The Flash: How the Season 5 Finale Sets Up "Crisis on Infinite Earths"

From its very first episode, The Flash has been teasing "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and last fall the end of the "Elseworlds" crossover confirmed that the multiverse-changing event is, in fact, coming to the Arrowverse. Last night's Arrow season finale drove the point even further home with The Monitor coming to collect on the bargain Oliver made: save Barry and Supergirl in "Elseworlds" in exchange for his own life. Crisis is definitely coming, and tonight's The Flash Season 5 finale set up for it a little bit more.

Spoilers for tonight's Season 5 finale episode of The Flash, "Legacy", below.

Over the course of the show's five seasons fans have known that Crisis was coming to Central City in 2024, but tonight's season finale changed that in a dramatic way. Crisis is still coming, but now it's coming in 2019. You see, after the events of the episode -- the defeat of Cicada II, curing Gracie, and then dealing with a now-free Thawne -- things took a sad turn. Because Cicada's dagger was destroyed and thus allowed for Thawne to be freed as it had been dampening his powers in the future, a new timeline was created. As it started to take hold Nora began to disappear.

Nora ultimately opted to accept this consequence to her actions, but it wasn't until after she was gone that fans saw the full extent of them. In the Time Vault, Gideon starts to get new information that updates the newspaper headline from the pilot declaring The Flash missing. While it doesn't appear that everything about the headline changes something critical does. The date on the newspaper begins to roll back and while we don't see the specific month we do see the year: 2019.

This change in when Crisis happens to the Arrowverse is something that showrunner Todd Helbing said will inject a new energy into the show.

“When I first read the pilot, and then I saw the pilot, I always assumed that that fight would be the series finale,” Helbing admitted. “So yeah, I like it a lot, moving it up. Look, there are so many things we can do after that. I think it’s a nice way to get to that sooner than later, and it has changed my view of the show. I think it actually sort of is going to inject a new sense of energy into the show, which in a season-six show you always want. I think the timing is perfect.”

The date change will also allow series star Grant Gustin (Barry Allen/The Flash) to get his wish to see Crisis play out. The actor spoke about how fulfilling it was just to see some elements of it come to fruition last year ahead of the "Elseworlds" crossover.

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“It is really fulfilling” to see some of the Crisis stuff play out, Gustin told us. “I hope we can stick around long enough to see what’s going on with that newspaper article. We’d have to make it four more seasons, five more seasons. It’s cool, though. It feels like it’s earned. Me and Stephen had that conversation a lot during the crossover, actually. There’s a lot of even just comedic moments that we have that are funny because they’re earned -- because of the history of the characters and the journey they’ve been on. It is one of the best parts of doing these as a series versus a film -- people have been with us. I’ve met kids who have gone through all of high school watching this show. To have that kind of stamp on people’s lives is pretty special.”

Are you excited for how The Flash sets up for "Crisis on Infinite Earths"? Let us know in the comments below.