Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Crisis is Won It’s a New Dawn

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After a month, A MONTH, the finale for Crisis on Infinite Earths finally arrived and it’s two wonderfully, dramatically packed hours. Cameos the likes of which once seemed they could only exist in fanfiction. A major change to the universe that will surely shake up the future of all the Arrowverse shows. And the sombre and heartfelt send off to the first hero of this world.

To say the last part of the crossover left us in a dire situation would be an understatement. Even after bringing the Paragons together, the Anti-monitor succeeded in wiping out every universe. It was only thanks to a last-ditch attempt by Nash Wells/Pariah did our seven Paragons survive via a teleport to the Vanishing Point. Wait, sorry, make that six paragons and one Lex Luthor.

We pick up Arrow’s part of the crossover with The Monitor, before he was the Monitor and before he completely lost his personality. Mar Novu was someone who wanted to see the dawn of time and he developed a time portal with his wife to do just that. But the dawn of time he found was the beginning of the anti-matter universe. Through him, the Anti-Monitor was born and the anti-matter began to leak into other universes.

In the Vanishing Point, months after we last saw them, our heroes are worse for wear. Kara, Sara, and Kate retreated into themselves, J’onn mediates, Barry went missing, and Ryan and Lex try to build something helpful out of the tech left at the Vanishing Point. One failed attempt at a teleporter later Barry reappears suddenly. He’s been gone for months but to him, it’s only been a few moments. He tried to run into the Speed Force, but couldn’t connect with it.

I have simple wants. I see Sara. I see Kate. I am pleased.

While they’ve been trapped in the Vanishing Point, Oliver, now the Spectre has been in Purgatory learning what it means to be a spectral being of destiny. He goes to the Vanishing Point with a new look and a game plan. With the best chance of a plan since they arrived on the Vanishing Point everyone’s hope is bolstered, even more so when Oliver unlocks Barry’s potential allowing him to connect to the Speed Force. Working on two fronts, one team will go to Mar Novu’s homeworld before he became the Monitor and stop him from ever time traveling, while the other team travels to the dawn of time to face the Anti-Monitor.

New hood, who dis?

Dropping Kara, Ryan, and Lex off on Mar Novu’s planet the others are ambushed in the Speed Force by the Anti-Monitor, separating them. Oliver uses his powers and the connections between them to tether everyone in the speed force, leaving it up to Barry to find them. First Barry is at Queen Consolidated when he first met Oliver.

Then, what might be the greatest cameo of this crossover happens. Barry runs to the Speed Force version of Star Labs and meets himself. Only it’s not him. It’s Barry Allen from another universe. Erza Miller’s Barry Allen. They admire each other’s suits. Our Barry almost spoils DCEU’s Barry on the multiverse and other Barry fades into the Speed Force leaving our Barry a little confused and me absolutely amazed by that fact that actually happened.

This wasn’t a dream. This is real.

Kara, meanwhile is keeping close tabs on Lex, with good reason. Not only did he cheat-code his way into becoming a paragon, he gave himself a power up while at it. Knocking out Kara and Ryan he goes to Mar Novu to warn him about time traveling but is also twisting events so he’s the one who ends up with the godlike Monitor powers instead.

Ryan is seriously questioning why he’s here among all these people with amazing abilities and powers. Luckily for him, one of Kara Danvers’s amazing abilities is ‘gives the best hope speeches’. She convinces him the fact he’s here at all is proof enough he’s the paragon of humanity and in turn, when they catch up to Lex, Ryan is the one to convince Mar Novu to not time travel. Meanwhile, Kara works some frustrations out on Lex.

Back in the speed force Kate sees one of Oliver and Ray’s early interactions before they trusted each other. Seeing these versions of Oliver and Ray, who are so vastly from the friends and allies she knows them as she realizes trusting people can be for the better.

Barry runs to the part of Elseworld’s he and Kara missed while they were slowing down time. He sees Oliver use the arrow gifted to him by the Monitor, learning Oliver offered his life so he and Kara could live. Barry doesn’t understand why Oliver would trade his life, but Oliver’s already made peace with his death.

