Monday, December 31, 2018

Good Riddance, 2018!

2018. What a shockingly miserable dumpster fire of a year.

Yes, yes, I know, people have been saying the same thing about every year since we invented calendars. But it seems like 2018 has been exceptionally lousy and wretched. Not only did the world at large spiral further down the crapper, but there were many unwelcome changes and events in my own life as well. I will not be sorry to see its ass end as it finally heads out the door.

Unfortunately I have a very bad feeling that 2018 was just a rehearsal, and 2019's going to be even worse.

Here's just a few of the terrible, horrible no-good, very bad things highlights of 2018:

A ramping up of fatal shootings in schools, malls and public gathering places. 2018 saw them happen on almost a daily basis, to the point where they were no longer considered front page news, and were relegated to the back of the newspaper.

Teens decided it would be a good idea to start eating Tide Pods on a dare.

Toys R Us closed all its stores in the U.S. Not only did this limit the number of retail options for consumers, it had a negative impact on many toy companies, who no longer have as many outlets for their products.

Half (or more) of Hollywood was accused of sexual assault.

The president called Haiti a "shithole." He also thew a series of tantrums and shut down the federal government on three separate occasions.

White people decide blacks shouldn't exist, and started calling the police on them simply for existing.

Since all our other problems have apparently been solved, the country became obsessed with sports figures who kneel during the National Anthem.

Our planet was plagued by more earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, floods and fires than I can list, each of which resulted in numerous deaths and billions in damage.

Slender Man, The Happytime Murders, The Predator and Holmes And Watson were all released to theaters.

Worst of all, Stan Lee died.

Considering all that, 2018 can go f*ck itself as far as I'm concerned.

I know it's a futile gesture, but let's all hope 2019 is at least a slight improvement, so I can stop praying nightly to the god I don't believe in to lob a comet into this sorry planet. It can't be any worse, can it? Please say it can't.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Supergirl Season 4, Episode 9: Elseworlds, Part 3

This week on Supergirl, we get the conclusion of the annual Crossover Event that began in Elseworlds, Part 1 over on The Flash and continued in Elseworlds, Part 2 on Arrow.

As with most of these Arrowverse crossovers, Elseworlds started out strong in Part 1, started sputtering in Part 2 and barely managed to coast to the finish line in this final installment. Unfortunate, but not unexpected.

This episode is complete and utter nonsense from start to finish. The plot is vague and muddled, as things seem to happen for no reason other than because the script said so. And it's never quite clear just what the characters are trying to accomplish. 

It also raises questions it never bothers to answer. For example, if The Monitor's trying to test our world, why does he keep giving the Book Of Destiny to Deegan, a man who's clearly unstable and insane? Why does Deegan seem to have a vendetta against Barry and Oliver, and keep screwing with their lives? And no matter how much Deegan alters reality, why are Kara, Barry and Oliver the only ones who're ever aware of the changes?

This episode also features one of the silliest and most ridiculous examples of Comic Book Science I've ever seen. Seriously, the whole "Slow Down The Earth's Rotation to Stop Time" subplot would make Ed Wood blush and look away in shame.

I was extremely disappointed that John Wesley Shipp's Flash-90 didn't show up in this episode. He appeared for all of thirty seconds in Part 1, had a couple of brief scenes in Part 2 and that's it! His total screen time amounted to about three minutes, if that.

After all hype on The CW's part, I was expecting him to be a major player in the crossover event. What a disappointment, and what a waste of a character.

Do the writers of Supergirl have a problem with Superman? I'm not a regular viewer of the show, but even I picked up on the fact that there's an obvious and undeniable bias against him in this episode. At every possible opportunity Superman states that Supergirl's stronger than he is (even though the episode blatantly contradicts that). Heck, at the end of the episode he even flat out says, "The world doesn't need Superman if it has Supergirl." Subtle!

That's too bad, as I really like Tyler Hoechlin as Superman. He doesn't look much like Christopher Reeve (the gold standard of Superman actors) but he definitely embodies his spirit, and obviously understands the character more than any other recent actor. Hoechlin's Superman also had a fun, breezy chemistry with Lois, which made me want to see more of them. 

Unfortunately it appears that this episode just wrote Superman out of the show. And apparently for good! Yep, someone on the writing staff definitely doesn't want any icky old male competition for Supergirl!

Pity. The CW could do worse than to give us a proper Superman series.

Lastly, the end of the episode promises next year's Crossover Event will be Crisis On Infinite Earths. Wow, I think this is the first time they've ever announced a crossover a year in advance!

Of course this has caused the internet at large to lose its collective mind, and fans are already buzzing about the news.

