In the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” recap for part 3, The Flash fulfills his destiny, more Earths die and the Anti-Monitor strikes back against the heroes trying to stop him…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
There was no way that the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover wasn’t going to go into a month long hiatus without leaving on a major cliffhanger.
That was accomplished but so much more happened in this latest hour that featured the first appearance of Black Lightning in the Arrowverse as well as several beats that fans of the original comic book should recognize.
And because Part 3 took place during an episode of “The Flash,” Barry Allen’s fate was finally revealed after a teaser tied him to a disappearance during the Crisis all the way back to the very first season of the show. Of course, the twist that happened during the episode was also a fitting end to that particular story while “The Flash” once again provided the most emotional moment of the crossover thus far — sorry, Oliver Queen, since you’re not quite dead yet we can’t be that sad.
There’s a lot to dig into with the third part of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover so let’s get to our recap…
Oblivion Upon Us
The start of the episode takes us to Earth-203 where we are briefly reunited with the short lived “Birds of Prey” series and a frantic Huntress, who is trying to escape the oncoming wave of anti-matter. She desperately reaches out Oracle aka Barbara Gordon but when her communication isn’t returned, Huntress watches as her world crumbles and she fades to dust.
Back on the Waverider, Team Flash arrives to pitch in a helping hand with Cisco assisting Ray to fix his ‘Paragon detector,’ which will then allow them to discover the remaining part of the seven heroes who are meant to make the final stand against the Anti-Monitor. The names are finally revealed as J’onn J’onzz as the Paragon of Honor, Barry Allen as the Paragon of Love and a third mysterious member named Ryan Choi, who is the Paragon of Humanity.
Comic book fans will recognize the name Ryan Choi as the man who took over the role as Atom from Ray Palmer. That might explain his inclusion in the Crisis considering actor Brandon Routh has already been confirmed to leave “Legends of Tomorrow” during the upcoming season so it’s entirely possible that Dr. Ryan Choi will be taking over for him.
The revelation of the new Paragons puts the team on the hunt to find Dr. Choi with Ralph Dibny, Ray and Iris West heading off to Ivy Town in hopes of convincing him to join the fight against the Anti-Monitor.
Meanwhile, Cisco is also able to trace the source of the anti-matter wave that has been obliterating Earth after Earth across the multiverse and it turns out, the destruction started in their own backyard. The Anti-Monitor’s wave is being generated from somewhere beneath Central City.
The Flash, Killer Frost and Cisco decide to hunt down the source of the anti-matter wave but before leaving, the Monitor has to offer his help. He tells Cisco that his powers as Vibe will be required to save the world and while he voluntary gave up his abilities at the end of the last season of “The Flash,” the omnipotent being gives them back to him for this particular mission. So now that he’s Vibe again, he teams up with Barry and Killer Frost to find the source of the anti-matter wave and stop it before any more worlds are destroyed.
John Diggle also arrives during the episode and he’s irate that no one told him that his wife Lyla aka Harbinger has just disappeared without a trace. Even more disturbing is that Diggle wasn’t around when Oliver needed him most as he perished trying to save Earth-38. Now Oliver has been resurrected in a Lazarus Pit but his soul didn’t come back with him.
So Dig joins Mia and John Constantine as they attempt to retrieve Oliver’s soul from purgatory in order to bring him back to life for this final fight.
Paragon of Humanity
When Iris, Ralph and Ray arrive in Ivy Town, they meet Dr. Ryan Choi for the first time. He’s immediately taken back because apparently he’s a big fan of Ray Palmer the scientist, not so much his alter ego as a superhero. When Ryan finds out about the anti-matter wave coming to destroy the Earth, he decides being at home with his wife and child is where he belongs because he’s no hero.
Thankfully, Iris is able to talk him back from the ledge while making him realize that not all heroes wear capes and he’s needed for this fight against the Anti-Monitor. There is no better way to secure the safety of his family than joining this fight to save the multiverse.
