DC TV Watch: 'Arrow' Finale Confirms Oliver Will Die in 'Crisis' Crossover

The Hollywood Reporter rounds up the major twists, epic fights and big reveals on all the DC Comics TV shows.
Dean Buscher/The CW

Welcome back to The Hollywood Reporter's weekly DC TV Watch, a rundown of all things DC Comics on the small screen. Every Saturday, we round up the major twists, epic fights, new mysteries and anything else that goes down on The CW's Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Black Lightning. This week, the Arrow season seven finale confirms that Oliver will die in the upcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover.

Arrow season seven finale

The big news: Arrow confirmed in the final moments of the season seven finale that Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) will die in the upcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, airing later this year.

What it means: Just as The Hollywood Reporter predicted after the Batwoman/"Elseworlds" crossover concluded earlier this season, Oliver did indeed make a deal with The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) to save Barry (Grant Gustin) and Kara's (Melissa Benoist) lives. But in a surprise twist, it turns out that not even Oliver knew what he was agreeing to. The Monitor returned at the end of the Arrow finale to collect on their deal after Oliver had moved into his new home with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) in the woods to get off the grid and protect their newborn daughter's life from the Ninth Circle terrorist organization. They put the superhero life behind them for good, and they were at peace with that decision.

But The Monitor interrupted their content, happy ending as a resigned Oliver asked him, "So what bargain did I make? What does the multiverse require?" Oliver never actually agreed to trade his life for theirs; he just blindly accepted whatever would come in the future, making the result even more heartbreaking as The Monitor told him that he'll "assist me as we seek to prevent the inevitable." He also said that he's seen Oliver’s death during the Crisis, and while he can’t stop it, Oliver can still save countless lives and the entire universe. Of course, Oliver being Oliver, he agreed to go knowing that it would be the end. He shared a tearful, emotional goodbye with Felicity and their daughter and walked off with The Monitor to stop the inevitable "crisis."

Of course, while we saw this coming a mile away (or more accurately six months away), it's shocking that Arrow is kicking off the crossover now. With The Monitor recruiting Oliver now instead of closer to the crossover, that means the entire final season of Arrow is going to be focused around the Crisis storyline. And that makes sense, as the Crisis arc is one of the biggest comic book storylines ever attempted on TV and needs as much time as possible to adapt it right onscreen. 

The CW revealed during upfronts this week that the actual crossover will take place over five episodes (the largest yet), split into two chapters: three episodes airing December 2019 and two airing January 2020. It will include all five Arrow-verse series, including Legends of Tomorrow (which sat out this year's crossover) as well as newcomer Batwoman. All this new information also confirms that the crossover will hit right near the end of Arrow's 10-episode final season, giving the series one or two episodes after to wrap up any story loose ends that don't pertain to Crisis. And seeing as how Oliver's gravestone, glimpsed at the end of the finale, showed the year of his death is 2019, that means he'll die at some point during the first three episodes of the crossover airing in 2019. Now the question remains: what will those final 10 episodes of Arrow look like with Oliver dying so soon?

Other noteworthy moments: One thing that's known for sure is that the final run won't include Felicity. Rickards exited the series after this season, and her absence was explained away first in the present-day storyline, as she agreed to live off the grid to keep her daughter Mia safe. Emiko (Sea Shimooka) had told the Ninth Circle about the pregnancy, and Felicity knew the only way to keep her daughter safe was to hide her. No matter what happens with Team Arrow in the present, Felicity will never rejoin the team for the sake of her daughter. And having already said goodbye to Oliver knowing he was going to die in this finale, that also helps explain why the character won't be in the crossover or series finale (unless Rickards decides to appear in the series finale). In the future storyline, after saving Star City with both her grown children Mia (Katherine McNamara) and Will (Ben Lewis), Felicity visited Oliver's gravestone and then called on The Monitor to take her ... somewhere. “I have waited a very long time to see him. I’m ready,” she said before walking with him into a blue portal. Did he take her to another universe where Oliver was still alive? If the Crisis crossover eliminates the multiverse as it did in the comics, that can't be possible. Is he taking her to heaven? Is that even possible? So many questions will remain open-ended forever.

The Flash season five finale

The big news: Arrow wasn't the only show to tease the loss of its star in the upcoming crossover, as The Flash revealed that by changing the timeline, the newspaper warning of The Flash vanishing in a "crisis" has now changed its date from 2024 to 2019.

What it means: While The Flash has been teasing this major storyline since the very beginning, fans always thought there would be more time until Barry disappeared. Now with Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) changing the timeline and disappearing herself, it's clear that the future has changed permanently. Nora was never born and was erased from existence in a heartbreaking scene in this week's finale, and Barry will now vanish sooner, in the first half of next season. He will disappear during the upcoming Crisis crossover at some point in the first three episodes (since it occurs in 2019). While The Flash's disappearance was permanent in Nora's timeline, that doesn't mean Barry won't ever return from the "crisis" now that the timeline has changed. In fact, he could return during the crossover, after that newspaper headline is printed. Seeing as how The Flash has a full season six, it's likely that the star won't be written off entirely. And Oliver did trade his life for Barry's, so it wouldn't make sense for both heroes to disappear permanently even though Barry is one of the casualties in the Crisis comic book arc. Expect the Arrow-verse to make some changes from the source material in that regard.