I hate to be a spoilsport here, but everyone needs to just calm down and catch their breath. Crisis On Infinite Earths was a TWELVE-issue comic miniseries, one that starred literally every character DC Comics ever published. It was an incredibly ambitious and epic story that took place in many different time periods and spanned dozens of worlds. 

In terms of story, Crisis is DC's version of Avengers: Infinity War. Only bigger!

There's no way in hell The CW's going to be able to film a faithful adaptation of Crisis. Not on a TV budget. They'll have no choice but to massively alter the story and scale it down for the small screen. This will be Discount Crisis at best. You've all been warned.


The Plot:

Picking up where Part 2 left off, John Deegan's used the Book Of Destiny to alter reality again. Barry & Oliver are now the Trigger Twins, a pair of wanted criminals. They flee to a rooftop, where they're confronted by what appears to be a black-clad Superman. Oliver realizes Superman's really Deegan, who's used the Book to transform himself into a superhero (who I'm going to call "Duperman," to differentiate him from the real thing).

Duperman tells the pair that The Monitor gave him the Book once again, and he's rewriting reality in a big way this time. He gloats as he tells Barry & Oliver he's altered all their family and friends, and boasts that he's now the beloved hero of this world. Barry tries to tell him there's more to being a hero than wearing a costume. 

Oliver shoots the cables on a construction crane, causing it to fall off the roof and endanger a group of kids far below. He tells Duperman to make a choice— save the kids or capture him and Barry. Duperman grudgingly saves the kids, allowing Barry & Oliver to escape.

Cut to STAR Labs, which is now Duperman's HQ. It's staffed by an army of secret police, including John Diggle and Killer Frost. Duperman returns, furious that Barry & Oliver got away. The others nervously praise him, desperately trying to pump up the unstable "hero's" fragile ego.

Duperman enters the STAR Labs Secret Super Jail, where we see he's holding Kara captive. He says there's nothing in the Book about her, as if she's "from another world." Hmm... I thought the Book contained knowledge of everything? Maybe he skipped the chapter on the multiverse. 

Anyway, he tells her he's keeping her locked up until he can figure out what she is. In the meantime, he explains that he's transformed himself into a male version of her, who just happens to look like the real Superman of Earth-38. None of this makes the least bit of sense, so let's just move on.

Kara tries to escape the cell, but she's stopped by Alex Danvers, who uses a sonic device to punish her. Apparently there's an Earth-1 version of Alex, and she's it? Or maybe the Book just up and created a new version, who knows? Anyway, Kara's shocked to see her sister exists in this reality.

Meanwhile, Barry says they need to track down Cisco so he can vibe them to Earth-38. Once there, they can find the real Superman and bring him back to fight Duperman. They arrive at Cisco's apartment, but when they enter they find themselves standing on a platform in outer space. The Monitor's there, and spouts a bunch of hooey about self-sacrifice and destiny, telling them it won't be enough to defeat what's coming. He transports them back to Earth-1.

Barry reasons that Cisco's probably a bad guy in this reality, so they look for him in a criminal hangout. There they encounter Time Bureau Agent Gary Green, who's a bartender in this world.  He shows them where to find Cisco. Unfortunately, "Mr. Ramon" isn't pleased to see them, and has his enforcers— including James Olsen— rough them up.

Barry mentions Cisco's brother Dante, which piques his interest. He meets privately with them, and asks why he shouldn't just have them killed. Barry tells Cisco he knows about his vibing power, and can teach him how to breach to other Earths.

Back at STAR Labs, Kara overhears Alex and Killer Frost talking outside her cell. She sees that Alex is pretending to be straight in this reality, and realizes she can use that to her advantage.

Cut to the Fortress Of Solitude on Earth-38, where Superman and Lois Lane are hanging out. A breach opens, and Barry, Oliver and Cisco step out. How'd they know where to find Supes on this entire planet? Your guess is as good as mine. 

Anyway, Barry explains that Deegan has altered reality even more extensively this time. Kara's nowhere to be found, and Deegan's turned himself into an evil version of Superman. He says Duperman's likely storing the Book somewhere inside STAR Labs, and Superman says they need to get it back.

Kara sees Alex walk past her cell and calls to her. She goes on and on about how totally cool and awesome the Earth-38 Alex is, and how they're sisters on her world. Amazingly, it takes literally thirty seconds to win the trust of this version of Alex. She opens Kara's cell and they attempt to escape.

Unfortunately they're stopped by Duperman, Diggle and Killer Frost. Duperman's about to incinerate them with his heat vision, when suddenly a breach opens and Superman, Barry, Oliver and Cisco emerge. Duperman attacks Superman, and the two fly through the ceiling and into the sky. Oliver says he'll take care of Diggle and Frost, and for some reason the three of them board an elevator for their fight.

