Previously on the Supergirl and Batwoman installments of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the multiverse is being destroyed by a wave of anti-matter! One of the first worlds to fall was Earth-38, home to Supergirl (Melissa Benoist)! With only a handful of positive matter worlds remaining, The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) has tasked the heroes of Earths-1 and 38 with finding seven Paragons—heroes spread throughout the multiverse with the abilities needed to save the universe! Four of the seven were identified: from Earth-1, Batwoman (Ruby Rose) and Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) as the Paragons of Courage and Destiny, respectively; from Earth-38, Supergirl as the Paragon of Hope; and from Earth-96, an alternate version of Superman (Brandon Routh) as the Paragon of Truth! Meanwhile, Harbinger (Audrey Marie Anderson) is summoned to a strange locale—and comes face-to-face with The Anti-Monitor! Tonight’s installment, The Flash S6E9, part 3 of Crisis on Infinite Earths, saw the remaining Paragons identified, the introduction of some new allies, and the final fate of the fastest man alive.
The episode opens on Earth-203, with The Huntress of that world (Ashley Scott, reprising her role from the short-lived Birds of Prey series) sprinting across rooftops, trying to outrun the anti-matter wave that’s destroying New Gotham. Over comms she tells Oracle that the wave is coming too fast, and as Barbara’s voice cuts out the anti-matter wave consumes Huntress and the rest of her world.
Back in the Earth-1 universe on the Waverider, Ray Palmer (also Brandon Routh) is working on getting his Paragon Detector up and running when The Flash (Grant Gustin), Elongated Man (Hartley Sawyer), Cisco (Carlos Valdes), and Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) breach onto the ship. Barry and Iris (Danielle Panabaker) embrace, and Ralph awkwardly introduces himself to the rest of the heroes. Barry brings the assembled heroes up-to-speed on the anti-matter wave situation, and Earth-38’s Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) says that Earth-1 will be the final world the wave hits.
J’onn J’onnz (Dave Harewood) and Earth-96’s Superman set out to rescue as many people from the remaining earths as they can and bring them to Earth-1, while Earth-38’s Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) volunteers to run comms. Ray and Cisco get the Paragon Detector working and identify the final three Paragons: Earth-38’s J’onn as the Paragon of Honor, Earth-1’s Barry as the Paragon of Love, and Dr. Ryan Choi (Osiric Chou), whom Cisco says is a physics professor at Ivy Town University, as the Paragon of Humanity. Iris, Ray, and Ralph volunteer to go recruit Ryan, and The Monitor says they need to figure out how to stop the anti-matter wave.
Elsewhere on the ship, Diggle (David Ramsey) arrives and confronts Sara over her choice to resurrect Oliver (Stephen Amell) using a lazarus pit. Sara tells Diggle they still need to travel to purgatory to retrieve Oliver’s soul, and Diggle says he’s in. She also tells him that Lyla (now Harbinger) is missing. The Monitor enters, and Diggle demands to know how to find his wife. The Monitor says she may be with The Anti-Monitor.
Back on the bridge, The Monitor tells the heroes The Anti-Monitor’s goal is to replace the universe with one that he controls. He says he doesn’t know how to find Lyla, and that he can only try to save the remaining worlds, not change anything that’s already happened. Supergirl storms off, still thinking about how to get Earth-38 back, and Batwoman follows, a piece of Kryptonite that she took off of the Bruce Wayne of Earth-99 (Kevin Conroy) at the ready. Cisco tells Caitlin that he’s been trying to locate the source of the anti-matter wave, and that he’s found it: in the tunnel beneath Central City where Nash Wells (Tom Cavanagh, now Pariah) has been digging all season. Cisco exits, and The Monitor appears before him, saying he has a purpose for being here. He restores Cisco’s breaching abilities and turns him back into Vibe. Elsewhere on the ship, Iris and Barry say their goodbyes.
Under the streets of Central City, Killer Frost, Vibe, and The Flash arrive at Nash’s dig site. Barry speeds off to check the perimeter, and as Cisco and Killer Frost inspect the metal door, Pariah appears and brings them up to speed on how he was manipulated into freeing The Anti-Monitor. He tells them his memories of being Nash have faded, but that Cisco can use his abilities to view Nash’s memories of how to open the door. He does so and learns the sequence of symbols to get into The Anti-Monitor’s chamber.
