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Spoilers ahead for the fall finale of The Flash Season 6, called "The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt. 2" on The CW.
The Arrow-verse has spent the better part of a year building to the five-hour "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover, and a huge chunk of The Flash Season 6 has been devoted to setting it up. That's largely because The Flash was the first show to hint at a "Crisis" event in the Arrow-verse and The Monitor dropped a bombshell on Barry this season by revealing that he has to die for billions to survive the coming Crisis.
It was a chilling prophecy... or it would have been if there was any danger of The Flash coming to an end. Hey Arrow-verse, I love you, but quit trying to convince me Barry is going to die for good!
Thanks to the departure of Wally West, the elimination of Nora West-Allen, the failing speed of Jay Garrick, and the presumed death of Jesse Quick, there's not another speedster hero waiting in the wings to take up the mantle of the Scarlet Speedster. If The Flash is going to continue, then Barry Allen will be alive as The Flash following "Crisis."
Does that mean The Flash won't temporarily die in the "Crisis" crossover? Definitely not. The Arrow-verse has been killing off and bringing back characters for years now, and The Flash has it down to an art by this point. Barry dying for a little bit in "Crisis" could work as a nod to the comics arc and would mean The Flash didn't spend the first chunk of Season 6 building up the hero's death for absolutely nothing.
But there's no way Barry dies and stays dead in "Crisis on Infinite Earths," and the Arrow loyalist in me wishes that all of the tragic fanfare and celebration was being piled on just Oliver, whose story is going to end after "Crisis" due to the end of Arrow and who has every reason to believe he'll be dead due to the deal he made with The Monitor.
All the emotional scenes of characters saying goodbye to Barry, expressing how much Barry means to them, and preparing for a life without Barry fall flat for me, because Barry isn't going to be gone for good due to this crossover. I want to care, and kudos to the Flash actors for delivering performances that establish the members Team Flash at least believe that Barry's end is nigh.
This is just an example of why the Arrow-verse, despite its unprecedented scale as a TV superhero universe, simply can't conduct its mega crossovers like movies can. The Arrow-verse isn't the MCU, and while "Crisis on Infinite Earths" may be the Arrow-verse equivalent of Avengers: Endgame, Endgame had the benefit of a bunch of heroes who could be killed off, meaning viewers had to worry about them.
The MCU (for now, at least) is primarily made up of movies that release every once in a while, with not many heroes getting more than one film greenlit at once. A fair number of MCU heroes could have died in Endgame, and some did.
The Flash is an ongoing series with one leading man and no speedster waiting to take over for him; of course he's not going to die for good. There's not really suspense for the leads of The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman, and even Arrow to a certain extent, since Felicity's final episode seemingly revealed Oliver secretly survives the Crisis.
None of this is to say that "Crisis on Infinite Earths" will be a waste because I don't feel the need to worry about the biggest heroes of the Arrow-verse, and my enjoyment of The Flash (such as it is) hasn't been ruined by the fact that I flat out do not believe Barry will bite the dust for good.
If "Crisis" can be done well, it will have pulled off something unprecedented on the small screen, and on a CW budget. I'm excited to see how it all goes down and what it means for the end of the Arrow-verse's very first series. This isn't Game of Thrones' Battle of Winterfell where there are expectations of major character deaths en masse.
Characters don't have to die for "Crisis" to be great; I just wish The Flash didn't waste time trying to sell that Barry is going to really, truly, 100%, forever DIE. Bloodwork could have used more development earlier in the season, for one, and "Crisis on Infinite Earths" will presumably spend some time on Barry's "death" as well. Considering the almost absurd number of characters slated to appear in "Crisis," time could be better spent on stories that will actually go somewhere in the long run.
All of this said, I will happily admit that I was wrong if Barry dies and stays dead for good following the end of "Crisis." I'll bust out the bold, ALL CAPS and everything to proclaim my wrongness.
Still, I'm expecting "Crisis" to end with most of the Arrow-verse facing a future without Oliver Queen, not Barry Allen. Find out what happens when "Crisis on Infinite Earths" kicks off on The CW on Sunday, December 7 at 8 p.m. ET with Supergirl.
Unfortunately for Arrow-verse fans, the five-part "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover will be split, with the Supergirl, Batwoman, and Flash episodes airing in December and the Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow episodes not airing until January 2020. We should probably prepare ourselves for a killer cliffhanger at the end of the Flash episode to keep us on the edges of our suits throughout the winter hiatus. For some of your non-Arrow-verse viewing options in the not-too-distant future, check out our 2020 winter and spring TV premiere schedule.