NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Legends of Tomorrow”, including the final fate of the DC live-action Multiverse, are present in this review
After a decisive battle against the Anti-Monitor and his Shadow Demons, which saw former Green Arrow, Oliver Queen give his life permanently in order to restart the universe, the fifth and final episode of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event is able to finalize the ultimate fate of the live-action DC Multiverse, while in turn providing one last unexpected threat for the heroes to face on their new Earth. “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Five” is fittingly hosted on a special episode of Legends of Tomorrow, a week before that show’s new fifth season is actually scheduled to begin on the following Tuesday, one that airs immediately after the fourth episode hosted on Arrow, meaning that DC fans and general Arrowverse enthusiasts won’t have to wait in order to see exactly what comes of the new Earth’s creation, the one that Oliver gave his life for.
It makes for an interesting and subversive narrative direction to simply have the Paragons wake up in the new universe, spending the bulk of this episode trying to get their bearings, and pick up the pieces within a newly-restored Earth that they helped create. This begins with Kara waking up in her apartment in National City, with an oblivious Alex thinking that she simply dozed off in front of the television. It would initially seem then that Kara is back on Earth-38, safe and sound, but obviously, there’s a big twist ahead! After Kara has to suit up as Supergirl and intervene in an attack by Weather Witch, one of the recognizable super-villains from Central City, Barry ends up speeding along and taking Weather Witch out, being just as surprised to see Kara as Kara is to see him. How did Barry get to Earth-38, you may ask? Well, in a turn that many fans might actually have expected well in advance, Earth-38 doesn’t actually exist anymore… And neither does Earth-1.
It turns out, in one of the more predictable resolutions to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, that Earth-1 and Earth-38 have merged into one singular Earth, with Earth-38’s Supergirl characters now all openly co-existing in the exact same world as the characters of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman of Earth-1. As far as the citizens of the new Earth are concerned, Supergirl and her friends were always part of the same world as Team Flash, Team Arrow and the rest to boot, with only Kara and J’onn, along with the other Paragons, being able to remember that the Supergirl characters used to be separated on a different Earth. Fortunately, J’onn fills the Arrowverse’s other heroes in on the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths using his psychic abilities, allowing everyone who wasn’t a Paragon to conveniently catch up on the fallout from the battle with the Anti-Monitor, which sadly also includes the other heroes learning that Oliver died during that battle, and was primarily responsible for the new Earth’s creation.
As exciting as it is to see that the Supergirl universe has finally been successfully merged with the world of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman however, the big initial appeal of this episode comes from the surprisingly kooky, yet undeniably exciting way that the heroes are forced to adjust to the new Earth on the fly. This fits perfectly with the goofball charm of Legends of Tomorrow as well, especially with a recognizable C-list DC villain, Sargon the Sorcerer, one formerly unseen in the Arrowverse, conjuring up a giant Beebo as a distraction in Star City, so he can rob a bank. This seemingly foreshadows that a ton of new villains and other such threats have now appeared in the Arrowverse that weren’t there before, with the Book of Destiny likely taking a few liberties with the recreation of The CW’s flagship DC Universe. Better still is that a very promising new story turn is teased for Supergirl on the New Earth especially, with Lex Luthor seemingly using the Book of Destiny’s universe rebirth to re-envision himself as a Nobel Prize winner and a beloved celebrity science icon, one that’s adored by Supergirl’s supporting cast, with only Kara and J’onn ever recalling that Lex used to be a dangerous criminal mastermind on the old Earth-38. Lex even owns the DEO in its entirety now, which will certainly make things awkward for Kara during the back half of Supergirl’s current season, while excitingly promising that Lex will continue to be a cunning antagonist on that series, having successfully cheated his former death.
As kooky and enjoyable as the first steps into The CW’s new Earth are however, we still have one climactic threat to take care of, as the Anti-Monitor ends up re-appearing, sending an initial batch of Shadow Demons to hunt down the Paragons in pairs, since they remember the old Multiverse, and can stop the Anti-Monitor’s plans to once again destroy the new Earth. Fortunately, the heroes do manage to repel the Shadow Demons however, in turn also protecting Ryan and his infant child from them, which creates a convenient opportunity for Ryan to team up with Ray and Barry in an effort to build a powerful shrinking grenade, one that could shrink the Anti-Monitor for all eternity, thus rendering him neutralized. The Arrowverse’s other heroes then have to stall the Anti-Monitor long enough for the grenade to be completed, which they of course do. The ensemble battle against the Anti-Monitor still feels a bit constrained by The CW’s limited budget, but this final struggle against the multiversal arch-villain nonetheless feels at least a bit more exciting than Oliver’s initial duel with the Anti-Monitor at the Dawn of Time, providing a more fitting climax to the Anti-Monitor’s destructive vision, one that eventually sees him banished to the Microverse, and out of the live-action DC Multiverse’s hair for good.
