Ahh Crossover time. One of biggest reasons I keep returning to all of the DC TV shows, and the thief of much of my time in the last two week as I rushed to watch a total of 194 combined episodes of Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, and Batwoman.
I can only really blame myself for falling back on watching and relying on recaps and YouTube videos to keep myself up to date, but I can safely say that after giving 130 hours of my last two weeks (that’s basically six full days of my life) that I was overhyped for the greatest TV crossover of our time.
Not since the disastrous final season of Game of Thrones (or rather the last two episodes) have I been so hyped to watch a TV event come to life. And Crisis has been its own biggest hype man — from numerous stinger shots of the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) scattered throughout the five shows (and mentions in Black Lightning, which has sort of set itself apart from the DC universe thus far) to the absurd amount of times the word crisis has been abused by all of the major characters on these shows to the press surrounding reporting on big-name cameos and promises of epicness.
Tonight, the crossover was kicked off in typical crossover fashion, in the gathering of all the heroes to meet on Supergirl‘s Earth-38. Before the team could officially get to work, the crossover took the time to confirm some canons for us, which basically said that all versions of DC storylines exist in one form or another.
On Earth-89, we got to see Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman confirmed into canon with Robert Wuhl’s Alexander Knox cameo as the skies turn red. He’s holding a newspaper touting the latest Batman and Joker capture. On Earth-66, we spot the 1966 Batman series’ Dick Grayson, played by Burt Ward, walking the Bat-hound, Ace, as his earth is destroyed. On Earth-9, we got DC Universe’s Titans cast on-screen with Jason Todd’s Robin and Hawk, played by Walter Curran and Alan Ritchson. And then, finally, a callback to crossovers past, we see The Ray, played by Russell Tovey, flying through Earth-X before it is also destroyed in the anti-matter wave.
Of course, this all means, to me, that nothing that happens with the anti-matter wave is permanent. These worlds aren’t destroyed because obviously there will be more episodes of Titans and Snart is still on Earth-X, and no one would pass down a chance to get Wentworth Miller back on their show, especially since Earth-X Snart is actually the nicest, most understanding freedom fighter.
But, that’s where the guarantees end. Other than the fact that we know our heroes will end up somehow righting the wrongs done by the Anti-Monitor, we don’t know what the price will be.
Much of Part One of this crossover felt a little bit like a long exposition, despite the heartbreaking ending of the episode, it was a lot of evacuation and running around National City saving people, and for about half of the episode, it felt a little jumbled. From splitting the team to a feeling of inconsistency in timing, to world jumping, Crisis got off to a bit of a rocky start, cameos aside.
The team is assembled by Lyla/Harbinger (Audrey Marie Anderson) with Barry (Grant Gustin), Sara (Caity Lotz), and Ray (Brandon Routh) arriving late after doing some recon on the giant towers that have dropped on National City. They relay that the tower is meant to essentially hold off the anti-matter wave that is destroying everything in its path, including the universe, while they try and evacuate the planet.
Unfortunately, it won’t be any help for Argo, the floating city in space where the surviving population of Kryptonians live as the anti-matter wave hits them first. Earth-38’s Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Bitsie Tulloch) barely make it out of there after sending their son, Jonathan, off in another baby pod towards Earth before being wooshed to Earth. Too bad for Kara’s mom (Erica Durance), because she didn’t get the same save.
(Perhaps we’ll see her again on Kent Farm when we see Tom Welling’s Superman?)
Teleported to the DEO headquarters, everyone quickly is broken up into groups and sent on their own mini-missions. Lois, Sara, and Brainy (Jesse Rath) go off to find baby Johnathan, proving once again that sending an infant off in an escape pod is a horrible idea no matter what. Because, guess what, the baby isn’t on our earth, he’s in Earth-16, and he’s not even in our time. He’s in 2046!
Meanwhile, Alex (Chyler Leigh) is sent off to find Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) in order to parlay with her and get her to create a portal large enough to essentially evacuate the entire world into Earth-1. Aside from the larger implications of overcrowding, this was always going to be a difficult task. If you’ve been following along in Supergirl, you’ll know that long-time BFF of the Danvers and the Superfriends, Lena Luthor, is no longer a friend at all.
After feeling betrayed by Kara’s reveal that she was Supergirl all along (though the fact that she doesn’t wear a mask and literally got bangs the exact same time as Supergirl should have tipped off this supposed genius), Lena went down the path that so many Luthors went down and so now she’s a bit of an anti-hero/villain (she’s not actually a bad person, but she did try to brainwash the entire world last episode.).
