Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Supergirl Season 5, Episode 9: Crisis On Infinite Earths: Part One

It's finally here! The event EIGHT SEASONS in the making! The storyline the entire Arrowverse has been working toward since 2012! The crossover event based on one of the most epic comic book storylines of all time! It's Infinity War, er, I mean Crisis On Infinite Earths!

Much like the MCU, the Arrowverse producers began with a single show and an ambitious vision. They began planting seeds for Crisis way back in Season 1 of Arrow, then doubled down on it over on The Flash. Despite the fact they were apparently planning for it back then, I wonder if they had any idea that it would ever actually happen?

But happen it did, and I for one am glad. I don't think there's ever been a shared universe quite like this on TV before. We're watching history here, folks!

DC Comic's Multiverse began in 1961, with the publication of The Flash Of Two Worlds in The Flash #123. In that story, Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash, met and teamed up with Jay Garrick, the original Golden Age Flash who lived on Earth-2 in a parallel dimension.

Fans went ape over the story, and couldn't get enough of the alternate Earth idea. Never ones to avoid milking a trend, it wasn't long before DC writers began creating more alternate Earths. There was Earth-2, where the Golden Age heroes lived, Earth-3, in which Lex Luthor was the only superhero and battled evil versions of the Justice League, Earth-S, which contained Captain Marvel and his cast, Earth-C, home of DC's funny animal characters and many, many more.

Cut to the early 1980s, when DC's sales were beginning to lag. Rather than blame the quality of the art or the stories, management singled out their Multiverse as the cause. According to them, it was too difficult for new readers (all ten of them) to understand why there were three different Supermans, two Flashes (one of whom wore a Mercury helmet), two Green Lanterns, etc. Yep, all those pesky Earths were just too darned confusing.

They were no such thing. I got back into comics circa 1984, and I had absolutely no problem understanding the Multiverse concept. In fact I thought it was pretty cool, as having different Earths let the writers take chances with the alternate characters they'd never dare try with the mainstream ones. Witness Superman-2 and Lois-2 marrying, or Batman-2 actually getting killed off!

Nevertheless, DC was determined to simplify their comics and eliminate the Multiverse. Rather than just delete it wholesale, they decided to turn it into a story and make it a company-wide crossover event. And so Crisis On Infinite Earths was born.

Written by Marv Wolfman and penciled by George Perez, Crisis featured the destruction of the DC Multiverse at the hands of The Anti-Monitor. He was opposed by The Monitor and literally EVERY DC comic character ever created. In the end, a handful of Earths survived and were merged into one.

It was a bold decision, and the comic world had never seen anything like it before. Major characters were killed off, and others changed forever.

Unfortunately, Crisis was also a huge failure. Despite the fact it was designed to simplify the DC Universe, it only made things more complicated. Many characters had their origins altered so drastically they were virtually unrecognizable, timelines became impossibly convoluted and It became impossible to tell if many characters' previous adventures actually "happened" or were to be ignored.

Things became so complicated that DC eventually tried to clarify things with another company-wide crossover called Zero Hour. It didn't help. I left comics shortly after that, so I don't know if DC ever straightened out their continuity or not. I'm guessing not.

Which leads us to The CW's big Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover event. As I said, it's been seven long years in the making, as all the various Arrowverse shows have been building toward this moment.

For months now fans have been going nuts over this crossover, obsessing over every nugget of news, casting announcement and leaked photo. That's fine and all, but people are literally expecting to see the equivalent of the MCU's Infinity War/Endgame on TV. Some fans were convinced Crisis would be even better than both those films combined!

I addressed this back in October, urging people to please temper their expectations lest they be bitterly disappointed. This is The CW we're talking about after all! The budget for this crossover event is gonna be a fraction of what Marvel spent on Infinity War's craft services alone! 

Believe it or not, the Crisis comic is even more epic in scope than Infinity War. If you made a faithful adaptation of it it'd be the most expensive movie ever made. It'd need at least a $500 million budget! Obviously that's not gonna happen on TV. This is gonna be Discount Crisis at best.