Despite all of the fun and Arrowverse-approved charm behind this climactic final battle against the Anti-Monitor however, the loss of Oliver still hangs heavy in the air. Before the battle against the Anti-Monitor proper, Sara makes a vain effort to search for the lost Oliver, eventually being forced to accept the reality of Oliver’s final death, and declare through tears to Barry that the last tether to her pre-superhero life is now gone. Sara and Barry shoulder the brunt of Oliver’s loss to outstanding effect, since they serve as the original Arrowverse’s other flagship heroes, and the ones that were most closely inspired by Oliver’s example. Even then, a proper ensemble memorial ends up being held for Oliver in an abandoned S.T.A.R. Labs warehouse as the episode winds down, which even Black Lightning attends, after it’s revealed shortly beforehand that Black Lightning’s unidentified Earth also ended up merging with Earth-1 and Earth-38, to create the basis for the new Earth that was brought to life by Oliver and the Paragons, in turn also placing The CW’s Black Lightning series into the same shared universe as the network’s other DC shows for the first time. Yeah, this doesn’t totally make sense, since Black Lightning wasn’t one of the Paragons, and had no influence over the Book of Destiny at the Dawn of Time, but whatever. I doubt that DC fans will be too fussed about the details when they can also enjoy the fact that Black Lightning is no longer stuck in its own private world, and can now interact with the other Arrowverse personalities just as freely as Supergirl finally can.
There’s one last bit of inspired fan service in the wake of the Anti-Monitor’s final defeat as well. Despite the fallout from Crisis on Infinite Earths seemingly following its comic book inspiration at first, namely by destroying the Multiverse and leaving only one Earth for all of The CW’s DC heroes to exist together in (even if the DC Comics Universe eventually restored the Multiverse in the printed panels many years later), it turns out that a new Multiverse also ended up being birthed after the Anti-Monitor’s defeat, essentially re-writing a new live-action DC Multiverse for a new era of DC media. On top of that, The CW’s entire line of current DC shows now co-existing on the same Earth ends up re-branding their newly-shared home world as, “Earth-Prime”, complete with Barry revealing a Justice League-style table in the abandoned warehouse for the heroes to assemble at, should another apocalyptic scenario that requires their combined efforts threaten the new Earth. The Flash, Supergirl, Superman, Batwoman, Black Lightning, White Canary and Martian Manhunter all have seats at this table, with another seat also being reserved for a Team Arrow representative. Perhaps this is a hint that the surviving Mia Smoak could take the late Oliver’s place on the improvised ‘Justice League’ of Earth-Prime in a future crossover (even though the ‘Justice League’ name is never actually uttered here, likely due to restrictions from Warner Bros.’ movie division), but either way, it’s an exciting time for the reborn Arrowverse, which seems especially invigorated by finally being able to unite its flagship TV icons under one banner, without compromise!
Outside of Earth-Prime, the re-tooling of the post-Crisis live-action DC Multiverse also involves the total restoration of some pre-Crisis worlds, with the Earth-9 setting of DC Universe’s flagship series, Titans, and the Earth-96 setting of the classic Christopher Reeve Superman movies and their successor movie, Superman Returns, most notably, being visibly restored exactly as they were before the Anti-Monitor destroyed them. Other worlds like Smallville’s Earth-167, Lucifer’s Earth-666, and Birds of Prey’s Earth-203, among the other parallel Earth’s that we saw earlier in the crossover, aren’t shown to have been visibly restored, but considering that Lucifer has now run for four seasons’ worth of events in the wake of the Crisis especially, it’s safe to assume that these worlds are restored exactly as they were too.
Even then however, some universes are totally redesigned after the events of the Crisis, especially those that were formerly linked to The Flash. Earth-2, for example, is now a completely changed, fully modern universe that functions as home to DC Universe’s upcoming Stargirl series. Likewise, Earth-19 has now completely erased the inter-dimensional breacher police force and their eccentric world, and is instead now the setting of DC Universe’s tragically-cancelled Swamp Thing series. Finally, DC Universe and HBO Max have some more DC TV projects embraced with new Earth’s, as DC Universe’s excellent Doom Patrol series is now confirmed to take place on Earth-21, while HBO Max’s planned Green Lantern series is formally placed on Earth-12, crudely using some archive footage from 2011’s ill-fated Green Lantern movie to confirm that. The DC Extended Universe of the movie space is sadly not among these cameos, but it’s obviously safe to assume that that’s out there in the new live-action DC Multiverse as well, considering the brief appearance of Ezra Miller’s big screen Flash in the previous crossover episode.
Regardless of what’s next for this boldly-unified new multiverse for live-action DC media though, Crisis on Infinite Earths saw itself to an excellent conclusion in its fifth and final episode. Legends of Tomorrow hosted the most fun, rewarding and emotionally-charged episode of the entire crossover, finding a way to thrust audiences into The CW’s newly-born Earth-Prime with equal parts humour, heart and drama. Even more gratifying for DC fans is that almost every corner of DC’s recent live-action television slate beyond The CW also got at least a small nod with the newly-reborn live-action DC Multiverse, with Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing and the upcoming Green Lantern series getting their own officially-designated Earth’s (and fun cameos!), and with only Gotham and Pennyworth being conspicuously absent, likely due to licensing issues with FOX and Epix, respectively. As fun as it is to see the heroes taking down giant Beebo’s and the Anti-Monitor however, it was the poignant tribute to the fallen Oliver Queen, along with the bright new world he left behind, that really rounded off the crossover perfectly. It truly feels like the end of an era for the Arrowverse, but as sad as it is to accept that Oliver is now gone for good (with Arrow as a whole not far behind him), the glowing new era of possibility for the Arrowverse should nonetheless leave fans more eager than ever to see what’s next for the network’s robust catalogue of ongoing DC shows!
- Promising new threats and surprises teased for the newly-unified Earth-Prime
- Clever, exciting final confrontation with the Anti-Monitor
- Poignant, emotional final send-off for the fallen Oliver