Editor’s Note: The following article contains spoilers for Episodes 1-4 of CW’s The Flash Season 9After over a decade, six different shows, and numerous crossovers, the CW’s Arrowverse is coming to an end. It all began with Arrow and rapidly expanded into an expansive superhero universe. Yet The Flash Season 9 will be the final addition to the world. It seems that fans of the Arrowverse are used to goodbyes at this point, but unfortunately, that is not the case. For a series of shows that rely on action, the one thing missing is death.
Oddly enough, characters in the Arrowverse die all the time: Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller), Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher), and so many others, yet it rarely sticks. Through Lazarus pits, alternate selves, timeline shenanigans, or some crazy plot device, the characters return more often than not. And despite Arrow, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, and Batwoman all ending, fans have not often had to say real goodbyes. Even in The Flash’s final season, many characters from other shows are set to appear, including Oliver Queen and Javicia Leslie’s Batwoman.
Bringing back these characters is possible because death in Arrowverse is rarely permanent. The constant revival kills the stakes of the show because no one expects death to last — not even the characters. Some shows do this more often than others, but the results are the same. Over the years, character deaths have become meaningless. With the Arrowverse’s days numbered, it’s time for them to kill off a major character — without a miraculous return.
Like everything else in this universe, it all started with Arrow. Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) was raised from the dead via Lazarus Pit. Though she was initially without her soul, the team used magic to restore her to her old self. Eventually, Thea Queen (Willa Holland) and Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) followed suit. It’s not a new concept, but it happened so often. Then there was the case of Laurel Lance, who was replaced by an Earth-2 version of herself. While technically, the character stayed dead, the show still had a Laurel around. Yet Arrow’s biggest revival came near the end when Oliver Queen himself “died” and became Spectre. So Oliver was still present, but not Oliver, as it were.