Kara asks Alex where Duperman would keep something valuable like the Book. She says most likely in his Fortress Of Solitude. Barry complains that he just came from there, but they discover that in this reality, Duperman's Fortress is actually the Time Vault inside STAR Labs.

Kara kicks open the vault's door and grabs the Book. She opens it and tries to use it to restore reality, but she's too weak from being in the Super Jail (?). She says they need to get the book to Superman.

Meanwhile, Superman and Duperman battle it out in the skies over Central City. They crash though an office building, and Duperman throws Superman through a window. He lands on the street far below, and Duperman prepares to murder him.

Suddenly Kara appears and uses her heat vision to blast Duperman into the next county. She hands the Book Of Destiny to Superman, who opens it and begins reading it (I guess?). Swirls of blue energy emanate from the Book, as Superman begins restoring reality.

Kara's caught up in the reality wave, and transformed back into Supergirl. Inside STAR Labs, the wave finally restores Barry's costume and speedster powers. The elevator opens up, and Oliver appears, dressed as Green Arrow once again. He tosses out an unconscious Diggle and Killer Frost.

Barry zooms outside and watches in awe as Superman resets the world. Suddenly Duperman appears behind Barry and grabs him, threatening to break his neck unless Superman hands over the Book. What are we watching here, Man Of Steel? 

Suddenly Oliver appears and aims a Kryptonite arrow (lord knows where he got that) at Duperman, telling him to release Barry or die. For some reason, Barry tries to talk Oliver into standing down, saying that not giving into anger may be the answer to The Monitor's test. 

After a beat, Oliver finally lowers his arrow. Duperman tosses Barry aside and does a power clap, knocking everyone on their collective asses. He grabs the Book and flies off with it.

The heroes return to STAR Labs, which begins shaking and shuddering. They realize Duperman's using the Book to rewrite reality again. We then get what may be the silliest bit of Comic Book Science ever to grace the Arrowverse. Barry proposes that if he and Kara run around the Earth in opposite directions at Mach 7, they can slow down time. This will give Superman more time to get the Book back from Duperman. Oy gevalt.

Superman warns Kara and Barry against this preposterous plan, saying he saw their deaths in the Book Of Destiny. They tell him to mind his own business, and zoom out of STAR. 

Oliver sees his friends risking their lives, and comes to a decision. He returns to the apartment and barges in, demanding to see The Monitor. He tells him that Kara and Barry are heroes who deserve to live, and insists The Monitor stop testing the world and save them. He tells Oliver the universe is a delicate machine that requires balance. He says one change demands another, and asks Oliver how he's supposed to keep the balance. Uh-oh...

Meanwhile, Duperman stands in the middle of Central City (heh) and continues altering reality. Superman lands and confronts him again. Duperman conjures up AMAZO, who first appeared back in Part 1. The ultrapowerful robot attacks Superman, knocking him into last week. 

Suddenly a breach somehow forms, and Lois, Martian Manhunter and Brainiac-5 appear. Brainiac attacks AMAZO and the two fly off. Lois bashes her cosmic hammer on the ground, generating a shockwave which momentarily disorients Duperman. He recovers and points the Book at Superman and Lois. Superman's knocked flat, while Lois is thrown high into the air for some reason.

Cut to Kara and Barry zooming around the world. They both realize they're not going fast enough, and pour on the speed. As they do so, they both begin to heat up and burn from friction (I guess?). Their plan works though, as the Earth begins slowing down.

Time slows to a crawl, as Lois lazily falls to Earth. Superman sees her, but due to the time slowage, can't reach her in time. Great plan, guys!

Just then Oliver arrives, aiming a glowing, blue-tipped arrow (that he got from The Monitor?) at Duperman. He fires it, and the arrow slowly heads for him. It strikes the Book Of Destiny, causing a massive explosion.

Time then returns to normal for some reason, and Barry & Kara recover and zip back to Central City. The explosion destroys the Book, and causes Duperman to revert back to John Deegan. The energy from the Book then disfigures his face, causing it to resemble a wrinkly skeleton. OK, I don't understand ANY of this, but let's just move on or we'll be here all day.

Everyone meets back at STAR Labs. So I guess when the Book was destroyed, the alternate reality versions of Diggle, Killer Frost and Cisco reverted to normal? And Alex disappeared? Who knows. Anyway, Cisco opens a breach, and everyone from Earth-38 returns home. 

Back on the Kent Farm, Clark and Lois tell Kara they're expecting a baby. They also announce they're returning to Argo City for the duration of Lois' pregnancy, and beyond. Clark tells Kara she's stronger than he'll ever be (?) and she can protect the Earth by herself. 
Later in the Fortress Of Solitude, Clark proposes to Lois.

