Crisis on Infinite Earths, Parts Four and Five: An end and a new beginning

Crisis on Infinite Earths concludes with two episodes full of tears, heart and more fun DC Comics cameos than you’ll likely know what to do with.

The CW wrapped up its most ambitious superhero crossover to date with the two final episodes of “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” and, in the end, it was a magical, emotional ride.

That’s not hyperbole, by the way. In fact, “Crisis” was largely everything this Arrowverse fan needed it to be – a love letter to these superhero stories and why they matter, a worthy send off for the character who started it all, and amazing tie-ins to other DC properties across screens both large and small. Was I crazy about the fact that our heroes basically saved the day with the hero emotions version of the Care Bear stare? Not really. But, then again, I wasn’t really watching for the details of how the good guys saved the day.

Instead, what really worked for me was the relationships between all the major players involved – these shows have spent years building up to this moment, and it shows. Barry and Oliver’s friendship. Sara’s legitimate grief and regret about the person she used to be. Even the return of Beebo – these are all gifts to longtime fans who’ve been with this universe every step of the way. (And that’s not even counting the dozen cameos and references to other series and universes this managed to pull off.) After five episodes of madness, I’m just feeling grateful.

Grateful that we got to see all of this. That the folks in charge loved this material as much as we the viewers do. That there were surprises and shocks and self-referential jokes that made zero sense if you hadn’t been watching this universe for a while – what a gift this entire thing was, for all of us.

Here are a few of our favorite things from the crossover’s conclusion.

A heartbreaking goodbye

While we all knew that some sort of permanent goodbye was coming for Oliver Queen – Arrow is ending in two weeks, after all – it’s doubtful that any of us were really prepared to watch him die a second time in Part Four of “Crisis.” (Personally, I figured he’d just stay some sort of cosmic Spectre figure on Lian Yu so that Mia could visit him occasionally or something.) But, no, this time, Oliver seems to be really most sincerely dead.

And if you got insanely emotional watching him beg Sara and Barry to take care of his family, well, trust – you were not alone.

At least we got to see Oliver go out in a blaze of glory – his declaration to the Anti-Monitor that “you have failed this universe” before he basically made him explode was particularly great – after inspiring his Super Friends and letting the group know just how much they meant to him. Godspeed, original recipe Green Arrow. We’ll miss you. A lot.

Incredible cameos – and a connection to the film universe

Half the fun of this entire “Crisis on Infinite Earths” has been seeing the ways in which the Arrowverse folks have managed to embrace all the other DC-related properties out there. Over the course of this crossover we’ve seen shoutouts to classic TV series like Smallville, Birds of Prey and Batman: The Animated Series. Famous comic runs like Superman’s “Kingdom Come” arc were included. And even quick references newer properties, like DC Universe shows Titans and Doom Patrol were included.

In short: It was awesome. Not just because it’s fun to see Tom Welling pop up on our screens again or watch Brandon Routh put the Superman cape back on, but because it reminded us all that this universe is vast, and contains multitudes. The Arrowverse even embraced the DCEU film universe itself by the end of this crossover, as Ezra Miller’s Justice League version of Barry Allen popped up in Star Labs.

Whoever would have believed this was possible eight years ago, when a little show called Arrow premiered? Whew.

A new future, that looks a bit different

As most people probably expected, our gang of heroes ultimately defeats the Anti-Monitor. Oliver’s sacrifice restores the multi-verse and brings back (most) of the characters we lost, save only himself. But the universe Oliver creates looks a little different now from the one we were used to, and that leaves some intriguing threads for these series to follow in the future.

The impact of Oliver’s death will naturally play out on the final two episodes of Arrow. But losing Oliver isn’t the only thing that changed. All the CW shows – which used to exist in different universes, on different Earths – have come together and now exist on Earth Prime. Ostensibly, this means it should be easier for Barry to visit Kara, or for Superman to pop over from National City to see how things are going in Freeland. (Plus, Barry’s basically created the Justice League, so that should help, too.)

But the act of combining the Paragons’ Earths has caused new problems to solve and issues to work through. Lex Luthor is now (supposedly) a good guy, an uber nice philantrophist running a new version of LutherCorp known as L Corp. This has obviously changed various elements of Lena’s life as well, and one has to wonder if she’ll still be holding her grudge toward Kara for hiding her real identity.

Elsewhere, Diggle and Lyla have two children, as baby Sara, originally erased from the timeline when Barry caused Flashpoint, once again exists. Lois and Clark also suddenly seem to have two kids, somehow. (??) Everyone knows that not only was Oliver the Green Arrow, the President commends him for saving humanity. Precisely how things have changed in the worlds of The Flash and Legends is still a bit up for debate, but there’s likely to be some fallout in their corners of the Arrowverse as well.

And we can’t wait to find out what that is.

Next: Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part 3: Lessons in loss and hope

What did you think of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover? Let us know in the comments! 

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