Ryan eventually agrees and joins the group to return to the Waverider.
Mia and Diggle travel with John Constantine to Earth-666 where they meet up with his contact to help them crossover to purgatory in order to retrieve Oliver’s soul. His contact is none other than Lucifer Morningstar — previously of the FOX series and now entering the final season on Netflix — and a cameo appearance that hadn’t previously been announced.
Lucifer, charming as ever, agrees to help Constantine because he owes him a favor and he hands over a tarot card of the devil that will assist them crossing over into purgatory. But he warns them, the trip can only last until the picture on the card disappears or they will be trapped there forever.
When they arrive in purgatory, an amnesiac Oliver Queen attacks them but after reconnecting with his old friend Diggle, he begins to remember his real history. He’s happy to be reunited with his friends but just as they are preparing to take Oliver’s soul back to his body, they receive a visit from John Corrigan aka the Spectre.
The Spectre plays a crucial role in the original “Crisis on Infinite Earths” comic books so it’s fitting that he makes an appearance here to tell Oliver that his purpose will not be returning to Earth to fight alongside his friends but instead he will take on a different role in purgatory. It seems Oliver Queen is becoming the new Spectre and he will play a major part in the fight ahead to stop the Anti-Monitor.
Sadly because he’s forced to stay behind, Mia and Diggle have to return home without Oliver’s soul, which means he will not be coming back to life after all. Of course as Spectre, Oliver will still return for the final battle as the heroes attempt to destroy the Anti-Monitor before he can destroy them all.
Speaking of resurrection, Kara is equally determined to find a way to bring back Earth-38 after her world was destroyed during the initial wave of anti-matter crashing across the multiverse. She decides that the Book of Destiny will allow her the ability to bring back Earth-38 but even Lex Luthor reminds her that the power contained in those pages could easily drive her mad. It’s one thing to use the Book of Destiny to bring back a single person, but her attempt to save an entire planet along with billions of people will almost surely drive her insane.
Still, Kara wants to try but Kate is determined to stop her — even if it means using the kryptonite weapon she took from her fallen cousin Bruce on the alternate Earth where he was corrupted as an evil man before dying in Part 2 of the crossover.
Eventually, Kate is able to talk Kara down rather than using the kryptonite against her as she convinces Supergirl that as much as she wants to save the people of Earth-38, there’s no bringing them back now and the cost to the rest of the multiverse could be catastrophic. Kara relents and thanks Kate for her courage (you know, since she is a Paragon after all) and that’s when she shows her new friend the kryptonite weapon she took just in case she needed to use it.
Kate hands it over because she realized she could trust Kara to never break bad like her cousin Bruce on that alternate Earth. Instead of taking it, Kara tells Kate to keep it because she also trusts her new friend in Batwoman to always do the right thing, which means never using the kryptonite against her.
Run, Barry, Run
As Barry, Killer Frost and Cisco track down the source of the anti-matter wave, they are joined by Pariah — formerly known as Nash Wells — after he came to this Earth to kill the Monitor but was instead tricked into unleashing the Anti-Monitor. Now he serves as an observer to the Anti-Monitor’s greatest conquest as he seeks to destroy the multiverse.
Unfortunately since his transformation into Pariah, he’s no longer able to unlock his memories as Nash Wells but this is where Cisco’s vibing powers come into play. He’s able to see into Nash’s past through one touch of Pariah and he finds the code to help them enter the secret lair where the Anti-Monitor has been housing his anti-matter weapon.
Once inside, the group discovers that Barry Allen from Earth-90 — John Wesley Shipp from the original “Flash” series back in 1990 — is furiously running on a treadmill and he’s single-handedly powering the anti-matter cannon that is firing out into the universe, destroying world by world. That explains why Earth-1 was expected to be the last planet to fall because that is where the Anti-Monitor has been plotting this attack all along.
Sadly, Barry from Earth-90 is trapped until Cisco is able to free him from captivity as the treadmill comes to a grinding halt. Barry tells them that if he doesn’t start running again, the cannon will implode and all of the remaining Earths will just get blinked out of existence immediately so he needs to get back on there to run.
