Arrow closes off the first half of the season with “The Climb”, as Oliver gets closer to figuring out the truth behind Sara’s murder and faces off against  the enigmatic Ra’s al Ghul.

Oliver is shown climbing a snowy mountain, as flashbacks reveal the hunt for Sara’s killer and Laurel’s difficult reunion with her mother. It all leads up to Oliver being forced to fight Ra’s in order to protect Thea from the League’s retribution.

Merlyn’s plan to pit Oliver against Ra’s was rather ingenious. Though the use of mind control to manipulate Thea into killing Sara was somewhat hokey, it did remind the audience that Merlyn is still dangerous and ruthless, even if he’s not the main villain of the season.

Laurel confesses to her mother about Sara’s death and begs her to keep it a secret from Quentin. Despite this being a major event, it did not carry the weight it should, and it just serves as padding before Laurel embraces her eventual destiny as Black Canary.

Maseo’s turn to the League was surprising, but it connects the Hong Kong flashbacks even more to the present. China White’s return and fight with Tatsu also helps her live up to her reputation as a dangerous crime leader.

In an effective cliffhanger, Ra’s al Ghul impales Oliver to death and throws his body down the mountain. Though it is highly unlikely that he will remain dead for long, his potential return could be interesting, particularly through supernatural means.

Did the showdown with Ra’s al Ghul live up to the hype?

How will Oliver escape from his supposed death?

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