Saturday, January 11, 2020

The Flash Season 6, Episode 9: Crisis On Infinite Earths: Part Three

This week on The Flash, we get Part Three of the big Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover.

I gotta say, so far this is my favorite episode of the crossover yet. Which shouldn't be surprising, since The Flash is arguably the Arrowverse's best and most popular show. Part Three ramps things up to twelve, as there are more deaths, drama, shocking revelations and battles, and it culminates in a massive cliffhanger in which the entire Multiverse is destroyed! How's that for an ending?

On the downside, most of my complaints about the previous two installments still hold true here. For one thing, they're trying to cram far too much stuff into these five episodes. As a result, many of the big emotional scenes fly by way too quickly, and don't have time to breathe.

There're also way too many slow scenes of Patented The CW Pep Talks®, which take the place of expensive battle s and cosmic grandeur. I really need to let that go, and accept the fact that this isn't a $300 million dollar movie, and it's never gonna look like the comic.

I continue to enjoy Brandon Routh as Superman-96 here, and wish The CW would give him his own series. Especially after the news that he's leaving Legends Of Tomorrow soon. Jon Cryer surprised me as Lex Luthor in this episode as well (sorry, I haven't been keeping up with Supergirl). He's probably the last person I'd have cast in the role, but I have to say he's doing a pretty good job.

It was nice to see John Wesley Shipp return as the Flash of Earth-90 again, even though this is likely his swan song. Sad.

The episode ends with a classic "Heroes At Their Lowest Moment" scene, and I'm honestly looking forward to seeing how they're going to undo the situation in the next two episodes. They're definitely gonna have to simplify the plot from the comic quite a bit, as they'd need ten more episodes to properly adapt it. Hopefully the writers know what they're doing, and won't let us down.


The Plot:
It's complicated, so I'll try to simplify and compress. I won't succeed though.

In Gotham City on Earth-203, the skies are an ominous red as the antimatter wave approaches.The Huntress, from the Birds Of Prey series that I never saw, races across rooftops as she radios Oracle for help. Suddenly the antimatter wave sweeps over the city, disintegrating everything in its path— including Huntress.

On the Waverider, The Monitor says they still need to locate three of the seven Paragons who can defeat The Anti-Monitor. Just then Barry, Cisco, Frost and Elongated Man (go Team Flash!) breach onto the ship. Atom asks Cisco to help him fine-tune his Paragon Detector. J'onn J'onzz reports that all the Earth-38 refugees (all three BILLION of them!) are safe and accounted for.

Atom and Cisco get the Detector working. It lists the ones we already know (Supergirl as the Paragon Of Hope, Batwoman as Courage, White Canary as Destiny and Superman-96 as Truth), then announces that J'onn is the Paragon of Honor, while Barry's the Paragon of Love (?). It says the final one is a physics professor named Dr. Ryan Choi, who's the Paragon of Humanity (??). Atom, Iris and Ralph head out to Ivy Town to find and collect Ryan.

John Diggle somehow enters the orbiting Waverider and tells White Canary she never should have let the others use the Lazarus Pit to resurrect Oliver in the previous episode. Canary tells him it'll be OK, as they plan to travel to Purgatory to retrieve Oliver's soul and stick it back in his body. Sure, why not?

Diggle asks about his wife Lyla, who's now become The Monitor's assistant Harbinger. Canary says she's no longer on the ship and has been declared missing. The Monitor says even he doesn't know where Harbinger is, and fears she may have been corrupted by his evil counterpart.

The Monitor gathers the heroes and FINALLY tells them about The Anti-Monitor, who plans to destroy the multiverse and replace it with one he can control. The Monitor says he can't undo what's already happened, but is attempting to save the Earths that remain. Unfortunately every time one is destroyed he's weakened, while The Anti-Monitor grows stronger.

Cisco locates the source of The Anti-Monitor's antimatter wave, and discovers it's coming from an underground chamber beneath Central City! What are the odds? He, Barry and Frost decide to check it out.

On the way to the Waverider's hangar bay, The Monitor confronts Cisco. He tells Cisco that while he's not a Paragon, he still has a role to play in the Crisis. He ominously states that Vibe must live again. Cisco protests, saying he gave up his powers for a reason, but The Monitor ain't hearing it. He makes a gesture and Cisco's transformed into Vibe once again.

Barry, Cisco and Frost breach to the sewers under Central City. They find the door that Nash Wells spent so much time trying to open. Suddenly Nash appears out of the shadows. He says opened the door to expose The Monitor as a false god, but was instead confronted by The Anti-Monitor, who manipulated him and transformed him into Pariah. He says his role is to now "to bear witness to tragedy and destruction."

Barry asks Pariah to open the door to the chamber, but he says his memories are clouded (how convenient). Cisco vibes him, and sees how to unlock the door. He touches the symbols in a particular order, and the door opens.

