Day three, baybee! The Crisis on Infinite Earths marches on, and so do we. Once again without a previously on because we have NO TIME TO WASTE.
We open on Earth 203, in New Gotham, with Huntress running through the streets. Not our Jessica De Gouw Huntress from the Arrow days of yore, but Ashley Scott, from the 2002 series. (Also starring, hilariously enough, Rachel Skarsten, aka Alice from Batwoman.)
Huntress is on the phone with Barbara/Oracle, and realizing she’s out of time as Earth 203 is turned to dust.
The Waverider is still orbiting Earth 1, where our heroes are waiting for the Paragon detector to tell them what to do next.
Since this is technically the Flash hour, the rest of Team Flash decides to join the fray — specifically Frost, Cisco, and The Elongated Man. Ralph gets a little flustered seeing all these heroes in one place and they joke that it’s his first crossover, and I’ve decided I’m going to start calling it a crossover whenever more than one of my friend groups intermingle.
Earth 1 is still the safest place to be, and it’s getting a little expensive to have so many people in one room, so a few of the heroes run off to start getting civilians from other Earths to Earth 1.
With Cisco’s help, Ray gets the Paragon Detector up and running.
First it tells us what we already knew: Kara is the Paragon of Hope, Kate is the Paragon of Courage, Sara is the Paragon of Destiny, and RayClark is the Paragon of Truth. But now they know the identities of the last three: J’onn Jonzz is the Paragon of Honor, Barry Allen is the Paragon of Love. And the last Paragon is one they don’t recognize: Ryan Choy, the Paragon of Humanity.
He’s an Ivytown professor, so Ray, Ralph, and Iris go to pick him up.
Before Sara can get a new task, Diggle shows up and starts yelling at her for not calling him and also for using a Lazarus Pit even though she, of all people, knows the risks.
Sara insists they have it handled, and while he’s already mad anyway, he should know Lyla is missing. At first he thinks she maybe just teleported away to snatch another random person from a random Earth but not the people standing three feet from them, but the Monitor confirms that he thinks the Anti-Monitor is manipulating her now. And Diggle. Is. PISSED.
In a really fun moment, when Diggle is yelling at Mar Novu, Sara basically “Yeah, what he said!”s him and I know she could kill them both with her pinky finger before you could say CAW CAW MOTHERFUCKERS, but she’s still so smol, so it was very cute to behold.
The Monitor then says a thing that maybe they’ve been saying all along, over and over for months, and it only took this long for me to hear it: the reason this is all happening is because the Anti-Monitor wants to start fresh and make a universe of his own that he can control. It felt like that moment in math class when things finally start making sense. I still have to do a lot of hand waving around things like why the Monitor is sometimes magically helpful and sometimes extremely not, or why he is somehow both an omniscient and unreliable narrator all at the same time. But at least I understand the motivation.
The thus taskless heroes are standing around the Waverider hub, and I know I said it yesterday, but this is one of my favorite sets, so I love seeing our non-Legends friends on the ship. Kate is still watching Kara carefully while they discuss what to do next. Cisco thinks he found the source of the antimatter wave, so he takes the rest of Team Flash with him to Earth 1.
On his way out, the Monitor finds Cisco and says Vibe will be needed soon, so he gives Cisco back his powers. Without his consent, I might add. And see why can he do this but not give Oliver back his soul? Or seemingly do anything but be cryptic?
Anyway, Cisco continues on with Frost and The Flash to the tunnel where Nash had gotten sucked into the doorway. He explains to those who missed it that he’s Pariah, being punished by being forced to bear witness to tragedy until the end of time. He doesn’t really remember how he got through the door the first time, so Cisco vibes his memories and gets the code so the team can get in.
Up on the Waverider, Kara goes to Lex to ask how to use the book to get her Earth back. Finding him entirely unhelpful and wanting to support her friend, Kate roughs him up a bit until he explains that it takes extreme willpower to do even simple things, so saving a whole Earth could drive Supergirl mad. After throwing Lex back in the brig where he belongs, Kate pulls Kara aside and says maybe this is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad plan.
But Kara wants to fix this. She keeps saying it, she’s been saying it since last week’s episode. “I can fix this.” And it’s how I can tell Kara is reaching her breaking point. Not her like… forever broken point. But it’s getting clear the poor thing needs to sit down and process all her pain and have a good cry on her sister’s lap, but instead she’s powering through. She thinks she can fix this but she can’t. Even if she gets her mom back, even if she saves the world(s), even if things get better, she still experienced this trauma, and she still needs to process it.
Constantine, Mia, and Diggle head to Earth 666 in LA because Constantine knows someone who can help them get to Purgatory to get Oliver’s soul the good old-fashioned way since Constantine’s necromancy powers haven’t quite returned. They knock on the door and who answers but LUCIFER MORNINGSTAR. Like, the real Lucifer! From the show Lucifer! He crossed NETWORKS to be here! Lucifer introduces himself to Mia and ask what she desires, and all she wants is her father back.