I predicted that we'd get a lot of people standing around talking, broken up by one brief action scene per episode. And guess what? That's exactly what's happened so far. How frighteningly prescient. 

That's not to say there's nothing to like here. It was great fun seeing all the cameos from previous DC properties, and it's always a treat when the Arrowverse characters team up. There're some genuinely heartbreaking moments in this first episode, as characters and worlds fall before The Anti-Monitor.

That said, it's definitely not perfect. This first chapter felt very disjointed on first viewing. Strike that, it felt a LOT disjointed. In the past these crossovers have generally meshed together quite well, but this one feels vague, choppy and borderline incomprehensible. It almost felt incomplete, as if large chunks of the story were missing.

In fact there were times when I wondered if I'd understand what the hell was happening if I hadn't read the Crisis comic before. Happily, things made more sense on my second viewing. That said, I shouldn't have to watch a show twice to understand what the hell's happening.

According to the producers, their plan is for this crossover event all the various Earths and combine them into one as they reboot the Arrowverse. Much like what happened in the comics. That makes me sad, as I actually like all the parallel Earths.

I fear that like the comic, Crisis is gonna make things more complicated. Take Supergirl for example. Her world of Earth-38 is filled with alien refugees. Will they still be a thing if her world's merged with that of the Flash? If they disappear, won't that be confusing to long-time viewers? I guess we'll find out next year when the crossover concludes.


The Plot:
It's complicated, so I'm simplifying it as much as possible.

We open on a montage of the antimatter wave sweeping across the Multiverse, destroying every alternate Earth in its path.

On Earth-38, Supergirl enters the DEO, where Brainiac-5 reports something from outside the planet is causing worldwide quakes. J'onn J'onzz (aka Martian Manhunter) informs them that he encountered The Monitor, who told him a wave of antimatter will reach the edge of their universe in a few hours. Brainy tells Supergirl that Argo City (her homeworld) is in the path of the wave. Unfortunately there's no way for her to reach it in time.

Cut to Argo, where Kal-El and Lois are enjoying a moment with their newborn son Jonathan. Suddenly a hologram of Supergirl appears, warning them of the Crisis just as the skies turn red. They rush outside, where Supergirl's mom Alura tells them to follow her. She shows them a one-seater space pod, and they place Jonathan in it. The pod blasts off as Kal and Lois look on. The antimatter wave washes over Argo, obliterating it.

On Earth-1, Oliver Queen and his daughter Mia are on the island of Lian Yu when the skies turn red. Lyla Michaels, who's now become The Monitor's assistant Harbinger, appears and says the Crisis has begun. She teleports Oliver and Mia away. In Central City, the Flash is speeding through the streets when Harbinger pops in. She tells Barry she's working with The Monitor and teleports him away as well.

In Gotham, Batwoman confronts the Wonderland Gang and demands they tell her where Alice is. Suddenly Harbinger appears and tells Batwoman she's needed, and whisks her away. Cut to Star City, where White Canary and Atom are enjoying trivia night in a bar. Harbinger arrives and tells the two of them to come with her, and they vanish.

The heroes are all teleported to the DEO on Earth-38, wondering where they are and why they're there. Harbinger reappears with Superman and Lois, explaining that she managed to save them from Argo's destruction at the last second. For some reason though, she couldn't save Supergirl's mom.

The heroes all introduce themselves and move to a conference room (!), where Harbinger explains what's going on. She tells them about the antimatter wave, and how if left unchecked it'll destroy every world in the Multiverse. She says The Monitor had them all brought to Earth-38 to make their final stand and try to stop it.

Suddenly there's another quake, and the heroes see a massive tower materialize outside. Barry and the others arrive and explain it's a Quantum Tower. Harbinger says The Monitor planted them on key Earths at the dawn of time, to repel the antimatter wave. Right on cue, the red skies dissipate. She says The Anti-Monitor and his forces will surely attack the Tower, and it must be protected at all costs.