Back on the Waverider, Supergirl asks the imprisoned Lex Luthor how he used to Book Of Destiny to kill various versions of Superman in the previous episode. He says it takes incredible focus and willpower, but warns it could drive her insane if she tries to use it to bring back Earth-38. Batwoman begs Supergirl not to try it, as she could make things worse. Supergirl says she has to try.

Meanwhile, Constantine, Mia and Diggle arrive in Los Angeles on Earth-666 (GET IT?). There they go to a club owned by Lucifer Morningstar, aka the Devil, star of the appropriately-named Lucifer series. They tell him they want to recover Oliver's soul, so he gives them an oversized tarot card that'll allow them entry into Purgatory. He warns them to get in and out before the image on the card disappears, or they'll be trapped there forever.

Constantine then uses the card to transport them to Purgatory, which for some reason looks like the island of Lian Yu. The three begin searching for Oliver's soul.

Back on Earth-1, Barry, Cisco, Frost and Pariah go through the door. The enter a small chamber, which looks like the set of a high school play. In the center of the room is a large device. Pariah says it's an Antimatter Cannon, and is the source of the wave that's destroying ALL the universes. Really? One tiny cannon? Anyway, Frost notices a high-tech treadmill next to the cannon, complete with a red blur on it. Barry speeds up and sees the Flash of Earth-90 is running on the treadmill, which powers the cannon.

Pariah says that back in the Elseworlds crossover, The Monitor sent Flash-90 to the Netherverse for reasons. There The Anti-Monitor found him and used him to power his cannon. He test fired it a few weeks ago on Earth-2, completely destroying it (as seen on the Season 8 premiere of Arrow). Barry tries to pull Flash-90 off the treadmill, but he's repelled by a force field.

Cisco opens a breach inside the field that frees Flash-90, and the cannon powers down. Flash-90 thanks them for the reprieve, but says they have to put him back on the treadmill immediately. He says The Anti-Monitor designed a fail safe in the treadmill, so that if it's ever shut down it'll automatically destroy all Earths at once. Just then Pariah disappears.

Elsewhere, Iris, Atom and Ralph arrive in Ivy Town, where they locate Ryan Choi. He recognizes Atom, as he's a fan of his scientific work. Iris explains the situation and say he needs to come with them immediately. Ryan refuses, saying he's just a regular person, not a Paragon. Iris gives Ryan a Patented The CW Pep Talk®, and eventually manages to convince him to come with them. Atom and Ralph report that their world is now the only Earth left!

Back in the chamber, Pariah reappears with Jefferson Pierce, aka Black Lightning, from—what else
— the Black Lightning series. Lightning assumes the others are enemies and blasts them with electricity. Pariah intervenes and orders everyone to stop with the fighting. He explains that Black Lightning's Earth was just destroyed, and he saved him at the last second and brought him here. Lightning is devastated, saying Pariah should have saved his family and not him.

Barry sympathizes with Lightning, and says they need his help to save what's left of the multiverse. He asks him to contain the buildup of energy from the Antimatter Cannon, to prevent it from exploding. Lightning agrees and begins absorbing its power.

On the Waverider, Supergirl starts to open the Book Of Destiny, but Batwoman warns her not to. Supergirl says there's no way she can stop her, and Batwoman says don't be too sure, as she holds out the Kryptonite disc she stole from Bruce Wayne-99. Batwoman then has a change of heart and hands the disc to Supergirl. She tells Batwoman to keep it, saying she really is the Paragon of Courage.

In Purgatory, Constantine, Mia and Diggle are still searching for Oliver's soul. Suddenly Soul Ollie appears and attacks them, grabbing Constantine in a choke hold. Diggle apologizes for not being there for Oliver, and manages to talk him down. Constantine notes that the card has almost faded and they need to go now.

Just then Jim Corrigan appears out of nowhere, and tells Soul Oliver he's the Spectre. He explains that it's now Oliver's turn to serve a higher purpose, and his destiny to save the universe. For no good reason, Soul Oliver believes this weird perfect stranger, and agrees. Corrigan transfers his power to Soul Oliver (I guess?), who tells Mia he can't go back with her. Constantine uses the card to teleport himself, Mia and Diggle to the Waverider.

In the chamber, Barry and the others discuss what to do. Cisco theorizes that if they reverse the polarity of the neutron flow, er, I mean reverse the direction of the treadmill, it could destroy the Antimatter Cannon. Barry realizes this is how he's destined to vanish in the Crisis, and volunteers to power the treadmill. Cisco and Frost realize he's right, and they have a group hug as they say goodbye to one another.

Just as Barry starts to step onto the treadmill, Flash-90 walks up and steals his speed. He tells him The Monitor said "The Flash" must die to save the universe— but he didn't specify which one! Cue sound of falling slide whistle! Flash-90 orders Cisco to breach him onto the treadmill. He does so, and Flash-90 begins reversing it.

