Spoilers ahead for the Season 8 premiere of Arrow on The CW, called "Starling City."
Fans of the Arrow-verse have known ever since the "Elseworlds" crossover last December that the next big crossover event would be the Arrow-verse's take on the legendary DC Comics arc known as "Crisis on Infinite Earths," and I was as excited as anybody when the jaw-dropping reveal happened in the final moments of "Elseworlds." Once reality began to set in, however, and news began to break about what "Crisis" would entail, I began to have more and more doubts. Now, the premiere of Arrow's eighth and final season has convinced me that "Crisis on Infinite Earths" will be amazing.
First, though, let me explain why I had my doubts. Even though I didn't start diving into comic books until I was well into adulthood and an Arrow-verse viewer already, I had read "Crisis on Infinite Earths," and the scale of the arc that changed DC Comics literally forever was so massive that I couldn't imagine the Arrow-verse pulling it off.
Even the addition of Batwoman and the return of Legends of Tomorrow to the crossover after a year off adding two hours to the event wasn't enough for me to be confident that the first adaptation of "Crisis" would actually work. It was too big, and at the end of the day, the Arrow-verse is a set of TV shows airing on The CW.
That was my first concern about "Crisis on Infinite Earths," but it didn't leave me truly discouraged when I imagined what was in store. After all, the Arrow-verse has always told its own stories rather than relied on direct comic adaptations. If anything, that's why the Arrow-verse has had a broader appeal than just longtime comic book fans. I'm proof of that myself. What discouraged me more and more as "Crisis" drew closer and closer was the overload of characters apparently coming to the crossover.
It started slowly. I was excited about Black Lightning finally making an appearance in the Arrow-verse, and Brandon Routh playing Superman again before leaving the Arrow-verse sounded like it had to be fun. Then, there was Tom Welling as the third Superman of the crossover, and a second Smallville alum joining him.
Throw in the characters who are rumored and likely to appear in "Crisis," and it felt to me like the existing heroes of the Arrow-verse would lose focus when there are so many cameos. Even Michael Keaton's Batman is apparently getting a nod! I was already exhausted by "Crisis on Infinite Earths," and it was still months away from premiering.
So, why have I changed my tune? Arrow's Season 8 premiere, "Starling City," blew my mind enough that I can't help but be optimistic about what's to come. I am admittedly biased, because for the longest time before Legends of Tomorrow swept me away in all the non-gloomy bonkers time travel adventures, Arrow was by far my favorite series in the Arrow-verse, and it may well take back that position in its final season.
Bias aside, though, "Starling City" managed to set the stage for "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and the arrival of The Anti-Monitor (who looks appropriately unnerving), bring a bunch of Arrow alums back for what was likely a last hurrah before the series comes to an end in early 2020, honor the strongest relationships of Arrow even without some of the actors involved in those relationships appearing on screen, and showcase Oliver as a hero rather than playing up his shortcomings.
While I've had my issues with his character -- mostly involving his decision to lie to Felicity about having a secret kid in Central City before proposing to her and after she was left wheelchair-bound in an accident -- he does get a lot of crap in-universe rather than the credit he deserves as the Arrow-verse's first real superhero. (Batman totally doesn't count, okay?)
This premiere was pretty much a prologue to "Crisis on Infinite Earths," and even ended with Earth-2 being destroyed by the Crisis, with only Oliver, Diggle, and Earth-2 Laurel escaping back to Earth-1. It packed in appearances from characters who died on Earth-1, and it even saw Oliver dwelling on what he assumes is his looming demise courtesy of what The Monitor claims to have seen. It was also a fantastic episode of Arrow.
If we take the "Crisis"-tastic Season 8 premiere of Arrow as an example of what the crossover will be on a larger scale, then I feel confident that "Crisis on Infinite Earths" truly could be the kind of mind-blowing event viewers have been promised, and mark a fitting crossover farewell to the hero that started it all with Arrow back in 2012.
Will "Crisis" still be overcrowded, considering not all viewers are going to come to the crossover with a working knowledge of who all these side characters and cameos are? Probably. I've never seen a single episode of Smallville, could go without seeing Burt Ward as Robin, and am really hoping that the Arrow-verse cuts itself off at three Supermen. Still, could "Crisis" be successful and go down as one of the biggest triumphs in DC TV history? 100%.
"Crisis on Infinite Earths" kicks off on Sunday, December 8 at 8 p.m. ET. You can read the DC Comics arc of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" to prepare and continue watching the build with new episodes of Arrow on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW, immediately following episodes of The Flash that will undoubtedly include nods to "Crisis" as well.
If you want to stay totally on top of the Arrow-verse action ahead of "Crisis," you can also catch Batwoman on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET and Supergirl on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET. Legends of Tomorrow doesn't return until midseason.