Brainy tells Superman and Lois he's located Jonathan's pod, which for some reason landed on Earth-16 in 2046 (???). Superman starts to fly off and rescue him, but Oliver says they'll need his powers when the Tower is attacked. Lois, Canary and Brainy offer to go after Jonathan instead.

As a fallback plan, J'onn coordinates the evacuation of the entire planet (!), aided by alien refugee ships. Supergirl's sister Alex Danvers meets with Lena Luthor to ask her to build a massive transmatter portal to help with the evac. Lena agrees, but tells Alex this doesn't mean she's forgiven her for some imagined transgression.

Oliver gives Mia (aka Black Star) her own Green Arrow costume, and says it's up to her to carry on the tradition if he should fall (FORESHADOWING ALERT!). Oliver chats with Barry, who says The Monitor told him he's destined to die in the Crisis. Oliver says that's unacceptable and calls out The Monitor.

Oliver's transported to The Monitor's dimensional void, and tells him they had a deal— his life in exchange for that of Barry and Supergirl. The Monitor says that deal only covered the Elseworlds crossover, and this is an entirely new situation. Pret-tee sneaky, Sis! Oliver demands to know why the Anti-Monitor is wiping out reality. The Monitor plays coy and says he'll be prepared for anything in battle if he doesn't know.

Oliver returns and he and the other heroes take up positions around the Quantum Tower to protect it. They look up and see the Anti-Monitor's Shadow Demons approaching. The heroes begin fighting the swarm of Demons in a big action setpiece. Well, as big as The CW can afford, that is. The Demons are fairly easy to destroy, but they make up for it with sheer numbers.

On Earth-16, Lois, Canary and Brainy arrive and locate Baby Jonathan. Suddenly Green Arrow-16 appears, and he and Canary briefly fight. He stops when he gets a good look at Canary (who's dead on his world) and thinks he's losing his mind. She explains the Multiverse to him, and gives him a Patented The CW Pep Talk®, saying he's a good man on any Earth. The three then leave with the baby. Well, that ate up some runtime!

Back on Earth-38 the Demons overrun the heroes and disable the Tower. The skies immediately turn red again. Oliver says the Tower's solar powered, so Superman and Supergirl fly to the top of it and zap it with their heat vision (which I guess is solar?). They give it their all, but eventually run out of power and fall. Barry and Atom catch them.

Lena finishes the transmatter gate, and Alex radios John that it's ready. The evacuation begins, with just fourteen minutes left before the antimatter wave hits Earth-38. Oliver says they have to keep the Demons away from the tower until every ship escapes.

Suddenly The Monitor arrives and tells the heroes that Earth-38 is lost, and it's time to retreat. They protest, but he teleports them all away— except for Oliver. The Monitor tells Oliver it's time to go, but he refuses to leave until the entire planet is evacuated. He shoots an electrical arrow at The Monitor, and amazingly it actually incapacitates him (?).

Oliver continues battling the Demons, but is eventually overrun. The antimatter wave sweeps over Earth-38, completely destroying it.

On Earth-1 in Star City, The Monitor appears with the injured Oliver. The other heroes rush to his side to try and tend his wounds. The Monitor tells Supergirl that Earth-38 is gone, but three billion people (out of 7 billion) managed to escape. He says a billion more were saved due to Oliver's sacrifice.

Nash Wells appears, wearing a strange costume. He admits he accidentally freed The Anti-Monitor and is responsible for the destruction of the Multiverse. He says he's now become a Pariah, destined to bear witness to the death of countless worlds.

Oliver uses the last of his strength to say goodbye to Mia, and tells Barry and Supergirl to save what's left of the Multiverse. He lets out a final breath and dies.

The Monitor admits this is not the ending he foresaw for Oliver. Pariah says one thing's certain— everything and everyone is doomed.


• The Crisis kicks off with a series of fun cameos of characters from various DC properties— all of whom are instantly obliterated by the wall of antimatter! That'll teach 'em to live on other Earths!

We begin on Earth-89, as reporter Alexander Knox sees the skies turn red over Gotham City. Knox (played by Robert Wuhl) appeared in the 1989 Batman movie— hence the numbering of his Earth.