Barry screams for him to stop, but Flash-90 says it's his destiny. Cisco breaches everyone out of the chamber. On the treadmill, Flash-90 remembers his life with his wife Tina as he begins to disintegrate. The Cannon explodes seconds before the antimatter wave hits Earth-1.

Everyone converges back on the Waverider. Barry & Iris are reunited, and he explains it was Flash-90 who was meant to vanish, not him. I wonder if Iris is pissed that she agonized over writing that goddamned newspaper article about him for nothing? Barry introduces Black Lightning to everyone. Ryan wonders how they're planning on saving the universe.

Just then Harbinger teleports onto the ship. Diggle rushes to her and they embrace. She apologizes for causing so much worry, but doesn't remember what happened after she disappeared. Barry grows suspicious, wondering if her return is part of The Anti-Monitor's plan.

Just then Harbinger's eyes glow white and she speaks in the voice of The Anti-Monitor. She says it's time for the age of heroes to end. Superman-96 rushes toward her, but she easily flings him across the room. She then gestures and increases the gravity in the ship, causing everyone to collapse. 

The Monitor tells Pariah that the fate of the universe lies with him, and turns to blast The Anti-Monitor. The two cosmic beings fire away at one another for a good long time. Eventually The Monitor weakens and is brought to his knees. The Monitor says it was foolish of him to allow The Anti-Monitor to be created in the first place, and dies.

The Anti-Monitor somehow causes the antimatter wave to re-form, and it sweeps across Earth-1, destroying it! Holy Crap! Leonard (this Waverider's AI) reports the wave will hit the ship in twenty eight seconds. Pariah says he knows what to do, and teleports the seven Paragons— and himself— away. The others look on helplessly as the wave hits the ship and they're all distintegrated. Holy Crap again!

The Paragons appear in a darkened realm. Canary recognizes it as the Vanishing Point, a place outside time and space. Barry says they have to go back, but J'onn says there's nothing to return to. Suddenly Superman-96 doubles over in pain. He collapses as red energy pours from his body. Suddenly he morphs into Lex Luthor!

The others ask what the hell's going on. Luthor holds up a page he tore from the Book Of Destiny, revealing he crossed out Superman's name and wrote in his own (!). He looks around and asks what's next.


• The episode begins on Earth-206, as the Huntress (from Birds Of Prey) is annihilated by the antimatter wave. I never actually saw that show, so I only had a vague idea who I was watching here.

• Hooray, Team Flash is here!

I don't know why, but it made me really happy to see them all finally show up in the Crisis (and yes, I realize this is their own show). Sh*t'll get done now!

• Cisco meets Batwoman, and within thirty seconds he develops an active dislike for her! 

When he helps Atom fix his Paragon Detector, he turns it on and it displays images of the four that we've already seen. Batwoman pipes up and says, "Guys, we already know all this." A frustrated Cisco turns to her and hisses, "It's buffering, so maybe A LITTLE PATIENCE!"

See, it's not just me who can't stand her!

• J'onn J'onzz enters the Waverider's bridge and tells the assembled heroes, "I just heard from Alex and Brainy on Earth-1. Everyone we saved from Earth-38 is still accounted for." Superman-96 then pipes up and says, "Then we should bring as many people to Earth-1 as we can."

Wow, a lot going on in that exchange. Back in Crisis Part One, Earth-38 was about to be destroyed by the antimatter wave. Oliver Queen gave his life to hold off the destruction for as long as possible and saved three billion people. THREE BILLION!

So where exactly are all those people now? J'onn's a bit vague as to their location. Are they in their refugee ships orbiting Earth-1? Or did they land on the planet? If so, WHERE? Where do you house an extra three billion people on a planet that's already bursting at the seams with over seven billion? In the desert? The Arctic? Lower Manhattan? 

And now Superman wants to start bringing even more Multiversal refugees to Earth-1! I hope he's figured out a place to store 'em all! Maybe we need to rethink this rescue idea, guys.

• The Monitor fears Harbinger may have been corrupted by The Anti-Monitor and joined forces with him. When the others ask how to get her back, he says, "I want to find her just as much as the rest of you, but I cannot rewrite what has already been written."

Yeah, so that was a lie. 

In Crisis Part Two, The Monitor pulls out the Book Of Destiny and says he found the names of the Paragons inside it. Barry points out that the Book was destroyed last year in the big Elseworlds crossover. The Monitor says that's true and explains, "After Oliver's early demise, I went back into the time stream and retrieved it intact."

So he went to the past and stole the Book before it was destroyed. In other words, he "rewrote what had already been written." Whoops! Looks like Monny can only change history  when it's convenient to the plot.

• The Detector names Barry as the Paragon Of Love. Wha...? What the hell's that even mean? I could see him as the Paragon Of Stupid Decisions, or Paragon Of Forgetting How His Powers Work, or maybe Paragon Of Needlessly Keeping Secrets From His Teammates. But definitely not Love.

