It would be difficult to imagine not being impressed at last night’s episode of the Flash. Crisis on Infinite Earths is turning out to be everything one could have hoped for, and more.
Last night’s episode managed to blend some great superhero action with emotional drama, made the most of its large cast, and integrated the guest stars in a variety of entertaining ways. Well, with one exception. It’s awful that the one thing that really didn’t work winds up standing out, when the overall episode was so damn good.
For most of the running time the episode is split between two plot threads, the Flash’s (Grant Gustin) foretold demise, and getting back Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) soul. But time is also spent on a plot thread that doesn’t really develop in terms of action, but does a lot in terms of character, as Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) gets the Book of Destiny from Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer), and intends to use it to bring back her destroyed world. Batwoman (Ruby Rose) views this as an unnecessary risk, given the larger Crisis looming over them, and a solid bond of mutual respect is formed between the women as they debate the issue, rather than fight it out.
The plot with the Flash and the Anti-Monitor’s destructive weapon also makes use of the Flash’s supporting cast, Elongated Man (Hartley Sawyer), Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker), and Vibe (Carlos Valdes), his powers restored against his will by the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett). It derives quite clearly from the death of the Flash in the original comic miniseries, but plays out a bit differently. Black Lightning (Cress Williams), brought to Earth-1 as his world got wiped out, winds up having to put aside his grief and help in this battle.
I hadn’t been enjoying the Oliver Queen plot thread in the Batwoman episode, but here it all becomes worthwhile, if only because the aid of Lucifer (Tom Ellis) is needed. I had longed to see Ellis share a scene with John Constantine (Matt Ryan), but hadn’t expected such a thing would ever occur.
Sadly, this is also where the one weak guest shot takes place, as I was extremely underwhelmed by the use of the Spectre (Stephen Lobo).
The last part of the episode sees the paragons that have been gathered become the sole survivors of the multiverse, the last seven people capable of facing the Anti-Monitor and saving everything.
What a great place for a mid-season cliffhanger!
It’s going to be a rough few weeks until January 14th, when the Crisis on Infinite Earths concludes with back to back episodes of Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. And given how this crossover event has played out so far, my expectations are very high for the finale.