“…TORMENT OF THE FIRE”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
A lot of people figured The Flash/Arrow crossover episodes would be the midseason finale, but neither episode had enough cliffhanger juice to make that seem possible. Enter “The Climb,” where the League of Assassins initiates a 48-hour window to find Sara’s killer. Here, we finally got to see how much of an a**hole Malcolm Merlyn is, oh, and Oliver fights Ra’s al Ghul atop a mountain!
During the intro, Captain Lance told Oliver that he is the “closest thing he had to a partner these days.” It was a bittersweet gesture that reminded us how far their dynamic has come since Season 1, but more importantly gave a nod to the Batman/Commissioner Gordon relationship. Since Batman is (un-rightly) forbidden to be spoken of on Arrow, it only makes sense that they use Arrow as the next best thing. I liked the moment immediately following that conversation between him and Lance. Oliver getting beaten and kidnapped by the League shows that he is still just trying to fight as best he can. He isn’t a metahuman and is still very much at the mercy of being caught off guard and overwhelmed.
The demands Nyssa made on behalf of the League were intense, reminding Oliver that 50 citizens will be executed daily until the true perpetrator stepped forward. It’s a quick notion of what exactly the League is capable of committing, as well as Ra’s Al Ghul killing as many guys as Oliver took on. All that fed into the main thread of the episode and Malcolm Merlyn’s ridiculous plans over the past two seasons.
Up until now, Arrow seemed to be writing Merlyn in a way that would make him redeemable — spending time with Thea, training her to protect herself and threatening other people that may have harmed her. Instead, it turned out that Merlyn was using Thea as another pawn in a plan to save his own bacon, regardless of who got hurt or killed along the way. The tension in the Arrow Cave as Oliver refused to believe his sister didn’t work given the wealth of family secrets.
Ra’s’s monologue about his first kill at 11 years of age was effective in showing us this demon’s life. Everything he does (according to him) is in order to protect his family. The final fight was underwhelming as Ra’s fought Oliver barehanded, but things change when Ra’s stabs Oliver in the chest! I didn’t know how they were going to end the midseason finale, but I definitely didn’t see that happening. The prayer that Ra’s read over Ollie was sad, as in that moment Oliver knew he was defeated. What ends it all? Oliver is kicked off the mountain! Holy crap.
“The Climb” did an excellent job of answering several questions but leaving one heck of a cliffhanger to draw us back to new episodes. The growing dynamic between Malcolm and Thea will be interesting to watch, and to see how Oliver’s team is going to handle his “death” will be a fun way to bring in the new year.
Was that the same mountain from “Batman Begins”? Should Oliver have used more tactics in a fight like that? Grab your weapon and carve your questions in the section below.
93/100 – ‘Superb’
*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
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