So far, we’ve had shocks, thrills, cameos, deaths and old catchy theme tunes… but what we’ve kind of been lacking is any sense of danger, or in fact any real emotional stakes being offered in this series. But could the third part of Crisis on Infinite Earths deliver what it’s been missing? Damn right it could.
While not quite as entertaining as the previous episode, this was certainly the big one in terms of emotional impact. Not only that, but Crisis fans will also know that it’s around this point when there should be a double-whammy coming in terms of jaw-dropping moments – and yes, it delivered them. It not only got a lot of the bigger moments from the comics mostly right, it also introduced some new characters into the mix, and gave us a few intriguing twists and turns that set up a twisted cliffhanger that’s bound to get viewers talking.
So, let’s see what ups and downs happened in part three of Crisis on Infinite Earths, shall we?
Up: I second that Emotion!
So the first part of Crisis on Infinite Earths was a confusing mess, and the second part was sheer fun. This third instalment, however, was easily the most emotional of all of them so far. A majority of the scenes emphasised the importance of what was happening, and managed to convey the tragedy of every failure for the heroes. Whether it was something big – like the fate of the Flash – or something personal that happened off-screen – like Superman repeatedly failing to save universes – the feelings of triumph and tragedy hit hard.
It’s almost fitting that this was happening in an episode of The Flash, which has been accused of being the most huggy-touchy-feely of all CW shows (led by Cryin’ Barry) – and for once those emotions seemed genuinely earned. It’s just unfortunate that this level of emotion hadn’t been conveyed earlier, to help viewers understand the real impact of the situation right from the start. Still, here it was played to perfection and the emotional storytelling was in great form.
Down: Hell is other people!
Oliver, Oliver, Oliver.
Obviously Oliver Queen is a huge character. He’s Green Arrow, the first building block of the whole Arrowverse, and as such his leaving is a big deal. How can this not be an important issue? So now, in the short space of just three episodes of this crossover series he’s saved billions, sacrificed his life, and been physically resurrected. Now a team has been dispatched to the afterlife to find rescue his soul, and the Spectre has shown up too… which, to be fair, could present some of the most awesome Crisis moments on screen to date.
But come on, this is still the Crisis itself. While letting the guy rest in peace was never going to be on the cards, this whole thing just feels like a bad subplot that’s just wasting time and getting some characters out of the way while bigger things are happening. Yes, it’s going to pay dividends down the line, but right now it’s padding and a waste of heroes.
Up: Behold! Acting!
Picking up from the improved emotional storytelling in this episode, what really sold it were some great performances all around… and in particular from three actors, who managed to sell some occasionally clunky dialogue like it was Shakespeare. The best of all of them was Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning, and his feelings of loss and rage at the deaths of his loved ones were entirely convincing. It put Supergirl’s spilled salad scene from two episodes ago to shame.
Likewise, Brandon Routh was in fine form as Superman despite his short time on screen (once again proving how damn good he was in the role) and the woefully underappreciated John Wesley Shipp as Earth-90’s Barry Allen/Flash. Proving that great actors can make even the worst writing sound good, both delivered some cheesy statements with heartfelt sincerity. In an episode that was all about emotion, they made us really care about them.
Up: The stakes just went up, up and away!
So, the Infinite Earths are being wiped out. Yes, we knew that already. Although for the first time we started to get a real sense of danger, a point made clear by the plans of the heroes repeatedly going wonky. Every failure or realisation of how screwed they are was built on, with the stakes getting ever higher. The real shock though was how this episode doubled down on the expected tragic loss by having that not be the cliffhanger for the episode.
Instead, they smartly piled even the pressure, creating more problems for our heroes, and they even threw in a rather neat and unexpected curve at the end. Yes, logically it makes very little sense so far but there’s plenty of wiggle-room to allow for theories, and plenty of time for fans to discuss it. How will the heroes solve the Crisis and stop the Anti-Monitor now? This is a genuine cliffhanger we can’t wait to see played out.
Down: Get Snart (and Rory)!
Is anybody else loving Captain Cold’s voice on the alternate Waverider, or is it just me? It’s easily one of the most awesome additions to this whole story. It’s also been great having the cornerstones of the Legends of Tomorrow team representing their respective brand. Just one question though… where was Heatwave in this episode? Maybe I missed him, but he was all over the previous instalment and now suddenly he’s off doing other things again. Ah, maybe he was busy working on a new chapter for his next book while worlds were being washed out of existence.
Up: The Flash of two worlds!
Admit it, you knew it was coming. If you’ve got any knowledge of the Flash from comic books, then you’ll know what happened to Barry Allen in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. Even from day one of this Flash TV show, the Red Skies/Flash Vanishes Crisis moment had to happen. However, fans have also been expecting them to cop out on it in some way, the most obvious being that it would be another Flash.
That they delivered on all the fan expectations is an understatement, because of how powerful the moment itself was when it finally happened. Was the whole sequence of events entirely logical? Not really, but for once we’ll overlook it just because of how amazing it was. Of course, it may not affect the news headlines in a Back To The Future kind of way (hmm, we’ll see…), but this was definitely the big Flash sacrifice fans needed – and a whole lot more, too. We’ll miss you, Flash.
Down: Fight or bite!
As Mr. Blonde once said, are you gonna bark all day, little doggie, or are you gonna bite? It’s fun seeing Batwoman and Supergirl hanging around together, and to resolve a tense standoff between the two with just words instead of fists is a great tease of possible things to come.
Then the show ruined it.
To have Batwoman following her at full pace in the very next scene, wanting to talk again directly after the argument has been resolved… that’s clumsy. People usually need a cooldown period after arguing, otherwise it’s more than possible that the fight may start up again because they’re still on edge. It doesn’t matter if it was to apologise (um… for being right), and maybe Batwoman’s pointlessly confrontational by nature, but this dumb and felt like she just wanted to keep fighting.
And by the way, that glowing green kryptonite – if that’s what it is – must be burning a hole in Batwoman’s pocket or something because she keeps on pulling it out to look at it. Now, while it’s necessary to remind the viewers of where this particular hot potato is for when it comes in handy later, it’s also making her look like she’s just itching to try it out. It’s not a good look for her.
Up: Luci and the Birds of Prey!
Those wonderful cameos kept on coming, and right out of the gate we got a chance to see 2002’s Birds of Prey back in action (or at least Huntress and Oracle). And you know what? While this was only a brief moment, it was truly awesome for this old fan. Also, this was the first time that we really got a sense of how devastating the oncoming antimatter wave truly is because it really hit home. Oh yeah… and we got Lucifer too.
That may sound almost like a throwaway comment, but that’s only because they botched on a moment he shared with John Constantine. It’s no real shock that the two would have crossed paths before, but to invert the joke on how Constantine’s surname should be pronounced was a slap in the face. It may have been meant as a joke, and it was kind of amusing… but to have someone finally pronounce it correctly, only for Constantine himself to correct that and say it wrongly is massively annoying. It was a great moment which suddenly fell flat.
Anyway, so far this Crisis on Infinite Earths series has been a remarkably entertaining one that’s been doing justice to the comics and should be making longtime DC fans proud. There’s a long time to wait until this cliffhanger is resolved and we’ll be covering the conclusion when it airs next year, but we can’t wait!
Do you have any theories as to how this will end? Will they reboot the whole Infinite Earths? Reset time itself, perhaps? Or maybe streamline all the CW shows so there’s only Earth-1 left? Let us know what you think!