And how would Love even be helpful in defeating The Anti-Monitor in the first place?

• Wondering who the hell Ryan Choi is, and why he's here? 

Welp, back in 2006 DC Comics started up a new Atom series. In it, Ryan Choi replaced Ray Palmer as the titular character, eventually even joining the Justice League. According to the Legends Of Tomorrow producers, the same thing's happening on their show.

Sadly, this means Brandon Routh, who currently plays the Atom, is being written out of Legends— the very show he's been a part of since the beginning. And to make things even worse, Routh's real life wife Courtney Ford, who plays Nora Darhk, is getting the ax along with him.

Shortly after the announcement, Routh and Ford took to social media to let everyone know that leaving Legends was NOT their idea, as they both love working on the show. Ever the consummate professionals though, they didn't attack the producers. Instead they thanked the fans for their support and wished their costars well. Classy!

So why get rid of 'em in the first place? According to Deadline, the couple's abrupt departure was "a creative decision by the show's producers, to wrap up their storyline."

In a prepared statement, Legends Executive Producers Phil Klemmer, Grianne Godfree and Keto Shimizu said, "Brandon and Courtney have been invaluable members of the Legends family. They have always brought a level passion and collaboration to their characters and to the show— both on and off the screen— that we deeply admire and for which we are eternally grateful. Of course, when we have had main characters in the past whose journeys take them away from the Waverider, it’s never truly goodbye. We love these characters and hope to check in with them in future seasons, to see how life off the ship has transformed them for better or worse."

Cram it, jerks! Nobody believes your MarketSpeak® bushwah for a minute!

Atom has been the heart and soul of Legends since the very first episode. Routh's wonderful in the role too, playing Atom as a compassionate, intelligent and lovable dork. His absence is gonna blow a hole right through the center of the show one I'm not sure it can survive.

I don't know what the writers have in mind, but it seems incredibly short-sighted and ill-advised. I know it's unfair to judge the character of Ryan Choi this soon, but right now he seems like a very poor substitute for Ray Palmer. In fact, once Atom and Nora leave, I'm seriously gonna have to reconsider if I want to keep watching Legends or not.

• Back in A Flash Of The Lightning, Barry had a terrifying vision of Central City— and Team Flash— being annihilated by the antimatter wave. Note that in this vision, Cisco's wearing his full Vibe gear, and is presumably a meta once more.

Back then I speculated on how, and more importantly, WHY he'd have his powers again. I came up with three possibilities. 1. The meta-cure didn't take and his powers spontaneously returned. 2. He cobbled together some tech that replicated his powers. 3. The Monitor would reinstate them for some reason.

Welp, turns out one of my guesses was right! The Monitor says he's foreseen that Cisco has a vital role to play in the Crisis, and that "Vibe must live again." He then gestures and transforms Cisco back into a metahuman again! Much to Cisco's chagrin, I might add.

Whether or not his powers stick around once the Crisis is over is another matter. If I had to guess, I'd say they won't. When the Paragons restore the one and only Earth, I'm betting Barry will make sure that Cisco's back to his old non-powered self.

• Something I never really considered before— can Carlos Valdes actually see out of those Vibe glasses? I guess he must be able to, since he never runs into anything. I can't imagine he can see very well with 'em on though  especially when the lenses light up!

• Supergirl wants to use the Book Of Destiny to restore her homeworld of Earth-38. Luthor advises her against this, saying, "You try to use it on the scale that you're talking about, and it could drive you mad. Like Deegan."

He's talking about John Deegan of course, the Big Bad of last year's Elseworlds crossover. The Monitor gave him the Book in order to test Earth-1 and see if it was ready for the upcoming Crisis or something. Deegan used it to alter reality numerous times, eventually turning himself into a black-suited Superman. Using the Book eventually took a toll on Deegan, causing his mind to unravel, and he ended up in Arkham Asylum. 

That's all well and good, but... how in the name of Stan Lee's Mighty Toupee does Luthor know about any of that? He didn't even make his first appearance on Supergirl until a couple months after Elseworlds aired! I guess maybe he read the plot synopsis on wikipedia?

• Constantine, Mia and Diggle travel to Earth-666 (of course), where they meet Lucifer and ask for his help to enter Purgatory. 

I've not yet watched Lucifer, but I may have to start! Tom Ellis (who plays him) is a hoot, and was hilarious in his brief appearance here.

From what I gather the Lucifer series has always been completely separate from the Arrowverse, so his appearance here was a big surprise to fans.

By the way, when we first see "Lucy," he's partying with a buxom babe on each arm. In fact he seems awfully nonchalant about the impending end of all reality. So what do we think here? Will he be destroyed by the antimatter wave? 
Or will he just teleport back to Hell and hang out there? Who knows? This episode was way too busy and jam-packed to answer questions like that.

If the Devil is immune to the destruction of the Multiverse, why not just ask him to send The Anti-Monitor to Hell or disintegrate him or something?

