Post Mortems
Arrow Recap

Arrow EPs on Oliver's Future as a Killer, the 'Moral Implications' for the Team

Arrow is poised to take aim at the homicidal side of its titular hero following Wednesday night’s atypical gun control-themed episode.

During the hour, a disgruntled husband and father, who lost his family in a mass shooting, opened fire at the mayor’s office, killing at least seven people. While Oliver The Politician took a strong stance on gun control regulation in the tragedy’s aftermath, the question remains: Will the loss of life and ensuing firearms debate impact his stance on killing as Green Arrow?

“One of the things you’ll see in the second half of Season 5 is the gray area becomes a lot more gray,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim says. “We’re really delving into the complexities of Oliver being a killer in a way that we’ve never done on the show before, with a lot more nuance. In the past, it was like, ‘I’m a killer,’ or, ‘I’m not a killer.’ It was very binary. This year… it’s super gray and it’s really messy, and this [episode] is a component of it.”

“In many ways, Oliver killing is the seminal, moral quandary of the show,” the EP continues. “That was something that spoke to us as writers and spoke to the audience back in Season 1. Like, this guy kills people. It was a big part of the original pitch. We said, ‘At the end of Act Two, he’s going to break someone’s neck.’ One of the things we’re doing in the back half of Season 5 is really getting underneath that and what that means, not just in terms of morality, but in terms of psychology, specifically Oliver’s psychology. There are things about Oliver’s killing that you have yet to learn.”

The archer is not the only one who will be tested by the choices that he’s made. Whether he kills or not also has “huge moral implications” for Team Arrow, co-showrunner Wendy Mericle previews. “For the rest of the season, we’ll definitely be exploring the ramifications of that decision… in respect to Felicity and, to some extent, Curtis as well. How do they square their own circles morally with the actions that they’ve taken?”

And if you’re wondering just what kind of middle ground was reached by the new gun control regulations, don’t expect a detailed answer.

“We left that intentionally vague,” Guggenheim explains. “My first gig in the business was on a show called The Practice. [Creator David E. Kelley] always said, ‘I’m not interested in the verdict. I’m just interested in both sides in the case having equal arguments.’ Very intentionally, we didn’t want to provide [an] answer to the problem of gun violence. We wanted to leave that open to the audience as almost like a Rorschach test.”

But will the new laws, whatever they might be, come into conflict with the vigilantes? “Not the regulations, specifically,” Guggenheim says. “In the very next episode, Team Arrow is going to come up against the police for a very different kind of reason.”

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57 Comments
  1. M says:

    Didn’t he kill Thea’s drug dealer or did he just beat the guy up?

    • kath says:

      Oliver tossed him off the second floor in season 3 if I remember correctly. He killed the big boss in the flashback last week.

      • guessitsme says:

        Dinah Drake aka the new Black Canary killed the big boss, Oliver and Wild Dog just killed everyone else in the scene lol

  2. Jeff hunter says:

    Loved this episode tonight, it actually brought tears to my eyes no joke it,Thank you to the cast and crew for doing this show tonight!jeff

  3. pnr says:

    Everything I expected it to be. Messy, convoluted, hypocritical. Not to mention – Felicity, a very opinionated woman who got shot twice and paralyzed, has no opinion of guns? OK. Guggenheim has no understanding of his characters.

  4. Wee says:

    This episode was one of the worst episodes Arrow has ever done. Nothing made sense. How am I supposed to believe that Oliver could talk a man out of using a gun when he himself has killed so many people in this season alone with every weapon imaginable? And Curtis, a black man, acquiescing to Rene’s position doesn’t make sense at all given how this is an issue that affects so many black people every day. And Felicity having no say on this matter when she was shot multiple times and paralyzed by a gun is so out of character. This episode was so messy. Arrow need to stay away from eps like this. I can tell no women or people of color wrote this episode. Horrible all over.

    • Craig says:

      Agreed, and they fell for all the leftist stereotypes.

    • Jim says:

      Yeah, this was the absolute worst episode Arrow has ever done (AND you didn’t even mention how Wild Dog heavy it was, either!) I’ll say this though: Green Arrow has always been a full-on speechifying leftist superhero, and his comics have been used to have dialogues like this, including very famously in the 1970s with Green Lantern acting as the counter for his extreme opinions. So although the show hasn’t done this sort of thing before, it’s very much from the source material. It’s just too bad they did it so awfully.

