No, it’s not a Miley Cyrus special. ‘The Climb’ is the fall finale for Arrow and sh*t is about to get real.
Let’s bitch it out…
The race is on to discover the truth behind Sara’s death after Ra’s Al Ghul (Matt Nable) gives permission to Nyssa (Katrina Law) to kill Starling’s innocents until Sara’s killer is brought to justice. Unfortunately after some sleuthing (of both the DNA and the video surveillance kind) it is discovered that Thea (Willa Holland) is actually the killer. It’s a little amusing that Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) kid sister has no memory of committing murder considering her memory loss is just like Colton Haynes’ Roy when he thought he was responsible a few episodes ago.
Thea has no memory because Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) drugged her. It’s all part of his evil masterplan to blackmail Oliver into killing Ra’s. It’s very on-point for Malcolm considering he spent the entire first season executing a plot that could have been accomplished with a few strategically placed bombs. But hey, that’s wacky Malcolm for you (Side Note: I also love that he’s a bit of a coward, forcing both Thea and Ollie to do his dirty work).
And so Oliver leaves for his titular climb to challenge Ra’s to death by combat. It’s very much a typical Arrow plot: Oliver takes on the burden, the pain and the suffering in order to protect his loved ones (in this case Thea, who would be marked for death). It’s good narrative fodder that builds to a beautiful wintry (shirtless!) battle sequence atop the mountains, but the entire enterprise lacks punch. Not only is Oliver outmatched, Ra’s remains little more than a cipher – we know of him only as the Demon’s Head, more of a legend than a proper villain. Unlike Slade and Malcolm, Ra’s hasn’t had enough time to become a true adversary. Although the stakes are deadly, it seems unlikely that either combatant will die…at least until Oliver is stabbed through the chest, dumped off the cliff and the Arrow logo fades in.
Colour me surprised…that’s one hell of a cliffhanger.
- Good of Arrow to continue ripping off the Batman Begins playbook with that Ra’s Al Ghul battle practice scene.
- What’s creepier: the uber frightening ornament of Moira Queen on Thea’s tree, or those hideous shiny/sparkly MC hammer pants she’s wearing before she jumps off the balcony?
- I’m actually surprised Oliver attacks Thea considering how badly his last attack on a family member went. Good thing Thea doesn’t have a gun!
- Amidst the major drama involving the League and the hunt for Sara’s killer, Felicity is forced to contend with Ray (Brandon Routh) and his dead girlfriend, Anna. Welcome to Arrow, Ray, you’re in good company – everyone on this show has a tragic past. We now have more insight into Ray, even if it’s not entirely clear what he will do with ATOM.
- Oops, Laurel’s (Katie Cassidy) lies about Sara are forced to the surface when her father (Paul Blackthorne) invites Dinah (Alex Kingston) home for a holiday surprise. It doesn’t take much for Dinah to cut through Laurel’s defenses; shockingly enough even after Dinah realizes that Sara is gone, she agrees to Laurel’s ludicrous plot to keep Lance in the dark. I simply don’t buy the logic of this argument.
- In flashbacks, Maseo (Karl Yune) and Ollie hunt for a deadly virus that has been stolen. Unfortunately this draws China White (Kelly Hu) out of hiding and she retaliates by slicing and dicing Tatsu (Rila Fukushima). The suggestion is that Tatsu’s dead, but since there’s only blood splatter and no body (and this is Arrow), I’m hopeful that we’ll see her again.
- Felicity (after Ray reveals his superhero aspirations): “Why does this keep happening to me?”
Your turn: how surprised were you by the cliffhanger? Do you feel that Ra’s has been built up enough, or is this a good start to his candidacy as this season’s Big Bad? Do we really know anything more about Ray? Are Laurel’s demands for secrecy ridiculous? And is Tatsu gone or do you expect to see her again? Sound off below.
Arrow has finished airing new episodes for 2014. It will return on Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015 on The CW. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check in Monday, Dec 22 for the start of the fourth annual Bitch Awards!