Part 3: Wow. That was intense. It had some of the same problems as Part 1, being too rushed and cluttered in plot terms, with Pariah still being really underdeveloped. But it did have a lot of excellent character moments that were very satisfying and potent.
The fate of Flash-90... wow. It was entirely predictable that Barry-90 would sacrifice himself for his sort-of son, but it was still a deeply powerful moment, especially with the Elfman theme music supporting it. Flash-90 really was underused in Elseworlds
, and I'm glad he got a bigger payoff here. Of course, the moment would be a lot less potent for viewers who aren't familiar with the 1990 show. As far as viewers of the current Flash
are concerned, it would've probably been more engaging if the sacrifice had been Jay Garrick, an alternate Flash they've been invested in for years. Having this other lookalike guy substituted for him must be weird for those viewers. But for me, it was such an overpowering moment that I needed to step away from the computer for a few minutes to recover. Of all the superheroes seen here outside of cameos, Flash-90 is the oldest veteran, and elements of his show have been extensively homaged and revived in the modern Flash
over the years. So in a way, he's the forerunner (pun intended) of this whole superhero multiverse, and seeing him fulfill the iconic role of Barry Allen in Crisis
, make the ultimate sacrifice to save those who've come after him, was deeply appropriate and powerful.
(Incidentally, I'm a bit disappointed to learn that Flash-90 married Tina McGee instead of Megan Lockhart.)
As for Black Lightning, we still don't know for sure what number his Earth is, although it was implied that it was Earth-73, because that's the world we saw destroyed on the Waverider
's screen in the scene just before BL showed up. It's unclear why they'd use that number for a character introduced in 1977, though. Anyway, he was kind of swamped by the plot demands in his first big scene, but I'm glad they gave him and Barry that bonding moment built around their similar histories.
Nice interaction between Kara and Kate too, recasting the classic dynamic of Batman being prepared to take down Superman with kryptonite, but working through it with trust and understanding and friendship. It did a good job of solidifying the relationship that the producers are setting up as the replacement for the Oliver-Barry dynamic. If they do merge Earth-1 and Earth-38, I could live with that as long as it brings more Supergirl/Batwoman interaction, although as I've been saying, the shows never really connect anymore outside the crossover events, so it wouldn't make much difference. (I mean, the Flash
gang only just now learned that Earth-2 was destroyed, and barely had time to react to it.)
The Lucifer cameo was a terrific surprise. I've thought for years that it would be cool to see Constantine cross into Lucifer's universe and get some interaction between the two, and even though it was brief, it was fun to see. Of course, it raises some interesting theological questions, since the supernatural rules pertaining to angels are quite different between Constantine
. In the former, angels were invisible/inaudible to mortals and strictly forbidden to intervene in human affairs, and fallen angels had black wings; also Lucifer was explicitly evil and sought to corrupt souls. In Lucifer
, angels can interact freely with humans, their wing color is unrelated to their status, and Lucifer resents being blamed for corrupting the souls that his job is to punish for their self-corruption. Also, the version of Hell seen in Legends of Tomorrow
last season is quite different from the one seen in Lucifer
, so there are different Hells in different universes. Now, if the rules for divine phenomena are different in different universes, does that mean that God is not overarching, that each one has its own distinct version of God? Does it mean there are universes without God, or at least without the Judeo-Christian one? There are a lot of implications here that many religious people would probably be uncomfortable with if they thought them through. Though personally I'm glad to treat Lucifer
's rather Biblically literal cosmology as something specific to its own reality and not binding on the Arrowverse or other continuities.
So Lucifer leads us to Purgatory, and thus to Oliver... and Oliver Queen becomes the Spectre. Which makes perfect sense in a way -- it explains the green hood. It's also an interesting way for Oliver to "die" while still leaving room for Amell to come back from time to time. Although I'm not sure I'm happy with the idea. I loathe
the character of the Spectre. I hate the way he brutally, sadistically murders criminals under the pretense of "divine justice" -- it's a disgusting morality and cosmology. Oliver spent eight years growing out of his original mission of vengeance and murder to embrace a more heroic, positive calling, and becoming the Spectre -- using the Spectre's methods -- would be a massive backslide. Although maybe it doesn't have to be that way; maybe his experiences as the Green Arrow will make him a nobler, less sadistic Spectre. I hope so.
So the seven symbols did represent the Paragons after all. We still have to figure out which one is which, though we know which one was Superman (the one Lex defaced), and the Flash symbol is pretty obvious. Anyway, now we have an explanation for those trailer shots showing Lex alongside the other heroes. They also showed Ryan Choi with a beard, so I assume a significant amount of time is going to pass for the gang at the Vanishing Point (where no time passes, but never mind) before the last two episodes.
Gee, what a coincidence that across the entire multiverse, four of the Paragons came from Earth-1 (Flash, White Canary, Batwoman, Ryan Choi) and two from Earth-38 (Supergirl and Martian Manhunter). And with Lex replacing Superman-96, that leaves all seven of them from those two Earths.
I think one thing that surprises me is that the cliffhanger here depends on the Vanishing Point, a leftover concept from the much-reviled first season of Legends of Tomorrow
(though also used in season 2 as the Legion of Doom's HQ). It's been years since it was mentioned, and it's unexpected for an LoT concept to be so crucial when the crossover is so light on Legends (just Sara and Ray, plus alternate Rory and "Leonard"). But I guess it makes sense that a place "outside of time and space" is the only refuge when the entire multiverse has been destroyed. (By the way, the Arrowverse Wiki's Multiverse
article is funny right now -- every single Earth in the list currently has "(destroyed by antimatter)" after it. Somebody went to a lot of trouble overnight to do that, even though it's obviously never going to stick.)
Incidentally, it occurs to me that Elseworlds
set up Psycho-Pirate as a player in CoIE -- he was the one who gave the final speech that quoted the CoIE tagline -- but he's been totally absent here. Could they not get the actor back, or did they just decide to go in a different direction? I wonder if we'll ever find out what his connection to the event was. (In this continuity, not the comics.)
So let's see. Shows/movies referenced so far:
The Flash '90
Birds of Prey
(and indirectly the "Donnerverse," sort of)
Still a lot left that might be referenced. We know a glimpse of Stargirl
is upcoming. Best bets otherwise might be Lynda Carter Wonder Woman, Helen Slater Supergirl, Lois and Clark
, and maybe Krypton
or the '88 Superboy
. Some kind of reference to the Nolan films or the DCEU would be interesting to get.