The CW’s annual Arrowverse crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths, is in full-swing. The five-hour event has aired its first three installments, with episodes of Supergirl, Batwoman, and The Flash in the books. The final two hours, comprised of episodes of Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, won’t air until January 14th, but plenty has happened already. Heroes like Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) and The Flash of Earth-90 (John Wesley Shipp) have laid down their lives to save billions. Other heroes from throughout the Multiverse, including the Superman of Earth-96 (Brandon Routh), have been recruited by The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) as paragons, their combined abilities needed for the ultimate defeat of The Anti-Monitor (Garrett).
It was all to no avail, though: the multiverse as we know it is gone, and the seven paragons—The Flash (Grant Gustin), Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), J’onn J’onnz (David Harewood), Batwoman (Ruby Rose), Ryan Choi (Osiric Chou), and…Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer)?—are all that remain, trapped at the Vanishing Point, beyond space and time. With so much going on, and so much yet to come, our crack team of Beat recappers and reviewers chatted about what’s happened already in Crisis on Infinite Earths, what worked and what didn’t, and what may be in store for the final two hours of the event.
Joe Grunenwald: Well friends, we’re three hours into the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover. Heroes old and new have joined forces to try and stop the Anti-Monitor, and as of this moment they seem to have done…not great at it. What did you all think of the first three parts of the Crisis? What worked for you and what didn’t?
Cori McCreery: I had high expectations, and other than a couple of blips, it exceeded them. Crisis is my favorite mini-series ever, and a story that means the world to me, so I’ve been excited for this since last year’s crossover. They nailed the imposing feel of the event, and the cameos were all amazing. My only two complaints are relatively minor. I didn’t like the heroes wasting time (and in the process billions of lives) trying to bring back Oliver. And I was slightly disappointed with the direction of Kevin Conroy’s Bruce Wayne. I’ve wanted to see him as a live action Bruce for so long, and this is the one we get?
Kay-B: So far, I still think it is wildly ambitious and I am not sure where it’ll land. I mean comics wise, I am sure, but I can’t be sure that will be the direction that the shows will go in. I love crossover season, so my anticipation is still high, but I do feel like they have a lot of plot lines and my fear is that they won’t wrap them all up. What’s working for me so far are all of these cameos and nods. Love them and love that they are including so much rich history, so many great actors and so many old scenes and lines. Again, the story is ambitious, like every crossover, but I am still intrigued about how it will all end. I can’t wait for the final two parts so we can really get the paragons working together and defeating this. I also can’t wait to see our new Earth and the aftermath of crisis on all of the independent shows and heroes going forward.
Hilgenberg: Only being caught up on Batwoman, I was honestly just glad that I followed everything. That being the case though, not all of the character moments landed for me, especially when it came to Flash’s storyline. I loved seeing Conroy back in action, but like Cori mentioned I’m kinda disappointed that we won’t be seeing him anymore! The entire thing, especially that second episode for me, was just really awesome fan service that I didn’t know I needed.
Grunenwald: The fan service has been strong throughout, though I was still a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see Tom Welling in a Superman suit again. As for the Conroy disappointment, I get that, but I thought he did an amazing job with the material, and given how new Batwoman is to the Arrowverse in general, it was probably smart to not immediately upstage her with a classic heroic Batman.
B: Yes, Cori, I do wish we would’ve spent more time with Conroy’s Bruce Wayne..I mean I get that he was only a part of the story to make Kate realize she’s the paragon but yea. I almost wish maybe we could’ve seen another Bruce from a different Earth prior to them being destroyed, just to give us more. Joe, I think we’re saying the same thing.
McCreery: That’s completely fair, but still a little disappointing.
Grunenwald: Josh mentioned only being caught up on Batwoman. For others who aren’t up-to-date on all the other shows, how did those pieces work for you?
McCreery: The only show I’m not caught up on is Black Lightning, so I’m just curious how that show is going to work going forward.
