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"I arrived the same year as Ta-er Al-Sahfer. She was a great warrior. You did not kill her. When you face the Demon, it will be my duty to bear witness. I have no desire to watch you die. Under our code, you have 12 hours to settle your affairs. The 13th hour, be at this place. This location is consecrated ground for the League. A place for the settlement of blood debts—if one survives the climb. If you do."
Maseo Yamashiro to Oliver Queen

"The Climb" is the ninth and midseason finale episode of the third season of Arrow, and the fifty-fifth episode overall. It aired on December 10, 2014.



In a flash forward, Oliver Queen struggles to climb a snowy mountain.

The Arrow delivers a "Christmas present" (a tied-up criminal) to Quentin Lance, who remarks that the Arrow is the closest thing to a partner he has. After Quentin leaves with the criminal, Oliver sees a black-clad hooded figure in the distance, mistaking him for Malcolm Merlyn. Suddenly, a band of similarly dressed people descend from the rooftops and attack the Arrow, capturing him. Oliver wakes up in an abandoned warehouse and sees Nyssa. Nyssa informs him that her father's patience has run out and that he is to deliver Sara Lance’s killer in 48 hours or the League of Assassins, under the direction of Sarab, who is revealed to be Maseo, will kill 50 innocent citizens of Starling City.

Laurel visits Sara's grave to wish her a merry Christmas. She sees Thea who was leaving flowers for her mother. Thea is confused as to why Laurel was talking to Sara's grave so Laurel tells her that her sister was murdered while she was away. Laurel makes Thea promise not to tell Quentin or Oliver.

Felicity Smoak is at Palmer Technologies. Ray Palmer walks in, discussing how he just discovered the building's cafeteria. Felicity acts cold towards him due to their kiss and how she thinks Ray regrets it. She gets a 911 text from Oliver so she leaves.

At the Arrowcave, Oliver informs the team of the League's ultimatum. Felicity tells them the DNA test that Caitlin Snow is running will take time due to the degraded sample. Diggle tells Oliver that they need to devise a contingency plan.

In a flashback to Hong Kong, Oliver arrives at the apartment shaken from the torture he conducted on Li Khuan Hui. Oliver tells Maseo that Hui informed him of the Triad's plan to obtain and use the Omega bioweapon.

Felicity gets off the phone with Caitlin and informs the team that Caitlin was able to sequence the genome of the sample off of the arrows and would run it through SCPD's database. The database search says that Oliver killed Sara.

In a flash forward, Oliver continues to climb the mountain nearly slipping to his death.

Felicity explains that 12 out of 13 genetic markers matched up with Oliver's DNA. Oliver believes that Malcolm is framing him and trying to pit him against the League. Felicity works to track down Malcolm's whereabouts.

In a flashback, Maseo and Oliver break into BTHK Biotech to steal the virus. Maseo monitors the security cameras while Oliver sneaks into the biolab. Oliver finds an empty vial. Maseo runs through the security footage and discovers that one of Chien's accomplices on the inside already took it.

Dinah Lance arrives in Quentin's office and hugs him. Laurel then walks in, surprised to see her. Dinah asks about Sara. Laurel lies and says she is backing through the Andes.

Felicity goes through A.R.G.U.S.'s records and tracks a plane that tried to disguise its destination, but landed in a private airstrip in Starling the night before Sara was murdered. The Arrow and Arsenal threaten the pilot, questioning him about who he ferried to Starling. The pilot gives them security footage. Felicity analyzes the footage and the team finds video of Merlyn and Thea arriving to Starling on the plane.

In a flash forward, Oliver hangs from a cliff side on the mountain.

Oliver realizes Merlyn and Thea both lied about them being in contact with each other. Diggle suggests Thea could be a suspect which would explain the similar DNA but Oliver dismisses the idea. Roy and Felicity both agree that Thea could have killed Sara. Oliver angrily rebuffs them. Ray then calls Felicity telling her he pinged her cell phone again and that he was at Verdant.

Ray apologizes to Felicity about the way he reacted and that he did so because he felt guilty. He tells her of his wife Anna and how she was killed by Slade Wilson's army.

Oliver arrives at Thea's loft. Oliver questions her about her involvement with Malcolm. Thea confesses to being with him in Corto Maltese but denies ever flying with him to Starling.

In a flashback, Maseo and Oliver torture a man to get information on where vial of Omega virus is. Maseo threatens him as Oliver points an arrow towards him.

Dinah and Laurel are at dinner. Dinah realizes something happened with Sara and that Laurel is hiding something. Dinah comes to the conclusion that she is dead and Laurel tells her not to tell Quentin.

In Nanda Parbat, Ra's al Ghul spars with some of his followers and kills them all. Nyssa enters and tells him that Oliver has yet to give up Sara's killer. Ra's tells her to show no mercy to Starling.

Oliver tells the team that he is sure Thea didn't kill Sara. Felicity and Diggle both plead to him that he has a blind spot for Thea and that the Arrow should pay her a visit. The Arrow crashes through the loft window, demanding she tell him where Malcolm is. Thea fights back, surprising Oliver. She flees out the window.

In a flash forward, Oliver nears the summit of the mountain.