Back on Earth-1, Barry & Oliver discuss the crossover in a bar. Barry tells Oliver he knows he made a deal with The Monitor to save his life, along with Kara's. Oliver denies it, and makes a toast to "appreciating what you have, however long you might have it." Gosh, that doesn't sound ominous at all.

Oliver then gets a call from Batwoman, who informs him that Deegan's now an inmate of Arkham Asylum in Gotham. She hopes he's not gonna be any trouble, as Deegan's already made a friend in the hospital.

Cut to Arkham, where we see the disfigured Deegan sitting in his cell. Next door we see the Psycho Pirate, who assures Deegan everything's working out according to plan. He says, "Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And the universe will never be the same," thus setting up Crisis On Infinite Earths as next year's crossover event.

• John Deegan does the opening narration in this episode, which is a nice touch:

"My name is John Deegan and I'm from Gotham a city in grave need of heroes. As a doctor at Arkham Asylum, I did my part by protecting this city from the criminally insane. The world didn't understand my methods, so I worked in secret until, one day, when a cosmic being recognized my potential and gave me the chance to be something greater. Someone greater. Now, I am Superman."

• So in this episode it appears that Deegan used the Book Of Destiny to transform himself into a black-clad Superman— one who rules the world he created with a superpowered iron fist.

Of course it can't be that simple. At one point, Duperman visits Kara in the Super Jail, and they have the following conversation:

Kara: "I know the real man who wears that glyph. It's not you. You're not Superman."

Duperman: "And yet, I am all that you once were. No offense to Barry Allen, but as a hero, you, you are so much more than just faster than a speeding bullet."
Kara: "So, you're imitating my powers and my family crest, but not my gender? Too afraid to be a woman?"
Duperman: "Oh, I'm not afraid of anything. The Book of Destiny revealed to me all there is to know about Barry Allen and Oliver Queen, but for you and this 'Man of Steel,' there was nothing. Nothing but the android you fought in Central City. It's... it's as if you don't exist in this world."

Kara: "That's why you locked me up and dampened my powers." 
Duperman: "I don't know who you are. I don't know how you got here, but none of that matters because I am now you. New and improved. And you will never see the light of day again."

So out of all that I get that Deegan didn't simply turn himself into a copy of Superman. Instead he turned himself into a male version of Supergirl. Who looks exactly like Superman. 

I need to lie down in a dark room. I'm getting one of my sick headaches.

• By the way, Duperman's black costume is likely a nod to the Death Of Superman storyline that played out in the comics back in 1994. After being killed by the alien berserker Doomsday, Superman was buried in an all-black suit. He eventually got better, and wore his 'regeneration suit" for several episodes.

• Credit to the writers where it's due: I love the fact that even though Duperman is the most powerful being on Earth, he's still an insecure asshole whose ego needs constant stroking from his underlings. That's a nice bit of character development.

• The idea of an evil Superman ruling the world may be a reference to Superman Prime from the comics. He was the sole survivor of a dead Earth, who visited other worlds in the multiverse and destroyed those that didn't meet his high moral standards. 

It's also kind of similar to Injustice: Gods Among us, in which Superman becomes a tyrant and takes over the world. Batman then goes to another Earth and recruits that world's Superman to fight his.

• Why the hell would Deegan keep an ultra-powerful being like Supergirl locked up? Why risk her escaping and defeating him? Why not just use the Book to wish her into the cornfield?

He tries to explain it by saying she didn't appear in the Book Of Destiny, so he's keeping her prisoner to... study her? I guess?

That bit about the Book doesn't make any sense either. Why wouldn't Supergirl's world of Earth-38 be in the Book? The Monitor's been touring the multiverse, giving it to various inhabitants to test them. Surely the Book contains info on their worlds? Does the Book tailor itself to each person who looks at it? If someone from Earth-19 opens it, do they only see knowledge from that world?

• In this altered reality Deegan lives in Central City rather than Gotham, where he's originally from. He also rebrands STAR Labs and makes it his base of operations.

This makes a certain amount of sense, as STAR Labs made its first appearance in Superman #246, where it was the HQ of Professor Emil Hamilton. It's also where Cyborg's father worked. STAR Labs didn't become associated with Barry Allen and Central City until the 1990 Flash TV series.

There's also a more practical reason for relocating Duperman to STAR Labs— money!

By turning STAR Labs into his HQ, the show saved a ton of cash by re-using The Flash's already existing Cortex set!

As well as the set for the STAR Labs Secret Super Jail. Smart!

• For some reason, versions of Alex Danvers and James Olsen, both inhabitants of Earth-38, live on Duperman's altered Earth-1.

So how did that happen? Duperman knows nothing about Earth-38, as it's not mentioned in the Book. So how'd he create this version of Alex and Jimmy?