Speaking of death, Sara’s dead… again. The Speed Force dropped her into the moment after Laurel found her dead with an arrow in her chest. Barry runs into the scene, zapping her up with some electricity. J’onn’s Speed Force moment is from the first time Kara and Oliver met. He reflects on how their bonds have grown and strengthened over time. Barry collects them all, including the Mar Novu team, taking them to the dawn of time.

The Anti-Monitor is still around. Ryan stopped one Mar Novu, but there will always be a Mar Novu from another universe to make the same folly. The Paragons face off against the Anti-Monitor’s Shadow Demons while Spectre Oliver faces the Anti-Monitor himself. It’s full of spectacle and classic Arrowverse banter. Oliver even drops a ‘you have failed this universe’. With him holding back the Anti-Monitor, the Paragons are tasked with fanning the flames of a new universe. Kara gives her most hope-filled speech yet, rallying everyone to focus on what they represent.

I can’t be the only one who thought of the Last Airbender.

Their fight leaves the Anti-Monitor gone and Oliver down. Barry and Sara rush to him, both of them at his side as he looks on the light of a new universe he helped create. Barry, the best friend who he inspired to be a hero and in turn was inspired by to constantly be better. Sara, the friend and loved one who’s been with him since before the boat trip that changed their lives. And with their final ‘thank you’s’ to Oliver it all fades to white.

Then the Legends of Tomorrow part of the crossover begins and instantly everything is brighter. Literally and metaphorically. Kara wakes to her sunshine-filled apartment, almost frying her sister with heat vision. Because yes, Alex is back and so is the rest of National City, perfectly okay and none the wiser that everything and everyone was destroyed.  Things don’t stay perfectly normal for long when Kara learns the Nobel Peace Prize is being awarded to Lex Luthor. Even more alarming no one else remembers or rather knows Lex is actually an evil genius and mass murder. Alex even calls him the ‘best’ guy, which, blgh. The Lex horrors only pile up because not only do he and Lena support Supergirl, they own the DEO.

Is this the bad place?

J’onn shows up and he remembers Crisis as well. They remember the previous world because they’re Paragons. A Meta alert comes up with perfect timing because Kara could do with dishing out a punch or two. The metahuman is Weather Witch who seems a little miffed Supergirl doesn’t know her. Before Kara can stop her, Barry runs onto the scene saying this is one his rogues. Kara’s very confused as to why Barry and one of his villains are on her earth. To which Barry’s confused as to why Kara thinks his earth is her earth. A kindly older gentleman named Marv (see the writer for Crisis on Infinite Earths comics) interrupts their charming befuddlement for an autograph. He explains that they always work together and have always been on the same earth.

I’m your superfriend.

In Star City, Sara’s stumbling through the streets. She calls Ray to the bar they started the crossover in. He doesn’t remember any events of crisis, but J’onn shows up explaining their earths are now one and helpfully reboots Ray’s memories. He’s been going around to the other heroes and their friends, resetting their memories as well. There’s still no sign of Oliver so Sara heads to the bunker to look for him. He’s not there, but Team Arrow is. Diggle is heartbroken he wasn’t there either time Oliver fell. If Oliver’s death didn’t tug at your heartstrings, Diggle and Sara breakdown and comforting one another surely will.

Kara and Barry turn up in the bunker to confirm they all really live on the same earth now. They’re excited their plan worked, but Sara’s breaks the news Oliver isn’t with them. However, because there’s still half an hour of crossover time left, the pity party gets interrupted by an alert.  Just encase you’d forgotten this was also the Legends season premiere the episode makes sure to remind you with a giant Beebo make his way down Star City streets.

Sara calls her team to make sure this isn’t them (yeah, Ava and Nate get crossover time!). Kara, Barry and Ray suit up to take on Beebo, joined by Mick who happened to be in the city for a book signing. Sara takes the helm, directing the team through a plan to trip and contain the fuzz-ball. But the wires slip right through him. Much to Kara’s delight, they’re joined on the scene by Batwoman as they try to figure what this Beebo is. They put it together that this is a distraction, Sara and Barry going to the bank, stopping a heist by Sargon the Sorcerer.

