The opening moments of Hour 1 of CW’s Crisis On Infinite Earths featured a handful of amazing cameos and a short explanation of what the multiverse is. We saw Robert Wuhl on Earth-89, where Tim Burton’s Batman is still kicking ass, apparently. There are short glimpses of the cast of Titans, though it’s likely recycled footage. We also saw the inimitable Burt Ward walking down the street of Gotham City on Earth-66, shouting “Holy crimson skies of death!” (Also, we’re pretty sure he was walking Ace the Bat-Hound.)
However, it wasn’t all set-up and introductions. Things got very “real” very quickly, and one of the main heroes in the Arrowverse fell in battle. Hour 1 of Crisis on Infinite Earths was a full-on battle for the fate of Earth-38, the home of Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl. Technically, this was an episode of Supergirl. Still, this definitely feels like its own production, a limited series honoring the best shared universe on television.
If you’ve not yet watched it, check it out for free on the CW App or website. Then come back, because we talk spoilers below the Warren Zevon video….
Hour 1 of Crisis On Infinite Earths Is an Amazing Accomplishment
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The first act of the show was, to quote Jen Connic on Twitter, “a whirlwind.” The pacing was breakneck, and a lot happened in the first few moments. Argo City, the last remnant Krypton where Superman and Lois lived with their newborn baby, is wiped away. Yet, before that happens, Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tullock’s characters place their son in a ship to send him to Earth. It’s an homage on top of an homage. As Alexander Luther was sent to Earth in a similar ship in the opening of the Crisis On Infinite Earths comic crossover. But their characters speak similar dialogue to Marlon Brando’s Jor-El from Superman (1979). From there, the heroes are gathered in a flurry of fast-paced scenes to gather them for a pre-Crisis briefing.
What’s amazing about this is that despite the fast-paced nature of the first act, it doesn’t feel rushed. These heroes have history, but with the skies turning red they bond quickly. Still, the writers put together a solid A-, B-, and C-Story that each had stakes and played into the larger narrative. Sometimes, these crossovers short the supporting casts of the individual shows. There is a lot of story to get to. But they found a way to utilize all of the characters in a way that served the larger story. If the quality of the crossover stories remains consistent across all five episodes? We are in for a monumental television event.
What Happened in Hour 1 of the Crisis On Infinite Earths Crossover
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The main story involved many of our heroes serving as a last line of defense at a sci-fi tower that helped stave off the destruction of Earth 38 for a time. The Anti-Monitor (played by LaMonica Garrett) was mentioned but not seen. However, he does have an army of creatures that seem like a cross between dementors and ghosts. The heroes fought them because they were trying to disable the tower. Meanwhile, Caity Lotz’s Sara Lance, Jesse Rath’s Brainiac 5, and Lois Lane traveled to another Earth (in the future, no less) to meet an old-man Oliver Queen and rescue the super-baby. Finally, David Harewood’s J’onn J’onzz, Chyler Leigh’s Alex Danvers, and Katie McGrath’s Lena Luthor figure out a sci-fi plan to evacuate the planet.
There are so many ways that these stories could have been underserved or feel rushed in Hour 1 of Crisis On Infinite Earths. Yet, almost impossibly, they weren’t. They remained relevant to the crisis (pun intended) at hand, as well as the character moments therein. One of the best of these moments came between Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen and Kat McNamara’s Mia Smoak. McNamara plays his daughter from the future and is the star of the new Arrow spinoff series. Mia grew up in a time when the vigilantes we love were vilified. Yet, in a touching scene, Oliver gifts her with a “Green Arrow” suit of her own. This would be big on its own but given what happens at the end of the episode, it takes on a whole new meaning.
The Death of the Green Arrow
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Since the final season premiere of Arrow, Oliver Queen has been preparing for his death. The Monitor (also played by Garett) and he have been working on mysterious mission to prepare for the crisis. However, as Earth 38 falls, the Monitor uses his sci-fi god-magic to teleport all of the heroes out of harm’s way. Yet, when he tells Oliver it’s time to fall back, Oliver shoots him with an Arrow that stalls out the Monitor’s powers. Rather than flee, Oliver wants to fight until the last possible second to save more lives.
We later learn that thanks to his heroic actions, another billion of people escaped the dying universe. Of course, this results in the death of Oliver Queen. (And a death the Monitor hadn’t “foreseen,” meaning the future is not set and he doesn’t know everything.) No one expected Oliver to die in Hour 1 of Crisis On Infinite Earths, which is why it’s such a bold choice.
It’s an incredibly powerful death scene, where Oliver gives heartfelt goodbyes to Mia, Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen, and Sara Lance. He accepts his death and tells them to “keep me in your heart.” (Now you know why we posted that Warren Zevon song.) It’s a shock that Oliver didn’t make it out of the first hour, but because it’s comic book storytelling he’s sure to come back. (Also, he’s got three episodes left in Arrow’s final season.) Still, it is a shocking development and shows that the stakes are very high for the rest of the series.
Check out the promo for Hour 2 and check out our Crisis On Infinite Earths episode guide so you don’t miss a moment.
Tell us what you thought of Hour 1 of Crisis on Infinite Earths and tell us where you think it’s gonna go in the comments below!
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Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.