Next we see Earth-9, where the skies over San Francisco turn red as Robin and Hawk of the Titans look on. 

I'm familiar with the characters of course, but I've not watched the Titans show before. I didn't realize it took place on an alternate Earth, and not in the Arrowverse proper. Robin and Hawk clearly get obliterated by antimatter at the end of this scene— so does that mean their series just got canceled? Did anyone tell them before this scene aired?

By the way, doesn't it look for all the world like Hawk is grinning as the wave approaches? Is he really happy about it, or is that just how his face normally looks when he grimaces?

Next up is Earth-X, where we see the Ray flying through the sky and confronting the antimatter wave. We saw Earth-X a couple years back, in the big Crisis On Earth-X crossover.

By the way, weren't the skies ALWAYS red on Earth-X? How would they know if the Crisis was upon them or not?

Lastly we see Earth-66, where an elderly Dick Grayson (played by Burt Ward!) walks his dog in Gotham. He looks up in alarm as the heavens turn an ominous red and cries, "Holy Crimson Skies Of Death!" right before he's disintegrated.

• We then cut to Supergirl's home base of Earth-39. For some reason, Wil Wheaten makes a cameo as a Doomsayer.

• Inside the DEO, Brainy analyzes the antimatter wave and says, "
Whatever is it, it is hurtling through space at an impossible speed. I calculate it will reach the edge of the universe in exactly 5. 3 hours, at which point, it will boomerang back. Once it intersects again with our solar system, the results will be, in a word, cataclysmic."

Impossible speed is right! Obviously it simply isn't possible for the wave to sweep across the entire UNIVERSE and then bounce back in five hours. But without that preposterous conceit there's no show, so... let's just accept it and move on.

• Back in Elseworlds, Lois & Clark announce that they're having a baby and are relocating to Argo (where the baby will be powerless and won't kill Lois if it kicks). In this episode we discover Lois did indeed give birth to Baby Jonathan— named after Clark's adoptive dad, no doubt. Wonder if the kid's middle name is Jor-El?

Note that Jonathan's blankets are red and blue— just like the costume of a certain superpowered alien we know.

"Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!"

• As the antimatter wave threatens to destroy Argo, Lois & Clark place Baby Jonathan inside a small escape pod. They tearfully say goodbye to him, and the pod blasts off seconds before the planetoid is annihilated. Sounds pretty familiar, eh? It's a nice little bookend to Clark's own origin story. "It's like poetry, it rhymes!"

Also, in the Crisis On Infinite Earths comic, Lex Luthor was the only superhero who lived on Earth-3, and regularly fought the Crime Syndicate— an evil version of the Justice League. When the antimatter wave approached Earth-3, Luthor and his wife placed their newborn son Alexander into an experimental ship. The ship blasted off seconds before Earth-3 was destroyed, and somehow made its way to Earth-1.

Alexander was was found and taken in by The Monitor and Harbinger. For reasons, Alexander grew to adulthood in a matter of days, becoming a powerful cosmic being who could control matter & antimatter, as well as general dimensional portals. Alexander Luthor was crucial in the defeat of The Anti-Monitor.

reeeeeeeeeally thought the writers were setting up Jonathan to be the Alexander Luthor of this version of the story. Sadly, that doesn't appear to be the case. Or is it? 

They placed a huge deal of emphasis on this baby, devoting half the episode to recovering him. Why spend all that time on him if he's not gonna figure into the story in some way? Who knows, maybe Jonathan will become the Alexander Luthor in a subsequent episode after all.

• As the Crisis begins, Harbinger flits around the Multiverse gathering various heroes. When she appears before Barry, she tells him she's working with The Monitor now. Barry says, "He sent you to get me? Because Crisis is here?"

Um... why does Barry sound so surprised by this? For months now over on his own show he's known the EXACT date and PRECISE time the Crisis would begin!