Other noteworthy moments: So much happened in this week's finale, and despite the hour being jam-packed it was definitely one of the series' best. It had high-stakes action, impressive VFX and the heart that makes this show what it is. Thanks to some time-travel craziness, the team defeated Cicada II (Sarah Carter), although it meant setting Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh) free. The ultimate Flash villain promised to return in the next "crisis," so is it too much to hope that he'll be next season's big bad? His freedom came at the cost of Nora getting erased from the timeline, so now Barry has even more of a personal vendetta against him. That's a showdown that should come sooner rather than later. It also makes sense that the series would find a way to keep Cavanagh around now that Sherloque (also Cavanagh) left for another Earth after the Cicada case was closed. Don't bring in a new doppelganger; just bring back the original!

And after everything that happened this season, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) finally came to the realization that he wanted to take the metahuman cure. He knew what made him extraordinary had nothing to do with his powers. Vibe is no more, but there's no telling what this means for Valdes' future on the series. Rumors have been swirling that the actor won't be a series regular next season, but that could just mean he won't be in every episode. That would make sense if he no longer is on the team full-time but still will pop his head in here or there. If this is indeed the end of Cisco on Flash, at least it was the perfect goodbye for the character: he found his happy ending.

As for what comes next, the finale did set up next season in a few ways. First, Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) is now Captain Joe West, as he got a much-deserved promotion. Ralph Dibny (Hartley Sawyer), after his incredibly heroic move earlier in the hour, settled back into his P.I. job by taking on a new case. The last name on the file was "Deardon," and as comic book fans know that's the last name of his wife Sue Deardon. Whether the show will go in this direction is unclear, but the Ralph/Sue story is extremely important in the source material for the character, so it's likely that Ralph is going to have a life-changing season next year. It couldn't have come at a better time, as he's truly a hero now and ready for real love. Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) also got a new Killer Frost suit from Cisco (as a goodbye gift?). And Barry and Iris (Candice Patton) chose to view Nora's sacrifice with love and hope instead of despair, meaning next season won't be as dark as the Savitar one (thank goodness). 

Supergirl

The big news: Brainiac-5 (Jesse Rath) got rebooted during torture into his more sociopathic, villainous ancestor Brainiac.

What it means: Hopefully this isn't just a one-episode thing that gets fixed in the upcoming season finale, as Rath more than proved he has what it takes to become Supergirl's big bad. His ruthless, cold and calculating Brainiac was one of the most compelling characters to ever debut on the show. Not only was it a stark contrast from the optimistic, sweet and cheerful Brainy, but it also held the promise of seeing this iconic supervillain from the comics join the show. It provides some emotional pathos having a beloved character become the villain, as Brainy was just about to declare his love for Nia (Nicole Maines) and has ties to all the heroes on this show. Could Brainiac be next season's villain?

Other noteworthy moments: So much more happened in this week's "Red Dawn," as all the chess pieces were moved into place for next week's season four finale. Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) successfully pulled off his Kaznian invasion of the U.S. only to thwart it himself to become the country's hero. He also "killed" Red Daughter (Benoist) who was posing as Supergirl, although there's no telling yet whether or not she's actually dead. Expect the season finale to be extremely Lex-focused as all the season four story arcs finally come together. 

And after a near-death moment for Supergirl care of a showdown with Red Daughter earlier in the episode, Alex (Chyler Leigh) finally got her memories back about Kara's secret identity. The trauma of seeing Supergirl die unlocked her formerly erased memories of her sister in one of the season's best moments. However, the emotional pathos was slightly undercut by the decision to have Red Daughter be able to turn day into night randomly? Is that really one of her new powers? 

Legends of Tomorrow

The big news: Neron's (Brandon Routh) plans are finally revealed: He's collecting souls through an app that allows humans to see magical creatures, making them agree to a long terms of service that signs over their souls to him. 

What it means: By revealing that magical creatures are real, Neron ensured that humans all over will download his app and give him their souls in one massive sweep. All his actions throughout this season finally make sense. The only tools the Legends have to stop him are Constantine (Matt Ryan), who is currently stuck in hell, and Nora (Courtney Ford), who just became the Fairy Godmother and is also stuck in hell. Their odds are not looking good, but at least they now have a new Legends team member in Gary (Adam Tsekhman) now that he's seen the light and stopped making their lives a figurative hell. And taking a page out of Supergirl's book, it sounds like the Legends are going to have to fight hatred with love and show humans that not all magical creatures are evil. Good thing they have the blueprints for a theme park full of magical creatures!

Other noteworthy moments: Hey, Zari (Tala Ashe), next time you visit your childhood home in the past, maybe don't leave a hatching dragon egg for your younger self to find. Just a thought!

Looking ahead

The final two new Arrow-verse episodes of the season air next week, first with Supergirl on Sunday and then Legends of Tomorrow on Monday. Get your fill before the summer hiatus kicks in with trailers for each finale below:

Note: Supergirl airs Sundays, Legends of Tomorrow airs Mondays and ArrowThe Flash and Black Lightning will all return next season on The CW.