If you looked at Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 3 to be a moment by moment adaptation of the comic book, this episode would likely leave you disappointed. If you’re able to appreciate the Arrowverse’s take as a totally separate event you’re likely to appreciate it more. I think the writers have missed a few easy to achieve marks that haven’t made the story as effective, but the crossover remains a very fun and unpredictable effort.
Earth-203 Gotham is the latest to experience the Anti-Matter wave and it takes out the Birds of Prey Huntress (Ashley Scott) and Oracle. I appreciate these random cameos, but it’s too bad these characters weren’t able to interact with the main cast before getting killed off. Granted BOP Huntress wasn’t going to be a game changer, but it would have been fun to see her side by side with Sara and Mia.
The rest of Team Flash (Cisco, Frost and Ralph) arrive and Ralph instantly makes me smile by saying “Holy All-Star Squadron.” I’d pay good money for an All-Star Squadron series – animated or live-action. Frost also breaks the fourth wall by saying ignore him it’s his first crossover.
Ray has his handy find the paragon device operational again and the final ones are The Flash (naturally), J’onn hilariously in the Martian Manhunter guise he’s in for .002% of the time on Supergirl and Ryan Choi. Finally, an unexpected character. The breakdown on these paragons is off as none of Team Arrow was represented.
They’re busy anyway as Diggle is joining Mia and Constantine in finding Oliver’s missing soul. He’ll leave it up to Sara to update him on Lyla’s status. The Monitor already has a pretty good idea she’s with The Anti-Monitor. For now, he’s got more important issues like turning Cisco back into Vibe. The writing team has been pretty fast and loose with the limitations of The Monitor’s abilities as he can do whatever is needed for specific moments but too weak to do things like stopping Lex Luthor from killing Supermen in the Multiverse.
Cisco wants a better name for The Anti-Monitor naturally, which is perfectly consistent with Cisco even though why he settled on Vibe in the first place is still up for debate.
Run til you die
Flash, Frost and Vibe investigate the source of the anti-matter disturbance on their Earth and run into Pariah, who’s here to bear witness to tragedy.
If the crossover has failed at one thing it’s been Pariah’s arc. He’s one of the core characters in the series as he’s cursed to watch worlds get destroyed one after another due to his role in unleashing The Anti-Monitor. This is all information we’re being told instead of watching Pariah warp from dying Earth to Earth. Tom Cavanagh didn’t actually have to be on set with Ashley Scott, but it would have so much better to CGI Pariah observing the end of her Earth.
Cisco vibes Pariah and learns how to get into the chamber. It’s helped in terms of reducing the amount of heroes going off into battle every week, but Cisco’s decision to drop his vibe powers really continues to feel like a selfish and stupid decision. In the Anti-Monitor’s chamber, they find a cannon and a blur on a treadmill. It’s the Earth-90 Flash that they’re able to pull off with Vibe’s powers (again).
Thankfully tying up a loose plot thread that continued to bug me, we learn Earth-90 Flash has been missing since Elseworlds as Anti-Monitor snatched him up to power his anti-matter cannon. The first target was Earth-2 so Team Flash now knows Harry and Jessie are dead. The catch is someone has to be on the treadmill otherwise the rest of the Earths will be destroyed.
Pariah arrives with some backup — Black Lightning, whom he spared from destruction when his Earth was destroyed. Naturally Jefferson is pissed that Pariah let his family die, but composes himself long enough to help. Black Lightning felt like a real player in this scene staving off the anti-matter cannon while Team Flash came to the conclusion this was the moment Barry is slated to die. I loved that Black Lightning hyped himself up with his motto. Earth-90 Barry won’t accept that and absorbs some of his power and returns on the treadmill to destroy the anti-matter cannon.
The highlight was a clip from the original Flash series where he’s having a tender moment with Christina. That was a nice touch. Flash fading through time would have been cool, but wouldn’t work with the bait and switch sacrifice. Black Lightning and Barry have a nice bonding moment over their shared traumatic parent deaths. Was it weird how much more organic this natural bond felt between BL and The Flash? Barry didn’t try and prop Jefferson up and they treated each other as equals. Supergirl can’t do that for Batwoman since she hasn’t been around long enough to really go through anything.
Kate and Kara try to get some insight from Lex on the Book of Destiny. Why does Kate not care about everyone knowing her identity now? Kate worries Kara might go too far, but places trust in a person she barely knows and reveals she took a Kryptonite pod. Kara is surprisingly cool with this and tells Kate to hold onto it for safe keeping.
Finding a hero
Ralph, Ray and Iris find Ryan Choi (Osric Chau), but he’s got little interest in being a hero. If the world is ending he wants to be with his wife and daughter. That makes sense. Iris convinces him to go with them by appealing to the heroism within their humanity. I’m so glad Iris has been featured so prominently in Crisis after getting ignored for most of Elseworlds.
- Who’s Who in Crisis on Infinite Earths – a primer on the Arrowverse
- Supergirl: Crisis on Infinite Earth Part 1 review S5 E9
- Batwoman: Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 2 S1 E9
- Black Lightning: The Book of Resistance: Chapter Four: Earth Crisis
Speak of the Devil
On Earth-666, Constantine, Mia and Diggle meet Lucifer Morningstar. I don’t watch Lucifer, but this was a great cameo that took advantage of the ability of Crisis to match up characters with others they’d never interact with ordinarily. Lucifer gives John access limited access to Purgatory, which in this case is Lian Yu. Interestingly that was the title of the last Arrow episode so it all goes full circle.
Wildman Oliver attacks, but Diggle calms him down long enough for him to come to his senses. Oliver is all set to cash in his get out of death card when Jim Corrigan arrives and tells Oliver his fate is on a different path.
OK, if Oliver becomes The Spectre this allows him the raw power to go toe to toe with the Anti-Monitor. The hood is already there and it opens up the gateway to have Stephen Amell return for future crossovers in a limited role.
Lyla returns on the Waverider and Barry is immediately suspicious she can’t remember what happened. He was right as Anti-Monitor’s corruption takes hold and Harbinger takes out the heroes and kills The Monitor. Pariah understands his role and teleports the seven paragons (screw you Iris, Superman, Diggle, Ralph and Ryan) to Vanishing Point.
The surprises aren’t over though as the Kingdom Come Superman vanishes and is replaced by Lex Luthor. I’ll play along for the sake of the crossover, but it doesn’t make a ton of sense that Lex would X out Superman instead of just using the Deus Ex Machina of Destiny to kill The Anti-Monitor and put everything in order.
With Earth-1 swallowed up by the anti-matter the seven paragons are all that’s left. Crisis Part 3 definitely shifted the TV version away from the source material. There was enough excitement to just roll with it for now, but it’ll be interesting to see how this all wraps up when Crisis returns and concludes January 14. I’m not sure enough work has been done in building up the Anti-Monitor yet. Also, eliminating all the Earths means at least one is coming back, but hopefully with some of the changes intact. And with three Supermen, I’m kind of surprised one didn’t sacrifice themselves to stop the Anti-Monitor a la Supergirl in the comics.
What did you think of Part 3?
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW