Previously on Crisis on Infinite Earths: the positive matter universe is no more! The Anti-Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) has triumphed, killing Mar Novu, aka The Monitor, and then wiping out the remaining earth with his anti-matter wave! Seven heroes, the Paragons, remain to defeat him: The Flash (Grant Gustin), Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), Batwoman (Ruby Rose), Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), J’onn J’onnz (David Harewood), newcomer Ryan Choi (Osiric Chou), and
the Superman of Earth-96 (Brandon Routh) Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer)! Plus, a deceased Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) has joined Jim Corrigan (Stephen Lobo) and entered the afterlife in order to become something else! In Arrow S8E8, “Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part 4,” Oliver and the Paragons join forces to stop the Anti-Monitor from remaking all of reality—and end up creating something else.
Beyond the Silent Night
The episode opens on the planet Maltus, ten thousand years ago. In an alien laboratory, Mar Novu and his scientist wife are preparing for Novu to make a temporal jump to the dawn of time, so that Novu can witness the birth of reality. They open a portal in the lab, and Novu walks through, entering a green-tinged abyss, which he calls the temporal zone. Suddenly red energy bleeds into the temporal zone, and Novu’s wife tells him via comms that the zone has become corrupted by anti-matter. Suddenly Novu finds himself standing in a barren wasteland, which his wife tells him is the dawn of time…in the anti-matter universe. Across the nothingness, Novu sees the Anti-Monitor standing in front of him.
In the present day, the Paragons are trapped at the Vanishing Point. Ryan Choi writes a letter to his wife, who is dead, telling her that he doubts his role as a Paragon and wonders why he’s there. Everyone’s in bad shape, in fact, either working themselves to the bone or completely despondent, and The Flash has been missing for months after trying to enter the speed force. Ryan and Lex have tried to build a teleportation device using the old Time Bureau technology in the Vanishing Point, but when they try to teleport Lex out the machine sparks and fails. Suddenly Barry appears, seemingly out of nowhere, and crashes against a wall. He asks where he is, and the others tell him that he’s been gone for months, but Barry says that he just left a second ago.
We next see a black-and-white montage of Oliver Queen’s many battles against the big bads from previous seasons. Oliver, now in color, opens his eye, green energy crackling. He’s still in purgatory, and accompanied by Jim Corrigan. Oliver’s voice has changed, with a built-in echo so you know that he’s changed. He asks Corrigan why he was shown those fights, and Corrigan says every fight he’s ever fought has been leading up to an impending showdown with the Anti-Monitor.
Back at the Vanishing Point, Barry insists that he has to try again to access the speed force, but everyone tries to stop him, worried that he’ll be hurt. Oliver appears before them and says that the speed force is the key to saving them, as well as everyone else in the universe. The team struggles to understand how Oliver is there, and he explains that he’s a spectre that’s in-tune with the entirety of the multiverse. He explains that the Anti-Monitor is at the dawn of time now, intent on making permanent his destruction of the positive matter universe, and he tells the Paragons about Novu’s trip to the past. Some of them will have to travel to the dawn of time to face the Anti-Monitor, he says, while others must travel to Maltus to stop Novu from unleashing the anti-matter universe. Touching Barry’s head, Oliver says he’s unlocked his potential, which will allow him access to the speed force. Barry scoops everyone up and takes them to where they need to go.
Supergirl, Lex Luthor, and Ryan Choi arrive on Maltus. Kara wonders how they’ll ever find Novu, and Ryan suggests they access Maltus’s central database. They both turn to discover that Luthor has vanished.
Back in the speed force, Barry is stopped by the Anti-Monitor and comes crashing to earth at the crime scene where he first met Team Arrow. Oliver appears and says that they’re all lost in the speed force following an attack by the Anti-Monitor, and that he’s using all of his strength to keep everyone in the speed force and alive; if they were to fall out of the speed force, they would die. Oliver instructs Barry to look for strong memories of each of their relationships in order to find each of his fellow Paragons. Barry races off and finds himself in S.T.A.R. Labs, where he meets a new face—The Flash (Ezra Miller). The two stammer and try to figure out what’s going on, and the new Flash doesn’t seem to know about the Crisis. Eventually he fades away, leaving Barry alone.
On Maltus, Kara and Ryan find Lex, who tells them he’s planning on universal domination. Lex then blasts them away, saying he gave himself some upgrades when he rewrote the Book of Destiny.
Back in the speed force, Kate Kane wakes up at Palmer Technologies. In an adjacent room, she overhears a past confrontation between Oliver and Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) about which of them is better equipped to protect the city. Kate enters the room, and Oliver turns and asks who she is. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the speed force, Oliver and Supergirl are having their first one-on-one conversation during the Invasion! crossover, with neither of them particularly trusting or even liking the other. J’onn J’onnz appears before them, and Kara asks how he got there.