• Lucifer gives Constantine a special tarot card which can be used to enter Purgatory. He tells Constantine, "I'm only doing this 'cause I owe you for Maze."

Wondering who— or what— Maze could be? Worried you might have missed an important episode of Lucifer that explained the whole thing? Eh, you're not the only one!

Turns out there was no episode featuring Maze! The writers just threw in a fake reference in order to imply that Lucy's had dealings with Constantine in the past.

• When Constantine & Co. are teleported to Purgatory, they're surprised to see it looks just like the island of Lian Yu, where Oliver Queen was stranded for years. 

Man, they're really getting their money's worth out of that location, aren't they?

• Cisco, Barry & Frost visit the tunnels under Central City, where they find the door to The Anti-Monitor's secret chamber. A couple things here.

First off, Nash Wells assumed the chamber belonged to The Monitor, and spent several episodes trying to break through the door and kill him for reasons. In the final minutes of The Last Temptation Of Barry Allen, Part 2, Nash discovers seven mysterious symbols on the door, but can't figure out what they mean. A voice then tells him, "Bow down to me and all you desire shall be yours." Nash then touches the symbols in a particular order, the door opens and he's pulled inside.

I said that based on all the "bow down" talk, it's pretty obvious that it was The ANTI-Monitor who was actually behind the door, rather than The Monitor. And I was right. Nash apparently freed The Anti-Monitor from captivity somehow, and was transformed into Pariah for his trouble.

I hoped that we might actually get to SEE some of that happen, since it seems like a pretty important detail. Nope! At least not yet. So far all we've seen is Nash get pulled into the chamber, then show up later in his spiffy new Pariah costume. Maybe he'll get a flashback scene before the Crisis is over.

Now, about those symbols on The Anti-Monitor's door. When we first saw them in The Last Temptation Of Barry Allen, Part 1, I assumed they represented the seven individuals who are the Paragons, since one kind of looked like Barry's cowl, one looked like a stylized arrow, etc.

Based on this episode, I don't think that's right. As it turns out, the one that looked like an arrow was assigned to Superman-96, who was the Paragon Of Truth. So rather than representing actual people, I think the symbols indicate the qualities of the Paragons.

I still have no idea which symbols represent what though, as none of them look particularly like "honor" or "love." At this point I doubt we ever find out.

• Discount Crisis strikes again! In the Crisis On Infinite Earths comic, the Flash comes across The Anti-Monitor's antimatter cannon. It's the sole source of the antimatter wave destroying the entire Multiverse, and is housed inside a vast chamber filled with impressive alien technology.

Sadly, the live action version of the cannon chamber looks considerably less impressive.

Seriously, does that dinky cannon in the middle of the room look like it's capable of wiping out ALL of creation? I doubt it could erase the average storage shed!

In fact I honestly chuckled when I first saw the chamber set, as it literally looked like something you'd see in a high school play. Especially with those adorable stone "dungeon" walls that look like they were painted on plywood sheets. I assume by the time they paid all the guest stars' salaries, there just wasn't anything left in the set budget.

• Credit where it's due: Kudos to Cisco for coming up with a way to spring the Flash-90 from the cosmic treadmill. Team Flash discovers that the treadmill is surrounded by an impenetrable antimatter forcefield. So Cisco simply opens one breach on the inside of the field and another on the outside, allowing Flash-90 to escape! It was a clever and inventive use of his powers, and a solution I wouldn't have thought of. Well done, writers!

• This is some heavy-duty nitpicking, but whatever. Once Flash-90 is no longer powering the treadmill, the antimatter cannon shuts off. Something about the way the beam powers down bugs me. For some reason it retracts back into the barrel of the cannon! That doesn't seem right!

Think about it. When you turn off a water faucet, the stream is cut off and continues in the direction of the flow. The water doesn't go back up into the faucet when you shut it off! Seems to me the same thing should happen here. The tail end of the antimatter beam should continue upward, not down.

• Once he's off the treadmill, Flash-90 begs them to let him back on. He says, "The Anti-Monitor designed that treadmill with a failsafe so that if I ever got off of it, it would erupt, destroying all remaining Earths at once."

Wha...? So The Anti-Monitor has a way to wipe out the entire Multiverse all in one go. Then why the hell didn't he do so? Why screw around erasing 'em one at a time, giving the heroes time to figure out a way to stop him?

• Flash-90 made his Arrowverse debut in last year's big Elseworlds crossover. In Elseworlds, Part 2, Flash, Green Arrow, Supergirl and Flash-90 confronted The Monitor, who'd appeared in Star City. Flash-90 tells The Monitor, "You will not do to this Earth what you did to mine!" and attacks him. The Monitor gestures, and instantly teleports Flash-90 away to... somewhere.

Welp, this week we finally find out what happened to Flash-90. Pariah says, "He wound up in the Netherverse, where The Anti-Monitor found him, corralled his speed, used it to build his Antimatter Cannon."

