Thursday, December 11, 2014

Arrow - The Climb

Arrow's mid-season premiere means revelations and new danger for Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) who is ordered by Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) to produce Sara's killer in 48 hours or the League of Assassin will start killing 50 citizens in Starling City to properly motivate him. Turning his attention back to Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), Green Arrow will make a heart-breaking discovery about his sister Thea (Willa Holland) in an episode that reasserts Meryln's behind-the-scenes machinations and delivers us Oliver's first confrontation with this season's other main baddie: Ra's al Ghul (Matt Nable).

Ending on a cliffhanger with the fate of the show's lead very much in doubt (well, as much as it can be given the fact that Arrow certainly isn't going to kill it's star), we witness Oliver's battle with the Demon's Head that leaves Green Arrow broken and bleeding to death on a mountain side. However, a single line of dialogue about Ra's age suggests their may be hope for our hero as, unlike Batman Begins, The CW seems willing to embrace all aspects of the leader of the League of Assassins including the Lazarus Pit.

The episode's B-story finally delivers a little more information about Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), his past, and his plans for the A.T.O.M. and Starling City. In an episode with several great reaction shots, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) gets the oddest sense of deja vu learning she has been drawn into yet another hero origin. We see the schematics for the suit again (which looks a little more like Ryan Choi's design than Palmer's classic suit), but it's still a bit hard to make out just what the Atom may look like when he finally makes his first appearance.

Although not what one would picture as Ra's al Ghul, Nable infuses the character with needed physicality and menace necessary to make the character work. The truth about what Merlyn has done to Thea (who still defends him) crushes Oliver who says a tearful goodbye to friends and family before facing the leader of the League of Assassins on a mountain top with almost no hope of survival. How Oliver ultimately makes it home, and what kind of man he'll be will be interesting to see as his hero's journey has apparently hit another major turn.

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