Lucifer is entertained, and agrees to help, mostly to return a favorite. “I owe you for Maze,” is what Lucifer said, and I don’t know what that means, but I do hope we find out in the next season of Lucifer. Lucy hands them a card that will get them to Purgatory and flirts with Diggle a little before sending them off.
The trio end up in Purgatory, which looks like Lian Yu, which MEANS Purgatory, because Oliver wasn’t all that creative when coming up with his personal hell. Constantine warns them that when they find Oliver, he might need his memories jogged, and also that they don’t have much time.
Team Flash finds the source of the antimatter wave, and it’s a massive cannon being powered by a speedster. And not just any Speedster: Earth 90’s Flash. Flash Gordon himself. And he’s trapped in what MY personal Purgatory would look like: a neverending treadmill.
Cisco vibes a portal in so Barry can get Flash Gordon off the treadmill of doom, but as soon as he’s off he warns them that the thing is rigged to explode if he stops running for too long.
Topside, Iris and the boys find Ryan Choi, who is hugely excited to see Ray Palmer. Iris interrupts their nerding out though because they need Ryan to help them save…well, everyone.
Ryan doesn’t believe them when they say they’re superheroes, and doesn’t really understand when Ray calls him a Paragon. He insists he’s not a hero, just a husband and a father, and if the world is really ending, he’d rather be home.
Up on the Waverider, Lois is womanning the command center and watches as Earth 73 is the next to get wiped out. With only seven Earths left, the Monitor starts to reminisce about all HE’S lost, his planet, his family. Lois asks about them and he starts to tell them, catching himself and almost smiling, if such an expression is possible for him. He says he understands why she’s such a good reporter.
RayClark appears then, weary from not being able to save people, and Lois gives him some encouraging words. Before he disappears again, she asks why he added black to his Zor-El crest, and he says that it’s to remind him that hope cuts through the darkness. And people keeping saying dramatic things about hope, which makes me feel like Kara is going to be the lynchpin in this whole saving-the-world business. (It would be awesome if it was also Lena because we know she loves her some Hope but alas I doubt we see her again until the crossover is…well, over.)
Down in the Anti-Monitor antimatter anticave, the Pariah shows up with a surprised Black Lightning in tow, who immediately starts to fight until Pariah explains that he just saved him from the destruction his entire world faced. And then Jefferson has the reaction I’ve been waiting for one of these snatched up people to have since Sunday: he starts to yell. “You should have saved my family, not me.” He also doesn’t understand how he could be grabbed but not also the people standing within three feet of him, but Barry calms him down with those big puppy eyes and his neverending well of empathy. The Paragon of Love breaks through to him, and Jefferson agrees to help, taking on the energy of the antimatter cannon for a while until they can sort out this treadmill situation.
Up on the Waverider, Kara goes to open the book again, feeling desperate for something to do, some way to help, but Kate won’t let her. Kara insists, and Kate stands up to her. Like literally, right up to her, practically nose to nose, and stands tall and speaks clearly and says she will stop Kara if she has to.
Kara replies that Kate wouldn’t be able to stop her, but Kate is pretty sure she has a fighting chance. Kate states her case one last time as plainly as she can: if Kara doesn’t succeed at bringing back Earth-38 and/or Argo, and something goes wrong, and Supergirl goes mad, they’re all doomed.
This gets Kara to walk away, at least for now, and Kate seems relieved.
I loved this scene for many reasons. They’re friends, these two, and that good faith didn’t disappear just because they disagreed. Neither of them ever raised their voice, or resorted to insults, or raised a fist. They stood their ground and marked their line in the stand and then quietly chose not to cross each other. Oliver has never met an impasse he yell at. Barry has rarely not done something he was told not to do. It just felt very refreshing is all. It was tense in a whole new, exciting way.
Down in the hamster ball of doom, Barry realizes that this might be what The Monitor prophesied. He might be destined to take Flash Gordon’s place, this might be why the headlines all said that The Flash vanished in the Crisis. (Though how a theoretical future newspaper wrote anything about the Crisis is beyond me…)
Nearby in Central City, Iris tries one more time, one on one, to get Henry to come with them. She tells him that she’s also human, no meta or alien powers, no supersuits or assassin training. Just a very smart, very kind, very pretty reporter. And humans have their purpose, too.
Iris encourages Ryan to think of his daughter and how cool it will be to be able to tell her he helped save the world, so he agrees to come with. (Side note, I did a Google, so I know who Ryan Choy is in the comics now, but I won’t tell you here in case you want to be surprised. I sometimes regret looking these things up.)
When the boys ask her how she knew what to say, she flashes back to when she said goodbye to Barry on the Waverider, and he told her that he might be a speedster, but she has powers of her own. Powers of intelligence and heart, for example. He tells her that this could be it, their last goodbye, but not to miss him too much, because he’ll always be running home to her.
And y’all, I keep thinking maybe I don’t like The Flash that much, but this show has made me cry real tears EVERY SINGLE WEEK this season. I don’t know if it’s Grant Gustin’s gentle voice or thoughtful expression or the way everyone else in the cast just looks at him like he’s breaking their heart every time he tries to say goodbye but JEEPERS it hits me out of nowhere every time. And this scene was no exception.
