It's a whole new everything for "Arrow," "The Flash," "Supergirl," "DC's Legends of Tomorrow" and "Batwoman" -- plus, a few more jaw-dropping surprises!
Well, just as it was in the comics, so it came to pass on television as The CW's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover mega-series changed everything for every series, with a few more twists and surprises along the way.
When last we saw the Paragons (i.e. the surviving heroes of the destruction of the multiverse) they were trapped at the Vanishing Point, and apparently they were there about as long as we were waiting for this two-part finale to the biggest television crossover event ever.
Honestly, this was the granddaddy of all crossovers and there really is now way to fathom The CW or any network topping it. And it sets the stage for a fresh and exciting new "Arrowverse" going forward, even as "Arrow" itself is preparing to say goodbye.
As for the story itself, it actually got a hair repetitive and a little cliche as we got the "final" battle with the Anti-Monitor and his legions of Shadow Demons not once, but twice. Everyone knows that the bad guy has to be defeated twice before he's gone for good. And hopefully he is.
In between those two fights, though, everything changed.
One of the big speculations throughout the lead-up to this event was that this would finally be The CW's way to combine "Supergirl" onto the same Earth as all of their other shows. Well, as predicted, that absolutely did happen. But that's not all that happened.
As it turns out, Black Lightning's brief appearance earlier in the crossover was just a prelude. He showed up again at the end of this two-hour epic and it became clear that "Black Lightning" is also now an official part of the "Arrowverse," making this easily the most bloated universe on television.
Seriously, there's a "Green Arrow and the Canaries" spin-off in the works, The CW just picked up "Superman & Lois" to series and they've already renewed "The Flash," "Supergirl," "DC's Legends of Tomorrow," "Batwoman" and "Black Lightning." That's six, possibly seven, ongoing series set in what's now a single, combined universe.
Perhaps The CW is looking at having the "Arrowverse" as year-round programming, much like AMC is trying to do with "The Walking Dead." The difference is the DCW Universe could weave various elements across multiple series to create one ongoing narrative (of a sort) across their shows. It truly could become unlike anything else on television.
Talking about deja vu with the villain fight, we got it as well with Oliver Queen. Already dead at the top of this mega-event, Oliver became the Spectre and helped lead the Paragons into the final fight with the Anti-Monitor at the Dawn of Time. There, he ignited the spark and they fanned the flames with the power of focus (or some nonsense) and then he died again.
Barry and Sara were by his side for this death, as he told them to carry on in his honor ... and doing just that became the theme of the final hour of the event. As the heroes discovered they were on this new combined Earth, they also began to discover some other changes.
In the closing moments, we learned that Superman and Lois have sons now, which could set up a dynamic a little more similar to the characters in the comic books (who have one son) for their upcoming series. Having Superman and Lois as parents is a new dynamic not yet seen on the screen, so that could be fun to watch ... especially if they have powers.
The funniest change is also the most random, as we discovered that Heat Wave actually went through with his ambitions of being a romance writer and is apparently quite successful, and he even uses a publicly-known pen name that starts with Rebecca. Kind of a funny twist to one of "Legends" most entertaining characters.
All-New, All-Different Lex Luthor
The biggest change, though, is for Supergirl. Not only is she now in a universe shared with all of her friends, Lex Luthor is a beloved philanthropist and considered one of the greatest men on the planet. On the one hand, we learned that she and Lena get a reset on their friendship -- which is actually a good thing -- but we suspect there's more to this Lex thing to uncover.
For one thing, the Paragons all came to this new universe with memories of everything that happened in the "Crisis," and that would include Luthor. He had attempted to betray Supergirl and Ryan Choi when they were sent to stop Mar Novu from launching his experiment that would transform him into the Monitor, create the Anti-Monitor and kickstart the end of everything.
Lex wanted to strike a deal with Novu for world domination. If the Paragons' focus helped Oliver reignite the multiverse, it would appear that Lex added a new twist to his own origin story in his particular focus. But with a knowing wink to Kara as he accepted a Nobel Peace Prize, it would appear that OG Lex is still in there.
There was no follow-up to this in this episode, so it remains to be seen if this is Lex trying to make a genuine change, or if this is some evil plot that will have to be undone. Hell, we even found out LexCorp wholly owns the DEO, making Lex Alex and Supergirl's boss. That should be fun.