So that clears that up. An entire year later!

• Pariah also tells Barry, Cisco and Frost that The Anti-Monitor tested out his Antimatter Cannon on Earth-2, completely destroying it (as seen in the Season 8 premiere of Arrow). Somehow this is news to Team Flash, and they take it hard, as Cisco laments Harry Wells and Frost pines for Jesse Quick.

• Blake Neely, who scores pretty much every series on The CW, is apparently a big fan of leitmotif. Whenever certain characters appear, snippets of their theme songs appear on the soundtrack for a few seconds.

For example, in Part One, when Alexander Knox appears we hear a brief bit of the 1989 Batman theme. Same goes for Robin— we get a hint of the 1966 Batman theme song. When Bruce Wayne hobbles down the stairs in Part Two, he's accompanied by strains from Batman: The Animated Series. We also get a bar or two of the Superman March whenever Superman-96 is onscreen. And when Lois appears, we hear a bit of Can You Read My Mind, which is her unofficial theme. And of course we get the theme from the 1990 Flash series whenever Flash-90 shows up.

According to Neely, he and the producers attempted to get the rights to these music cues for years! Happily, it looks like their hard work paid off.

I'm OK with this! Quite often I say it's a mistake for a movie or TV series to remind the audience of a better one they could be watching instead. But in this case it works, and is completely appropriate. I loved hearing the Superman and Flash themes again, as it was evocative and helped to elevate their appearances.

• On the Waverider, Lois watches helplessly as Earth-73 is destroyed.

A few minutes later, Pariah saves Black Lightning seconds before his world is annihilated, and brings him to Team Flash on Earth-1. I wonder... was Black Lightning from Earth-73? I don't think anyone ever states which Earth he lived on. Based on the proximity of these two events, I'd say it's a reasonable assumption that it was Earth-73!

• Superhero landing!

• When Superman-96 returns to the Waverider, Lois asks him why he added black to his traditionally red and yellow "S" symbol. He replies, "Because, Lois, even in the darkest times, hope cuts through. Hope is the light that lifts us out of darkness."

Awesome! I've probably said it before, but it's worth repeating— I love Brandon Routh as Superman! I wasn't a fan of Superman Returns (gods no!), but any problems I had with that film were nothing to do with him or his performance. He definitely "gets" the character, and perfectly embodies the spirit of the Man Of Steel— much more so than Henry Cabill every will It's too bad he was saddled with such an awful script and didn't get a chance to continue in the role.

Question: Superman-96 gets a big speech in which he discusses "hope" with Lois. So why isn't he the Paragon Of Hope instead of Truth? I guess Supergirl already cornered the market on Hope.

• I haven't ever seen Black Lightning, as there're only so many hours in a day. I'm aware of the show through osmosis though. Last I saw of him he had a completely different costume, 
one with blue and yellow lightning bolts on the chest. Suddenly in this episode he's got a different one. I like this new one! In fact I think I like it better than the original.

• Back in the Antimatter Cannon chamber, the two Flashes have the following conversation:

Barry: "Every second that we waste here another Earth dies. That wave gets closer to my wife."

Flash-90: "I was married once, too. Tina always said that keeping me running was her purpose in life, so as someone who's been running for 30 years, let me tell you. Sometimes, in order to find your purpose as a hero, you gotta take a couple steps back."

Aw... Flash-90 eventually married Tina McGee, his love interest on the 1990 show. Good for them! Sadly though, he phrases his statement in the past tense. Meaning either Tina died or got fed up with being a superhero's wife and divorced him!

• Barry realizes that destroying the antimatter cannon is his destiny, and how he's supposed to vanish in the Crisis. He then shares a heartbreaking goodbye with Team Flash before sacrificing himself.

Note that Frost willingly gives control to Caitlin here, so she can say so long to Barry. It's a poignant little touch, and makes perfect sense too, since Caitlin's known Barry from the start. Well done!

• At the last second, Flash-90 incapacitates Barry by stealing his speed. He explains that The Monitor said "Flash Must Die" in the Crisis, but he didn't specify which Flash. Cue sound of falling slide whistle.

Really, writers? That's some Return Of The King-level, "exact words" bullsh*t right there!

Again, lots to unpack here. First of all, how the hell does Flash-90 know about this prophecy? Sure, Barry & Co. have known about it since Season 1, but Flash-90 is from a completely different Earth! I can't think of any reason why he'd be in the loop here as well. 

Characters being aware of things they can't possibly know about seems to be the norm in this episode. I guess they all read the script.

Second, and most importantly, a lot of fans felt cheated by the writers here. Like they made us worry about Barry's fate for six years and then weaseled out of it at the last second.

I've been predicting something like this would happen, ever since The Monitor first appeared and started saying "Flash Must Die In Crisis." I think I even suggested Flash-90 as a possible way out. I knew there was no way in hell they'd actually kill him for good though, so I'm not surprised they pulled a switcharoo like this.