      • Lex says:

        Cheers. I’d have loved a pointed discussion of politics, but this was the wrong issue to take on and poorly executed after that.

  5. kath says:

    “disgruntled” is not really the right adjective for a man whose wife and daughters were murdered because the US has the mentality that everyone has the right to own a gun, whether they are mentally competent of not.

    It was a pretty bad episode. Guggenheim tried to hard to walk the line between the two sides that the end result was a mess.
    Oliver was a wimp and willing to push away Thea because he looooves Susan so much.
    Rene was willing to let his daughter lose both her parents because the was drinking. Blech.

    • Brad says:

      More dumb Oliver again he should be with a reporter if yr a mayor

    • Lex says:

      I was out the minute I heard Felicity would be letting the menfolk talk out the issue of gun control after being paralyzed herself by gun violence…. but are you sh–ing me? Oliver pushing Thea away because of Susan? Isn’t that the first sign of a problem–you push the people who love you most away? Wow, that’s pretty blatant about Susan being a toxic personality. We all saw it coming, but if Oliver’s going to allow this woman to get between himself and Thea, she needs to go.

  6. kath says:

    WHY WAS THE PERSON WHO WAS PARALYZED BY A BULLET NOT ALLOWED TO GIVE HER OPINION?
    The one person who should have been listened to is Felicity.

    • Liz says:

      Felicity’s not allowed a voice anymore. She’s not allowed to cry or be sad or anything because the haters will say she cries too much and she’s moping. MG even said they were exploring the anti Felicity POV this year and this episode really highlighted that. It’s terrible. They do love silencing their female characters!

      • Lex says:

        You know, I was happy with the last three episodes… I actually had hope for this whole “Felicity gets back into hacking” storyline, because it’s about damn time she gets something of her own–I should note she and Rene now have the same number of character-centric flashback episodes… Felicity’s been there for five effing years, but sure let’s let the new guy’s personal story get told. And I say this as someone who likes Rene.

    • Stacey says:

      Pretty ridiculous, they didn’t let her have an opinion, when she more than anybody, other than Rene, has been impacted by gunfire.

    • Michael says:

      Because Felicity needs to keep her mouth shut!! All she does is complain, whine and cry.

  7. Mike says:

    maybe Felicity just didn’t want to talk about it

    • kath says:

      Then someone else should have brought it up. It’s ridiculous that no one talked about their good friend and team member who was paralyzed last year in the continuing debate about gun laws.

  8. Bets on which woman gets brutalized or murdered for this season’s episode of “to kill or not to kill” starring Oliver Queen?

    I’m calling Susan.

    • pnr says:

      2 women already have been fridged for Wild Dog – a side character who really doesn’t mean much to the show. How horrendous.

  9. Liz says:

    Wow this episode was SO bad. I wasn’t expecting it to be great anyway but it managed to be worse than I thought. Everyone felt so out of character and the hypocrisy was unreal. Felicity had no opinion which was ridiculous as she was paralyzed by a bullet last season. Oliver preaching about cold blooded killers when he’s killing again was just as bad. The only bright spot was seeing Thea again and how she hates Susan. That was it.

  10. Sawyer says:

    The warning at the beginning of the episode might as well have said “On tonight’s very special episode of Arrow..”.

  11. David says:

    This episode made me want to stop watching Arrow. Be the show Arrow, not some soapbox for political statements.

    • Stacey says:

      It sounds like they’re going to go back to business with Prometheus, so it should pick up soon! I was relieved to not suffer through more Oliver flashbacks, much preferred seeing Rene’s backstory. I like the dynamic between Rene and Lance, and the partnership of Dinah and John. I also loved seeing Thea, she is right on about Susan, hope Ollie actually listens to his sis. And glad the DA was okay, I really like him!

      • Lex says:

        I notice you mention nothing about Felicity… good to see she still matters.

        • Stacey says:

          I love Felecity, and didn’t like how they used her character for this SL. She more than anyone, should have an opinion about gun control. I was trying to point out the positives of the episode, but assume all you like.

