Arrow's final season kicked off tonight, sending Oliver Queen on his first mission for The Monitor after parting ways with his family in the Season 7 finale. While fans had been prepared for an emotional episode thanks to various teases and teasers promising a return of sorts to key moments in Oliver's past in the months leading up to tonight's Season 8 premiere, "Starling City" contained quite a few major surprises as Arrow leads the march to "Crisis on Infinite Earths". That includes a stunning, devastating destruction that will have major impact across the Arrowverse.
Spoilers for tonight's Season 8 premiere of Arrow, "Starling City", below.
One of the things that becomes quickly apparent in tonight's episode is that Oliver (Stephen Amell) didn't somehow travel to the past. He's not even on Earth-1. Instead, Oliver is on Earth-2 and on that world, Oliver Queen didn't come home from the shipwreck of the Queen's Gambit in 2012 the way Oliver did on Earth-1. Instead, he's been missing for 12 years -- the Gambit went down in 2007. While the episode never explains where that Oliver ends up, it's probably safe to assume that on Earth-2, Oliver Queen died. Earth-1's Oliver uses the lack of his Earth-2 self to come "home" to Starling City and acquire dwarf star particles for The Monitor.
While there are some distinct differences in Oliver's life on Earth-2 -- Adrian Chase is the Green Arrow, Tommy Merlyn is the Dark Archer and a villain, Moira Queen is married to Malcolm Merlyn, and Thea died of an overdose at the age of 18 -- it's what ultimately happens to Earth-2 that is shocking. After stopping Tommy along with the help of Laurel/Black Siren (Katie Cassidy Rodgers) and Diggle/Spartan (David Ramsey) who came from Earth-1 to assist, Oliver is prepared to head back to his home world and The Monitor. He's briefly stopped by Laurel who needs his help: the city is under attack and it becomes chillingly clear in a hurry that this is not an attack, a sort of beginning to Crisis on Infinite Earths. The skies outside turn red and suddenly a red and white wave of energy begins making its way through the world. Everything it touches is destroyed. Stunned, Oliver watches Moira and others that he loves destroyed just before Diggle opens a portal so that he, Oliver, and Laurel can escape. Once they're gone, Earth-2 itself is fully consumed by the white energy force, literally burned away to nothing.
That's right. Earth-2, home of The Flash's Harrison "Harry" Wells and Jesse Quick, is gone and, more than that, The Monitor's dire prediction and warnings are true. The destruction of Earth-2 is also the first Earth we see go down on the march to Crisis. While we technically saw a dying Earth-90 during last year's "Elseworlds" those circumstances were a bit different. Earth-2's demise is specific and it's one that The Flash foreshadowed earlier tonight in "A Flash of the Lightning". In that episode, Barry Allen travels to Earth-3 to get more information on anti-matter from Jay Garrick. In the process, viewers get a glimpse of a map that shows areas where anti-matter signatures have been detected along with a big arrow pointing to Earh-2 as the next expected location of those anti-matter signature. Turns out, Jay was right and thanks to experiencing it with his own eyes, Oliver knows just how high the stakes his work with The Monitor really is.
Arrow airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.
Were you surprised to see Earth-2 destroyed tonight? What Earth do you think is next? Let us know in the comments below.