Crisis has ended. The event teased pretty much since The Flash began, the end of all things, has come and passed. Heroes have fallen, and been reborn. So have entire worlds. It’s a new age of heroes—and io9 has summoned a Justice League of its own to break down the highs, lows, and what it all means going forward.
The first three episodes of Crisis might have left us a bit divided over just where this latest crossover was headed. But last night’s two-part finale gave us a ton of fun, some shocking surprises, and enough gleeful banter that it’s safe to say, even with a few hiccups, the CW’s latest crossover event stuck an almost impossibly hard to stick landing. Pull up a gamer chair of your own to the Meeting Table of Justice, and join James, Jill, and Alex below for our spoiler-laden chat about it all.
Jill Pantozzi: Hail Beebo! CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths has come to an end and it was….good! What did you two think of the big conclusion?
Alex Cranz: Only some of them failed this universe.
James Whitbrook: Unlike last time, I am very pleased to report that I LOVED these two episodes. This was everything I wanted out of Crisis that the first three episodes sorely lacked. Fun! Inordinate amounts of cheese! Spectacle, yet stakes that were personal to the characters we know and love! ACTUAL PEOPLE HAVING ACTUAL BANTER WITH EACH OTHER. Just, incredibly charming from start to finish, and that’s even without the Beebo goodness.
Alex: You didn’t think part four was a little messy? It was a little messy for me! But part five was perfection.
James: It was! BUT, unlike Crisis 1-3, it had that fun to make up for the fact that it was messy as all heck. That is the running theme of all these CW crossovers—they shouldn’t work, and arguably barely do, but they get by on the sheer gumption of what they’re trying to pull off. Plus, Lex Luthor doing jazz hands with book of destiny powers? What’s not to love???
Jill: If we want to start off by talking some of the weaker points, my opinion was Spectre/Oliver was a big letdown.
Alex: They Care Bear Stared a universe into existence. And I’m still not sure how I feel about that!
Jill: LOL. They sure did.
James: Can we talk about his voice. And his costume.
Alex: YES James. He had a cape. A cloak! A majestic piece of cloth!
Jill: They didn’t even really do anything fun with his eyes!
Alex: It was just Oliver in a warmer coat.
James: As Ryan said, very Sith aesthetic. Although his fight with the Anti-Monitor had VERY big Rise of Skywalker vibes, I’ll give them that. But god, how weirdly chipper did Amell play Spectre! Ollie?
Alex: He seemed so at peace? So happy?
Jill: More so than usual for sure.
Alex: And like to go from the parkour guy to “I’m holding myself and everyone together with pseudometaphysical magic” is incredible!
James: I was about to say, it’s bizarre because he sounds so...light, which is very tragic in a way—whatever he had become to be the Spectre, he’d lost that gruffness that we know as Ollie and it was so alien. I’m honestly quite sad they didn’t do more with it.
God, if those first three episodes weren’t such a slog, they could’ve set up the Corrigan/Spectre stuff so much earlier and given us time with this version of Ollie beyond “Hi Barry, mate, here’s a CW clip show to remind you that we’ve all been through some shit.”
Jill: Yes, agreed, James! Also, I know this is skipping forward a bit but oh my GOD, Diggle saying Ollie died TWICE and he wasn’t there for either fucked me up.
How did you all feel about the hand-wavy speedforce portion of the episode?
James: As a regular Flash watcher I have long embraced the “I dunno, speedforce or some shit” approach these shows have to handwavery, so I thought it was fine, if an almost cutesy way of them going back to these big moments from each of the character’s lives...except Kate just having to stand there watching Ray and Ollie argue? That one was so out of place! Poor Batwoman, given nothing to do but watch two men argue.
Alex: She was so confused. But confused Kate is some of the best Kate.
Jill: When they were back in the Invasion crossover portion I shouted “Supergirl didn’t have bangs back then!”
James: But...the speedforce nonsense did give us the thing. The thing. We should talk about the thing. Scream about the thing, even. God, can we scream about the thing? I need to stop calling it the thing.
Alex: Yeah they just let her keep her bangs! Sorry sorry. What is the thing?
James: Bangs transcend time and space, but anyway, AAAAAAAAH, ALEX, YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS.
Alex: Is the thing...Ollie flying
Jill: Ha, no but that was also fab. So yes, shockingly, SHOCKINGLY, a giant secret was kept
James: THOSE MADMEN.
Alex: I FORGOT.
James: THEY DID IT.
Alex: IT HAPPENED.
James: THE ABSOLUTE MADMEN!!!!