I expected many things from the crossover. A giant Beebo and Kate Kane in the same frame was not one.

Post Beebo, Sara’s joined by Barry in the park. She begins reminiscing on her childhood and what it means that Oliver is gone. He was the last person who knew her before the Gambit. Without him, she doesn’t have a tether to her previous life. She can’t help but feel lost with him gone. Even with her new family in the Legends, it’s hard to accept that all the ties to her old life are gone. Their moment is interrupted by a Shadow Demon jumping them. The Paragons are being attacked and Sara goes to Ryan, saving him in the nick of time.

The Shadow Demons mean the Anti-Monitor isn’t gone. They have no way to destroy him, but Ray and Ryan come up with the idea to shrink him indefinitely. Along with Nash Wells, they go to Star Labs to build a device to do just that, Mick, Killer Frost and Black Lightning serving as their protection from Shadow Demons.

The rest of the heroes suit-up for the final fight against the Anti-Monitor. He enlarges, leaving the Super cousins and Martian Manhunter to fight him in the air, while the others deal with Shadow Demons on the ground. Clark is trapped by the Anti-Monitor. Kara, and the music gear up for a big heroic sacrifice, but Ray flies in with the device at the last moment, tossing it to Kara for the honours of the finishing throw. With the Anti-Monitor left to shrink forever the day is won and the multiverse is safe.

Later we hear an address from the US president, thanking Oliver for his sacrifice. Our heroes take a moment of silence to remember him. Then we hear the voice over from the beginning of the crossover about the multiverse, but this time it’s a voice we know all too well. Oliver narrates as we see the universes that were saved because of his sacrifice before coming back to our earth, Earth-Prime. Sara, Kara, Barry, Kate, Clark, J’onn and Jefferson gather for a memorial, complete with Green Arrow suit and arrow-shaped fire pit, at the old Star Labs facility they used back in the Invasion crossover. Barry has bigger plans for the place than a memorial to Oliver as he reveals a table emblazoned with a shield and chairs with each of their crests. The seven heroes take their places at the table, an eight chair, one marked with the Green Arrow symbol standing in memory to the hero who started it all.

Gone, but not forgotten.


How does the biggest crossover to date hold up? Prior to the final parts airing, I would have said it was good if a bit lacking in action. The strong focus on characters helped bolster the episodes and kept the pace flowing when the action couldn’t. After the Arrow episode of Crisis, I would have still said much of the same. Then the Legends episode happened and it clicked. This crossover was about the characters. It was about Oliver and the path he forged for the heroes of his world. The action, the plot there were there, they mattered, but ultimately that wasn’t what this was about.

That doesn’t mean those elements get a pass because there are moments where the plot flatters and there are moments where it soars. The characters weren’t a flawless sweep either. Arrow’s opening added some depth and personality to the Monitor, but the same can’t be said for the Anti-Monitor who never got more motivation beyond he’s the big bad the heroes need to fight. The action as a whole was well executed in the crossover, even if it is sparingly used.

Plotwise, the Arrow episode was the weaker of the night. It served to show the bonds between the characters, especially the flashes we saw in the Speed Force showing how much the ties between everyone has grown, but Batwoman’s episode developed Kate and Kara’s relationship in tandem with exploring how and why Kate was the Paragon of courage. Meanwhile, the story tread to stop Mar Novu gave Ryan a moment to shine but didn’t impact the greater plot, and if Kara hadn’t sold the hell of her speech to the other Paragons, it would have been very awkward with them just standing in a line staring intently to help create a new universe.

The last moment of the episode with Oliver, Sara and Barry was the highlight of the episode. If it couldn’t be Dig or Felicity at his side, it was most fitting for it to be Barry and Sara. Particularly Sara who was on this journey with Oliver from the first step, even if their paths took them in different directions. Amell, Gustin, and Lotz have always had great chemistry and they brought it out in full force here. Sara really got to shine the last hour. It was great to see her stepping into the leader role with Oliver gone. It could have easily gone to Barry. It’s a subtle acknowledgment that after Oliver, she been doing this the longest.