Dar: No, the alternate Earths in the first episode didn’t land for everyone for how brief they were. I personally enjoyed seeing Robert Wuhl as Knox and Burt Ward‘s “Holy Crimsons Skies of Death” line. The Titans appearance was the only one that seemed out of place. It felt more like B-roll footage that found that they could edit into the Crisis crossover as opposed to original footage filmed specifically for the crossover.
Grunenwald: You’re absolutely right, Taimur: the Titans cameo really was the most non-specific cameo of all. You could’ve put anyone in those two shots.
McCreery: Agreed, but it was still nice to see those two jerks.
B: The Titans appearance was so quick, I almost missed it! I also think they showed just a couple of them and they died immediately, so is it safe to assume that they are no more. Does Crisis impact that show as well? Meaning will they touch on it?
Grunenwald: To my knowledge, no. Their appearance is the only one that makes me think we may end up with some version of the multiverse still in existence post-Crisis.
McCreery: Kinda hard to impact that show since the scene they used was from the beginning of season two of Titans.
B: Right, that’s why I am asking. Am I the only one who just wants one Earth though?
McCreery: I think back to something I think Guggenheim said on either twitter or the after show. These aren’t necessarily those specific characters, but the Arrowverse versions that look somewhat like them.
Grunenwald: That is the biggest copout, Cori. Ugh.
Hilgenberg: Is that true for Black Lightning too?
Grunenwald: I don’t think so, because on Black Lightning we actually see his world destroyed and his Pariah-induced disappearance. Monday’s episode ended with that.
Hilgenberg: Ahh, okay, wow.
McCreery: Oh, that’s interesting. Huh. Okay.
B: Hmmm…that’s interesting, Cori, but also makes me think, what is the point of it all?
McCreery: I think that quote was mostly to appease angry Smallville fans that were upset their Clark retired.
B: And right now, well, before Black Lightning was taken to the others, he wasn’t in the Arrowverse.
Dar: That got a huge reaction from people I saw. I didn’t mind it if only because it reminded me of the Alan Moore story “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow.” But I can completely see how diehard Smallville fans would have wanted to see Tom Welling fully wearing the tights.
Grunenwald: As I think more about the Welling cameo, I kind of wish they had gone full “Whatever Happened” with it. Have him grow a mustache and living in the suburbs as Dan Taylor or whatever his name was, and then at the end his baby crushes coal into a diamond.
McCreery: I’m with you, Taimur, that’s exactly the vibe I got. Also, I’d have been more annoyed with him in the suit, since he refused to even wear it for the finale. (Noted Smallville hater Cori McCreery.)
Grunenwald: I watched ten years of Smallville and was furious when the finale ended, so I’m with you, Cori.
B: I’ve never seen Smallville. <hides>
McCreery: That’s for the better, Kay.
Hilgenberg: Same, Kay. My reaction during that scene was “well I’m sure this is nice for people.”
Grunenwald: But the inclusion of Welling’s Clark does bring me to something else I wanted to ask you all about: the seven ‘paragons.’ That’s a new element specific to this version of Crisis, and I wonder what you think of it. Does it add to the story or detract for you?
McCreery: Honestly, the seven paragons feels like it’s ripped from a different, much later DC event. It reminds me of the seven Earth Lanterns from Blackest Knight. We even have some overlap with Barry and Lex.
B: So, for me, I wish the paragons weren’t the heroes or rather that there is more of a mix of civilians and heroes
McCreery: It’s also somewhat similar to the team that gathered to fight the Anti-Monitor in Crisis #7, albeit with a lot less firepower.
B: I just feel like we know the heroes save the day, so why do they need to also be paragons? We probably could’ve introduce some other interesting characters that would work alongside them.
Hilgenberg: The delivery does feel a bit clumsy, in terms how some of the paragons are just them, but the resulting adventures were fun enough for me to overlook that. And my mind immediately went to the Seven Soldiers of Victory when I heard there were seven paragons.
McCreery: See my mind originally went to a different seven, with the traditional core of the Justice League.
Grunenwald: There’s a lot of groups of seven in the DCU, aren’t there. I thought of Morrison’s initial JLA line-up.
