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Recap / Arrow S 5 E 13 Spectre Of The Gun

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A gunman attacks City Hall, creating a crisis that the Green Arrow cannot solve, forcing him to take on the fight as Oliver Queen. Meanwhile, we learn more about Rene's past.


  • A Day in the Limelight: The flashback focuses on Rene's family and why he chose to fight crime as Wild Dog.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Curtis and Rene argued over gun control in this episode. For Curtis, he is pro-gun control due to the dangers of the weapons falling into the wrong hands. However, Rene advocated on gun ownership because without any weapons, there's nothing to stop the bad guys from threatening the lives of family and friends.
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  • The Bus Came Back: Thea returns after being absent for 3 episodes. Additionally, the reporter known for saying "Oliver Queen is alive" appears as part of the press conference.
  • Continuity Nod: At the end of Rene's flashbacks, the news report Rene watches about Green Arrow's defeat of Damian Darhk (which inspires him to become a vigilante) is the same one Malcolm Merlyn was shown watching in another flashback in Legion of Doom.
  • Character Development / Dark and Troubled Past: We learn about Rene's in the flashbacks. He was a loving husband and father who got his family out of the Glades. But then his wife started using drugs again and ended up being killed by her dealer because she owed him money. Rene then lost custody of Zoe because Rene created an "unsafe environment". It also counts as a Superhero Origin as we finally see what caused Rene to become Wild Dog.
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  • Cycle of Revenge: The episode puts a focus on how fighting violence with violence will always produce more violence, with a bit of Superhero Paradox thrown in as well.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In the flashbacks, Rene claims that whatever he was complicit in in the past, he never did drugs.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • At the beginning Oliver is talking to DA Chase how he's not happy how Billy's murder is being covered up. The trailers for next episode show that the ACU is hunting Green Arrow for Billy's murder.
    • Quentin says that this is a problem the Green Arrow can't solve. Indeed, while in the climax the Green Arrow could have subdued Edlund, it's Mayor Oliver Queen who ultimately talks him down without using violence at all.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Rene actually passes a police sketch of Wild Dog inside the SCPD.
  • Friend on the Force: Dinah is joining the SCPD.
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  • My Greatest Failure: Rene blames himself on not taking his gun with him the day his wife got shot.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The previews for the episode seemed to indicate that the flashbacks would shed light on Rene's time in the Navy Seals and why he was dishonorably discharged; in fact, the flashbacks don't end up dealing with that at all, instead focusing on Rene's family life and how it was tragically cut short. Word of God is that there will be no more Rene-centric flashbacks for the remainder of the season, so we may not learn of his military life any time soon (although they aren't ruling out something like that in season 6).
  • Rousing Speech: In the final scene, Oliver gives one to the citizens of Star City during the eulogy for the victims of the massacre.
  • Shout-Out: Shares a title with an episode of StarTrek.
  • Talking The Villain To Death: Not literally. Oliver manages to talk the gunman into giving up his gun and surrendering.
  • Tragic Villain: After losing his family, James Edlund surely had a mental breakdown and it's easy to feel for him when he breaks down crying in his dialogue with Oliver.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Curtis gets a lawyer to help Rene get his daughter back.
  • Very Special Episode: This episode is one for gun-control. Fitting, since the original Very Special Episode came out of a Green Arrow comic.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Quentin calls Rene out on the fact he carries a firearm; as a dishonorably discharged soldier he's not able to legally own one.
    • In the flashbacks, Rene calls out his own wife for keeping drugs in their family's home, telling her to get rid of them or get away herself.
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