Where Arrow stumbled with its plot, Legends’ episode soars. It brought the perfect about of levity after four episodes weighted down by the literal apocalypse. Right from the opening, with the physical comedy of Kara waking, to almost melting Alex. The way Benoist played Kara’s confusion was humorous and charming. Gustin only added once he joined the scene. Even fully expecting the earths to merge from the beginning their energy was infectious. It was so easy to get swept up in. And there’s the Beebo of it all. Again, just the perfect beat of levity before the episode switched gears tonally, first into Sara’s mourning, then into the Anti-Monitor fight.

Those same moments worked well visually also. After the muted colours of the Vanishing Point, the Speed Force, and the anti-matter universe, Kara’s apartment with its large window flooded with daylight was just the right contrast. It felt like truly returning to the world after all was lost. Editing isn’t something I usually talk about with the Arrowverse shows, but there were a lot of little details here that added to the crossover. The different aspect ratio for the Speed Force or the camera work with the group shots in the bunker. I particularly like the rack focus to Supergirl, Flash and Team Arrow in the background when Sara was talking to Nate and Ava about getting dragged invited into the crossover.

I’m glad the crossover didn’t pull any punches when it came to the worlds merging. Crisis happened and it had consequences that are going to have lasting effects on the world. And yes, there are other universes out there, i.e. the other DC shows and movies, but the Arrowverse has forever been changed. Here’s hoping the shows make good use of their smaller universe. Personally I’m hoping for smaller crossovers in the future, in the same vein of what happened in the first season of the Flash, where one or two characters would show up for a week. But even if that doesn’t happen, it’s going to be nice to see that hall get some use.

Now, I know I’ve spoken at length about Oliver Queen this season, and I’m going to speak about him more with two episodes of Arrow left. But indulge me a paragraph more. Oliver has had his flaws, both as a person and as a character. And as much as he’s grown, he wasn’t perfect in the end. But his ending was so fitting for him. Oliver’s journey has a hero has been shaped by sacrifices. His parent’s sacrifices for him. His own sacrifices, for his city, for his family. For Oliver’s who’s journey began in so much darkness and blood, what better way to mark the end of that journey by looking into the light of a new multiverse he fought for. That he sacrificed for.

Some Stray Shots Only Legends Could Make

  • Oliver got one last Run Barry Run.
  • Lex Luthor was an absolute joy this crossover in a way that made me want to punch him whenever he was on screen.
  • Kara’s line to him at the start episode was vicious, “We’ve lost too many good people already. Lex, thanks for volunteering,”
  • Also a joy was Ryan Choi, but not the punching way. Loved his comments about alien forests and his ‘I think Lex pulled a Luthor on us.’ I hope we see more of him in the future.
  • Ryan was also very right about Kara being the Paragon of pep talks.
  • Sara Lance when asked if she regularly saves the world: “My team and I usually mess things up for the better.”
  • “This isn’t right. I mean it’s right, but it’s not right because it’s right!” Classic altered timeline mood.
  • The Danvers’ sisters ‘I love you’s’ is a reminder of why I love them.
  • “That’s right, Wally told us about the time you guys used those totems to turn yourself into a giant Beebo to fight a time demon.” – is that what I sound like explaining Legends of Tomorrow to my friends.
  • “You got Shanghaied into another crossover, didn’t you?”
  • Beebo selfie!
  • It’s been a minute since we’ve Kara reach bubbly levels of excitement and here she got that excited three times; learning they’re all on the same earth, seeing Kate again, and seeing the Justice League table.
  • Kate with Alex and Kara at her apartment!
  • Baby Sara is alive! (Fingers crossed she appears in Green Arrow and the Canaries.)
  • Clark and Lois have boys, with an S. As in more than just Jonathan.
  • “How often does the world almost come to an end?” “…” “Oh, it’s like that.”
Images courtesy of the CW

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