Crisis On Infinite Earths Hour 3 Review: Death, Deception, and the Devil
If the second hour of the epic CW crossover was a bit off where pacing was concerned, the next installment made up for it in a big way. The search for “Paragons” is still on (as is the Team Arrow mission), but the story moves forward. Like, all the way forward. The cliffhanger ending of hour 3 of Crisis On Infinite Earths is huge but confirms what a lot of fans suspected about where the story is headed. During the aftershow on CW hosted by Kevin Smith, overall executive producer Marc Guggenheim revealed that the next installment opens at the dawn of time. We will get the backstory for LaMonica Garrett’s Monitor and Anti-Monitor, and a whole lot more.
This was a breakneck episode full of great character moments, emotion, and fun twists. It’s almost impossible to talk about without getting into spoiler territory. However, what we can say before the warning is that this is an absolute triumph. Juggling as many characters as that other big superhero crossover event this year, this show is a celebration of 40 years of DC live-action heroes. Even though some of the cameos are painfully short, they are nonetheless gifts. There are deep-cut references to shows like the 1990s Flash series, the mid-2000s Birds of Prey show, and even DC-related shows fans might not realize are part of that universe. And they did it all on a television budget. No matter how the last two hours go, the Crisis crossover is an achievement to be proud of.
Okay, let’s get into spoilers. Bookmark the page and return if you’ve not yet seen hour 3 of Crisis On Infinite Earths.
The Flash Must Die In Crisis
Image via CW
There is a lot about this episode that is worthy of discussion. Yet, the biggest, most heartfelt moment was the death of Barry Allen. However, Grant Gustin’s accountant is breathing a huge sigh of relief. John Wesley Shipp has been a part of The Flash since the pilot episode. Yet, last year during the Elseworlds crossover, he portrayed his version of Barry Allen from the 1990s series. He vanished during that one (in a crisis, one might say). We discovered what happened to him. Flash and his team (and Cress Williams as Black Lightning) found him in the Anti-Monitor’s lair. Not only that, he appeared to be running on a “cosmic treadmill,” a deep cut from Flash comics lore.
After a round of sci-fi science, Gustin’s Flash figured out that this was the moment he would have to sacrifice himself to stop the destruction of his Earth. Yet, that’s when the storytellers dropped a massively moving twist for anyone who has affection for Shipp’s Flash. He “stole” some of Barry’s speed and hopped on the treadmill of destiny himself. In a sequence that was an homage to the death of Barry Allen in the Crisis comics crossover, Shipp’s Flash sacrificed himself. They even showed a clip from his series as he did, working in a proper series finale to the first-ever live-action Flash. (The show was unceremoniously canceled and never got a proper send-off.) It was the emotional highlight of hour 3 of Crisis On Infinite Earths, especially because Shipp also played Gustin’s father in the show.
The Devil Is in the Details for Hour 3 of Crisis On Infinite Earths
Image via screengrab
The pervious episode brought the body of Oliver Queen back to life. However, his soul was a different matter. Since Matt Ryan’s John Constantine lost his magical mojo, he had to ask a favor of an old pal. Despite his denial during an interview, Tom Ellis showed up on Earth-666 as his character from Lucifer. He’s seen partying during the end of the world, which totally tracks with that character. Though this was just a one-off cameo, Lucifer and Constantine have history, including involving his friend and demon Mazikeen. (Played by Lesly Ann Brandt on Lucifer on Netflix.)
Once they get to Oliver Queen, he’s not in Hell but, rather, purgatory. This makes perfect sense, since the island that birthed his heroic persona is Lian Yu, a Mandarin word meaning “purgatory.” David Ramsey’s John Diggle and Kat McNamara’s Mia Smoak plead with Oliver to return to the land of the living, but then someone shows up.
Of everything in hour 3 of Crisis On Infinite Earths, this felt a little forced. Stephen Lobo showed up as Jim Corrigan, the Spectre from DC Comics. His introduction was pure exposition, but he revealed Oliver’s fate. It’s not unexpected, as many fans on social media called it. (Stephen Amell even tweeted a reference to it some weeks ago.) Oliver Queen will become someone else, something else. He will be the new Spectre of the Arrowverse. The Spectre is a magical, cosmic character who is sometimes called “God’s vengeance.” Either way, it means that he’ll be out there in the ether, living on in some way (and available for cameos and guest spots on other Arrowverse shows).
The End of the Age of Heroes
Image via screengrab
The last few minutes of the crossover revealed that the Anti-Monitor was not deterred by the Flash’s noble sacrifice in the third act. However, thanks to some last-minute magic from Tom Cavanaugh’s Pariah, a select group of heroes avoided the destruction of the universe. A setting from the first season of Legends of Tomorrow exists outside of space and time. Called the Vanishing Point, it was sitting right there waiting to be used.
So, all of the paragons are there to come up with a plan to fight the Anti-Monitor. Paragon of Hope and Courage, Supergirl and Batwoman, had some great moments during the episode. Caity Lotz’s Sara Lance is the Paragon of Destiny. Newcomer Osric Chau plays Ryan Choi, the Paragon of Humanity and also a character who later becomes the Atom (in the comics). David Harewood’s J’onn J’onzz is the Paragon of Honor. And the Paragon of Truth is the original Superman, as played by Brandon Routh (channeling Christopher Reeves).
Except, not for long. Suddenly overtaken by an unknown ailment, Superman vanishes in a wave of antimatter energy. In his place is Lex Luthor, as played by Jon Cryer. Turns out that because he had the all-powerful Book of Destiny, he saw what was supposed to happen. So, with some signature Lex Luthor guile, he edited the book so he survived rather than Kal-El.
When the last two hours of Crisis On Infinite Earths airs next month, the big showdown will go down. While the team is down their best Superman, they are going to be up one Spectre, Oliver Queen. Whatever will happen is going to be suitably epic.
What was your favorite part of hour 3 or the entire Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover? Tell us 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.