“Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 3” left us with a doozy of a cliffhanger, knowing that the crossover won’t return until after the holidays. I’d say that it’s cruel to leave us hanging, but at the same time, it’s difficult to worry about the stakes when you pretty much know for certain who’ll be back. This is one of the pitfalls of having such an epic event midseason.
This installment of DCTV’s ambitious crossover had a tough act to follow after Part 2, which featured two Supermen duking it out as well as darkest timeline Bruce Wayne facing off against Kate, but “Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 3” continued on in merry fashion, tossing in various cameos (Lucifer! Birds of Prey!) and somehow managing to keep the emotional core of what was on paper an episode of The Flash. There were multiple heart-to-heart conversations and several attempts at sacrificing oneself for the greater good of the multiverse, and in the end, it seems all for naught as Earth-1 and the Wave Rider were destroyed, leaving only six of the seven Paragons – and Lex Luthor – to figure out how to stop it.
Of course, with the crossover happening in the middle of the season and only one of these shows ending, you know that these consequences – though dire – aren’t final. Every character may not make it, but of course, the multiverse is coming back. It has to. There are still 10+ episodes of every show but Arrow. This knowledge lessens the dramatic impact of the ending, but the cliffhanger isn’t so much “oh no literally everyone died” but “holy crap how the heck are they going to fix this”.
It’s also really odd that of the seven characters remaining, none of them are from Arrow, which is the next episode of the crossover. (You could argue for Sara, but she and Barry are only tangentially-related.)
As with the previous two parts, there is a lot to unpack in this episode, and as I mentioned in the review for Part 1, certain moments were given the time they needed, while others seemed too rushed. For example, Diggle learns that Oliver is dead, reunites with him in Purgatory, and says goodbye to him all in the span of maybe 30 minutes of actual screentime. He isn’t given the time to react to any of it. However, it sort of makes sense that we wouldn’t linger on anything other than the supporting cast of The Flash, since that’s what show we were in. Although I will mention that Caitlin didn’t have a whole lot to do other than tag along with the newly-re-Vibed Cisco and Barry as they tried to save Earth-90 Barry from the Anti-Monitor’s treadmill trap. Still, Barry and Iris had several great scenes together, and Iris really had a big role to play in convincing the final Paragon – Ryan Choi (Osric Chau) – to join them in their quest to save the multiverse. Also, I thought that Earth-90 Barry had a better sendoff than Oliver, and incorporating the “flashback” from the original The Flash TV series with John Wesley Shipp gave it more weight and made the universe feel that much bigger.
Other sideplots could have been entire episodes, and now I’m really starting to wish that The CW had gone even bigger with this crossover in order to give each aside its own chance to shine. (I understand that the logistics of that are virtually impossible, and it’s bad enough I’m super behind on all five of the shows participating without having to be caught up on literally every other show represented.) There are so many characters that they can’t all be featured in every episode, but in “Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 3” I found myself wondering what was going on with those who we weren’t seen. (Is Mick still reading erotica to Baby Jonathan? What are Alex and Lena up to?)
Black Lightning appeared out of literally nowhere, but Cress Williams did a lot with a little, and I loved the scene between him and Barry where they grieved for their lost family members. I also highly enjoyed the subplot with Kara wanting to use the Book of Destiny to bring back the other Earths (or at least Earth-38), and Kate determined to stop her. Kate stole the Kryptonite from Earth-99’s Bruce and could have used it to her advantage, but in the end, she decided that open and honest communication was the way to go and appealed to Kara’s greater sense of purpose. After all, if she fails and something happens to her, they are down a Paragon and the entire multiverse is in jeopardy.
The multiverse is in jeopardy anyway, with Lex somehow managing to replace Earth-96’s Clark after Pariah sent all the Paragons away in the wake of the anti-matter wave. But Kate and Kara couldn’t have known that at the time.
“Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 3” has far-reaching consequences for Earth-1. Aside from the fact that Oliver chose not to return with Mia, Diggle, and Constantine, Cisco has gotten his superpowers back, much to his dismay (though that may not stick past this event). There’s also the introduction of Ryan Choi, who in the comics was a protege of Ray Palmer and eventually became New Atom. With Brandon Routh leaving Legends of Tomorrow after this season, bringing in Ryan during the crossover makes it seem likely that he will eventually be taking over – although, with Ryan so devoted to his family, that may not happen.
Oh, and the planet was destroyed. Just another day in the DC multiverse.
I’m somewhat anxious about the break (I’m invested, and we have to wait an entire month to find out how the Crisis gets resolved), but at the same time, I like that they have it in there. This entire event has been so jam-packed that it feels like we haven’t had the chance to absorb anything that’s happened. With four weeks in between the setup and the conclusion, fans have time to react, theories have a chance to percolate. I didn’t read the original crossover in the comics, so I have no idea what’s coming, and I like it that way. As with “killing” Oliver in Part 1, I’ve been pleasantly surprised this entire time, so I’m sure whatever they came up with will be a delight.
“Crisis on Infinite Earths” concludes January 14, 2020, starting with Arrow at 8 pm and followed by Legends of Tomorrow at 9 pm.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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