Jill: After all the cameos we had in the first three portions, I did NOT expect any part of the DCEU to come into play, and then there was Ezra Miller in that clunky Flash costume.
Alex: He’s so good! Surprisingly great!
James: They didn’t get Lynda Carter but they got Ezra goddamn Miller. In costume. I should be mad but I AM NOT.
Jill: I still don’t like Miller as Flash, but the moment was tremendous. True Comic Book.
James: The two Barrys work so well off of each other, too. Adorkably charming, even in that short moment.
Jill: They are both Very Big Nerds!
Alex: It was very weird that Miller’s Flash seemed...younger? When did CW Barry become an adult?!
James: No Alex, it’s just that he got a director that let him be actually chipper.
I get the feeling they only got to do it because that Flash movie is STILL so far away, but what a delightful way to tie all these different takes together. Also, the Victor mention right at the very end! That felt like a cute nod to all the rumors that Cyborg would be in the Flash movie at some point.
Jill: I was hoping against hope they’d pull in Henry Cavill, if I’m being honest.
James: He’s waaaaay too busy having coins tossed at him.
Jill: But to your point about Carter, I do find it a bit odd there were zero Wonder Woman references in this entire crossover. Is it a rights thing??
Alex: I hope so!
James: Maybe the immediacy of Wonder Woman 1984 had them skittish? I don’t know, it was such a bummer. And I know it wouldn’t have made sense, but god, if President Lynda had been the one to make that address about Ollie at the end, I would’ve got teary eyed.
Alex: Wonder Woman definitely exists though. The Legends took Helen of Troy to her island?
Jill: Yes, Themyscira was on Legends that one time.
James: So, timey wimey clip show bit aside, I will say...I wanted a bit more out of the actual fight between the Paragons and the Anti-Monitor. I get they needed to save the big guns moments for part five, but outside of Ollie and Anti-Monitor’s “Be With Me” moment, the actual showdown was...really cheap feeling? The crew just sort of flailed at knockoff dementors for about 30 seconds. Even Ryan, bless him.
Jill: POOR RYAN. They didn’t even give him a stick to fight with!
Alex: That happens every crossover. All that great fight choreography from the weekly shows goes out the window and its them fighting nothing in a gravel pit.
Or on a roof.
Or on the roof of a gravel pit.
James: No one set him up for flailing at dementors, but he got TO IT! It made Lex giving himself superpowers just kind of even more hilarious, really. Ryan? Ryan was just like “nah, I can PUNCH.”
Maybe I’m just a sap when it comes to twee sentimentality, but Ollie’s death scene did get to me a whole lot. It was cheesy, yes, but there was just something really gutwrenching to me that, you’ve got this guy who metatextually started it all—we wouldn’t have these shows, we wouldn’t have any of this joyous nonsense if it wasn’t for him. And there, at the end of it all, he’s at peace, watching a new version of the universe he helped create be born.
Jill: His second death scene, definitely better than the first.
Alex: It was just....weird. Like it was nice in the context of the crossover. But I kept thinking how weird it was that he was supposed to be the most grounded of all these characters. And he got the MOST nonsense magic scifi death.
Jill: I still wonder where this leaves his last two episodes though.
James: We know at least ONE of the last Arrow episodes is the Canary spinoff, so I guess the last one is just...everyone being sad about Ollie being dead? Again? Who knows. It’s not like Amell can’t show up in purgatory or something, maybe.
Alex: Yes! Jill. Where does that show go? And is Felicity REALLY not going to be in this universe ever again and everyone’s okay with that?!?!
James: I kind of loved that. Remember how much he freaked out about Kara being an alien, and it almost broke his brain? Now he’s out here flinging space ghost magic spells at an evil being of anti-matter and kickstarting universes. You go, Oliver Queen.
Alex: Oliver Queen flew.
Also a question about part four....how long were they stuck between universes again? Months right?
Jill: At least six. They said Barry was away that long.
Alex: Did...did Kara really spend six months carrying around Superman’s cape and looking sad?
James: Yeah, Barry speedforce’d up an existential hill for six months, which—HA! Yes Alex, that was my thought too!
Alex: Like I get J’onn meditating, and Kate training, but that?!
James: Just moping around carrying a tattered cape á la the comics covers for six months!
Jill: A look.
So what about our end result of the heroes’ fight? The CW Arrowverse now all takes place on one Earth…and there have been some changes!
Alex: Are they all best friends now? Because they spent six months trapped between universes?
James: I mean, you’d learn to get along spending six months at the last known point of existence out of time, frankly. But OH MY GOD RESPECT ITS NAME: EARTH-PRIME.
