The Stakes Have Never Been Higher – Review of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS Part Three

The showrunners of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS have gone all in with every episode so far. Even so, Part Three raised the stakes even more. Worlds are dying, heroes are sacrificing themselves, and the Arrowverse has been changed forever! And no, I’m not overhyping this. CRISIS is delivering on every promise and more. Wanna know more? Follow us after the jump!

SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

NOTE: This review is posting before CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS airs in the Pacific Time Zone USA. If you haven’t seen Part Three yet, STOP HERE and come back after you watch the episode! You will be glad you did!

Multiple Earths are falling before the anti-matter wave. We get just a glimpse of Earth 203, home of the old TV Birds of Prey before the wave hits and destroys that world. As we rejoin the Waverider, we find out who all the Paragons are:

  • Supergirl – Paragon of Hope
  • Kingdom Come Superman – Paragon of Truth
  • Batwoman – Paragon of Courage
  • White Canary – Paragon of Destiny
  • The Flash – Paragon of Love
  • Martian Manhunter – Paragon of Honor
  • …and Ryan Choi, Paragon of Humanity

For comics fans, we know Ryan Choi as the successor to Ray Palmer as The Atom. He hasn’t taken on that role yet, and he is reluctant to join the group when Iris, Ray and Ralph arrive. But, Iris is able to convince Ryan to join. We see a flashback of Iris with Barry, with what looks like their last words together…

The next priority is stopping the anti-matter wave. Cisco finds that the source of the energy is below ground in Central City, Earth-1. Before they can go there, the Monitor gives Cisco his Vibe power back (over Cisco’s objections). But, Vibe has a purpose, and we find that soon.

In the tunnels where Nash Wells found the portal door, the team meets Pariah. He tells them that he can’t access his old Nash Wells memories to get them in…but Vibe can bring those memories back. They enter to see the Anti-Matter Cannon…and a blur on the treadmill.

That blur turns out to be the Barry Allen of Earth-90! Yes, the 1990’s TV Flash is on that treadmill, powering the anti-matter cannon. 

Using Vibe, they free Earth-90 Barry from the anti-matter force field surrounding the treadmill. That’s not good news, though. There is a failsafe that would destroy all remaining Earths if he is not on that treadmill. How to stop that? Enter Black Lightning.

Pariah has brought Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning to Earth-1 in an attempt to stop this anti-matter cannon. Pierce is the only survivor of his world – everyone on his Earth died in the anti-matter wave. He does his best to hold off the cannon while the two Flashes talk in Speed Time.

Our Earth-1 Barry realizes this is his time. If he is on that treadmill going in reverse, it could shut down the whole thing, stopping the anti-matter wave. He says goodbye and is ready to go…

But he doesn’t get to sacrifice himself.

Earth-90 Barry has a trick up his crimson sleeve – he temporarily steals Earth-1 Barry’s speed! Earth-90 Barry realizes that “a Flash must die” but which Flash? He gets on that treadmill and begins running in the opposite direction. He sees himself from another time, talking with Tina McGee (a clip from the actual 1990’s show). Then, he begins to dissolve into nothing, taking down the anti-matter cannon in the process. All that is left is his lightning bolt symbol, laying no the treadmill. He stopped the anti-matter wave just in time, sacrificing himself in the process.

I’m not crying, you’re crying…

Okay, I’ll admit – that scene got to me. I actually shed a tear for the Barry Allen of my younger days (I was a fan of the original show when it aired back in the 90’s). This scene was handled perfectly. 