Duperman tries to explain this by saying, "Oh Oh, you think you know that agent. You see, I scrambled the reality of everyone on this Earth. No one is who they were. But I guess even rewritten destiny has a way of playing jokes."

Yeah, that didn't really explain anything.

Are this Alex and Jimmy actually Earth-1 versions of the characters that we've never seen or heard of before? That's the only answer that actually makes any sense.

• As has happened in this entire crossover, Deegan's altered worlds seem very inconsistent. Some of its inhabitants, like Alex Danvers, act as if things have always been this way. But Kara, Barry & Oliver are somehow aware that this world is not only minutes old, but wrong. Odd.

Of course if Kara & Co. didn't retain their original memories, then there'd be no episode, so...

• Barry & Oliver visit a seedy bar, hoping to find this reality's version of Cisco there. Inside they meet Gary Green, who's apparently a bartender in this world.

So Legends Of Tomorrow ended up participating in the big Elseworlds crossover after all, albeit in a very small way.

• Cisco must be a big fan of Scarface, as he seems to be channeling Tony Montana in this reality. Any second I was expecting him to shout, "Say hello to my lil' vibe" or something equally groanworthy.

Note that pretty much every time we see an alternate version of Cisco, he's an obnoxious, money-grubbing asshole. In Season 3's Flashpoint he was the world's richest tech genius, who refused to help the Flash in his fight against The Rival.

• Barry & Oliver talk Cisco into breaching them to Earth-38, so they can ask Superman for help. A couple things here:

First of all, the design of the Fortress is obviously inspired by the one in Superman: The Movie, which was formed out of ice by a Kryptonian crystal.

Secondly, how the hell did Barry know to find Supermen there? Is Barry even aware of the Fortress' existence? Even if he is, what are the odds he'd just happen to find Superman at home when he knocked?

Barry does have a line about it taking nineteen tries before they found Superman, but I took that to mean Cisco didn't know what he was doing and breached them to the wrong Earth several times. Maybe the line meant they tried nineteen different locations on Earth-38 before they finally found Supes and Lois in the Fortress?

• Foreshadowing Alert! When Barry & the others first arrive in the Fortress, Cisco points at some kind of high-tech hammer on display. It's the same one Lois wields later on in the battle against Duperman in Central City.

• Superman shows up on Earth-1 and confronts Duperman. Duperman attacks him, and the two crash through the ceiling of STAR Labs and engage in an aerial battle.

But... it's not like STAR Labs is a ranch house with one level. According to the signage next to the elevator doors, the Cortex is located far below ground on Level 600 of STAR Labs. Did Supes and Dupes really just crash through six hundred floors to get out of the building?

I brought this up before in my reviews of The Flash, but it's worth a repeat— the Burj Kalifa, currently the tallest building in the world, is 163 stories tall. I'm having trouble believing that STAR Labs has more than three times that many levels underground! 

Some of the levels in STAR Labs look pretty tall. If we assume each level is 20 feet high, 600 of them would make it over 2.25 miles deep!

• The brief aerial battle between the two Kryptonians is very reminiscent of the one between Superman and Zod in the detestable Man Of Steel.

At one point Duperman grabs a police helicopter and flings it toward the ground. Superman grabs it and gently lowers it to a nearby helipad. This was obviously yet another homage to Superman: The Movie, in which the Man Of Steel does the exact same thing after rescuing Lois.

• During the aerial battle between Duperman and Superman, they crash into an office building that's apparently occupied by a single worker. She looks at them in astonishment and says, "Bizarro!"

All over the internet, fans are saying this confirms that Deegan's black clad Superman is the Arrowverse's version of comic book character Bizarro. 

Eh, I don't think so. I'm pretty sure it was just a fan servicey little joke. The lady wasn't calling Duperman "Bizarro." She simply saw two identical Supermans duking it out and said, "Bizarro!" as in, "I say, what an odd sight!"

• Kara and Barry find the Book Of Destiny inside Duperman's "Fortress Of Solitude," which is really just the STAR Labs Time Vault. Weird, but whatever.

Anyway, when Kara sees the Book sitting on a pedestal, she notes that it's unlocked. That's a lucky break, as the combined brain power of Teams Flash and Arrow couldn't figure out how to open the Book's "metaphysical" lock in Part 2!

• Apparently all you have to do to alter reality is open the Book Of Destiny and stare intently at it. You don't even need to read aloud from it, or ever turn any of the pages! Just open it to a random section, look at it and the blue energy instantly shoots out and starts changing the world.

• Credit where it's due: it was a cool effect as the Book altered the look and design of Central City's various buildings.

• At one point Duperman grabs Barry and threatens to snap his neck unless Superman hands over the Book. Jesus, who directed this scene, Zack Snyder? I'm pretty sure this had to be a less-than-subtle little dig at Man Of Steel on The CW's part.

