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Arrow Review (S3E9): 'The Climb'


SPOILERS AHEAD

What a mid-season finale! In a season that was uneven at times only to be redeemed with spectacular moments and one hell of a crossover event with The Flash the finale proved once again that comic book television doesn't get any better than Arrow

'The Climb' demonstrated once again that the show isn't afraid to pull out all the stops even pitting Ollie against the deadly Demon's Head, Ra's al Ghul. But first the mystery of who killed Sara Lance needed to be solved and it was. We've known it had to be someone she knew and someone that's currently on the show. It would have been a weak reveal if it was someone out of the blue. At first the DNA on the arrow that killed Sara revealed it was Ollie. Say what? Ollie was convinced he was being framed and refused to believe it could be Thea. 

After opening the season with the tease that it was Roy who killed Sara even with some vivid incriminating dreams the mystery moved to Malcolm Merlyn but the truth was even worse. Thea had indeed killed Sara while under the influence of Malcolm and she was left with no memory of what she did. Malcolm, ever the arrogant manipulator, told Ollie to his face what he had done and now it was up to him to settle things with Ra's. No one does smug one-upmanship better than John Barrowman who appears to be enjoying himself giving Stephen Amell a hard time in their scenes. 

A convenient and convoluted twist of events but it set things up perfectly for a face off against the head of the League of Shadows. There's no way Ollie would sacrifice his own sister to save his city. He'd have to fight Ra's and wipe the slate clean for himself, for Thea and for Malcolm as well. A devilish manipulation on Malcolm's part but a near impossible task for Ollie to kill Ra's. Even Felicity recognized the need to kill Ra's telling Ollie he has to if they were ever to have peace. 

The Hong Kong flashbacks lend little to the present except in drawing some parallels for Ollie as his growth as an interrogator/torturer. It did however show an exciting fight scene between China White and Tatsu wielding katanas of course. Maseo emerges as one of Ra's assasisns in the present and while loyal to the League may play a part after Ollie has fallen. 

I don't think there was any question that Ollie was no match for Ra's. Considering the guy warms up by defeating eight of his own assassins is impressive enough but when Ollie challenged him in combat it hadn't been 67 years since someone had. Good to know that the Lazarus Pit is in play just in case. Alas it wouldn't be Arrow unless the shirts came off and the two face each other on a perilous cliff. Ra's opts not to choose a weapon informing Ollie he would take his swords from him. The original smack-talking fighter is in prime form. 

The fight is wonderfully choreographed and shot as the two twisted and turn as Ollie lunged with his swords and Ra's calmly evading each with his hands literally behind his back. This is the Ra's, the legendary Demon's Head from the comic books we remember played with stoic confidence by Matt Nable. Even when Ra's predictably had thrust his sword into Ollie's body it was still gasp-inducing. Ollie knew this could end this way telling Felicity good bye and that he loved her. His loved ones flashing through his mind as the blood leaves his body. And with that Ra's kicked him over the edge.

Now what?

With Ollie presumably dead and possibly awaiting rebirth in the Pit who will protect Starling City? Ray Palmer's superhero aspirations were made to Felicity whose reaction was priceless, "why does this keep happening to me?' His A.T.O.M. suit could be ready for a test run in 2015. Roy seems like the logical substitute in the wake of Ollie's demise. He'll have to step up and take care of business. And we already know Laurel will be debuting as Black Canary in January so we can see there will be plenty of others trying to fill the void left behind by the Arrow. 


Arrow is an ambitious program willing to go to great lengths to please fans and excite new ones. That means not everything is going to work but when it does like it did in 'The Climb' it knocks it out of the park. Mid-season grade: B+





Mama Lance made an appearance and knew something was wrong. Laurel had to tell her that Sara was killed. She seemed quite comfortable encouraging an eye for an eye. Awesome!

Arrow returns January 21, 2015. How will we cope until then?!






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