Back on Maltus, Ryan wakes up and resuscitates Kara. They set off to find Lex, and Ryan continues to question why he’s there, especially since he has no powers. Kara says he left his family because a stranger needed help, which she figures must make him a hero. She then asks if he’s ever flown before, which he says he has not.
In the speed force, Barry arrives at the climax of last year’s Elseworlds crossover to see Oliver fire an energized arrow into the Book of Destiny. With the book destroyed, Oliver, Superman (Tyler Hoechlin), and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) turn and see Barry, who in the original storyline wasn’t present for this. Superman and Lois leave, and Barry explains to Oliver that they’re in the speed force, at which point Oliver remembers everything. Barry asks about the arrow Oliver used, and Oliver tells him about the deal he made to save Barry and Kara’s lives. He tells Barry he has to keep living, and to find the others.
Elsewhere, Sara Lance has just died, and John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy Rodgers) stand over her body. Laurel laments that she didn’t die instead, and Diggle tells her she can honor her sister’s memory by becoming the new Canary. Just then Barry arrives and finds the two of them, uttering a classic, Quantum Leap-esque ‘Oh boy.’
Back on Maltus, Novu prepares to open the portal when Lex enters the lab and stops him. He tells Novu he has an offer for him, and that the experiment will destroy the planet and the rest of the universe. Lex offers to share his future knowledge with Novu, in exchange for being granted the ability to deal with what he calls “super-problems” he’s been having.
Back in the speed force, Barry touches Sara and she wakes up. Her picks her up and they take off. J’onn explains to Oliver and Kara that one day they’ll learn to trust each other, and Barry whisks in and grabs him. Kate tells Oliver something similar about learning to trust people, then disappears as Barry fetches her as well.
Death at the Dawn of Time!
On Maltus, Lex is telling Novu how to fix his portal when Supergirl and Ryan bust in. Kara tells Novu not to trust Lex, and Ryan ushers Novu out of the room as Supergirl and Lex square off. In another part of the lab, Novu and Ryan find Novu’s wife unconscious. Ryan impresses on Novu the importance of not turning on his machine, and manages to convince him to give up his life’s work for the good of the universe. At that point Ryan realizes that he actually is a Paragon and starts to believe in himself. Meanwhile Supergirl and Lex are battling to a standstill. Ryan re-enters and tells him he convinced Novu not to use the machine, and at that point Barry whooshes in and grabs all three of them, taking them to…
…the dawn of time in the anti-matter universe. The Anti-Monitor is already there, waiting for them. He intones that he’s an alternate universe’s version of Novu who refused to turn from his destiny. As he speaks a cadre of shadow demons appear around him. The Paragons assemble, and Oliver appears with them. He tells them that they were selected as Paragons because they’re powerful enough to buy time for the rebirth of the universe. Oliver says he will light the spark, and that they will fan the flame, which no one really understands. With that, the heroes engage with shadow demons.
Above the desolate canyon, Oliver faces the Anti-Monitor, who says that Oliver is too late. As the Paragons make little headway against the shadow demons, Oliver and the Anti-Monitor blast each other with energy, moving closer together as they do until they’re locked in hand-to-hand battle, energy swirling around them. Oliver says “You have failed this universe” to the Anti-Monitor, and lifts his head, white energy shooting out of his eyes and into the sky.
The shadow demons disappear, and the Paragons see what Oliver is doing. They realize they can use what’s left of The Book of Destiny—specifically the page Lex tore out and rewrote to make himself a Paragon—to recreate the universe, focusing their collective energy into the forging of a new world. They focus on the battle overhead, the energy around Oliver and the Anti-Monitor building until eventually the two of them explode.
From below, Sara tells Barry to get them up there, and they speed to the battle site to find Oliver on the ground. He tells them they need to watch over his family, and says that they did it, looking up at the sky. Above them, the cosmos swirl, and Oliver tells Barry and Sara to keep going, and that the new world will need both of them. Oliver dies again, and Barry thanks him. The universe expands above them, and everything goes white.
To Be Concluded!
If I’m being completely honest, I found this hour of Crisis to be a little slow, with an Avengers: Endgame-esque trip down memory lane that ultimately didn’t feel like it added much to the story. There was a lot to enjoy about Arrow S8E8, though; Oliver’s transformation into The Spectre was very cool, as was the two-pronged strategy for stopping the Anti-Monitor and the closing battle that came straight out of Crisis #10. The appearance of Ezra Miller’s Flash was also truly a surprise, and a welcome one as I found him to be one of the more enjoyable elements of the DC Cinematic Universe. How will things end for our heroes? Find out in our recap of finale of Crisis on Infinite Earths!