Hopefully, this means Jon Cryer is intending to stick around "Supergirl" on a more permanent basis, as he really is one of the most enjoyable iterations of the character we've ever seen.
In a round robin of easter egg scenes at the end of the episode, we took a quick journey around the all-new multiverse, giving numbered designations to the other parallel worlds. For a while, we thought Earth-Prime was going to be it, and this was truly going to be like the comics -- meaning, there was only one universe -- but Oliver only combined those two worlds for his friends, leaving the rest of the multiverse divided.
One Earth we didn't get a glimpse of in this quick tour was the one wherein resides the DC Extended Universe, despite a hilarious crossover appearance with Ezra Miller, who is still moving forward with his own Flash movie. Watching him and Grant Gustin compare costumes and be a little silly was a lot of fun, but it also didn't make a ton of sense.
At that moment, Barry was attempting to corral the Paragons in the Speed Force to protect them from anti-matter universe. He jumped to pivotal moments and memories they've shared over the years to save them, but there was absolutely no connection to Miller's Flash, nor did it come up again. Is this indicative that the DCW and DC Extended Universe might touch again, or at least these Flashes?
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What we did get was a quick rundown of most of the DC Universe shows, as well as a quick return to Routh's Superman over on Earth-96. Considering this is essentially where Christopher Reeve's "Superman" film universe continued with Routh's "Superman Returns," it was a sweet gesture to the most iconic version of the character yet.
No love for any of the various Batmnen, though. But, we also got a tease of a universe fans have been clamoring for for years now (despite the Ryan Reynolds travesty) with a glimpse of a green streak leaving Earth and the Green Lantern symbol, perhaps on Oa. Could we finally be getting a "Green Lantern" series on DC Universe?
We say that because every other parallel earth was one of the DC Universe shows. Even "Stargirl," which will share a home on DC Universe and The CW, was put on Earth-2. That makes it a prime candidate for crossovers, as well as the Justice Society of America, which has famously lived there for years.
Other worlds include "Swamp Thing" on Earth-19, "Titans" on Earth-9, and "Doom Patrol" on Earth-21. It's interesting that they specified that all of those shows are on different parallel earths, as many fans suspected they might share a common world. But that's what crossover events are for.
So was this just a one-off, or are there plans for more synergy between the DCW and DC Universe shows? We wouldn't be opposed to it. Perhaps that's the only way you could top "Crisis on Infinite Earths." Join the Arrowverse world of shows with the DC Universe shows in a worlds spanning saga. Perhaps an Infinite Crisis?
Or if Lex has messed with the timestream too much, a Zero Hour might be in order to straighten things out on Earth-Prime before they can even get to that. However long it takes, we suspect fans will be willing to wait around.
DC has proven they know how to do impressive things on a television budget. Despite some hokey elements here and there, this was a largely satisfying venture filled with fun easter eggs, a major shift in status quo, and most importantly, a stage set for exciting new adventures to come that make everything feel fresh again.
Oh, and lest we forget, they even threw in a nod to "Super Friends" that we might not be done with. We heard you Gleek, and while you were one of the most annoying elements of the classic cartoon, we'd love for you to crop up and sow some chaos here. And speaking of Gleek...
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the dramatic closing scene at the memorial for Oliver Queen, the first of them to fall in battle. We loved the reveal coming from inside what appears to be a derelict, abandoned warehouse. What Barry Allen sees, though, is the potential of this STAR Labs research facility.
The reveal of the table, the reveal of the front of the building was giving us goosebumps as this is officially the beginning of the Justice League. That facade is classic Hall of Justice, as is the table with all of their symbols on the seats. Black Lightning's inclusion means huge changes for his show, as well.
While we expect Freeland will still operate in a mostly independent status, it'll be impossible to ignore that they're part of this larger world filled with superheroes the caliber of Supergirl and The Flash.
Speaking of super friends, it was sweet to see Kate hanging at Kara and Alex's place in the closing moments, establishing the new World's Finest dynamic for the Arrowverse. Will "Batwoman" lighten up a bit? Will mini-crossovers happen with more frequency?
The possibilities are ... dare we say it ... infinite!