Arrow 3×09 – The Climb

arrow-the-climb-0261b-114473The modern-day tv trend of shows splitting around fixed events such as Christmas, etc, has given many the opportunity for a mid-season finale, gathering together the various threads and building to a big climax and cliffhanger bridging the gap to the second half of the season.

Following Sara’s departure at the end of series 2, her return at the beginning of this season was surprising by virtue of its suddenness, and perhaps a little rushed to enable her subsequent death to seed the plot arc for the first few episodes.

Up to now, we had little evidence to base any theories on. We knew that Sara recognised her killer, and didn’t seem particularly disturbed seeing them, which narrowed down the list of possibles; and whilst the spotlight did linger on Roy for an episode before being dismissed, it would seem unlikely that Captain Lance (about the only person left who doesn’t know of Sara’s death), nor any of Team Arrow could be responsible. However, with the list of remaining candidates that would fit the limited information seeming to come down to either:

  • a previously unseen comic villain
  • someone from Malcolm Merlyn’s circle

the revelation of just who killed Sara is not going to be a complete surprise.

It is a measure of just how far the show has come, that once Sara’s killer is revealed, it becomes almost an irrelevance, as the focus shifts to the consequences. This is not your season 1 Ollie – once again he finds himself in the position of having to choose between dealing with a killer and taking care of family.

One of Arrow’s defining traits has been its ability to tell two parallel ongoing stories; one in the present, the other five years ago in the period between Ollie being shipwrecked on the island and returning to Starling at the beginning of season 1. Whilst both have independent, ongoing narratives, the themes and emotional beats of one tends to reflect those of the other.

This season has seen Ollie working for Amanda Waller, carrying out surveillance and capture missions. Unfortunately, whilst the majority of the flashbacks set on the island seemed cohesive, the sequences in Hong Kong has felt more disjointed with a sense of marking time until the next dramatic beat needed to intersect the contemporary storyline.

However, that aside, performances by all the main cast so far this season have been consistently strong, with Emily Bett-Rickard’s Felicity being a particular highlight, and the interaction with Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer has enabled her to stretch out a little. Stephen Amell’s Ollie wouldn’t hurt to have a few moments of lightness, but as with Batman, his lot seems to be one of ongoing suffering, and the writers certainly love to add to his woes every episode.

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