• Fortunately Oliver shows up and aims what appears to be a Kryptonite arrow at Duperman.

Soooo... where in the name of Ma Kent's Apron Strings did he get that? There's no Superman or Supergirl on Earth-1, meaning their ships never landed here, meaning there're no Kryptonite meteors either. It's a substance that exists solely on Earth-38. So again I ask, where the hell did Oliver get a Kryptonite-tipped arrow?

And how would he even know about it in the first place? Or that it's a Kryptonian's one weakness? Did I miss an episode in which Supergirl gave him a supply of Kryptonite?

• After Superman restores Central City to its original state, Duperman manages to get the Book from him and alter the world even more. 

"Reality waves" begin flowing across STAR Labs, constantly transforming it. At one point it turns into what appears to be a Nazi-controlled Earth-X version, as seen in last year's Crisis On Earth-X crossover!

Next it transforms into a more friendly-looking structure, complete with what appears to be the starburst from the Elseworlds logo on the pylons! Not sure just what world this version's supposed to represent.

Eventually Duperman alters it back to his "S" branded HQ.

• Superhero Landing!

• In order to distract Superman, Duperman conjures up AMAZO again. I was looking forward to another big fight with the giant android, but alas, the budget must have been running dry by then, as he appears for all of about thirty seconds. Ah well. We got a pretty good AMAZO battle back in Part 1.

• Lois shows up brandishing the hammer from the Fortress, accompanied by Brainiac-5 and Martian Manhunter. Several things here:

I watched most of Season 2 of Supergirl, so I'm familiar with Manhunter, but this was the first time I'd ever seen the TV version of Brainy. I have to assume that like his comic book counterpart, his power is his vast intellect, and he's a member of the Legion Of Superheroes?

How'd Lois and the others breach to Earth-1? Does she have an extrapolator? Is breaching one of Brainiac-5's powers? Or did the writers hope there was so much going on we wouldn't think about this little plot hole?

Lastly, what the hell's up with that giant hammer Lois is carrying? Oddly enough it's never explained anywhere in the episode— it's just sort of there. At first I thought maybe it was a wink & a nod to Thor and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Turns out that's not it. According to actress Bitsie Tulloch, who plays Lois:

"A lot of people have been asking me about the hammer Lois carries so I texted Robert Rovner co-showrunner/EP of Supergirl for clarification and he said, 'It’s the solar hammer from the cosmic anvil.' Hope that clears up any confusion."

Actually that explains a lot. In the All-Star Superman comic, Superman really did keep the solar hammer in the Fortress Of Solitude. He used it and the cosmic anvil to forge tiny stars, which he fed to a Sun-Eater (a giant living weapon) he captured.

That's a pretty obscure reference though, one that only hard core comic fans would get. Would it have killed them to have thrown in a line or two to explain what it was though, instead of leaving everyone to wonder?

• As the Earth-38 heroes appear, Brainiac-5 attacks AMAZO, while Lois smashes her mighty hammer on the ground, momentarily stunning Duperman. Martian Manhunter,, aka J'onn J'onzz, then announces he'll protect the civilians running around the square. He immediately rushes over and shields several innocents from a fiery explosion

Wait, what? As a Martian, J'onn is susceptible to fire, as it can severely weaken him and cancel out his shapeshifting powers. As a result of this he has a strong phobia against any open flame. So of course it makes perfect sense for him to place himself between a jet of fire and a victim.

Methinks whoever wrote this episode either didn't know about J'onn's pyrophobia, forgot all about it or just said "Who gives a sh*t" and tossed it into the script.

Sigh... and then there's this. Strap yourselves in, everyone! It's about to get really stupid in here!

Duperman gets the Book Of Destiny back, and starts warping reality yet again. Kara and the other heroes have a powwow to discuss how to stop him. They then come up with this incredibly brilliant plan: 

Barry: "There might be a way to slow him down.We literally slow down time. Come on, that's got to be like only the fourth most crazy thing you've heard in the past three hours!"
Kara: "How do we slow down time, Barry?"
Barry: "If Supergirl and I travel around the globe in opposite directions at just over Mach 7, we should be able to create enough centrifugal force to slow the Earth's rotation."
Kara: "And everything else."
Oliver: "Rip the book out of Deegan's hands, and everything goes back to normal."

Jesus wept. I don't even know where to start.

First of all, I guess Barry must have forgotten he's a speedster again, and could yoink the Book away from Duperman while he's blinking. 

Secondly, Mach 7 is not all that fast! The current world record speed record for a manned aircraft is Mach 6.7, which was set way back in 1967! So we have planes that can go nearly Mach 7, and I'd like to point out that they do not stop the Earth's rotation nor do they slow down time.