• In the Crisis comic, Harbinger's real name was Lyla Michaels. In the Arrowverse, Lyla Michaels first appeared in Season 1 of Arrow, where she was the director of ARGUS. During missions, Lyla often went by the codename "Harbinger."

Holy crap! That's amazing! Apparently the producers have been planning for this event since Arrow premiered back in 2012! I wonder... back when there was just the one series, did they have any idea it would take off like it did, and grow into a little TV universe? Did they really believe that one day they'd actually get to write a Crisis On Infinite Earths adaptation? If even one of the various series had flopped and gotten canceled, the entire Arrowverse could very well have collapsed.

Anyway, kudos to by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg & Co. for slowly and methodically building up to this moment. That's some MCU-level patience right there!

• OK, I dropped out of Arrow a long time ago, so I'm not up on all the happenings over on his show. I was surprised to find out in this episode that he and Felicity apparently have a grown daughter who comes from the future (I think)— exactly like Barry & Iris did in Season 5 of The Flash

I assume Oliver's already fathered Mia and she's out there in the world somewhere? He'd better have fathered her already, since he dies at the end of this episode! It'd be awkward to see Mia fade away due to a time paradox.

Were these future shenanigans really necessary though? Steven Amell, who plays Oliver, is currently 38. I would assume Oliver Queen is the same age. Mia looks to be about 20. Oliver could easily have fathered a child when he was 18, and the timeline could have still worked out— no time travel shenanigans needed!

• At the risk of being labeled a hater and a crying manbaby, Batwoman puts in a very poor showing in this episode. Once Harbinger gathers all the heroes, she deposits them in the DEO on Earth-38. Everyone accepts this turn of events except for Batwoman, who's livid that she was whisked away from stopping some inconsequential petty crime. Priorities, Kate! The entire universe is at stake here!

A bit later Atom admires her Batsuit, and says he could give it an upgrade if she wants. She hisses, "Depends on how attached you are to your hand." Good ol' Batwoman! Even in the face of total annihilation, she still takes time out to be a man-hating feminist!

Of course later in the episode when The Anti-Monitor's Shadow Demons attack, Batwoman tells Atom, "I'll take that upgrade now!" Because when her ass on the line, suddenly the stupid man is useful to her.

Our hero, ladies and gentlemen!

• Let's talk about Batwoman's costume, shall we? When she's first introduced to the others, we see a lock of hair from her bright red fright wig has fallen down over one eye. That seems like a disadvantage to someone whose job is fighting evildoers.

Also, she's wearing a cowl that covers her entire head, including her chin and neck. This cowl also features some pretty large eyeholes, and she's clearly wearing black makeup around her eyes. Got all that?

A second later she whips off the cowl to reveal her true identity. But as she does so, we see she just removes the top of it. Somehow the lower half and neckpiece have completely disappeared! Curious! Did the chin piece and neck somehow retract into the rest of the suit?

Even more amazing— once she removes the cowl, the makeup around her eyes vanishes! Wow, that's a pretty good trick! So where'd it go? Shouldn't she have two big raccoon eyes about now? 

This magically vanishing eye makeup flub happens over and over in the Arrowverse, and in pretty much all DC superhero properties. I first noticed it wayyyyy back in 1992's Batman Returns.

• Shortly after Argo's destroyed, Harbinger teleports into the DEO with Lois and Clark. Lois explains to Supergirl that Harbinger appeared and saved them at the last possible second. For some reason though, she couldn't save Supergirl's mom Alura, who was standing right next to Lois & Clark. I guess she can only teleport two extra people at a time?

• Harbinger uses a PowerPoint demo to brief the heroes on the antimatter wave that's currently destroying the Earth-38 universe. Question: Where the hell did she get this graphic? From a first grade science book? The planets are all impossibly close together, even for an informational chart. Even worse, they're completely out of order, starting with Venus, then Mars, Mercury, Earth, Saturn and Jupiter! 

Jaysis! Who made this chart, JJ Abrams?

• Brainy apparently uses car keys to enter and start his spaceship. Sure, why not?

