Spoilers ahead for the Season 8 premiere of Arrow on The CW, called "Starling City."
The end has begun for Arrow thanks to the premiere of the eighth and final season, and "Starling City" will go down as one of the most game-changing in the history of the entire Arrow-verse. The Season 7 finale revealed that The Monitor needed Oliver's help already to prepare for the fight against The Anti-Monitor in the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover and the destruction of the multiverse; the Season 8 premiere revealed that it's already too late for at least one Earth. To be specific, Earth-2.
Yes, the first parallel Earth visited by The Flash has been destroyed courtesy of Arrow's Season 8 premiere, and that presumably means the deaths of all the people who couldn't escape to another Earth. "Crisis on Infinite Earths" may not begin its five-episode run until December, but the Crisis already came to Earth-2.
"Starling City" was actually set on Earth-2, with Oliver sent on a mission to retrieve something from Queen Consolidated by The Monitor. Unfortunately for Oliver, The Monitor dropped him off on Lian Yu, meaning Oliver had to re-stage his rescue, except this time he supposedly spent 12 years on the island rather than just five. Upon returning, he encountered Earth-2 versions of his mom, Tommy as Dark Archer, Malcolm, Prometheus as Green Arrow, and the unwelcome news that Earth-2 Thea had overdosed and died, unlike Earth-1 Thea.
With a little help from Earth-2 Laurel and the arrival of Diggle from Earth-1, Oliver accomplished his mission. Sadly, the victory was short-lived, as Earth-2 literally began to turn to dust around them, and it was only by a handy save from Cisco's Earth-jumping device that Oliver, Diggle, and Laurel survived.
It was clear that there was going to literally be nothing left of Earth-2, and this means one big thing: some beloved Flash characters and a whole lot more died in the first Earth to be Crisis-ed. Billions more. If Barry Allen hadn't already been convinced about needing to die, witnessing the end of Earth-2 might have done it! So, we know that billions of people died on Earth-2, but what about all the characters that fans -- Flash fans in particular -- came to know and love that came from that particular world in the multiverse?
Well, unless the Arrow-verse reveals that some of these people received a miraculous save by either jumping to another Earth when they realized what was happening or they were conveniently already on another Earth, we have to assume that they went down with Earth-2. For me, this was especially tragic because of one character in particular: Earth-2 Harrison Wells, a.k.a. Harry.
Harry has been my favorite of the many incarnations of Harrison Wells, but all his brilliance (and dry commentary) couldn't have saved him if he didn't know the Crisis was coming and prepared for it. And if Harry died, then Jesse Quick almost certainly died as well. The speedster who spent some time helping Team Flash on Earth-1 (and dating Wally West), Jesse returned to her home world.
Unfortunately, Earth-1's Harrison Wells is gone (although another Wells is coming to The Flash this season) and no Earth-1 Jesse Quick was ever born, so Harry and Jesse are gone if they were on Earth-2. R.I.P. Harry and Jesse!
And they're not nearly the only folks from Earth-2 that Arrow-verse fans have met over the years. Earth-2's Laurel Lance did survive, as she was lucky enough to be with Oliver and Diggle when they were able to flee Earth-2 and return to Earth-1. Who else of the Earth-2 characters of both Arrow and The Flash fame perished, assuming the worst?
Well, there's the adorably dorky Barry Allen, the badass police detective Iris West-Allen, Oliver's mom Moira Queen played by the apparently ageless Susanna Thompson, a non-villainous Malcolm Merlyn, the Dark Archer version of Tommy Merlyn, a Green Arrow version of Prometheus, the long-suffering Captain Singh, Smoak Tech runner Felicity Smoak (as revealed in "Starling City"), and Beyoncé!
If Earth-2 perished in the very first episode of Arrow, when there are still a little under two months to go before "Crisis on Infinite Earths," then we may want to brace ourselves for more deaths before the crossover between Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman even begins. Arrow is likely to be the show most heavily involved in setting up "Crisis" thanks to Oliver's deal with The Monitor, although one episode will be a backdoor pilot for the potential Mia Smoak spinoff.
To catch the rest of Arrow's final season, tune in to The CW on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET for new episodes, directly following new episodes of The Flash.