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Spoilers ahead for the first episode of the five-part "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover on The CW.
The biggest event in Arrow-verse history has begun, thanks to the Supergirl episode that began the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover extravaganza. Arrow has been going overdrive in the 2019-2020 TV season on the fact that Oliver Queen is supposed to die in the Crisis due to his deal with The Monitor. Given that the Arrow hour of "Crisis" will be the fourth episode and air next year, plenty of viewers likely expected the Emerald Archer 1.0 to last until at least then. If the Supergirl episode is to be believed, though, Oliver is capital-D DEAD, and I have mixed feelings about it. After all, I for one hate when big twists are untwisted, and yet I love Arrow and just wanted Oliver to have a happy ending. Not this.
Here's what happened. Despite the best combined efforts of the most super of Earth-1's superheroes and the Kryptonian Super crew, Earth-38 was destroyed, but a few billion did manage to escape to Earth-1. Why? Well, despite The Monitor's attempt to whisk the heroes away when it was clear the planet was lost, Oliver stayed behind and fought to the bloody end. The Monitor stated that Oliver's efforts, which brought about his end in a way that he hadn't foreseen, saved around a billion lives. Then, the dying Oliver just went ahead and died. R.I.P. Oliver?
On the one hand, I'm an Arrow loyalist who has (mostly) stood by Oliver Queen thanks to his status as the founding superhero of the Arrow-verse, although I still haven't forgiven him for how he handled the whole secret kid fiasco back in Season 4. Arrow ending actually struck me as a good thing when the news first broke last year, as better for the show to end than be cancelled on a cliffhanger. That said, more than anything for the final run of Arrow, I wanted Oliver to get an epic and heroic sendoff, whether or not he died.
His death in the first episode of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" was heroic, as he got a few quiet moments with his daughter to pass on the mantle of the Green Arrow, sent his love to Felicity and William, had a final bonding moment with Sara, and even got a goodbye to Barry. Dying to save a billion lives is about the best way a hero could go out, and he believed he was doomed anyway, so it's not like he was giving up on the people he was leaving behind. It was a heroic death, and that's what I wanted, right? A heroic death, and then some Monitor shenanigans to make that Felicity farewell make sense?
Yes and no. I certainly didn't want Oliver to bite the dust an hour into the five-part crossover, which kinda sorta means there are six Arrow-ish episodes left before Arrow comes to an end. Four more episodes of "Crisis," and two of Arrow post-"Crisis" in 2020. We already knew Oliver isn't going to be in the penultimate episode of Arrow, but I was counting on him at least making it to the Arrow hour of "Crisis" in 2020 and maybe meeting his fate at the climax of that episode.
I was even prepared for the 2019 "Crisis" cliffhanger to be life-or-death for Oliver, to result in the end of his life as he (and we) knew it in early 2020. He is the founder of the Arrow-verse, after all! Doesn't he deserve the most epic, grand, heartbreaking yet hopeful-for-the-future end? I mean, Martin Stein got a more emotional and lingering death a few seasons ago. Oliver dying this early in "Crisis" with this much time left before the Arrow grand finale just doesn't work for me. I wanted more, and I don't think it was unreasonable to want more for the superhero who started the Arrow-verse!
One of my biggest and longest-standing issues with The Flash has been that The Flash has untwisted a lot of its twists to save the day, prevent deaths, and even mess things up on such a huge scale that Arrow was impacted in a key way. Consequences aren't so consequential on The Flash. If big deaths don't stick, then how are we supposed to fear for characters who are in jeopardy? How will there be any suspense or tension? Arrow has more or less avoided bringing characters back who have totally, completely, 100% died, with even the Lazarus Pits used relatively rarely.
If I stick to my own guns, shouldn't I want Oliver to stay dead? Me, who likes when shows get dark to raise the stakes, when Arrow is ending Oliver Queen's story soon anyway? Should I want what bugs me so much about The Flash to happen for the hero of Arrow, with its stubbornly and wonderfully non-superpowered hero? Is a "Gotcha!" twist allowed in my book just because the "Gotcha!" would be the reveal that Oliver didn't die at the beginning of this "Crisis" crossover?
Only time will tell. Deep down, I know that I'd be okay with it if the Arrow-verse brings back Oliver before the end of "Crisis." In fact, I'd even let it slide if it happened sooner rather than later, inconsequential consequences be damned! The rules haven't really applied on Arrow all season thanks to The Monitor, so I'm self-aware enough to know that I would break my own rule if it brought back Oliver and gave him a renewed chance at the closest thing to a happy ending that is possible for him at this point.
Even if that only means an ambiguous reunion with Felicity in the final moments of the series finale -- and Emily Bett Rickards is returning to make that possible -- that's more uplifting than Oliver dying in his own bunker at the beginning of a Crisis that could still destroy the entire multiverse. I'm a fan of Mia Smoak and would be perfectly happy if she was the primary focus of the spinoff rather than sharing the spotlight with Laurel and Dinah, but this last and biggest crossover including Arrow should have been Oliver Queen's.
Yeah, I can break my own rule to be just fine with "Crisis on Infinite Earths" untwisting this particular twist. Hey, maybe the cliffhanger of the first three episodes can be the return of Earth-1 Oliver, somehow alive? I can dream, at least!
Stay tuned to The CW on Monday, December 9 and Tuesday, December 10 at 8 p.m. ET for the final two episodes of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" in 2019, before the Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow episodes air in the new year.