• FORESHADOWING ALERT: Superman and Supergirl take time out from the Crisis to have a chat. She gives Superman a Patented The CW Pep Talk®, telling him everything's going to work out. He asks her,
"How are you so hopeful right now? You've lost just as much as I have today."

We don't know it yet, but in Crisis On Infinite Earths: Part Two, The Monitor reveals that Supergirl is the Paragon Of Hope.

• Back in Elseworlds, Part 3, Barry and Kara risked certain death to save the Earth. Oliver sees his friends risking their lives, and comes to a decision. He demands to see The Monitor and tells him that Kara and Barry are heroes who deserve to live and to save them. The Monitor 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. 

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

Back in my review of Elseworlds, Part 3, I said it was pretty obvious what happened— Oliver offered his life in exchange for that of Barry & Supergirl (even though one life shouldn't balance two). The Monitor obviously agreed, but for some reason deferred payment until a later date.

I also said: "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 would give the crossover a real sense of weight."

Looks like I was right across the board!

In this episode, Barry mentions he's destined to die in the Crisis. When Oliver hears this he flips a table and demands to speak with The Monitor NOW. He then finds himself in The Monitor's void, where they have the following conversation:

Oliver: "You and I had an agreement. I die. Barry and Kara live!"
The Monitor: "Yes to keep the cosmic balance."

Just as I predicted! To the best of my knowledge though, this is the first time the details of their deal have been confirmed.

They go on to say:

Oliver: "So, why are you telling Barry that he's gonna die?"
The Monitor: "I spared your friends' lives so they could save their world last year. This is a very different threat."

Wow. That's a pretty specific restriction! Apparently The Monitor subscribes to the Mike Brady School Of Exact Words!

• During their chat, an exasperated Oliver tells The Monitor:

Oliver: "You need to stop playing games with me. You tell me why The Anti-Monitor is doing this, and then tell me how I'm going to prevent it!"
The Monitor: "Not knowing what you're fighting means you will prepare for every possibility."

Wait, what? That... that doesn't make any sense. I'm not gonna fortify my house against walrus attacks, on the extremely remote chance one will wander into my yard some day!

• The Monitor's Quantum Tower is a near perfect replica of the ones seen in the Crisis comic! I was amazed by this, as the minute I saw it I had a big stupid grin on my face. Awesome! Well done, guys!

• When the Tower first appears, Harbinger tells the heroes it's repelling the antimatter wave, and they need to protect it at all costs. When they ask what they're protecting it from, she says, "The Anti-Monitor. He commands forces greater than any army. When the tower stops the wave, they will come to thwart any effort to save this planet and its people."

Unless I'm mistaken (which is entirely possible), this is the very first on-screen mention of The Anti-Monitor. So why do all the heroes just automatically accept it when Harbinger utters his name? Why doesn't everyone say, ""Wait, the Anti-What now?"

This is what I'm talking about when I said the episode feels disjointed and choppy. We needed a few less The CW Patented Pep Talks®, and a bit more exposition.

• At one point we see an overhead view of the massive Quantum Tower dwarfing Supergirl's home of National City on Earth-38.

Yeah, about that... that's actually a shot of downtown Milwaukee.

• A rare DOUBLE Super Hero Landing, performed by the Super Cousins!

• The Anti-Monitor sends his army of Shadow Demons to destroy the Quantum Tower. I liked the design of the Demon army— what I could see of them, that is. Believe it or not, this is the best look we ever get of them in the entire episode.

I'm wondering if the FX team was overwhelmed by this massive crossover, and just didn't have the time to create a hi-res, fully detailed Shadow Demon CGI model? So they just made a crude, low-res one and made sure to never let them get too close to the camera?

Also, take a look at the buildings in the background. Apparently National City has the same City Gate Towers that Vancouver does!

I've heard of glass jaws before, but the Shadow Demons apparently have glass bodies! Jesus, all it takes is a light tap from any one of the heroes and they explode in a puff of black smoke! Good for the heroes, but bad for The Anti-Monitor.

• I'm very confused about this episode's side trip to Star City in 2046. As are the writers, apparently!