Thirdly, even if this stupid plan could actually work, if Kara and Barry moved around the world in opposite directions, they'd just cancel each other out! They'd both need to move AGAINST the Earth's rotation in order to slow it!

Lastly, even though it works, this amazingly stupid-ass plan doesn't accomplish anything. As we see later in the episode, Kara and Barry do indeed slow down time. But this causes EVERYONE else to slow down as well! What good does that do? Now if it slowed down Duperman but no one else, then they'd have something. But slowing everyone does nothing!

Obviously this was yet another shoutout to Superman: The Movie, in which Supes flies around the world at high speeds in order to reverse time and save Lois. It didn't make any sense in 1978, and it makes even less in 2018!

• Superman tells Kara and Barry that if they zoom around the world to slow time, they'll die. They do it anyway, and begin burning up from the intense friction they generate (I guess?).

The fact that it's these two characters who risk their lives is significant. In the Crisis On Infinite Earths comic, both Supergirl and the Flash are killed! Supergirl's killed by a blast from The Anti-Monitor, while Barry disintegrates while zipping around the villain's super weapon.

Luckily the TV versions of the characters recover fully from their near-death ordeal.

• Oliver destroys the Book Of Destiny with a glowing, blue-tipped arrow he presumably got from The Monitor. The arrow causes the Book to explode in a burst of energy, which envelopes Duperman.

For some reason, this energy transforms him back into John Deegan. For some stranger reason, it also calcifies his face or something, turning his skin white and giving him a skeletal appearance. For some even more bizarre reason, the energy affects just his face, and not his hands.

Note that Deegan now somewhat resembles Doctor Destiny, the comic book inspiration for the TV character.

• Superhero Landing!

• In one of the episode's many endings, Lois and Clark tell Kara they're expecting. They also say they're moving to Argo City for the duration of the pregnancy, to keep Lois from being torn in half by a kick from a half-Kryptonian fetus.

This actually makes sense! In the comics, Kryptonians draw their power from the yellow sun of Earth, and I assume it's the same in the Arrowverse. Since Argo City likely has a red sun, the baby's kicks would be normal strength.

This may also be a nod to noted sci-fi writer Larry Niven's 1969 essay titled Man Of Steel, Woman Of Kleenex, which was about this very topic.

• Note that Lois is wearing a purple sweater once everyone's back on Earth-38.

That has to be a nod to the excellent Superman: The Animated Series, in which Lois was scene wearing a purple blazer in almost every episode.

Later on in the Fortress Of Solitude, Clark proposes to Lois. Again, note her outfit. She's wearing a flimsy white gown in this  scene.

One that's practically identical to the one Margot Kidder wore in Superman: The Movie during the interminable "Can You Read My Mind?" sequence (which is the worst part of an otherwise perfect film).

• By the way, what the hell's up with that Fortress scene at the end? For some reason, Clark's barbecuing burgers on a charcoal grill... inside, mind you. AND, he's doing so while dressed in his costume. Wha...?

Then he summons the courage to propose to Lois. But before he does so, he makes an engagement ring for her by palming a lump of charcoal and squeezing it so hard it turns into a diamond.

Oddly enough, the whole "turning coal into diamonds" thing has been a trope of Superman comics for many decades. Christopher Reeve even did the same shtick in Superman III. There's just one problem though— in this scene he uses charcoal, not coal.

Yeah, I don't think so. Coal is a form of sedimentary carbon rock. You could conceivably turn coal into a diamond if you applied enough pressure over a long enough period of time.

Charcoal on the other hand is made of primarily of wood, which is slowly heated and combined with other substances. I'm confident no amount of pressure would ever turn burnt wood into a diamond.

• So what kind of deal did Oliver make with The Monitor? 

During the big battle with Duperman (in which Kara and Barry are sacrificing themselves), Oliver returns to The Monitor's dimension. There he demands The Monitor stop his tests, and get off his ass and save Supergirl and the Flash.

The Monitor's impressed with Oliver's chutzpah and says, "The universe is a complex piece of machinery, and balance must be maintained. One change requires another. How would you propose I keep the balance?"

I think it's pretty obvious what happened. The Monitor basically says in order to save one person he has to take another. So Oliver offers him his own life in order to save Barry (I'm assuming Supergirl doesn't factor into the equation, since she's from a different Earth).

The Monitor obviously agreed, but for some reason deferred payment until a later date. Most likely during next year's Crisis On Infinite Earth's crossover event.

Yep, that's right! I'm betting Oliver Queen's gonna die. It makes sense. Next season will be Arrow's eighth, and Stephen Amell may be looking to move on to other things. Plus The CW has way more shows than time slots, so they may be looking to get rid of one. Plus, killing off a major character like Oliver Queen would give the crossover a real sense of weight.

