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REVIEW: Arrow 3×09 “The Climb”

Written by Scott Swartz

Anyone remember how happy and carefree Oliver was in the season premiere? I bet he really wishes he was still fighting normal people like Vertigo or hell even Slade. “The Climb” was a pretty solid episode full of emotionally gripping material in the same vein of last year’s “Three Ghosts” however we have traded an Ollie on the rise for an Oliver at quite possibly the lowest point in his entire life. After being given a 48-hour ultimatum to find Sara’s killer, Team Arrow finally had some major breaks in the case, only they did not lead to the results and answers Oliver wanted. We knew how dangerous Malcolm could be but now we are finally seeing the chess master make his grand return and working all of the pieces on the board exactly where he wants them. Add on that we finally got to see the Ra’s we all know and fear and you had the making of a great episode. So, let’s dive in.

So yeah apparently Thea killed Sara, everyone can go home now and stop creating the spiderweb of whodunnits. Apparently Malcolm managed to brainwash her somehow and has made his perfect leverage, which is super bad news for Ollie. I really hope that Thea actually killed Sara while not under any sort of influence, as it would make her character arc a lot more interesting if she is truly capable of cold hearted murder. It is great however to see both Malcolm and Ra’s coming to the forefront as big bads this week as we have been sorely missing out on our bad guy threatening Ollie on some level. At least last year we got to see Brother Blood every couple of weeks and with Merlyn finally making some sort of play things will get interesting rather fast. Also it was super cool to see Thea being slightly capable after the past couple of episodes and the weaker side character plots that were provided. Also the look on Oliver’s face when she jumped over the balcony was priceless.

As for the side plots, they were truly a mixed bag as on the one had you had the really strong Laurel material, a phrase I don’t get to say often enough, while on the other had Ray was actually the weaker character this week. I really got psyched by the fact that Laurel finally told someone that Sara was dead, let alone two someones. While I believe that Thea was faking her reaction to finding out that Sara was dead it helped to actually bring some steam to one of my biggest problems with Laurel’s storyline. She has been keeping this secret from her family for so long that it is going to inevitably blow up in her face when her dad finds out, but is was super exciting to see mama Lance not only be totally down with Laurel hunting down Sara’s killer, but basically demand full on retribution. On the other side of thing you had Ray finally reveal to Felicity his past and what his plans are for Queen Consolidated. While I appreciate that he is building towards becoming some sort of ATOM I just wish his backstory wasn’t so mundane. Not every hero needs a tragic backstory, he could have just been super excited and wanted to be a hero and I would have been fine with that.

All of this turned into a build up to the last few minutes of the episode where we finally got our first good idea at just how dangerous Matt Nable’s Ra’s truly is. Not only did he start off by killing nine random assassins but all of his character work is top notch. This is a man who clearly both idolizes and hates death as the story of Ra’s first kill told us, but the fact that Ra’s clearly believes in the League and what he has created makes him all the more dangerous of a foe. That and the fact he took Ollie to school in mortal combat and proceeded to kick Ollie off the side of a mountain after stabbing him through the freaking chest. Since we know Ra’s is older than sixty seven years old and somehow does not look a day over forty, not to mention that given the way Merlyn returned back in Season 2, we know getting stabbed through the chest isn’t a death sentence in this show, I am going to assume Ollie will be taking a swim in a Lazarus Pit very very soon.

Overall a very strong episode that will leave us hanging until Ollie returns in January.

Final Grade B+

+Matt Nable owned being Ra’s this week

+That final scene

+Excellent side character plots for Thea and Laurel

+Malcolm the chess master is back

-Flashbacks kind of week

-Not every hero needs a tragic origin

Extra Thoughts

-Yeah combining OMAC with the ATOM project will only end badly. It’s OMAC guys, come on.

-So Maseo is alive in the present, guessing Tatsu is not gonna make it out of the flashbacks alive

-Roy is now the man in charge, finally Team Arsenal gets some real screen time.

-Where is Ted Grant? I miss him and still hope he will Wildcat it up with Roy and probably Laurel in the future.

Bonus Editor’s Thoughts: Given that the producers have confirmed that the next three episodes will be a “Canary Trilogy”, does anyone think that for at least one, if not two, episodes, Ollie will be completely absent, but we’ll still get to see him in the flashbacks to add to the mystery of his “resurrection”?

About the author

Scott Swartz