Back in Season 1 Legends Of Tomorrow episode Star City 2046, the Legends... er, visited Star City in the year 2046. There they found the city a hellish wasteland, which was apparently caused by the disappearance of White Canary and Atom (when they joined the Legends in 2016). They also encountered and old, bitter Oliver Queen, who spent thirty years brooding in his Arrowcave after losing an arm in battle to Deathstroke. 

In this episode though, it's revealed that the Legends actually went to 2046 on Earth-16, and not Earth-1 as we all thought! Confusing!

So... the absence of Canary and Atom had nothing to do with the city's downfall after all, right? Or do the Legends exist on Earth-16 as well? I really don't understand why any of this had to take place on an alternate Earth. Or why it's in this episode at all, for that matter. All this pointless interlude does is eat up valuable screentime and take the focus away from the main plot.

Also, this is how Old Man Oliver appeared back in Star City 2046. He's got a full grey beard, decent old-age makeup, and is missing his left arm.

Here's how Elderly Ollie appears in Crisis On Infinite Earths: Part One. WTF? He looks a good ten to fifteen years younger here. His beard is barely grey, his face is relatively unlined and he's got both his arms!

The arm's easy to explain, as he had a bionic one he wore sometimes in the Star City 2046 episode, so I assume he's wearing it here as well (it's difficult, if not impossible to tell for sure though). As for the other differences, according to the Arrowverse wiki, the Oliver seen here in Crisis is actually younger than the one seen on Legends.

That would explain the obvious age difference, except for one thing— both episodes explicitly take place in 2046.

Apparently that was one hell of a year, and Oliver visibly aged a decade or two in the space of twelve months!

Told you it was confusing! 

• When Canary says goodbye to the Earth-16 Oliver Queen she tells him, "You're a good man. On every Earth."

Well, except for Earth X, where he was the Fuehrer Of The New Reich. But other than that one little Nazi Earth, he's a good man.

• Alex pays a visit to Lena Luthor and asks her to build some sort of giant dimensional portal to save the citizens of Earth-38. Similar to the Batwoman situation, Lena seems to be more concerned about some imagined slight on the part of Alex than she is the destruction of the known universe. To her credit, she eventually gets over it long enough for the two of them to work together and save the citizens of Earth-38. 

Note though that she lets Alex know that once the Crisis is over, she'll be on her sh*t list again.

• So Lena agrees to build some kind of giant space portal, and Alex have the following conversation:

Alex: "We've got to get this portal up and running!"
Lena: "I'm trying! But the transmatter portal works by synthesizing polyelectronic anions.
And if I don't get the energy levels right when I interface with the breach device, then the ships will disintegrate when they fly right through it."
Alex: "Right. That is not a good option."
Lena: "No."
Alex: "Have you thought about using an inverse variable to help calculate the differential? Galleon's theory?"
Lena: "An inverse beta-decay to figure constituent quark, that could work.That's smart!"

Ah, Comic Book Technobabble. What would we do without you?

• A few minutes later Lena finishes the portal, and we see quite a familiar looking graphic on her tablet. Did... did Lena just invent a Stargate? Sure looks like one to me!

Hey, Warner Bros., expect a call from MGM's lawyers in the morning!

Question: Where's this Stargate coming from? We just see Lena drawing it on her tablet. Who's building the thing? Does it already exist somewhere above Earth-38, and she's just modifying it somehow? I'm confused.

• Loved the big set piece battle between all the heroes and the Shadow Demons. It's like a comic book panel come to life! It's just too bad it only lasted a minute or less. Ah, the curse of the TV budget...

I also liked the "whip-pan" shots, in which the camera swoops in between the various heroes at high speeds. Are those shots real? Were they filmed with a drone or something, or are they all CGI? It's honestly hard to tell.

By the way, this end battle is supposed to be happening in National City on Earth-38, right? Yet as the camera zooms around, we can clearly see the BC Place Stadium, er, I mean STAR Labs in the background! You know, the STAR Labs that's located in Central City. Whoops!