The episode even hints at Oliver's deal a couple times. In the bar, Barry has the following conversation with Oliver:

Barry: "So I feel like I should be thanking you for something. The Monitor— you talked to him, didn't you?"
Oliver: "Mmm-hmm."
Barry: "You got him to change our destinies somehow."

And then a bit later, Oliver says, "I will propose a toast. To appreciating what you have, however long you might have it."

Ominous! And pretty obvious. He definitely offered his life to The Monitor in exchange for Barry's!

• At the end of the episode, we see a dejected and defeated John Deegan locked up in Arkham Asylum (ironic!), his face still a distorted mess.

We then see his cell's right next to that of the Psycho Pirate, who we saw briefly in Part 2. He played a huge role in the Crisis On Infinite Earth's comic miniseries, where his golden Medusa Mask gave him the power to manipulate the emotions of others.

Would they really let him wear that thing in his cell? Seems unlikely.

Anyway, Psycho Pirate tries to reassure Deegan, saying, "Don't worry, Doctor. Everything is as it should be. The stage is set. Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And the universe will never be the same."

If you read comics at all in the mid 1980s, you'll immediately recognize those words. For months and months before the Crisis miniseries premiered, DC ran numerous house ads promoting it. The ad's tagline was, "Worlds Will Live... Worlds Will Die... And That's Only The Beginning! The DC Universe Will Never Be The Same!"

This may be the first time a TV show's ever referenced a comic book AD! Cool!

• This Week's Best Lines:
Duperman: "I am the hero this planet needs."
(Apparently Duperman's been watching The Dark Knight and is quoting Gordon's line, "He's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs.")

Barry: (running from Duperman) "Being bad makes me feel bad, man."
Oliver: "The crane gag was harmless. It would've landed in an empty parking lot."
Barry: "Still, man. I don't know. Just doing something like that on purpose, I think I'm gonna puke."
(I love the fact that Barry's such a do-gooder here that the very idea of being a criminal makes him physically ill.)

The Monitor: "Must confess my interest is piqued. You possess neither power nor abilities, yet still managed to outwit an opponent with the powers of a super man."

Barry: "It's just one word: Superman."

The Monitor: "
Oliver Queen. A man who channels his hubris and anger and calls it strength. Are you truly that eager to die? No. Not eager. But willing. Ready to. monitor Good. There might be hope for this universe yet."
Barry: "If that's supposed to be a pep talk, I've had better."
(Meta Humor Alert! The Flash features at least one Patented The CW Pep Talk each week!)

Gary: "Oh, my God, the Trigger Twins. Sorry, I'm just a huge fan of your criminal history. You guys are my heroes. Well, not heroes. Legends."
(More meta humor, as Gary's currently a regular character over on Legends Of Tomorrow.)

Cisco: "Jimmy, I think the Pet Shop Boys here need an education in how things work around here."

Jimmy: "I don't think that should be a problem. They don't call me Superman's worst pal for nothing."
(This is some Prime Grade-A Fan Service, as in the comics, Jimmy Olsen was often described as "Superman's Pal.")

Killer Frost: "So, why don't you want to go home? Boyfriend troubles?"
Alex: "No. No boyfriend presently."

Kara: (overhearing) "Boyfriend?"
Killer Frost: "Hmm. I thought you were dating that dweeb in IT. Not impressed, by the way." Alex: "Okay, it was a couple of dates. And now he's dating Pam in HR."

(Did... did Supergirl just do an Archer joke?)

Killer Frost: "Look, I'm sure the work we do for the city is great, but half of what we do around here is really just to prop his ego up. Truth, justice, and the American way? More like me, myself, and I."

Alex: "Hmm, yeah."
Killer Frost: "All work and no play doesn't just make a girl dull. It turns your heart to ice. And trust me, that ain't fun."

Superman: (to Duperman) "Hi. Nice suit. Doctor, can I have a word please?"

(This is an obvious reference to Superman II, in which Superman confronts Zod and says, "General, would you care to step outside?")

The Monitor: "So much passion. And hubris. To think that if you just yell loud enough you can command a god."

Oliver: "You're not a god."
The Monitor: "Yet, there isn't a name for what I am, so I suppose "god" will have to do."

Lois: (to Superman, who catches her after Duperman throws her into the air) "Told you you'd catch me."
(This is a callback to Part 1, in which Clark tells Lois to be careful on a rickety ladder, and she says, "You'll catch me.")

Kara: (after the crossover crisis is over) "So this is kind of becoming an annual thing, huh?"

Barry: "God, I hope not."
(More meta humor!)

Lois: (to Supergirl) "We are better in a crisis. More apt to ask questions before punching."
(Still more meta humor! We get it guys, you're foreshadowing Crisis On Infinite Earths!)
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