In the current time, Caitlin takes over for Frost so she can say a proper goodbye to her old pal Barry Allen. Cisco comes in too and the original Team Flash trio hug it out one last time. But seeing how many people love him, seeing how many people he loves, and knowing his time was well lived, Flash Gordon steals Barry’s speed and says that The Monitor wanted a Flash to die, so a Flash will die. Just not the Flash he thought.
So Vibe opens the portal to the treadmill and Flash Gordon starts running backwards on it to stop the death wave. (The sentences these wacky-ass shows get me to write, I swear to Rao…) Barry tries to protest, but Cisco tells him that he’s made the tough choice, just like Barry taught him to. So they all watch for a minute, but then get out just in time for Flash Gordon destroys the antimatter cannon, but dies in the process.
As he dies, there’s a flashback to the original Flash Gordon show, and I never watched it, but heck if it didn’t make me emotional!
Constantine, Mia, and Diggle eventually find Oliver’s angry soul on Lian Yu and talk him down until he remembers them. But before he can leave Purgatory with them, a man called Jim Corrigan aka Spectre appears. Constantine knows the name but not the face (because of the Constantine TV show, apparently) and he says Oliver’s soul has to come with him, because only he can “light the spark” to save everyone. (Is the spark a spark of hope aka Kara’s hope?)
He says goodbye to Mia, and goes with this random man who appeared in his personal Purgatory without, in my opinion, sufficient explanation, and Mia is so, so sad.
Back on the Waverider, The Flash and Black Lightning, arguably two of the kindest/truest/best men in the multiverse, have a very sweet bonding moment, talking about their dads and their losses, and Jefferson says a Dylan Thomas quote that I quite liked: “Rage against the dying of the light.”
If ever there was a time we needed that, right?
Elsewhere on the ship, Kate is still following Kara around, lest she try the book thing again. Kate reiterates that she just doesn’t want Kara to get hurt, and Kara understands. They compliment each other on their Hope and Courage, and in the spirit of bravery, Kate gives Kara her Kryptonite disk. Kara’s anger flares for a moment, but then it’s doused in sadness when she remembers what not fully trusting the last person who had Kryptonite cost her. She might not know how to fix her relationship with Lena, but she knows how to avoid breaking her friendship with Kate, so she takes a breath and tells Kate to keep it. Kate will never lose hope like Bruce did, and Kara will have the courage to trust Kate will never use the disk on her.
HEALTHY ADULT FRIENDSHIPS FOR THE WIN.
The fam all gathers back up again, and they decide that their next step is to find the Harbinger. Almost on cue, she appears. The Pariah is also here, and he’s meant to witness great tragedy… but by the time they put those clues together, it’s moments too late, and Lyla’s eyes turn white and the Harbinger starts to attack.
Lyla overpowers The Monitor and… absorbs him? Giving the Anti-Monitor just enough juice to start the antimatter wave up again, destroying Earth 1 and heading right for the Waverider. As a last ditch effort, the Paragon sends out a burst of energy and all the Paragons disappear. Those left behind stand strong, telling the Anti-Monitor that wherever they are, their heroes will fight to the very end. They hold their heads high and nod resolutely to each other as the anti-matter wave takes all of them too like this is the end of Infinity War and we know everyone can’t be gone forever but jeez does it still hurt to see them fade to dust.
When the Paragons reach their destination, Sara recognizes it as the Vanishing Point, a place that exists outside of time and space.
And probably in the dot above the i in Jeremy Bearimy. They realize they’re likely the only ones left in existence at the moment, but before they can really figure out what that means, Kal-El starts bursting red energy. Kara drops to her knees beside him, SO close to that one Crisis comic cover but opposite, and watches as RayClark transforms into none other than Lex Fucking Luthor. Kara is pissed, and frankly, same.
Because while I truly enjoyed Lex’s arc on Supergirl, and I think Jon Cryer is the perfect person for the part, and plays him so well… his story was over. The heroes won, Supergirl stopped him, Lena killed him. And it’s not like they lived happily ever after; it still set off a ripple effect, they still have a myriad of problems. So it feels supremely unfair that not only does he get to come back for no good reason other than to annoy us, but then to also take Superman’s spot at the end of the world, though I suppose if he had to be here, of course that’s who he’d replace. The ONLY good thing that could come of Lex not being dead is that the guilt of his death could not weigh as heavy on Lena’s conscience (even though she still has to reckon with the fact that she was willing to go there) not that she would know he’s alive again because SHE’S NOT IN THE CROSSOVER.
Eh hem. :descends off soap box:
Aside from that little rant, and the fact that I still don’t really understand The Monitor’s whole deal or where the Anti-Monitor came from, I’m thoroughly enjoying this epic team-up and all the cameos and nods to franchises past, present, and future. I’m especially enjoying the hero theme mashups, because I’m a huge nerd who listens to the Arrowverse score when I’m writing these recaps.
Unfortunately, Part 4 of the Crisis won’t happen until 2020, so we have to wait to see what happens in the Vanishing Point. Will the Paragons join forces to make a MegaParagon? Will their powers combine to create Captain Paragon? Only time will tell.