“Worlds will live, worlds will die, and the universe will never be the same.”
Even though that was the tagline for the CW Network’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, borrowed in part from the comic with the same name that it’s based on, I still didn’t believe that statement would wind up being as true as it ultimately was. While this crossover has already had its share of action, entertainment, and escalating stakes, the first two episodes truly pale in comparison to this one. The first episode was a build up to two devastating moments that didn’t feel as impactful to me as they should have due to their surrounding circumstances: 1.) The death of Oliver Queen, which I rightfully didn’t believe would stick because it happened in the first episode. 2.) The destruction of Earth-38, which I fully expected to happen before the universe merged with Earth-1.
The second episode was a series of easter eggs disguised as missions advancing story development. That isn’t to take anything away from those episodes, as they were both excellent in their own rights, but this episode truly had it all: easter eggs, a seemingly permanent sacrifice, seemingly permanent changes to characters, and the escalation of stakes to a level beyond anything we’ve seen before.
Part 3 begins with an easter egg, just like the first, with the destruction of Earth-203, the universe that housed the short-lived Birds of Prey show that ended in 2003. After that, the team, once again, split up on separate missions. After the reveal of J’onn and Barry as the paragons of honor and love respectively, Iris, Ray Palmer, and Ralph Dibny went to search and find the debuting Dr. Ryan Choi (Supernatural‘s Osric Chau), the paragon of humanity. John Diggle finally arrives in the crossover, joining Mia and Constantine on their quest to retrieve Oliver’s soul from purgatory through a passage given to them by Lucifer (Tom Ellis), from the CW DC show of the same name. When they finally find him in Lian Yu, Oliver’s personal prison in purgatory, it takes a truly moving speech from Diggle to bring back Oliver’s memories. Just when it seems they’re ready to bring him back, however, one of this episode’s many enormous twists occurs, with Jim Corrigan (Supernatural‘s Stephen Lobo) appearing to hand off the mantle of The Spectre to Oliver in order for him to save the universe.
Back on Earth-1, on the Waverider, Supergirl seeks to learn how to use ther Book of Destiny in order to learn how to bring her world back as well as every other one that’s been destroyed while Batwoman tries to talk her out of it, without resorting to Earth-99, psycho Bruce Wayne tactics. Ultimately, they come to an understanding in an amazing moment where Kate is inspired by Kara’s hopefulness and Kara by Kate’s courage. Honestly, although I do like the Batwoman show, she truly shines in these crossovers and has much better chemistry with Kara than anyone else. Their interactions here actually channel my favorite Batman and Superman ones and might already be good enough to rival Barry and Oliver’s.
On Earth 1’s surface — the site where Nash encountered the Anti-Monitor to be exact — Barry, Killer Frost, and Cisco, with his Vibe powers newly restored by the Monitor, went in search of the source of the antimatter wave, which led them to his antimatter cannon, powered by the Flash of Earth-90 running on a cosmic treadmill. After rescuing Flash-90, Barry realizes that this is the moment he’s been leading up to and that it’s his destiny to destroy this cannon and die in the Crisis. At that moment, however, Flash-90 gave us another huge twist, pulling out a new trick like wily veteran speedster he is, temporarily stealing Earth-1 Flash’s speed and taking his place on the cosmic treadmill. It was a beautiful moment as they showed a quick flashback to the 90’s Flash series, confirming that this was exactly that Barry Allen and giving him a glorious send off.
However, after all those missions were completed, Lyla aka Harbinger brought the biggest shock of all, not just by incapacitating all the heroes and killing the Monitor, which those of us who’ve read Crisis knew would be coming, but also completely destroying Earth 1 and the Waverider. Pariah was able to transport the seven paragons to the one last safe location, the Vanishing Point, the former headquarters of the Time Masters and location of Leonard Snart’s death, leaving them as the only living beings left in all realities. As if all that wasn’t enough, they gave us one final shocking twist as Lex Luthor revealed he’d rewritten the final page of the Book of Destiny to have him replace Brandon Routh‘s Superman as one of the seven paragons.
This episode was just an absolute roller coaster and lived up to everything I wanted this crossover to be. There was so much heart, joy, and excitement and my only complaint is that I’ve got to wait 5 weeks for the conclusion. Be that as it may, I’ll be waiting with baited breath until then.
5/5 Antimatter Bibles (for this episode)
4.5/5 Antimatter Bibles (for the Crossover so far)