McCreery: Once again, Joe and I are on the same page.
Hilgenberg: The Justice League parallels definitely seem the most likely. So do you think Brandon Routh’s Superman will stick around/comeback to be part of that since he’s a paragon?
Grunenwald: There were few parts of the first three episodes that I hated. Lex Luthor rewriting the Book of Destiny with a magic marker is one of them.
B: WITH A MAGIC MARKER! LOL!
McCreery: As much as I’d love to see more of him, I think that ship sailed with Lex’s changes in the Book of Destiny.
Grunenwald: I sincerely hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Routh’s Superman. He brings so much to that performance and it’s really added a lot to the overall event.
Hilgenberg: Agreed, Joe!
McCreery: Brandon’s Superman felt like coming home. It just felt so good to see him, and the little call backs to Superman III and Superman Returns were great, and I lost my mind at the musical cues.
B: Justice League vibes are what I got but I either wanted none of the traditional heroes we’ve seen or more of the heroes I love…happy to have you back, Vibe!
McCreery: It took a minute for “My son, Jason” to click, but when it did, it hit me right in the gut.
Dar: I didn’t expect them to reference the son they introduced in Superman Returns. Hope I’m not only one who remembers the kid killed one of Luthor’s henchmen with a piano, albeit accidentally.
Grunenwald: It was self-defense, Taimur! I liked having Vibe back as well, Kay. I’m still a little disappointed we’ve never gotten a Justice League Detroit meeting, and we never will now that Gypsy is apparently dead. Though who knows if that will stick if there’s a new Earth.
B: I actually really want Gypsy back, but I get it..we’ll see if this death sticks for sure.
Grunenwald: For me, the moment that really got me was the death of John Wesley Shipp‘s Flash. It was something I was expecting to happen, but everything about the way it was done, from stealing Barry’s speed, to the way he said goodbye to him, to the flashback to the original TV series, was really great.
McCreery: Oh absolutely. I loved the old TV show. And I’m glad he got to have the closure of an ending after 30 years.
B: I wasn’t expecting that world’s Barry Allen to die, but I thought it was done well.
Hilgenberg: A lot of the Flash stuff went over my head, but Shipp’s performance there saved that entire plot for me. He has so much energy and it feels like he genuinely enjoyed being there.
B: That flashback was outstanding.
Grunenwald: The flashback was something I absolutely was not expecting, and it broke me, especially since we never got a reunion for Shipp and Amanda Pays previously on the series.
McCreery: Are there any cameos you’re disappointed haven’t happened? For me, I wish we had gotten to see Helen Slater back in a suit.
Grunenwald: I agree that seeing Helen Slater as Supergirl would’ve been amazing. Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman would also have been really incredible. And I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t have loved a quick shot of the Justice League from the failed CBS pilot being destroyed by anti-matter, but that’s not really something I was disappointed didn’t happen.
B: Yes, for me it’s a Wonder Woman cameo that I am looking forward to and still holding out hope for.
McCreery: The other cameo related thing I wish we had gotten: I wish Kara had met Earth-167 Lois.
Grunenwald: That would have been cruel, Cori, but I agree.
B: Also, when can we get a John Stewart Green Lantern up in here?
Grunenwald: John Diggle is John Stewart on Earth-90, so who knows!
Dar: That’s also high on my list of pay-offs after the John/GL tease by the Earth-90 Flash last year.
McCreery: Well Diggle got eaten by anti-matter so…..
B: LOL, right. I mean now that the universes are combined, and since he and Lynn from Black Lightning are siblings…
Grunenwald: Do we think we’ll walk away from this with a combined New Earth? I would love to see it, but it would be a real swerve from the source material if they just restored the multiverse to the way it was before.
B: I am holding out hope but we shall see.
Hilgenberg: I’m thinking that’s the move, just because of how easy it’ll be to do crossovers moving forward.
McCreery: I think we will, Joe. I think it’s time to move Kara over, since that was really just a holdover from her days on CBS.