Alex: Earth Prime, BABY!
James: That Marv Wolfman scene. Oh my god, how adorable. His face.
Alex: He just loves it when they team up.
Jill: And a dock named after George Perez!
James: “How long have we been working together and being friends and stuff???” “Forever.” My little heart, it couldn’t take it.
Jill: I am curious to see more of these changes…Diggle got his girl back!!!
Alex: Are we talking part five now? Because I have EVEN MORE QUESTIONS about part five.
Jill: Yes, haha. Lex is Fake Good!
Alex: And Lena is Kara’s friend again?
James: I’m genuinely glad they did it, because it opens up the potential for so much interesting storytelling going forward. Also like, who is going to be the force that polices who gets to know about the old reality!?
Alex: J’onn is, I guess. He was running around just outing the old universe to anyone he recognized.
James: Does J’onn just set up a lemonade stand or something? “Five cents and I’ll mind meld you the old seasons of Arrow.”
Jill: J’onn just placing a shit ton of horrible memories in peoples’ heads without asking...thanks?
Alex: Very disrespectful. Did he...do it to his own people? Like, does Alex know? Is Kara’s secret identity back in the closet?
James: Alex didn’t know, at least yet. Unless it gets done off screen.
Jill: So besides Iris, Cisco, Ralph, Brainy etc being missing from these episodes...is this Wells our final Wells now? And folks back to really hating him? What about Earth 2 Laurel, or Jesse Quick?
Alex: Earth 2 is now...the Earth of Stargirl?
Jill: And everything The Flash was building to from day one is…no longer!
James: I’m kind of sad they split the Doom Patrol and Titans into their own universes, but given the disparity between that version of the team and the version Titans’ Beast Boy was part of, I can see why.
But man, the teasers the CW have put out have hinted at it, but I’m REALLY excited to see in particular what The Flash does with its characters reckoning with a post-Crisis reality. Like, their whole impetus since that show really began has been trying to avoid this thing and now it’s come and gone. What does that mean for the bonds between these people, where they see themselves in this current set up?
Alex: Yeah, I believe they’d already established them as two separate universes. Will universe hopping still be a thing in this new universe? Or is Cisco back to just being very vibey? I wonder how much Flash will be affected!
Jill: I think they will not be hopping universes now since, presumably, the other universes are…other networks or films. Like, LOL, the Green Lantern movie universe.
James: SUPERMAN RETURNS... RETURNS!
Alex: Also Black Lightning? He’s just kind of quietly been inserted into this universe.
James: Jefferson weirdly cool with just like, showing up now though, which was fun.
Jill: He seriously got the shaft again! But yeah, he really just shrugged and went along with it.
Alex: He was very OK with it all? But it does some really interesting if unpleasant stuff having him be in this universe.
James: “Forget that I awkwardly got about five seconds to grieve the death of my entire family two episodes ago, I’m here for some fun thank you.”
Alex: The heroes in his other universe kind of ignored the systemic racism he dealt with. And now the arrowverse heroes are the ones doing it.
Jill: I mean, the big obstacle all the shows have now (and something I think about with comic series all the time) is that they could conceivably help each other out all the time…but won’t
Like, if Supergirl is around all the time, why is she not helping Freeland folks with their Markovia problem?
Alex: Every time something nearly ends the world and a Super does not show up. That is a bad Super.
James: “Jefferson, you can handle this international incident, I NEED TO BE MAD ABOUT LEX FOR REASONS” *slams supergirl phone down*
Alex: Like Supergirl sleeping on the Markovia issue. Just all those times Star City nearly blew up and Superman didn’t help Ollie. Superdickery abounds in this new world.
James: That’s just comic books at this point. You just sort of assume everyone knows to handle their own business and just...knows when it’s superfriends time.
Jill: Hey, good segue there, James!
Jill: That final tease at the end was wild and cute. And I am sure a lot of folks were confused.
James: Speaking of which, we should talk about how Barry apparently had all this time with the Abandoned Hall of Justice and all he had the chance to do was put Ollie’s costume and a small firepit in there? And a table????? Surrounded by PC gamer chairs??????????????
Alex: I am DEEPLY unimpressed with the Hall of Justice. Could he not mop?!
James: Barry please, hire an interior designer (of Justice).
Alex: There was water EVERYWHERE. Jefferson could kill the whole team if he tripped.
Jill: I want to know who manages all these properties he owns.
Alex: I like that Sara got a chair, but none of the other legends.
James: ALSO WHY WERE THEY JUST KEEPING GLEEK THERE IN THIS ABANDONED WAREHOUSE!?