Back on the Waverider, Kara and Kate are talking with an imprisoned Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) about her plan to use the Book of Destiny to bring back Earth-38 and all the other destroyed worlds. Lex laughs in Kara’s face, and Kate grabs Lex, slamming him against a well and literally twisting his arm to get him to tell them how to use the book. He says it requires incredible willpower and focus to make the book work, and that trying to use the book the way Kara wants to could drive her insane. Kara grabs the book anyway, and Kate cautions her against trying it. Kara says this may be part of her role as the Paragon of Hope and exits.
On Earth-666, Diggle and Mia Smoak (Katherine McNamara) are accompanied down a dark alley by John Constantine (Matt Ryan). They come to a door and are greeted by Lucifer (Tom Ellis), who recognizes Constantine and introduces himself to the others. He agrees to help them retrieve Oliver’s soul from purgatory because he owes Constantine a favor. He gives them a card with a drawing of The Devil on it and says they’ll have until the image on the card fades to retrieve Oliver’s soul. Lucifer exits, and Constantine holds up the card, which begins to glow. Suddenly the three of them are teleported to what looks like Lian Yu, the island where Oliver was marooned for five years before he became Green Arrow. Constantine says this is what Oliver chose the form of his prison to be, and that they’ll have to make Oliver remember them when they find him.
Back beneath Central City, The Flash meets up with Pariah, Vibe, and Killer Frost. Vibe opens the door to metal door, and the four of them walk through it. Inside they find the anti-matter cannon, which Pariah says is the source of the wave. A red blur appears on a treadmill next to the cannon, and Killer Frost says she thinks the blur is alive. Barry tries to race onto the treadmill but is repelled by a force field, but not before seeing The Flash of Earth-90 (John Wesley Shipp) running atop the treadmill, waving him away.
Pariah tells them The Anti-Monitor captured this Flash and used his speed to build the cannon. A test firing of the cannon destroyed Earth-2 weeks ago, Pariah explained. Barry says they have to get Flash off the treadmill, and Cisco vibes a breach that frees him from the forcefield. The Flash says he needs to get back onto the treadmill, or all the remaining earths will be destroyed thanks to a failsafe the Anti-Monitor put in place. Barry turns to ask Pariah what to do, but Pariah has disappeared.
In Ivy Town, Iris, Ralph, and Ray find Ryan Choi at the university. Ryan geeks out over meeting Ray, and Ray explains why they’re there and that they need Ryan’s help. Ralph stretches to show Ryan they’re telling the truth, and Ryan says he has to leave if this is truly the end of the world. He grabs his things and exits.
Back on the Waverider, Lois and The Monitor are, well, monitoring things. Another earth is destroyed, and Lois says only seven remain. Novu tells her his own world died as well, including his family. He expresses regret over being more focused on his work than he was on them. Just then Earth-96’s Superman breaches back in, slamming his fist on the ground in frustration at having watched another world die. Lois suggests he take a break, but Clark says the crest he wears on his chest is a promise he made to keep fighting no matter what. Lois asks why he added black to it, and he says it’s because hope always cuts through the darkness. With that he leaves to try and save another world.
Beneath Central City, Flash, Vibe, Killer Frost, and the Flash of Earth-90 try to figure out what to do when they’re joined out of nowhere by Black Lightning (Cress Williams). Jefferson at first attacks, unsure of what’s going on, but Pariah returns and calms him, saying he brought Black Lightning here to help save lives, and that Black Lightning’s world has just been destroyed by the anti-matter wave. Jefferson freaks out on Pariah, and the two Flashes implore him to help them. He releases Pariah and agrees to help, attempting to contain the energy from the anti-matter cannon.
On the Waverider, Kara is stopped by Kate from opening the Book of Destiny. The two go back and forth over what Kara’s supposed to do, with Kara saying she has to try and Kate saying she has to stop her. The two stand face-to-face, Kate telling the risk is too great, and Kara finally backs off and walks away from the book.
As Black Lightning continues to try to absorb the anti-matter energy, the two Flashes talk at superspeed about what they have to do next. Barry realizes that the only way to stop the cannon and the anti-matter wave is to reverse the flow of the anti-matter by running in the opposite direction on the treadmill, overloading the cannon and destroying it. He tells his friends that this is what The Monitor told him about, and that it’s time for him to vanish.
In Purgatory, Diggle, Mia, and Constantine are attacked by Oliver. Diggle connects with Oliver, bringing his memories back. Meanwhile, back in Ivy Town, Iris tries to convince Ryan Choi to come with them. She tells him she’s not a superhero, but that it’s their purpose to remind superheroes what they’re fighting for. She asks Ryan if he wouldn’t want to be able to hold his daughter knowing that he helped save the world, and he finally relents and agrees to help. Ray and Ralph enter and tell Iris that Earth-1 is the only world left. Ralph asks Iris how she knew what to say to convince Ryan, and she remembers her last conversation with Barry on the Waverider.