      • annahleah says:

        …back to business with Prometheus. Okay…can someone tell me how he or she has been setting up a “chessboard” since the beginning? Supposedly, certain people have been set up and he is playing a game of chess with them. I know absolutely nothing about the game! So, please help. I like solving puzzles, but I have no idea what this would have to do with Oliver/Arrow. I also feel like the reveal of who Prometheus really is, isn’t going to be the last of that story. Maybe the fallout from that will lead into Season 6? I am into the Prometheus story line, but not so much into the newbies. My favorite newbie is gone, but I hope they can bring him back in some way down the line. And…thank goodness for Thea’s and Lance’s return.

    • peterwdawson says:

      I’m curious, were you looking for an excuse since the Season 3 decay and this was it or did you do a full 180?

  12. Ars041 says:

    I’ve seen every episode of arrow and I thought this was the best episode of the series in my opinion

    • Ben says:

      Have to absolutely agree and ditto on seeing every episode

    • Lizzie says:

      Right! People just don’t like it when things get political but they spoke about it in the episode. You can’t just not have an opinion. I thought it brought a nice balance about everything. This was Oliver being mayor and solving problems as mayor. Plus the political debates where very good & basically the same debate America has on an on going bases. But hey everyone listened to each other and didn’t call each other a bitch.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Oliver so needs to wake up about Susan Williams that she a great person that she is using him to get a great story out of him plus it is awesome that Oliver sister Thea doesn’t like her she can see right through her it is really interesting that all the people Oliver has been with she doesn’t like her this should tell Oliver something.

  14. datdudemurphy says:

    heavy-handed episode was heavy-handed

  15. Rose says:

    Am I the only one who thinks renee shouldn’t fight for custody of his daughter? He’s a vigilante! Look how well having a family turned out for Curtis, and speaking of Curtis is he divorced? Not? Did he mourn the loss of his marriage at all??!

  16. annahleah says:

    I had read somewhere that Star Trek had done an episode called “Spectre of the Gun” back in the day about being sent to a planet or place on the day of the Gunfight at the OK Corral; and Chekhov had been killed in the gunfire. But, Spock told them that it wasn’t real, what they were going through was like a hallucination or mind control and that they shouldn’t believe what they were seeing or feeling. After watching this episode, I, too, was hoping I was hallucinating or being mind controlled. It was one really bad episode! But……glad Thea is back!

    • peterwdawson says:

      Star Trek’s Spectre of the Gun is a much better episode of television too. It does a good job showing the general intelligence of the characters (they address a lot of questions that would start with “Why don’t just do this:…”) and examining a seemingly doomed scenario where they know they’re doomed.

  17. Dadar says:

    Everyone needs to shut up about politics. You’re all idiots. If you can’t handle a fictional entertainment show, go back into your safe space. The real world of adults is not for you.

  18. 134sc says:

    Ok so the flashbacks were a special kind of awful. Present day was average. It was so obvious this was a “different” type of episode, some of it good, some of it not so much. I will say however, I loved Oliver and I loved Stephen Amells performance, i thought he nailed it.

  19. Dominique says:

    i didn’t dislike the episode, it was just very… un-arrow like. i feel that of all the dc shows, arrow is the one trying to humanize themselves the most, in the sense that it’s a show about characters that happen to be based on comic book characters, rather than a show that is actually about the comic book characters… i don’t know if that makes any sense, but i feel like arrow always tries to seperate itself from the other dc shows by being as less comic book-like as possible… and i don’t know if it’s working.

  20. Gerald says:

    A perfect example of how Arrow stands apart from the other DC shows. I was so impressed by this episode. It is a hot button issue and there is many sides. I loved seeing Oliver handling this mostly as the Mayor. It is his day job and loved how he handled it. I concede that they purposefully left the “Firearms Freedom Act” vague, but it was something, and it is nice to see it at least being addressed.
    Felicity I am sure had an opinion and she had great restraint in not wanting to express it knowing how divisive a topic it was. She was just focused on the task at hand.
    Rene… the least favorite character this season gets a flashback story. I didn’t care for any of it. And what killed me was he said “If only I had my gun my wife would still be alive” DUDE!!!! You did get a hold of your gun and BECAUSE you used it and shot the bad guy he fell to the ground and his gun went off and shot your wife. Had you not shot him everyone probably would have been alive today. This story is an example of how a registry would have been helpful. So it is the law not even a registry that would make Rene possessing a gun illegal because he was dishonorably discharged from the army. Then he should at the very least not have one in City Hall while he is working. Not a fan of this character.

