This episode of Arrow had to be one of the most moving and heart breaking episodes to date. The feels were definitely real with this episode, and it certainly has left me with a lot to think about in today’s world.
The episode opened up with a montage of videos consisting of a group of men loading a variety of weapons into a bag.
Back in the Arrow Cave, Oliver supervised the training of his team. Dinah and Diggle sparred, while Felicity searches for clues as to Prometheus’s identity; and she disclosed that she found a link to Prometheus’s mother. She’s under a heavy witness protection cover, but she managed to narrow it down to a single state.
Oliver and Thea head back to City Hall, where Thea expresses her dislike for Susan Williams to Oliver once more; even though Oliver states that they are getting ‘pretty serious’. Thea also is pleasantly surprised when she sees that Lance is back on his feet; but that’s not the biggest surprise of all… she discovers that Rene is his new assistant. Lance heads out of the office to take care of some stuff, and when he does he passes by a man in a uniform (the same uniform we saw the person wearing in the montage at the beginning of the episode. The man drops his bag and opens fire in Oliver’s office, killing multiple staff members during his rampage. Rene manages to get a few shots off at the shooter, but it would appear as though he is wearing a bulletproof vest.
We then see a flashback of Rene when he was living with his wife and daughter. Rene grabs a gun from their closet before going to a hockey game. His wife expresses her anger about him taking the gun out of the house. Renee then interrogates her about her possibly taking drugs again.
After the shooter escapes Oliver rushes to find Thea. She was fine, but Chase took a bullet to the shoulder and was bleeding out. Rene says he shot the attacker in the shoulder, and tells Oliver that the shooter dropped his rifle, and to get his hands on the weapon.
Back at the Arrow Cave, Felicity states that she cannot find the shooter in the system. Back at the police station, Lance talks to a sketch artist. He says he got a good look at the shooters face before the chaos happened, and he begins to blame himself for not noticing the suspicious shooter sooner. (After all he was a cop for years) Lance then tells Rene shouldn’t be carrying a firearm, as it’s illegal for a convicted felon and a dishonorably discharged Soldier.
In another flashback, Rene shows his wife the drugs that he found behind the bureau. His daughter walks in the room and she asks what they are doing. Rene tells his daughter to get ready for the game, and then he gives his wife an ultimatum…. either she gets rid of the drugs, or she leaves.
Thea informs Oliver that a total of 7 people have passed away, as two more people have passed away on the table. Oliver then runs into Chase, who is desperate to get back to work despite behind shot. Oliver finally convinces him to stay. Chase tells Oliver to consider looking into the Bertinelli family, as the AR-15 is their weapon of choice.
At the Arrow Cave, Curtis and Wild Dog get into a debate about gun control, while Felicity works on finding a way to track the rifle.
Oliver tracks down one of the Bertinelli mobsters, and hangs him upside down. He states that he had nothing to do with the shooting. Before Oliver can ask him any questions, Vigilante shows up and lights the mobster up. He then tells Oliver he did him a favor, and that there is one less criminal on the street. Felicity discovers the identity of the shooter, and makes Oliver aware. Turns out he is a ordinary joe; 44 year old systems analyst who has never committed a crime a day in his life.
Felicity reveals to the team that the shooter lost his family in a mall shooting. The shooter previously supported a Star City gun registry, but fell off the radar after the registry was shut down by the previous mayoral administration. Thea informs Oliver that she cannot hold off the press any longer; and Oliver agrees to make a statement to the press.
In a flashback, Rene and his daughter comes home from the hockey game to signs of a break-in in their apartment. Rene tells his daughter to get ready for bed while he searches for his wife.
Oliver makes an official statement before the press, where he reveals the shooters identity. He takes some questions, but gets flustered when the press starts asking him about his personal feelings on gun control. Oliver says that his views on gun control are “complicated”, and then he abruptly ends the press conference.
Oliver tells Thea and Lance that he has always turned to violence as a means to a solution. He tells them that he doesn’t know how to handle the situation as mayor. Lance tells him this is a problem that the Green Arrow can’t solve, and that Oliver has to solve it as a mayor. Oliver tells Thea to find every politician involved with shutting down the gun registry, to get the true story behind it.
Oliver speaks a councilwoman who partook in shooting down the gun registry. Oliver then tells her that she’s not going to leave until they can figure out some reasonable guidelines for a gun registry.
Diggle and Dinah hit the street looking for the shooter. Dinah confides in Diggle and tells him that she can’t find an apartment (and she is staying at the Arrow Cave) because they do background checks and she has a hangup doing what normal people do.
Back at the Arrow Cave, Felicity and Curtis find a support group the shooter used to be a part of.
Curtis and Rene drop by the support group and they find out where the shooter is staying. The Group leader says that he will provide them with the shooter’s most recent address. Renee also tells Curtis that Rene’s wife was killed because he didn’t have a gun readily available.
In a flashback, Rene stumbls upon his wife held at gunpoint by her dealer. Renee attempts to trick the dealer by saying the money was in the safe where the gun was. His daughter shows up, causing Renee and his wife to go into fight mode. Rene manages to shoot up the dealer, but the dealer gets off a stray shot that winds up killing his wife.
Rene and Curtis track down the shooter’s hideout and discover floor plans to his next target: the local Star City hospital. Oliver assembles the team, telling the council woman that they will have to finish their meeting later.
At the hospital, Oliver confronts the shooter as Mayor. Oliver tells the shooter (James) that he is doing all that he can to force gun control on the city. He then points out that the man who shot his family obtained his guns illegally, meaning that there was nothing the city could do protect them. James gets upset, stating that he knows… it was his job to protect him. Oliver points out that the people James shot were innocent too, which leads to James pointing the gun at his own head. Oliver manages to talk him down, and James hands Oliver his gun just before the police officers move in on him.
The next morning, Oliver presents the councilwoman with a gun control ordinance that he wrote with Rene. The councilwoman agrees to back Oliver on his new policy.
In the final flashback, we find out that Rene lost his daughter to social services due to her being in an unsafe environment…. and then the worker hangs up the phone on him. Rene sees the news about Green Arrow defeating Damien Darhk, which inspires him to become Wild Dog.
At the Arrow Cave, Curtis tells Renee that he is going to help Renee get his daughter back.
Diggle finds Dinah and he learns that she got a lease to an apartment and she is the newest member of the Star City Police Department.
The episode ends with Oliver holding a vigil for those who died at City Hall. He announces that they will be implementing the Star City Arms Freedom Act; an act that will balance gun ownership rights with public safety. Together… all of Star City needs to be brave enough to enact it.
Arrow will return Wednesday, February 22nd at 8PM/EST on The CW.