Beneath Central City, Barry says goodbye to Cisco and Caitlin, telling them he couldn’t have been the hero he is without them. He turns and the Earth-90 Flash grabs him, stealing Barry’s speed. He tells them that The Monitor said The Flash had to die, but that he never said which one. Black Lightning finally weakens, and The Flash thanks him for his help. Cisco reluctantly opens a breach to let The Flash back onto the treadmill, and before he runs through it, Flash tells Barry to keep running and he’ll make everyone proud. With that he retakes his place on the treadmill, running in the opposite direction, and the anti-matter begins to flow back into the cannon.
As Vibe breaches himself, Barry, Killer Frost, and Black Lightning back to the Waverider, The Flash of Earth-90 runs for his life, flashing back to a memory of one of his earliest meetings with Dr. Tina McGee (Amanda Pays) before disintegrating entirely. The anti-matter cannon explodes, and the wave approaching Earth-1 dissipates before it can destroy the world.
Back in Purgatory, the group prepares to leave when they’re approached by Jim Corrigan (Stephen Lobo), who tells them that Oliver is being called to a higher purpose just as he once was. He says it’s Oliver’s destiny to save all the universes and everyone he loves. Oliver tells Mia and Diggle that he has to go with Corrigan, and Corrigan transports Diggle, Mia, and Constantine back to the Waverider. Diggle tells Sara, the Supermen, and Lois that Oliver wouldn’t come back with them. Earth-38 Clark tells them Earth-1 is the only one left after Barry and team stopped the anti-matter wave.
In the library on the Waverider, Barry talks to Jefferson about the loss of his family. He tells Jefferson about his own family, and the two of them talk about their fathers and what they meant to each of them. After a moment, Jefferson says neither of their fathers raised them to be quitters, and the two of them shake hands, each formally telling the other their real identities.
Elsewhere, Kate and Kara talk about their confrontation. Kate confesses that she has the kryptonite from Earth-99’s Bruce Wayne, and offers to give it to Kara. Kara tells her to keep it, confident that she’ll never have to use it.
On the bridge of the ship, Iris, Ralph, and Ray return with Ryan. Barry and Iris embrace again, Barry telling her about the sacrifice of the Earth-90 Flash. Barry introduces Jefferson, and Ralph introduces Ryan. A newly-arrived Pariah says they need to find Harbinger, and Iris says they can use the Waverider’s satellite to search for her. Just then Lyla appears. She tells Diggle the deaths of the other earths is affecting her abilities, and that she doesn’t remember where she was.
Barry and the others realize that Pariah is only there to witness a great tragedy, and that The Anti-Monitor sent Harbinger back to them. Lyla turns, her eyes glowing white, and says in the voice of The Anti-Monitor that it’s time to end the age of heroes. She takes out all of the human and Kryptonian heroes on the bridge, and The Monitor engages her in an energy battle. Harbinger overwhelms him, killing him and absorbing his essence
Outside of the Waverider, the anti-matter wave appears again, consuming Earth-1. The heroes stagger back to their feet as the wave approaches the ship. Pariah teleports the seven Paragons off of the ship, telling The Anti-Monitor that they’re somewhere he’ll never find them. The remaining heroes stand defiant as the anti-matter wave consumes the Waverider.
Elsewhere, the seven Paragons find themselves in a rundown location which Sara identifies as The Vanishing Point, a place outside of time and space. Barry insists they go back to the Waverider, and J’onn tells him there’s nothing left to go back to. Just then, red energy starts to burst from Superman, who weakens and falls to the ground. The energy consumes him, and when it dissipates, Lex Luthor appears in his place, saying he’s happy that that worked. He tells the heroes that he changed the Book of Destiny so that he would be one of the seven Paragons left at the Vanishing Point, and asks what they’re going to do now.
To Be Continued!
After a second hour that I found somewhat disappointing compared to the first, tonight’s third installment brought the energy and the action back to the forefront, nicely blending in elements from the original Crisis comics while still putting an Arrowverse spin on them. The death of John Wesley Shipp’s Earth-90 Flash was an affecting moment for this fan who grew up with Shipp’s original Flash TV series as his gateway into the world of the fastest man alive, and the inclusion of footage from that series was a particularly nice touch. How’re the seven remaining heroes going to get out of this one? And what role will Oliver Queen and The Spectre play in things? We’ll find out in a month when Crisis on Infinite Earths concludes on January 14th, 2020 on The CW!