On the street level, we have J’onn J’onzz (David Harewood), Nia Nal (Nicole Maines), and Kelly Olsen (Azie Tesfai) as the D team, basically herding people towards alien ships that will fly them through the giant portal.
Then, we have our A-Team, with Oliver (Stephen Amell), Mia (Katherine McNamara), Kate Kane/Batwoman (Ruby Rose), Kara (Melissa Benoist), Clark, Ray, and Barry all working to fight an actual army of dementors coming through from the Anti-Monitor. Cue choreographed fight scenes with ridiculous flips and twirls and lasers and specialty arrows, honestly, I know there are people out there who like these scenes and I know they’re fun to shoot and a lot of work, but these ate up the most time in my giant catch-up and I now hate them.
Anyways, despite their heroics, nothing really helps. They’re only delaying the inevitable destruction of this universe. So, as Alex helps Lena finish up the portal (with Lena — eyeroll — emphasizing, again, that they’re not friends, even after Alex saves her life and essentially helps her save billions of lives), the street-level group get as many people through the portal as possible onto Earth-1.
As the fighting is happening, on Earth-16, the baby-finding team arrive at the Arrow Cave/Foundry/Abandoned Headquarters after tracking baby Johnathan’s pod to the location. A Green Arrow attacks them as Lois runs off to find her child, Brainy is incapacitated, and Sara takes on this Earth-16 Oliver before he’s shocked to see who his opponent is.
This Oliver never got to meet his Sara again, she apparently never survived the Queen’s Gambit sinking, and the two have a tearful reunion that reminds me exactly why I like seeing Stephen Amell and Caity Lotz acting together on screen. With the baby saved and maybe a little healing starting to take place with an old man Oliver Queen, all that’s left is for our A-Team heroes to get the hell out of Earth-38.
As the fight on top of the tower escalates, the Monitor appears again and wooshes all of the heroes out of there, one by one, saying that the fight is lost and they need to leave. But, stubborn until the end, Oliver refuses to stop and instead shoots the Monitor with an arrow to keep on fighting until his literal last breath.
Now, anyone who has caught up (and now that includes me!) knows that Oliver was always going to die. Despite The Flash‘s weekly tearful goodbyes to Barry, in the real world, we knew Arrow was the one who was getting its swan song. Oliver was always meant to die, Mia would eventually take his place and get her own show. So, I went into this crossover expecting Oliver to die. I expected him to die during the midway point, for the troops to rally and for everyone to fight back when the crossover kicked back up in January.
The actual shock of this episode was Oliver dying in the exposition of the story. It brought the episode back down to earth (pun intended). The quiet moments between characters, like Kara and Clark talking about their struggles as heroes, or Sara and Earth-16 Oliver reuniting, or even Oliver giving Mia her own suit, those were the ones that were more meaningful than any absurd fight against space dementors.
I’ll admit that throughout the years I’ve happily thrown shade at Oliver Queen and Arrow. From the barely veiled attempt to make him into a poor man’s Bruce Wayne, to his far deviation from comics canon romantic storyline, to his absurd flashback sequences that lasted entire 24 episode seasons, this show has had its ups and downs. Having seen Oliver Queen live through all his forms — playboy, vengeful vigilante, watchful parent, loving husband — this ending hit me in a place that could only be described as the feels. Watching this man take on the burden of a true hero, in a selfless final act that traded his final breaths for the lives of billions of people was enough to bring even the harshest critic to tears.
Surrounded by his allies and friends, with his daughter at his side, we find Oliver Queen, of Earth-1, taking his final rest. He did it so that Barry and Kara could rise up as leaders and save the infinite worlds. He did it so billions of other lives could have a chance. Oliver Queen, you have saved more than just this city, you’ve saved the earth, and you might have saved all of our universes.
With tear-filled eyes, the remaining heroes look up to find Nash Wells, this season’s adventuring, Indiana Jones knock-off, Harrison Wells. Except he’s not Nash anymore, now he’s Pariah. If you’re looking for someone to blame, look no further. He was the one who released the Anti-Monitor. With Oliver’s death, the Monitor is immediately troubled. He saw Oliver’s death, but not this way. The future is already changing, and as we’ve learned from Eobard Thawne, the timeline is malleable.
Come back tomorrow, as Crisis on Infinite Earths continues! (And I’ll probably be crying more.)