B: I do not want the multiverse to be restored the way it was, but the only thing that makes me think it might go in that direction, is Kara’s determination and hope to bring the Earths back.
Dar: I’m a bit surprised we haven’t seen Psycho-Pirate again yet since he was introduced in last year’s Elseworlds.
Grunenwald: I’m surprised by that, too, Taimur, considering the big role he played in the original series.
McCreery: Oh good point, Taimur! Where has that emotion-manipulating jerk been?
Grunenwald: Is there anything else anyone wanted to talk about from these first three hours? I notice not one of us has mentioned Oliver Queen and that storyline…
McCreery: I DID!
B: You mean the most predictable death ever.
Hilgenberg: I was about to bring that up, LOL.
McCreery: I said I was upset that they wasted time in two episodes trying to bring him back.
Grunenwald: True, you did, Cori, and I agree with you: every second they spent trying to resurrect Oliver, more worlds died.
McCreery: Good riddance Oliver, long live Mia.
Grunenwald: If Barry hadn’t spent the second hour on that and had instead gone to get Cisco and Caitlin, they could’ve found the anti-matter cannon an hour sooner and saved even more worlds.
Hilgenberg: Which would’ve probably been what Oliver wanted, considering how he died.
Grunenwald: We can blame all those deaths on the budgetary constraints of a network television show not wanting to have to pay guest-stars from another series.
McCreery: For once we get a “Damnit Barry” without time travel being involved.
B: But also just for him to say ‘No.’
B: Which, to be honest, Oliver was always against bringing people back. Why would you think he would say yes? Meanwhile Barry selfishly wanted it.
McCreery: Barry really mucked things up with trying to revive Oliver AND wasting time trying to sacrifice himself.
Hilgenberg: I was surprised at how quick Sara was to go along with that whole squad
B: Sara should’ve stayed firm
McCreery: Also with clear former South Dakotan bias, a Lazarus Pit is definitely the only interesting thing in North Dakota
B: But I needed that Lucifer cameo, so, all good. LOL.
Dar: The inclusion of The Spectre gave me some vibes of Kevin Smith‘s “Quiver” storyline which also involved the resurrection of Oliver Queen. But I think having them accept Ollie’s death in Crisis would be more meaningful and their equivalent of Iron Man’s death at the end of Endgame. Coming full circle, as it were.
Grunenwald: True. It is interesting that Oliver’s sacrifice came so soon but that he’s still a player in the rest of the storyline. I’ll be curious to see what his role ends up being in the final two hours of the story.
McCreery: Think we’ll get the Spectre and Anti-Monitor fight at the beginning of time?
Grunenwald: I really hope so.
B: I still think Oliver will die, for good, but maybe not until the Arrow series finale.
Grunenwald: We know there’s some sort of reunion with Felicity coming. And the episode of Arrow following Crisis is the backdoor pilot for the spin-off, and then the finale. So we’ll see. Does anyone have any final thoughts on the first 3/5ths of Crisis, or hopes for the remainder of the event?
B: No more thoughts for me. Just don’t mess up the Arrow spin-off and make the last 2 episodes count. I want the repercussions to be felt on all shows for the rest of the season in dramatic and meaningful ways.
McCreery: I just hope it sticks the landing. If it does, it means more to me than Infinity War/Endgame. I like Marvel just fine, but I breathe DC.
B: Can’t wait to see how Oliver and Felicity reunite.
Dar: As Marc Guggenheim revealed the Arrow episode will involve a flashback to the origin of the Monitor and Anti-Monitor, so I’m looking forward to that.
Hilgenberg: My primary Crisis-adjacent hope is that I’ll be able to just start watching most of the Arrowverse from here without having to go back through the past few years worth of shows.
Grunenwald: It’s a lot to catch up on, for sure. I don’t have any specific hopes for the finale of the event beyond, as Cori said, sticking the landing, and as Kay said for the repercussions of the event to be meaningful throughout the Arrowverse. I think we can leave it there. Thanks everyone for chatting!
The two-hour finale of Crisis on Infinite Earths will air on Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 on The CW.