The Flash: 6.09 Crisis on Infinite Earths Part Three
After what seems like an eternity, the world of The Flash or, in this instance, the entire DC Universe is back for the most anticipated superhero team-up of the year. To address the elephant in the room, yes this is part three; part two will be aired on Batwoman that only started in the UK last week, so won’t be shown for several weeks. Yes it’s stupid, yes it makes this part a tad confusing, but that’s what happens when multiple channels pick up shows from the same universe. Let’s look past it and review the third crossover instalment for what it is. For a refresher on part one click here.
This episode stands out as feeling saturated with characters and having important storylines watered down, which suggests a lack of planning that actually went into its creation. While seeing countless heroes together on screen, along with numerous little nerdy easter eggs is infectious but you have to ensure character introductions are handled well and storylines are given the screen time they deserve, which isn’t always the case here. That’s not to say this was handled poorly; more that perhaps 45 minutes is too much of a limitation to showcase everything they intended, which is a real shame.
Taking a lot of that time was the introduction of Ryan Choi, one of the seven Paragons. Although he was fine, debuting him in an earlier episode not only would’ve made more sense, but would’ve allowed more interesting side-missions such as the Purgatory storyline, which was built up to be something more than it was executed as, to prosper. Additionally, Cisco getting his powers back was just brushed over by the entire cast, as was Nash Wells’ transformation into Pariah and the introduction of Black Lightning into the Arrowverse. Continuing to play the Barry-is-doomed card felt stale, and while acceptable for a typical The Flash episode, was just wasted screen time here.
These annoyances aside, Crisis on Infinite Earths Part Three succeeded in once again bringing the characters we have come to know and love together in a universe shattering event. It continued to execute emotional tension well. Saying farewell to the Earth-90 Flash after he sacrifices himself was especially powerful, and the inclusion of an archived clip from the 90’s TV series was a great touch, allowing that once cancelled show to have a fond farewell, while also showcasing how far this genre of television has come. The scene with the original three- Barry, Cisco and Caitlin- was particularly special and fitted the scenario perfectly.
The TV show Black Lightning has not been one that’s resonated with me; I found it to be dull, not well thought out and a little too cartoony. However, Jefferson Pierce’s inclusion here almost makes me want to revisit the series because, although short, his impact and immediate rapport with Barry was touching and heartfelt. His dialogue, which focused more on the destruction of his world and loss of family rather than his personal enemies, helped ground him in this universe which is significantly different to his own. Perhaps this is the better approach to these crossovers; limiting the amount of characters from each respective show.
Missing the second instalment definitely had an impact, as far too many assumptions had to be made. For starters the story; coming into part three we see Brandon Routh’s Superman, Lex Luthor and Jon Constantine, all presumably introduced in part two, made little sense here. Things like paragons and the book of destiny also takes a while to gather an understanding. Batwoman and Supergirl continuing to strengthen their bond was ok to watch but I got the impression that more with them was tackled in the second instalment, which rendered these sequences unserviceable to the overall plot. Again, not to say they were bad, just didn’t hit the gravitas that was intended.
Thankfully the finale of the episode was fantastic. Not only did we get to see the literal end of existence, the betrayal of Harbinger and a pretty cool if somewhat short battle with the Monitor, we also got to see the supposed death of Superman from Earth-96 (introduced in part two) after a last minute scheme was executed by Lex Luthor. To say the excitement and anticipation levels for the next instalment of this Crisis were heightened would be an understatement.
These yearly crossover events are proving to be an exhilarating success with this middle instalment packing a surprisingly entertaining punch. The enormity of its cast and shear amount of individual story-arcs to combat, is both its major downside and huge achievement. Given the scale, things such as special effects, action and rushed set pieces can be downplayed and easily forgiven, especially when the story delivers emotional, exciting and moving moments, which this did. The conclusion of this Crisis seems overly obvious but no doubt it will continue to be exciting. Either way I look forward to watching it play out.