns because silencing women is becoming a trend on this show and the writers are deadset on forgetting crucial plot points from previous seasons. Enjoy.

    • Jeff hunter says:

      So4y,you can’t do that with a comic book show,you throw logic out the window and debate about it until you win the argument,comic book fans are the Harshest critics in the modern world 3ven if we don’t get paid for it(thank you Big Bang Theory for that reminder)!jeff

  19. Maria says:

    They want to make Felicity seemingly agreeable to whatever anyone says because they are writing her for the anti-Felicity people this year. Disgusting what they are doing to her. Let her have a voice. She almost died due to gun violence.

    They just want to silence her because of a freaking loud minority who hates her.

    This episode being about Rene’w backstory also is really leaning me towards not watching it. I’m sorry he’s so crass and unlikeable. Every poll puts him as the least liked newbie. He gets a flashback episode 13 episodes into him being new and we had to wait years to see Diggle and Felicity.

  20. Scott says:

    Typical liberal idiot listen to what I say not to what I do . Stick to the violence and leave the political stuff alone .

    • Brigid says:

      Typical conservative who name calls and bad mouths anyone who has a different political view. Do you get a lot of fresh air up on that high horse?

  21. 134sc says:

    Wow. And not in a good way. Guggenheim couldve wrote this episode about puppies, rainbows and chocolate and people would find reasons to crap all over it. Ugh. Just watch the damn episode. If it sucks then fine, comment all you want. Until then, dont.

    The last season and a half really did a number on people, huh. People cant seem to seperate the past and the present. Its a shame cuz if one objectively watches season 5 its honestly pretty good.

    • Max says:

      What does “if one objectively watches season 5” even mean? The writing in the first half of the season has been choppy, lazy and the characters people grew to love over 4+ seasons seem to be caricatures of their season 1-2 selves. Second half seems to be picking up but not one episode in the first half was memorable. Season 3 and 4 seem to be criticized for all the wrong reasons so I’d gladly have those back if it also means having the characters I love back. Starting with Oliver. But good action scenes I suppose.

      • 134sc says:

        What it means is, dont watch this seasons episodes with preconceived notions and/or hold on to baggage of the past letting it influence the viewing experience. Just watch it at face value, an action that people cant seem to wrap thier head around. Personally ive really enjoyed the first half and the second half has been solid so far. The flashbacks have been teally interesting as well. As for the new team. I already like Dinah way more then I ever liked Laurel. The rest took me a couple episides to get used to, but i adjusted and im liking them a lot too. It was jarring but HOUSE did something similar and some characters that came out of the change ended up being some of the best of the series. As for Oliver as a character, this season has been great for his development. Probably the best since end of season 2/early season 3. I dunno, i guess im in the minority, i understand why i am, i just dont understand why yhe reason is still an issue plauging this show. Just move on everybody and enjoy the entertainment currently being provided.

      • Lex says:

        There is no such thing as “objectively” watching TV. The fact that you think you can objectively watch television is your subjective opinion. It’s like saying there’s a “real” America, as if there isn’t a part of the American experience everywhere. Further, you can’t objectively watch Arrow because we’re all coming in with preconceived notions, even yourself.

  22. Bill says:

    There’s a reason dramas often shy away from hot button topics, bc they usually implement or do whatever the issue is. Is Rene egging to stop using guns after this? What a joke

  23. Jared says:

    This sounds like a really cool episode and Arrow rarely disappoints. I’ll be watching!

  24. Trish says:

    Hard pass. Felicity Smoak, still technically permanently paralyzed due to gun violence, is written as apolitical on the subject of gun violence to give Curtis the anti-gun stance. All the way nope. I can’t keep pretending the politics of season five aren’t a mirror image of the loss of respect and voice for women in America. I wonder if the showrunners see the irony in that? This is the episode of Arrow that should be renamed, “How To Liberal Badly”.

    • That comment is a bit weird coming from you, Stiletto, seeing that you actively campaigned to have Laurel killed off & for Felicity fans to bully Katie Cassidy on social media amongst other disgusting things.

      • Maisy says:

        I will never understand why people choose to discredit valid points made with personal attacks? Are you thinking if you discredit the person, you negate the opinion? It doesnt work like that.

  25. Lonerider says:

    Big fan of the show as a former comic book geek and novice archer.

    That said, not a fan of gun control. My take on it is, it’s basically about self righteous so and sos who want to take your stuff so they can feel better. Also, many gun control advocates know absolutely nothing about guns, confusing semi-autos with fully automatic etc… …which just makes them silly in my book and not the best people to propose regulating a topic they are ignorant of!

    So as someone who has eagerly looked forward to every episode so far… I am actually not even gonna watch this one. Never thought I’d say that!

    I shan’t abandon the show, it’s pretty good, but sorry I’m not about to be lectured by producers through my entertainment.

    Hopefully i’ll tune in next week for a nonsense free episode!

  26. Lonerider says:

    Also, this is a show where you’ve had characters use all sorts of things to do physical harm, from swords (Slade, Prometheus, the Assassins, Merlin, etc), to karambit knives (the triad lady), bows (nearly everyone, good and bad), crossbows (Huntress), shuriken throwing stars (Prometheus), robot bees (crazy bee woman), to magic, to super powers. And of course guns.

    That any of the characters on the Arrow team would even consider s gun law something worth talking about after all this — hey, you think villain so and so would just go law abiding if he didn’t have as gun? — is an insult to the viewer’s intelligence because no one on team arrow is that foolish.

    If they wanted to explore this they should have thought of a way that worked within context of the show and wouldn’t alienate half their viewers to boot.

    Besides, they already touched on the issue without explicitly doing so when Felicity got shot, which was freaking heartbreaking. That works better to raise the issue of harm done by bad guys with guns more so than any talking heads segment, and does it by raising the problem, not one alleged political solution (i.e., gun control). It makes people think… whereas vigilantes debating gun control just makes people think the producers are playing a joke on the actors…or us.

  27. Bjacox says:

    Tried to watch it. It was awful. Tried to be even but did not succeed.

  28. Dadar says:

    All you people need to get a brain. Gun control isn’t a difficult subject, you Americans are totally stupid about it and getting outraged about a TV show is even more stupid.

  29. David says:

    The episode on gun control was the straw that broke the camels back. They were using talking points and not facts. I will never watch the show again, and will not watch any other show on cw live. If there is another cw show that I want to watch, I will dvr it so that the channel will not get a viewer toward it’s ratings. I will not so much as flip through the channel.

    • Checker says:

      gooodbye, you will not be missed. Arrow deserves smarter viewers than morons who get outrage over politics in a fictional series.

  30. JayDub34 says:

    Getting preachy is only effective if you actually get your facts right. First, the AR-15 is not an assault rifle. It’s a semi-automatic sporting rifle. Second, the gun used in the episode was firing fully automatically, something an AR-15 can’t do. The show insinuated that AR-15’s are commonly used in violent crime, which isn’t true. Oliver went all high and mighty on the councilwoman and implied that she was responsible for the attack, a typical response from the left; using the bodies of the dead to shame people into caving to their views. I was extremely disappointed in this episode. The show runners have to know that they’re going to alienate a good chunk of their audience by getting preachy.

    CW, please get your facts straight before you try to lecture people on how they should live their lives.

  31. William says:

    Such a terrible episode I thought the last one was bad but I’m done now they’re just trying to instill gun control into younger people’s minds