I wouldn't get too upset about it though, as I don't for one second believe this is over. There's no way in hell they'd handwave away such a major plot element like this. It all felt too... easy and anticlimactic. 

Remember, the Crisis isn't over yet. We've still got two episodes to go. That still leaves plenty of time for our Barry to vanish. I think he'll end up sacrificing himself somehow, but will be resurrected when Earth-1 is restored at the end of the crossover.

• I love John Wesley Shipp as the Flash, and it's always a treat to see him again on the show. I met him in person at a con a couple years ago and he's an incredibly nice guy. Too bad it looks like this'll be his final appearance.

• The Flash famously died two thirds of the way through the Crisis On Infinite Earths comic, which was a huge shock back in the day. And true to form, Flash-90 dies here in the crossover, in much the same manner. Even though I knew it was gonna happen, I gotta admit I got a little choked up during his death scene. Especially when they showed the flashback to Barry-90 and Tina from the 1990 TV show. Man, they look like such babies there!

Also, note that Flash-90's TV death is virtually identical to how it happened in the comic.

• Flash-90, we hardly knew ye!

• Constantine, Mia and Diggle eventually find Oliver's soul in Purgatory. Of course he attacks them, so we can have a short action sequence. Eventually Diggle manages to talk him down and get him under control, telling Oliver, "Listen to me. I see you, man, and I'm so sorry that I wasn't there to have your back during Crisis, but I'm here now."

Um... Correct me if I'm wrong, but... isn't crisis still happening? Like right now? As he speaks?

• When Jim Corrigan, aka the Spectre appears in Purgatory, Constantine says, "Another one I know." Corrigan says, "But I'm also someone else. I'm someTHING else. A specter."

Corrigan was a police detective who occasionally helped out Constantine in his eponymous series, which explains how he knows him. Corrigan was played by a different actor in that show though, and wasn't a supernatural entity. Apparently that's changed since he was last seen.

The Spectre's had a long and convoluted history in the comics. He first appeared way back in 1940, and has gone through numerous changes since. These days the Spectre's described as the "living embodiment of the Wrath Of God," relentlessly punishing evildoers who prey on the weak and innocent.

The Spectre's one of the most powerful heroes in the DC comic universe, as he can do... well, pretty much anything. He's super strong, transform people and objects, travel between dimensions, manipulate time & space and even grow to massive proportions.

He also played a pivotal role in the Crisis comic, where he rallied the remaining heroes, took them back to the dawn of time and singlehandedly battled The Anti-Monitor.

• So it looks like Oliver's going to become the new Spectre. I have absolutely no idea where they're going with this, especially since it's the last season of Arrow and there're only two more episodes to go. 

Since, as I mentioned above, the Spectre plays a huge role in the Crisis comic, I guess they're melding the two characters to give Oliver a big sendoff. Let him save the world one last time before he rides off into the sunset, so to speak.

I'm also assuming the image above is likely what Spectre Oliver will look like, and his skin won't turn bone white as he dons a pair of green Speedos and a green cloak. And he probably won't be growing five hundred feet high so he can punch a giant Anti-Monitor in the nose.

• All through this Discount Crisis I've sort of complained that there's way too many scenes of characters sitting around talking, and not enough cosmic grandeur. That said, I enjoyed this quiet little moment between Black Lightning and Barry, as the two decided to work together to honor the memories of their late fathers.

• I also liked the Supergirl/Batwoman exchange late in the third act. When Supergirl threatens to use the Book Of Destiny to bring back Earth-38, Batwoman threatens to stop her. Supergirl eventually stands down, and Batwoman finally admits she stole a sample of Kryptonite from the Bruce Wayne of Earth-99. She realizes this was wrong, and gives it to Supergirl so she can destroy it.

Batwoman tells Supergirl that Bruce "lost hope, and I never will." Supergirl tells her to keep the Kryptonite, saying, "I have the courage that you'll never have to use it."

It's a cool little exchange, as the two swap their Paragon qualities of hope and courage.

• On board the Waverider, the heroes try to figure out how to find Harbinger when she can teleport literally anywhere. Iris pipes up and says, "Well, we can start by trying to re-task the Waverider's satellite search grid."

Um... how the hell does Iris know how to do THAT? Note that she doesn't ask Leonard to do this for her, she just marches over to the cockpit control panel and starts pushing buttons! 

The Waverider is a timeship from the future. Iris has never even seen it, much less been inside it until now. Yet somehow this newspaper reporter knows exactly how to reconfigure its complicated high tech systems.

• OK, now this was a chilling scene! I especially liked the way Barry and Superman-96 both realizes something was off with Harbinger, and The Anti-Monitor was about to spring a trap on them.

• Discount Crisis strikes again! Late in the third act, The Anti-Monitor possesses Harbinger and battles The Monitor. 

