Arrow’s Mid-Season Finale “The Climb” Shocks: Did We Lose Our Hero?

Arrow midseason finale
Photo: The CW / Cate Cameron

The last episode of Arrow for 2014, and the show’s mid-season finale “The Climb”, leaves us wondering: Did that just happen? We finally learn who killed Sara, get a glimpse at Stephen Amell’s abs – it’s been too long – during a wonderfully choreographed fight with Ra’s al Ghul, and tragically lose our hero. But fret not, I am sure that Oliver Queen will come back to us.

Mama Lance Is Back in Town.
With Christmas just around the corner Quentin wants to surprise his daughter Laurel and invites her mother to visit them in Starling City. When Dinah asks for Sara and her whereabouts, Laurel has a hard time keeping Sara’s death a secret. During dinner Dinah tells Laurel that her motherly intuition tells her that something is wrong, that she had felt that Sara was alive after the Queen’s Gambit sunk seven years ago, but that the feeling was gone now. Laurel confesses that she did not tell Quentin about Sara’s death, because her father would not survive losing his daughter all over again, and Dinah agrees to keep quiet.

The Atomic Stalking Continues.
After their passionate kiss, Felicity has been avoiding her boss Ray at all costs so when he approaches her and asks whether they are okay, she thinks he regrets kissing her and takes flight. But that does not stop Mr. Palmer. He follows her to Verdant and confesses that he had felt guilty when he kissed her. He tells her about his fiancé Anna that had been killed last spring. When Felicity asks him what his plans with Queen Consolidated are, Ray reveals the ATOM suit to her, and says he wants to save the people of this city and that he needs her help. Sounds familiar?

Torture Does Not Come Easily.
In the Hong Kong flashbacks, Oliver still struggles with interrogating people the way ARGUS expects him to – by torture. He eventually learns about a Chinese bio-tech company that has developed an incredibly fatal super-virus called Omega. After finding out that the virus had already been stolen, Oliver and Maseo interrogate the suspect. But the man can’t remember his deed, and Maseo explains that this is the side-effect of a will-power drug. While the men are occupied, China White surprises Tatsu and her son at home and a fight ensues. As Maseo and Oliver return they discover that Tatsu has been taken by the Triad.

The Reveal of Sara’s Killer.
The Heir to the Demon herself pays Oliver a visit. Nyssa tells him he has 48 hours to find Sara’s killer or the citizens of Starling will die. When Felicity finds out that the killer’s DNA almost completely matches Oliver’s, he believes he has been framed by Malcolm Merlyn. The Team discovers that Malcolm and Thea, who had been spending the summer in Corto Maltese, landed in Starling City the night before Sara was murdered. Oliver tries to get information from Thea, but remains unsuccessful. At Verdant, Malcolm confronts Oliver, showing him a video that proves that Thea killed Sara. She has been drugged by Malcolm with the will-power drug Vertura, that Oliver has encountered in China before, and therefore does not remember killing Sara.

A Fight He Cannot Win.
Oliver realizes that he cannot give his sister up. He goes to see the League of Assassins and tells them he was the one who killed the Canary. He asks for a trial by combat, thereby challenging the Head of the League, Ra’s al Ghul himself. Maseo, who has become a part of the League after Oliver left Hong Kong (what exactly happened will surely be revealed in future episodes), asks Oliver to reconsider, as he does not want to watch him die. Regardless of his friend’s warning, Oliver makes his way up a mountain, a climb that barely anyone has survived, to fight Ra’s at a neutral place selected by the League. In an epic battle, we see al Ghul dominating the fight most of the time, proving that while Oliver is good, he has no chance of winning. Eventually, Ra’s stabs the younger man’s chest with the sword, causing what is probably a fatal injury, before he throws Oliver off the cliff. Is that the end of our hero?


Favorite Moments.
Merry Christmas, Captain Lance. As a Christmas present, Oliver delivers another criminal. I am a big fan of the dynamic between the Arrow and Quentin. Lately their interactions are purely comedic relief and I love it.

A Queen-Siblings Showdown. After not getting any results as himself, Oliver goes to see Thea as the Arrow. To his surprise she is not the defenseless little girl he remembers, but can keep up with him during the fight. As long as we get more kickass moments from Thea, I am okay with that.

Laurel Promises Revenge. After her mother says goodbye to Sara at the graveyard, Laurel promises to avenge her sister’s death. Whoever is responsible for it, will pay. Now a Thea/Malcolm vs Laurel arc actually may be interesting.

Oliver says goodbye. Before leaving for the final battle, Oliver tells Thea he would do anything to keep her safe, hugs his protégé Roy, shakes the hand of his partner-in-crime Diggle and tells Felicity he loves her. I may be partial to forehead-kisses, but those scenes made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

The Final Battle. This does not really need clarification. Two shirtless men, Oliver Queen and THE Ra’s al Ghul, going at it in a life-or-death situation. This is quality television, and once again proves the capability of the Arrow stunt-team.


So… What now? As we all know, Oliver Queen was killed. But as the promo for episode 10 “Left Behind” already shows, he may not be dead yet, and there is someone in those mountains looking out for him. Who does that boot belong to? Malcolm? Maseo? Maybe even Thea? Either way, this was not the last we have seen of our hero. And if all fails, I am sure the Lazarus Pit will make an appearance. But the first three episodes of the new year will primarily focus on the story of Laurel Lance. This is something I am, quite honestly, dreading. I do agree that her character has developed, but if previous seasons have taught us anything it is that Laurel is not able to carry the whole show, even just for one or two episodes. And with Oliver MIA, this is something we should prepare for. But still, I am ready to be pleasantly surprised.

What are your thoughts on the mid-season finale and future episodes? Hit the comments section.

Arrow will return with new episodes Wednesday January 21, 2015.

Verena Cote
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