Pariah finally finds a way to help lend a hand as he seeks out Jefferson Pierce aka Black Lightning from his world just before that Earth is destroyed. Of course, Black Lightning is distraught to learn that his family has been lost in the Earth’s destruction but if he doesn’t act fast, every world will see a similar fate.
Black Lightning can use his powers to absorb the energy being released from the cannon until the two Flashes can come up with a plan to stop it. As he absorbs the electricity being generated by the failing anti-matter weapon, Barry Allen from Earth-1 realizes that this is the destiny he was always meant to face.
He needs to run in the opposite direction on the treadmill to reverse the polarity and stop the anti-matter wave once and for all. This was his purpose and the reason why he disappears because to stop the anti-matter wave, he will have to sacrifice himself. Barry says goodbye to Cisco and Caitlin, who returns briefly to see him off one last time. He asks them to say goodbye to Iris and Joe for him but just as he’s about to run, Barry, run, the Flash from Earth-90 zaps his speed force temporarily and takes his powers.
Barry Allen from Earth-90 says the Monitor foresaw the Flash sacrificing himself during Crisis but he never specifically said which Flash had to do it. He then decides to jump on the treadmill, running in the opposite direction as Barry Allen fulfills his destiny as he stops the anti-matter cannon once and for all as he fades into dust once the machine crumbles.
There’s even a brief flashback to a scene from “The Flash” in 1990 where Barry spent a moment with Tina McGee, the STAR Labs doctor who helped him figure out his powers after his transformation into the Scarlet Speedster.
It was a satisfying conclusion for the 1990’s “Flash” series, which never got a true ending because the show was cancelled. The moment also served as a fitting end for Barry’s “crisis” after he was supposed to disappear and never return but now he gets to go back to be with his wife — at least for a few more moments.
The Age of Heroes Ends
Back on the Waverider, everybody is reunited minus Oliver who didn’t return from purgatory. Lyla aka Harbinger then reappears as she connects with her husband John except she can’t remember where she’s been for the past day. She then completes her transformation back to Harbinger except now she’s being controlled by the Anti-Monitor.
She quickly dispatches of Kingdom Come Superman and puts everyone else on their knees by just clinching her fist. Pariah desperately wants to help but he can’t harm the Anti-Monitor or by extension, his emissary. The Monitor tells Pariah that he will be able to help when the time is right.
Finally, Harbinger turns her powers towards the Monitor and eventually kills him. As he fades away, Harbinger absorbs the remaining powers that belonged to the Monitor as a new anti-matter wave crashes across the multiverse and wipes out Earth-1.
The Anti-Monitor’s plan is complete because now he will create a new world in the anti-matter universe that only he can control. Before the anti-matter wave crashes through the ship, Pariah uses his teleportation powers to rescue the seven Paragons while everybody else including Iris, Superman and Lois Lane are blinked out of existence.
As for the heroes, they teleport to the Vanishing Point — a callback to the first season of “Legends of Tomorrow” — which is a place that exists outside the realm of space and time. It’s a spot in the universe where the Anti-Monitor can’t find them much less hunt them down to kill them.
Just as the group is about to figure out what comes next, Kingdom Come Superman doubles over in pain before he’s torn apart by a series of lights as he fades from the Vanishing Point. In his place stands Lex Luthor, who tore a page out of the Book of Destiny and he wrote himself into the final battle as the new Paragon of Truth.
Now the seven heroes — the Flash, Supergirl, Sara Lance, Batwoman, J’onn J’onzz, Dr. Ryan Choi and Lex Luthor — are all that stand between the Anti-Monitor and his plan to obliterate the multiverse and build a new world in his image as he seeks to rule everything.
“Crisis on Infinite Earths” will wrap up on Monday night, January 14 in a special two-hour episode that spans across “Arrow” and “Legends of Tomorrow”.