Wondering why he chose to inhabit Lyla's body instead of appearing in person? Because both Monitors are played by actor LaMonica Garrett, that's why. Putting them both onscreen at the same time would have involved costly prosthetic makeup, pricey motion control rigs and expensive greenscreen FX. It was way cheaper to just have Audrey Marie Anderson fight The Monitor and call it a day!

Speaking of LaMonica Garrett... man, he's really let himself go lately. He's down to just an eight pack! Jaysis! His body fat percentage must be in the negative numbers!

• Once The Monitor's been killed, the antimatter wave returns and engulfs Earth-1. Wait... Flash-90 just destroyed The Anti-Monitor's cannon. So where the hell did this wave come from? Did he maybe use the energy he absorbed from The Monitor to generate it?

• Once Pariah teleports the Paragons to safety, there's nothing for the remaining heroes to do but watch helplessly as they're consumed by the antimatter wave.

I loved Superman's subtle little nod to Iris as the wave envelops them. It's like he's letting her know it's gonna be OK, and he trusts the Paragons to fix everything and bring them back. Just like you'd hope a hero like Superman would act in a situation like this!

• Pariah brings the Paragons to the Vanishing Point, where The Anti-Monitor can't find them.

We've seen the Vanishing Point before over on Legends Of Tomorrow. It was originally the home of the Time Lords, er, I mean the Time Masters
— an organization that monitored and protected the timeline. In reality, they secretly used a device called the Oculus to manipulate time for their own ends.

Eventually the Legends intervened, and Captain Cold sacrificed his life to destroy the Oculus, along with the Vanishing Point. With their base obliterated, the Time Masters disbanded. Rip Hunter then formed the Time Bureau on Earth to take their place.

The Legion Of Doom then used the remains of the Vanishing Point as their base, while they searched for the pieces of the Spear Of Destiny. They were eventually defeated by the Legion, and the Vanishing Point has remained empty since.

• When Superman-96 falls ill, Supergirl cradles him in her arms.

This is a reversal of the famous cover image of Crisis On Infinite Earths #7, in which a distraught Superman held a dead Supergirl in his arms.

• Luthor ends up literally overwriting Superman-96, and taking his place as one of the seven Paragons. So how'd he accomplish this amazing feat? Why, by tearing out a page of the Book Of Destiny and using a Sharpie to write his name over the arrow-like "Truth" icon, of course!

Jesus wept.

Why would this even work? How is it possible? This book is probably thousands of years old, and is powered by infinite magic. Why the hell would it care if someone crossed out a name and scribbled their own into it? It's the easily bamboozled Book Of Destiny, ladies and gentlemen!

Plus, can you really tear pages out of the Book Of Destiny? Seems like a design flaw to me. If there's a thousand pages, now there's a thousand potential magic weapons floating around the Multiverse!

This is such a monumentally stupid idea that it almost makes sense!

• By monkeying with the Book Of Destiny, Luthor's now ensured his own survival, but at the cost of Superman-96. Hopefully that doesn't mean he's doomed everyone! Seems like Team Paragon has been significantly weakened without Superman-96!

• We're in the Endgame now!

Like I said in Part One, it's hard not to compare Crisis to the MCU's Infinity War/Endgame. Don't believe me? Let's contrast and compare:

— Both Crisis and Infinity War/Endgame feature appearances from every major character in their shared universe.

— Both feature a super powerful cosmic villain who wants to destroy the entire universe and remake reality in their own image.

— Both feature a villain who teams up with the heroes.

— Both feature the death of the character who kicked off the shared universe. 

— Both feature team-ups between characters who wouldn't normally work together (for example: Constantine and Diggle in Crisis, Tony Stark and Nebula in Endgame).

— Both feature a cliffhanger in which the heroes watch helplessly as various characters are turned into dust or disintegrated.

— And most telling of all: Both feature the heroes traveling to a strange, alien void, where they can regroup and plan how to defeat the villain (the Vanishing Point in Crisis, and the Quantum Realm in Endgame).

Honestly it'd be hard to come up with two stories that were more alike!

I mentioned this in Part One as well, but the thing is, even though it seems like Crisis is aping Infinity War/Endgame, it's really not. 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, sadly it ends up looking like it's copying.

• So what happens next?

Rumor has it that at the end of Crisis, the Multiverse will be gone for good and there'll just be one Earth. 

Eh, I don't think I like that idea. I love the concept of the Multiverse. I loved it in the comics, and I love it in the Arrowverse as well. I like having multiple versions of the characters! It's a good way for the writers to try things with the alternate characters that they'd never attempt with the "main" ones.

Plus dumping everyone onto one Earth is gonna wreak serious havoc on shows like Supergirl and Black Lightning. Their worlds were significantly different than Earth-1, so those series are gonna be very different after the Crisis is over.

In the comics, it didn't take long for DC to realize they'd made a mistake, and they soon pumped out two more Crisis minseries that actually restored their Multiverse! How long before the Arrowverse does the same?

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