Malcolm visits Verdant and tells Oliver that Thea informed him of the attack by the Arrow. Oliver chokes Malcolm saying that he would gladly kill him. Oliver phone buzzes and he sees a video of Thea killing Sara. Malcolm tells Oliver that if he kills him, the League would get hold of that footage. Malcolm explained that he used Vitura to make Thea susceptible to his demands while retaining no memories of the murder. Malcolm says that his plan has given Oliver the incentive to take out Ra's so that Malcolm would be free of his blood debt to the League.

At the lair, Oliver ponders why Thea would have done it and tells the team that Malcolm has video evidence as a contingency. Oliver decides to fight Ra's.

In a flashback, Oliver has failed to get information out of the Biotech worker. Maseo realizes that the worker must have been under the influence of Votura. At the apartment, Chien Na Wei breaks in. Tatsu Yamashiro and Chien engage in a sword duel, while Akio runs for cover.

Oliver walks into the League's warehouse hideout and meets Nyssa who brings him to Ra's. Ra's says that the League will begin sacrificing civilians for not having Sara's killer by the deadline. Oliver confesses to killing Sara and challenges Ra's to a trial by combat. Ra's accepts.

In a flash forward, Oliver makes it to the top of the mountain.

Sarab tells Oliver of his arrival in the League after the incident in Hong Kong. Sarab gives him the location of the mountaintop where Ra's and Oliver are to fight.

Dinah and Laurel are at Sara's grave. Dinah reminisces of Sara and says that her death wasn't deserved. Laurel promises her mother that she will make Sara's killer pay for their crimes.

Oliver arrives at the loft and asked Thea what happened to the window. Thea lies and says a bird smashed it. Oliver then tells Thea that Malcolm doesn't love her. Thea angrily says that she won't choose between him and Oliver. Oliver tells her he will do anything to protect her.

In a flashback, Maseo and Oliver discover the apartment has been broken into. Akio tells them Chien Na Wei took Tatsu.

Felicity visits Ray at Palmer Tech and demands he tell her what is true motive for purchasing Queen Consolidated. Ray explains to her his theories of miniaturization and how he plans to apply it to an A.T.O.M. Exosuit.

At the foundry, Oliver says his goodbyes to Roy and Diggle. Alone with Felicity, he reassures her unconvincingly that he will be okay. Felicity tells him that he needs to kill Ra's. Oliver tells her he will do whatever it takes to save his sister and tells Felicity that he loves her.

Oliver arrives to the duel site on the mountaintop. Sarab tells him to remove his shirt and choose his weapon; Oliver takes two swords. Ra's tells him of his first kill at the age of eleven and how he felt pride in the murder. Oliver tells him he has lived the last of his life, but Ra's assures him that Oliver will be the one to see death. The duel commences. Ra's punches Oliver in the face. Oliver swings his swords but fails to land a blow. Ra's dodges his attacks and takes one of Oliver's swords. They clash swords but Ra's knocks Oliver back with some well-placed kicks. Oliver charges at him but Ra's parries the blow and slashes Oliver's right forearm. Oliver recovers and attacks Ra's again, but Ra's defends all of his blows. Ra's gets a couple more jabs to Oliver's side and holds his sword to Oliver's neck. He tells Oliver he has survived longer than most and backs him up towards the edge of the cliff. Oliver surprise attacks him and disarms Ra's of the sword. Oliver tries to land a fatal blow on Ra's but Ra's blocks Oliver's sword with his own hand. He stuns Oliver with a throat punch and a slash to the torso. Ra's commends him for an honorable death and stabs Oliver through the chest. As Ra's recites a death prayer, Oliver has memory flashes of his father, mother, Thea, and Felicity before Ra's kicks him off the mountainside.


Main cast[]

Special guest star[]

Guest starring[]




Preparation began September 30 and wrapped up on October 8. Filming began October 9 and ran until October 21.[1]


  • This is the highest rated episode of Season 3 with a rating of 9.5 on IMDb.
  • While speaking with Caitlin Snow over the phone, Felicity looks at a news article on a "yellow streak" terrorizing Central City. This references the Reverse-Flash's assault in The Flash episode, "The Man in the Yellow Suit", which aired a day prior to this episode.
  • The Arrow's confrontation with Thea is similar to that with Moira. In both cases, it involves Malcolm Merlyn, as well as Oliver breaking through a window. In both cases, he gets surprised by Moira and Thea fighting back, and how well they do so.
  • Oliver and Thea's snowmen on the Christmas tree are green and red, most likely referencing their comic book characters, Green Arrow and Speedy's, colours.
  • During a scene when Quentin Lance is on the phone in his office, he mentions the name "Jake". According to the audio commentary for the episode by Marc Guggenheim, this is a subtle nod to Paul Blackthorne's real-life son, Jake.[citation needed]


  • Ra's al Ghul mentioned that the last time someone challenged him to a trial by combat was 67 years ago, meaning that he was challenged in 1947. However, it was seen in the DC's Legends of Tomorrow episode "Left Behind" that Ra's was challenged in 1960.
    • It is possible that Ra's doesn't count 1960 because he wasn't the one who fought Rip's champion.
  • It’s stated that Thea's DNA could've been confused for Oliver's in the SCPD database due to them being siblings. However, given that Thea was taken to court for a DUI almost two years prior,[2] her name should've appeared in the database as well.
  • In a close-up at Ra's al Ghul's face during his duel with Oliver, one can clearly see Matt Nable's stunt double.
  • Due to an editing error, in the scene where Ra's al Ghul prays for Oliver after stabbing him, the stab wound disappears.