Crisis On Infinite Earths Hour 2 Review: Paragons, Supermen, and an Anti-Monitor
Monday night’s installment of the CW crossover, technically an episode of Batwoman, slowed things down a bit. This is typical for a middle installment of the crossover, which moves the pieces around from the many included shows. In Crisis On Infinite Earths hour 2, the assembled team gets a search mission. Meanwhile, Oliver’s closest friends come to grips with his fate from the first hour of the crossover. While that should have been the emotional center of the episode, it actually ended up being the weakest leg of this part. The team-up between Kate Kane and Kara Danvers did most of the character work in the episode. Finally, Candace Patton’s Iris West, Tyler Hoechlin’s Clark Kent, and Elizabeth Tullock’s Lois Lane go searching for Superman. Jon Cryer’s Lex Luthor is also looking for Superman, and he brings back the reality-altering Book of Destiny from last year’s crossover.
Unlike the last episode, these three stories don’t feel so connected. However, this isn’t really a bad thing. Because it gives the audience the sense that the team meant to save the world is split up. This always provides tension. The heroes team-up, break apart, and then team-up again. Only instead of having them all fall out with each other, they end up with disparate goals. The journey to bring them back together will have the same effect, but without the violent fallout that happens between superheroes. Well, there is a bit of violence, and it comes from the darkest version of Batman we’ve seen in live-action.
Spoilers for Crisis On Infinite Earths hour 2 to follow, so check out the episode on the CW App if you’ve not yet seen it and come back.
Crisis On Infinite Earths Hour 2 Gives Us Two Classic Supermen Back
Image via screengrab
The highlight of hour 2 of the Crisis On Infinite Earths was the introduction of two Supermen. One is joining the team, while another gets the happy ending that so many of our favorite superheroes never get. While we love our favorite versions of DC heroes, continuing the story means continuing conflict. So fans of Smallville might be upset about where we found Tom Welling’s version of Clark Kent, at first. He gave up his powers in order to spend his life with Lois and raise their children. We see via headlines that he had a career as Superman, but one that’s now over. What that means is that he’s one of the few Superman in all of the DC multiverse to actually get a happy ending.
The same, unfortunately, can not be said for the Christopher Reeves and Brandon Routh version of Superman. The storytellers for Crisis On Infinite Earths hour 2 mashed up the stories of Kingdom Come and Injustice. This version of Superman lost all of his friends and his Lois to the Joker. Yet, unlike both of those versions of Superman, he was able to keep his hope. It isn’t until Lex Luthor shows up with book of destiny that he’s able to turn his love into hate. An impressive-for-the-CW Superman on Superman fight takes place, and of course it’s Lois who eventually reaches him. Also, worth noting is that during this sequence, the show’s score homages the classic John Williams theme. And what’s great, is that this version of Superman is going to be a big part of the rest of the crossover.
Of course, along with two of the best Supermen, we also get a Batman. In fact, the Batman we see is one of the darkest versions of the Dark Knight we’ve ever seen.
Kevin Conroy Suits Up, But Not in the Way You Think
Image via CW
Kate and Kara’s trip to Earth-99 (a nod to Batman Beyond) finds them seeking the “Paragon of Courage.” Kate believes it’s that Earth’s version of her cousin, Bruce. We originally thought that Kevin Conroy would play the Kingdom Come version of Bruce Wayne, but it’s worse than that. On this Earth, Batman went bad. He killed not only his rouges, but also his friends. Kara discovers that he murdered that Earth’s Clark Kent when she finds his broken classes in Bruce’s macabre trophy case. Considering the backlash that Batwoman faced after its early marketing, fans still mad at the show are going to be really mad. Because while this is the first time we get to hear that iconic Batman voice in live-action, it’s coming out of the worst Batman ever put on screen.
Permanently injured in his fight to the death with Superman, Bruce must wear a robotic exoskeleton to move around. At first, he’s heartened to see his cousin Kate. On his Earth she became Batwoman, but died doing so. So, much of his message to our Kate is that humanity doesn’t deserve to be saved. When Kara bursts in, angry about Clark, Bruce uses kryptonite on her. (And sucker punches her, while quoting Batman v. Superman.) Kate retaliates, and accidentally causes his exoskeleton to electrocute him. His dying words are that there is no hope to be had for heroes or anyone. This sequence is like Kate’s version of Luke’s trip into the cave on Dagobah in Empire Strikes Back. She sees the darkest version of what she could become, and she rejects it.
Crisis On Infinite Earths Hour 2 Brings Great Cameos But Doesn’t Really Move the Story Forward
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While these vignettes were wonderful and entertaining, they don’t really advance the larger story about the destruction of the multiverse. We do, however, get some explanation as to why the Anti-Monitor stopped his universe-destroying work. Audrey Marie Anderson’s Lyla reacts strangely to the book of destiny. She’s hearing voices and in great pain. The reason is because the Anti-Monitor needs her power. As he grows stronger, the Monitor (LaMonica Garett in both roles) gets weaker. We finally see the villain for the first time, and he wants Lyla to work with him. Meanwhile, Barry, Mia, Sara, and Matt Ryan’s John Constantine are trying to bring Oliver back from the dead using a Lazarus Pit.
Wednesday’s episode, leading up to a cliffhanger ending, will likely see the team brought together once more only to fail. (Or, at least, appear to fail.) They are all mostly back together, but “Team Arrow” is stuck because while they revived Oliver’s body, they can’t get his soul back. Interestingly, tomorrow’s episode will be an episode of The Flash. And it was reportedly on that show’s set that a frequent presence on the Vancouver filming scene claims he saw Tom Ellis as Lucifer. He denied his appearance, but the characters do have a good reason to talk to the Devil. They need to find Oliver’s soul, and of course it is probably in Hell. We went there last season in Legends of Tomorrow. Also, since the last Lucifer season on Netflix, he’s back in his throne.
A Solid Episode But Shows the Downside of These Epic Crossovers Split Up into Single Episodes
Hour 2 of Crisis On Infinite Earths was a very good time, and likely fits well into the larger whole. Yet, as a standalone episode of television it didn’t deliver as well as the first hour. This is not the fault of the storytellers but rather the format. Nonetheless, the producers, directors, cast, and crew did a remarkable job of putting together characters from all of these different shows. Also, Black Lightning’s mid-season finale featured the red skies of crisis. Much of what happened focused on their show’s main story. Yet, the episode ended with the antimatter wave wiping them all out of existence. All of them, of course, except Cress Williams who will show up in tomorrow’s episode. It is also further evidence that the destroyed worlds are not permanently gone. I
Marc Guggenheim, the lead producer of this year’s crossover, promised that Crisis On Infinite Earths will have far-reaching consequences for the Arrowverse. Unlike the comics, there will not just be a single universe. However, there will likely be a select few dimensions of the multi-verse left. One of them, almost surely, will bring together the Arrowverse into a single one. Supergirl, Black Lightning, and the rest will hopefully all occupy the same space. Then, instead of giant crossovers, they can feature smaller, two-episode guest spots with the heroes throughout their shows’ seasons. There will surely be another big crossover. Yet, it might be nice to take a break and allow there to smaller crossovers like the Arrow and Flash shows used to do. It allows the characters to truly feel like they’ve become friends.
What did you think of Crisis On Infinite Earths hour 2? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Featured image via CW.
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.