Earth saved, series done, right? Right? Nope – of course not. But before we get to that, let’s quickly hit some other threads:

  • Supergirl has been debating back and forth with Batwoman about whether to use the Book of Destiny to bring back Earth 38 and the other worlds. Kate has been debating whether to use the Kryptonite to stop Kara. But in the end, she offers it to Supergirl, trusting her to do the right thing. Kara refuses, saying that she hopes Kate will have the courage not to use it. Trust in both directions, and this is further cementing the Arrowverse version of the World’s Greatest team.
  • Constantine, Diggle and Mia visit Lucifer (yes, from that show) to find a way into purgatory to retrieve Oliver’s soul. They find him, and are ready to return, when we get a visit from Jim Corrigan. Comics fans know him as the original Spectre! And, it looks like Oliver may be given a new mission (and a new Spectre? We’ll see…)
  • Lyla/Harbinger returns from the Anti-Monitor’s clutches…but under his control. He uses her to kill the Monitor. Then, the anti-matter wave restarts…

Earth after Earth has fallen until only Earth-1 remains. This new anti-matter wave cannot be stopped. Earth-1 is no more! The multiverse has fallen! That wave is now headed for the last people alive, our team in the Waverider. The wave hits the ship, taking everyone on board with it. Everyone else on the Waverider, including Iris, all the rest of Team Flash, the Earth-38 Clark and Lois…all gone in the anti-matter wave! 

Just before that happens, Pariah sends the Paragons off the ship. They find themselves at Vanishing Point. Comics fans know Vanishing Point in several iterations. The main thing to know is that this is a place outside of time and space, where the Anti-Monitor cannot follow. They try to figure out what to do next. Just then, Kingdom Come Superman starts to fall! Red lights shine out of him and it looks as though he is dying. But no, he’s being replaced! And who would do that?

Lex Luthor, that’s who.

He used a page out of the Book of Destiny to help himself. He had already read ahead to know where the team would be, and he wrote his own name onto the page. Now, Lex is alive and the last Supermen in the multiverse are gone. The Paragons are down to 6, and every Earth has been destroyed. Hope is gone, and so is the entire Arrowverse. What can possibly happen next?

NOTES:

  • I had expected the cliffhanger to be Earth-1 Barry’s sacrifice. While the death of Earth-90’s Barry Allen was a heartbreaker, the actual cliffhanger was MUCH bigger. The world is in danger? Nope, the whole Multiverse. Earths dying off? How about ALL of them! You can’t raise the stakes higher than the destruction of all reality. Now, THAT’s a cliffhanger – well done!
  • I’m truly intrigued by what can happen to Oliver now…
  • Just a reminder for folks who did not read the original CRISIS comics – the Spectre plays a HUGE role in what happened next in that book. We may be headed that way again, and that would be more than fine with me. I’m a big fan of the Golden Age heroes, and having Spectre show up was great for me.
  • While we’re talking the original comic, we knew that Lyla would eventually betray and kill the Monitor. Still, that scene came off very well done.
  • One more moment of silence here for the 1990’s Flash. That whole scene was among the very best I’ve seen in any superhero show.

SUMMARY: I have to give a 10/10, not just to this episode but to the whole series so far. This is one crossover that is hitting it out of the park. We have to wait now for January…and when that happens we’ll be right here, ready to share our thoughts on what promises to be an amazing conclusion. So, 10/10 from me – but that’s just my opinion. What do YOU think? Leave your comments below!

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1 thought on “The Stakes Have Never Been Higher – Review of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS Part Three

  1. Golddragon71

    The irony is staggering. The very day I watched the episode I had done about 2/15 miles of walking on my own treadmill while watching The Pilot episode of the Flash. (The scene Earth 90 Barry recalls comes from the end of that episode!)

    That said I totally called the bait and switch ever since JWS returned to the role of Earth 90 Barry. The upside is that we may still get to see JWS appear on the show as Jay Garrick.

    I hate to say it but there’s a bit of an Avengers endgame feel to all of this. it’s just that the Anti-monitor knew to go the whole Hog right from the start while Thanos just went for half his first time out!

    This was a hell of a cliffhanger and I’m really looking forward to seeing the conclusion in January.

    R.I.P. Barry Patrick Allen (“Goodnight Central City”)

    Reply

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