  21. Betty Boop says:

    This episode is the worst Arrow has ever done. Not just a weak story or a focus on uninteresting things. Much worse, it was offensive.

    Oliver killed people with a gun in the season premiere. He frequently tortures people for information and drops people off buildings. He blackmails people and threatens them and has dropped countless bodies in his time. Suddenly this week he’s and all caring sharing about finding other ways? Whatever. Oliver has gone back and forth on the killing issue so many times its reductive to still be focused on it. He stopped killing for Tommy. He didn’t kill Slade. But he offed both Ras and Damien without a second thought and this season is killing willy nilly, with no clear reason.

    Diggle and Felicity apparently have no point of view on the issue of gun violence. Despite the fact that Diggle uses a gun every week and Felicity has been the victim of gun violence twice, one of which was an incredibly brutal attack that left her paralysed. Oliver apparently has forgotten that too, as he showed no concern or recognition that this might be a difficult subject for her and neither did any of her so called friends and team mates.

    The end was a complete cop out. So, what’s this incredibly simple solution to gun violence you cooked up in an evening? Not going to share? Funny that. Compete waste of time. If you’re going to do an episode like this, have the courage to come down firmly on one side of the fence.

    Thea was the only bright spot. At least someone is calling Oliver out for his spectacularly ill advised and very obviously ill fated ‘relationship’ with Susan. He’s ‘pretty serious’ about her? Please.

  22. Cate says:

    This episode felt like a 5th grade presentation about gun control. This was really the best they could come up with to set up the rest of the arc? seriously?
    heavy handed and worse: boring.
    also: the magical unicorn compromise felt like a cop-out.
    they should stay far far away from topics like these and stick to what they’re good at. i.e. personal conflict and relationships. (not just romantic, but family and friends, even enemies).
    this was pathetic.

    • Checker says:

      oh, did someone get triggered and now needs to retreat to his save space? the only pathetic thing here is morons like you whining. good lord, grow up.

  23. Luis Roman says:

    I love “Arrow,” but I struggle with it sometimes. There is so much in “Spectre of the Gun” to cringe at.

    The security at SC City Hall, where a random guy in a utility uniform can walk into the Mayor’s office with a canvas bag filled with high powered firearms?

    Where an ordinary father of two can disappear completely, evading the presumably 24 hour searches of the SCPD and Team Arrow, but conveniently leaves his plans for his next big killing spree lying around?

    Where the mayor and the city council member sit in a room by themselves without staff, trying to figure out a compromise on one of the most intractable issues in politics, but the mayor and his deputy’s new assistant. who’s been there a week, hammer out a law that the council person gives her OK to after, you know flipping through i, without having it reviewed by staff?

    Random observations:

    Is Felicity not least bit curious that the Pandora files Helix gave her are helping her track down Prometheus’ mother? Doesn’t that strike her as the teeniest bit convenient? is Oliver at all curious about the source of Felicity’s information?

    I like the Dig-Dinah dynamic, but I’m sorry, how long was Dinah off the grid and going around the country sonic screaming at criminals? Don’t you think the SCPD background check would include a call to, say, the Central City PD, who might have an opinion to express about Dinah’s psychological fitness to carry a gun?

    Thea, please, DON’T EVER LEAVE AGAIN!!! Love the vomiting comment – I can’t believe she hasn’t slapped Oliver silly over Susan.

    I’m glad we got some Rene back story, but shouldn’t Curtis, of all people, want to give some thought to whether their current environment is a healthy one to introduce a child to?

  24. annahleah says:

    I think I am changing my mind about EWR, not saying I like her or want to see her on the show or with Oliver, but I think she is going to NOT betray Oliver with the info she gathers on him. I also think he finds out that she possibly could have, but doesn’t do it. Naturally, he is upset and hurt by it, but I think he forgives her because she apologizes to him because in her own demented way, maybe she really does care for him. I only say this because of “Oliver’s Growth” this season and the eps want us to like her and their story line. If this is the way I have to deal with it to get her to go away, then I am in. But….I still don’t know her agenda or if she has one.

  25. Leona says:

    Awful episode! So NOT the show to be preaching about guns and violence. The whole hour was just wrong! Bleh.