Spoilers ahead for the first two episodes of the Arrow-verse's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover.
The "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover between Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman (with a dash of Black Lightning thrown in for good measure) is the biggest and boldest endeavor in the history of the Arrow-verse. Even despite the clues that "Crisis" would come as early as the very beginning of The Flash, it was difficult to imagine The CW successfully pulling off something as huge as "Crisis on Infinite Earths." Well, after two episodes of "Crisis" packed with highs and lows, I'm beginning to suspect that it's either the best or worst thing to happen to the Arrow-verse in the long run.
I was conflicted about this crossover following the first episode of "Crisis," which culminated in a twist so shocking that even The Monitor didn't see it coming. Oliver died after making a last stand on Earth-38, and managed to save a billion -- yes, billion with a b -- lives before finally being mortally wounded.
While he was always supposed to die in "Crisis," the death wasn't supposed to happen that way and that early. The second episode revealed that some of the heroes of the Arrow-verse weren't willing to just let him stay dead, while others continued the fight to save the multiverse. So, let's jump into why "Crisis on Infinite Earths" could be the best thing in Arrow-verse history or the worst.
Why Crisis On Infinite Earths Could Be The Best
As much as I've been nervous about "Crisis on Infinite Earths" ever since name after name after name began dropping for cameos that had to somehow fit into the crossover (although I was somewhat reassured by Arrow's amazing Season 8 premiere), I can admit that the Arrow-verse really did produce something remarkable with this crossover, especially since viewers have had the year since "Elseworlds" to build expectations for the five-show event. Each of the major heroes has had something to contribute.
The cameos in Part 1 were quick enough to be fabulous for eagle-eyed fans without taking too much time away from the characters we all know and love, and the extended cameo in Part 2 that caught Smallville fans up on what Tom Welling's Clark and Erica Durance's Lois have done in the years since the end of their show was just long enough to do justice to Smallville but not so long that it ate into the screen time for the other arcs of the episode. Fun without frivolity!
This crossover hasn't been dominated by just one hero, and there have already been some unexpected and fresh team-ups. "Crisis on Infinite Earths" delivered the closest thing to a Dark Knight/Kryptonian mission the Arrow-verse may ever be able to pull off when Kara and Kate dropped by Earth-99 to visit Bruce Wayne, who was supposed to be the Paragon of Courage. Instead, he was a cruel, washed-up hero who killed his Earth's Superman, but the ultimate reveal that Kate was the true Paragon of Courage worked. And it was Kevin Conroy, so of course it was awesome.
Everybody has a job to do in "Crisis on Infinite Earths," with the superpowered working with the non-powered, the heroes rolling with The Monitor's demands while still questioning him, and nobody letting their pride get the better of them. This is a true team-up crossover, and I'm genuinely enjoying it, despite what you may think when you get to the next section.
The crossover is making the most of its infinite Earths while still allowing characters to feel some consequences of what has happened to them, if not quite allowing them to dwell on it. "Crisis on Infinite Earths" feels like a superhero movie, and that's something no other Arrow-verse crossover has quite accomplished. Not even "Elseworlds" was quite this successful at creating an event feeling so cohesive, and I'm eagerly looking forward to Part 3. I'm having fun.
Why Crisis On Infinite Earths Could Be The Worst
While "Crisis on Infinite Earths" as a five-part crossover event has so far avoided a lot of the pitfalls I was imagining in my worst case scenarios, there have been some weak spots where the shows branch off into pursuing their own interests. Uniting to save the multiverse is all well and good, but some heroes are taking their eyes off the prize in ways that frustrate me now and have frustrated me on the individual shows as somebody who likes consequences to be... well, consequential.
Admittedly, I was willing to let go of some of my scruples about letting dead characters stay dead if that meant resurrecting Oliver to give him a shot at a happy ending before the Arrow series finale next year, but Part 2 featured Mia, Barry, Sara, and Constantine going about trying to get him back in a particularly frustrating way: a Lazarus Pit.
I'm on the record here at CinemaBlend as far back as early Arrow Season 4 as more or less loathing the existence of Lazarus Pits in the Arrow-verse, despite how happy I was that neither Thea nor Sara was dead for good. To quote myself,"removing the magical pool of do-over juice from the equation was one of the best moves that Arrow has made in quite some time."
To me, the Lazarus Pits were the Arrow version of The Flash using time travel and universe hopping to solve problems and untwist major plot twists. Yes, I was on board with "Crisis" somehow bringing back Oliver, but I didn't think it would happen via Barry, Mia, Sara, and Constantine taking a break from saving the multiverse to dunk his corpse in a Lazarus Pit on another Earth. Barry and Sara at least should have known better.
I mean, Sara herself is proof that even if using a Lazarus Pit was a good idea, a corpse doesn't 100% need to be especially fresh. Sara had been gone a while before Laurel robbed her grave and had her resurrected. They could have at least waited, right? The reintroduction of the Lazarus Pit in a crossover between all five shows means that the characters of all five shows know that death doesn't have to be forever, even for heroes without superspeed. Oliver seems likely to come back, but did the price have to be the return of Lazarus Pits?
And then there's Kara's determination to save Earth-38. I was also a proponent of Supergirl staying separate from the rest of the Arrow-verse for many reasons, but I can admit that crossovers will be easier if the Girl of Steel is a little more local to the good guys of Earth-1. But now she's determined to bring back her Earth while they haven't even successfully guaranteed the future of the multiverse yet.
Kara didn't get into any details, but this could involve time travel since The Monitor's powers are depleting as The Anti-Monitor's powers grow. The big three heroes aren't at their best at the moment, with Oliver (through no fault of his own) in the animalistic, soulless state of somebody freshly resurrected via a Lazarus Pit, Barry once again focusing on his personal loss rather than the bigger picture (which is what led to Flashpoint not so long ago), and Kara adding another priority to her plate when the focus needs to be on the multiverse. I know it's only Part 2 and there are three more hours for the heroes become their best selves again, but still!
Who could have guessed that newbie Batwoman and the Legends would be the ones most focused on the bigger picture? Hopefully Part 3 proves that the heroes will be back at their best sooner rather than later, and the emergence of The Anti-Monitor in front of an alarmed Lyla Michaels/Harbinger indicates that all hands need to be on deck as soon as possible. But also, where was Pariah after Part 1 ended on that huge Pariah tease? We'll have to wait and see.
Part 3 of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" airs Tuesday, December 10 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW, with the final two legs of the five-part crossing airing in January 2020.