Arrow: Wild Dogs and Rifles
This may sound a bit harsh, but we think this week’s episode of Arrow was misplaced sometime last year; they’re just a little too late getting in on the whole gun control/gun violence issue. In all fairness, though, just because an issue is not in the headlines anymore does not mean it isn’t relevant. Now, DC Comics – not to mention the whole industry as a whole – has a long tradition of creating socially conscious stories that address topics that are happening in the real world. From Spider-man dealing with some dude tripping balls on top of a building to Speedy getting caught by Green Arrow doing smack, mainstream comics have shown time and time again that they aren’t just escapist literature, and Arrow is just following that grand old tradition.
First, the good parts: this week’s Arrow finally gave Wild Dog a much needed back story to give him some weight beyond being just the obstinate, and more often than not annoying, muscle for the team he’s been playing since his first appearance. To tell you the truth, we were surprised to find out that the man who once was Rene Ramirez was a family man; we always thought he was just some punk, military dropout. And it was a good move on the show’s part to take this move, as it gives the Wild Dog character some meat to it that even the comics hasn’t really given much attention to since his first appearance in Wild Dog #1 back in 1987.
Apart from that, it was nice to see that the show did not take too much of a preacher’s approach to the whole gun issue surrounding its plot. Instead, it divided the characters between two camps: one for, one against. As a result, viewers are able to get a bit of an idea to each side’s point.
However, and now we’re getting to the negative parts, the episode is not without its weaknesses. One glaring flaw of the episode, at least in our own little opinion here at Overtime, is how the climax to Wild Dog’s origin story was a bit heavy-handed with the whole gun metaphor. We think the whole debate between the characters was enough; that part where Rene Ramirez shoots who we’re assuming was his wife’s connect, which then leads to that guy’s gun accidentally firing off and killing Rene’s wife, is just too obvious.
Also, Vigilante makes a cameo in the episode where he shoots some mafia underling, gets to have a short “I’m you but better, because guns!” conversation with Green Arrow, and then disappears. Again, it’s just a bit too obvious. As a result, we get a non-preachy episode with a couple of moments that are the exact opposite of that, and it’s a little unfortunate for what would otherwise be a more complex approach to the issue.
Then, of course, there’s the whole villain of the week trope that a lot of TV shows just can’t seem to get away from. At this point in the season, it’s a little frustrating to have the threat of Prometheus hanging around everyone’s heads. We just hope team arrow provides the villain some characterization before their inevitable clash.
All in all, though, the episode was enjoyable enough despite its misgivings. We just really hope that it picks up and focuses on the main storyline in the coming weeks.