I suppose we could be generous and say that on Earth-38 there's a building that looks just like STAR in National City. I suppose we could say that, but I don't see why we should.

• The Monitor appears and announces that Earth-38 is lost, and teleports all the heroes somewhere. Oliver tells him he's not leaving until the entire planet is evacuated. To make sure he doesn't whisk him away as well, Oliver shoots The Monitor with a taser arrow. 

Amazingly, this ancient, unbelievably powerful cosmic being is completely incapacitated by a small electrical charge!

• With The Monitor immobilized, Oliver heroically takes on the Shadow Army alone, firing arrow after arrow at them in rapid succession. It's a stirring scene, but something about it didn't look quite right to me...

When I took the footage and slowed it down, the problem suddenly became apparent— Oliver never actually pulls anything out of his quiver! If you watch closely, you'll see he sort of taps the quiver, then reaches for the string. At no time is there ever anything in his hand. It's only when he pulls back on the string that an arrow magically appears nocked in the bow! 

Obviously it'd be impossible for anyone to shoot a bow as quickly as he's doing here, so they used CGI arrows. It's pretty funny once you see it.

• Today I learned it's possible to evacuate the entire population of Earth in less than fifteen minutes! Wow! That may be the most ludicrous and unbelievable thing in an episode pack full of ridiculous events.

• Where the hell is the Psycho Pirate?

In the Crisis comic, the Psycho Pirate was a supervillain who wore a gold "Medusa mask," and could control the emotions of others. He played a crucial role in the Crisis, becoming an accomplice of The Anti-Monitor. At the end of the miniseries, the final five Earths were merged into one. The Psycho Pirate is committed to a mental hospital, and is the only being on the planet who remembers the Multiverse.

The Psycho Pirate made a brief appearance last year in Elseworlds, Part 2 and Part 3. At the end of Part 3 we see him in Arkham Asylum, where he's sitting in a corner gibbering, "Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And the universe will never be the same." That of course was the ad tagline for the Crisis On Infinite Earths comic.

I assumed this introduction was a setup for his eventual appearance in Crisis, but apparently not. It appears to be the opposite—like they took his Crisis appearance and transplanted it into Elseworlds!

• At the end of the episode, Nash Wells appears decked out in a snazzy superhero costume. To no one's surprise, he announces he's no longer Nash, but a "Pariah," doomed to bear witness to The Anti-Monitor's destruction of the Multiverse.

I predicted this a week or so ago in my review of The Flash episode The Last Temptation Of Barry Allen, Part Two. I mentioned that in the comic, and other-dimensional scientist accidentally woke both of The Monitors from their millennia-long slumber. The Anti-Monitor then started destroying the Multiverse with his wall of antimatter, and the scientist was somehow transformed into a cosmic being called Pariah.

That's more or less what happened on The Flash, except most of it occurred offscreen in order to save money. Nash found a secret chamber under Central City, which he believed belonged to The Monitor. For some reason he was determined to get inside the chamber, but when he finally opened it he released The Anti-Monitor. How he was transformed into Pariah is anyone's guess at this point. Hopefully they'll show us a flashback in the next episode.

"Tony. Look at me. We're gonna be OK. You can rest now."

It's hard not to compare Crisis with the MCU's Infinity War/Endgame. Both feature cosmic beings trying to wipe out the universe and remake it in their image, appearances from every major character and a big action setpiece at the end. And if that wasn't enough, they both end with the death of the character who first appeared in each shared universe!

The Crisis On Infinite Earths comic miniseries came out in 1985, predating Marvel's 1991 Infinity Gauntlet (the basis for the Infinity War/Endgame films) by six years. Despite that, Marvel got their universe-ending tale to the screen first. So even though Crisis did it all first, it ends up looking like it's copying Infinity War

Kudos to the producers it took a lot of guts to kill off a major character on someone else's show! I wouldn't weep too hard for Oliver though. There's no way in hell his death is gonna stick. Especially since this is just Part One of the Crisis! There're four more parts to go!

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