Jill: Yes, who put him there, and why, and how?
James: THAT’S RUDE!
Alex: James, this is the same time that stores people in a large hadron collider. They’re not good at incarceration!
James: Okay, but counterpoint: which wall will barry kick in in that warehouse to reveal a fold-out monkey toilet?
Alex: Gleek wears pants. He can use a human toilet.
James: So, for some of our very confused readers, we should probably explain what the hell Gleek is. Because we’ve just sort of talked around the fact that he’s a space monkey thing. And why it even matters in the first place.
Gleek is, first and foremost, a blue space monkey, who was introduced in the delightfully silly Superfriends animated show. But more relevant to the CW universe right now is that Gleek was the pet of Zan and Jayna.. a.k.a. the Wonder Twins. Does this mean we could see them show up in the next crossover? Get their own show? Show up in one of the other series!?
Alex: Please. No. They’re already in the Smallville universe. They can stay there. Also DID the Smallville universe get rebooted?
James: YOU CAN’T HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER. I need to see someone turn into a bucket of water on a CW budget. Please.
Jill: Pretty sure Tori Spelling already did that, If memory serves.
James: That doesn’t count. Smallville doesn’t count, now that it exists on its own Earth-Smallville, probably.
Alex: But does it?! I did not see Smallville in the sequence at the end of the episode. I saw Swamp Thing! Characters from shows that haven’t even launched yet. But no Smallville...
Jill: I don’t know if that last thing was meant to be all encompassing. We didn’t see animated Harley!
James: Yeah, I took it as less of a totality and more just a message that “hey, yes, the multiverse is back, just assume everything has its own reality again except our stuff, which is together, except Stargirl, sorry Stargirl, see you for Crisis on Infinter Earths in 2029.”
Jill: Even though you will also air on the CW after your DC Universe premiere, ha!
Alex: I hope Stargirl gets a crossover with the Disney+ Stargirl. Maximum singing Stargirl.
Jill: There was another random DC character cameo too in that last episode that I wasn’t expecting. Giant Beebo was actually a mirage created by…Sargon the Sorcerer!
James: A CASUAL SARGON DROP!
Jill: Lil’ Cape! Who would have thought?
Alex: Oh right. Sargon. Who was just randomly robbing a store? And almost bested the justice league with a giant Beebo.
James: But, I think that’s the strength of these last two episodes right there. They’re all laughing and joking about Giant Beebo and Sargon and it just...feels right. Feels like the culmination of what all these shows have been building towards all these years. You forget how bonkers it is that Sargon the Sorcerer is out here on Tuesday night TV and it’s just fun.
James: Really, who would’ve thought it when Stephen Amell was fighting John Barrowman in enough leather to stink out a menswear department on dark rooftops all those years ago that we’d be here? The Flash, Supergirl, Batwoman, Heatwave, and the Atom playing a game of heave-ho with a giant fuzzy elmo knockoff?
Jill: It is wild to think of how far we’ve come.
Alex: It’s so wild! We’ve come so incredibly far. And now we have a space monkey who hangs out with the Wonder Twins stalking the Justice League in their base. ON A TUESDAY NIGHT. Batwoman in a comfy sweater hanging out with Supergirl! The Green Lantern movie canon in the CW-verse! Probably the ONLY place it will be canon.
Jill: Womp womp.
Alex: And only as a side universe no one ever goes to.
Jill: I would say for as big as they tried to go with Crisis, they may not have always hit it out of the park but it was incredibly successful considering. And an entertaining journey through the DC universe.
Alex: Someone last night mentioned that they wished the whole universe ended with this crossover, and in a way it very much felt like it did. With Ollie dying the franchise is now completely unafraid of being WEIRD in that uniquely silly comic book way. Like this is a very big reboot of the whole franchise. And one I feel very okay with?
James: Agreed, Alex. I do think this was a much more clumsy crossover than anything they’ve done before—those first three episodes now feel like even more of a missed opportunity to me considering how much they knocked it out the park in this finale—but it really did feel like an end. It’s wild that we got here in the first place, but the DC-CWniverse is now just... brazenly, openly comic booky. There’s something joyous and new and refreshing about that, even if we’ve had the groundwork for it slowly being laid these past few years. This is a new, bonkers world, and I’m very happy to be living in it.
Alex: I remember how those last few years of Justice League Unlimited felt like the comic book show I’d always wanted. And now it seems like I’m getting part two—now in live action!
Jill: Oh god I miss JLU. Now I must rewatch, thanks, Alex.
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