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Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow - Crisis On Infinite Earths Part 2 - Review Roundtable: Earth Prime

20 Jan 2020

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This review was written by Aimee Hicks, Donna Cromeans, Ellys Cartin, Lisa Macklem, Naomi, Prpleight, and Zandarl.

Crisis on Infinite Earths promised to forever change the Arrowverse and it held to that promise. By the end of the finale, everything was different and new. All of our main heroes now inhabit a single Earth. There was a lot to unpack regarding the finale of Crisis, so we all came together to discuss the biggest moments and provide our overall thoughts on everything that happened. After reading, please leave your own thoughts in the comments.

Arrow: How effective was the theme of "follow the memories and connections" that ran through the episode? Was it simply a nice way of re-capping the crossovers or did it really add to the story and provide closure to the Arrow storyline? Was Oliver (Stephen Amell)'s second death more satisfying than the first?

Aimee: The “follow the memories and connections” theme seemed fitting as the Arrowverse has always been about memories and connections since the very first episode of Arrow. I thought parts of the story flowed very nicely while others felt disjointed, but overall the events in this episode did their job to advance the storyline of Crisis. I don’t think this episode fully closed the door on the Arrow storyline. It brought Oliver’s story to an end, but there is still a series finale for Oliver to partake in, so we’ll still seem him in some capacity for one more episode before his story is truly closed. I found both deaths were worthy of a hero. They each came about because Oliver was truly trying to save not just his city, but the existence his friends and family will go on living in, and there is nothing more noble than giving up everything so that those you care about and love can continue on. In that aspect both deaths were impactful and worthy of a hero.

Donna: With one universe ending and another beginning it was only appropriate to look back at where they’d been and where the worlds could go. It tied together character connections nicely and set up future crossovers. As a fan of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, I found Oliver’s second death infinitely more satisfying. Not only did he get the chance to say good bye to those closest to him (Barry - Grant Gustin and Sara - Caity Lotz), but he also got to witness the birth of the new universe. It truly gave Oliver, whose Green Arrow in a way brought all the other heroes together in the beginning, a true heroic end to his journey.

Ellys: Perhaps it has just been too long since I watched older seasons of the Arrowverse shows, but the past moments they visited in the Speed Force didn’t click for me on any level. Kate (Ruby Rose) standing there watching an old argument between Ray (Brandon Routh) and Oliver was an especially silly turn. It didn’t seem to really recap the best parts of the crossovers either. And I was confused about whether they were visiting real moments in time or was it all just a speed force illusion. I feel that narrative device could have been better used had it just focused on key moments that Sara and Barry spent with Oliver, considering the episode built up to that touching death scene with them at his side.

Lisa: While I liked the walk down memory lane, I was expecting that the Arrow episode of the crossover would feature more Arrow characters. Overall, the theme did feel like a fitting tribute to how Oliver connected all the others. I thought that Oliver’s death in this episode had a lot more weight and meaning. As we see in the final episode of the crossover, Diggle (David Ramsey) is devastated not to have been with Oliver at the end – and I was devastated that he wasn’t there too.

Naomi: I was a little underwhelmed by the way the story unfolded for Oliver in this episode. It was nice to revisit some of the memories, but it just felt that Oliver deserved more. The first death was more heart wrenching - this one was about finding peace, so it seemed to fit with what the creators were going for. I don’t know; I know these crossovers have a lot to do, but I just wasn’t that into the Arrow crossover ending.

Prpleight: It was a nice way to recap moments from Arrow, but in terms of the Crisis story it felt like it was there to serve the farewell to Arrow. Kate showing up for the scene between Oliver and Ray kicked me out of the story and had me trying to figure out why she was there. Overall, I think those segments may have worked better, for me, if Barry had begun appearing in these vignettes right away. I think Oliver's first death hit me harder. For his second death, not only had he not come back to life, but he had taken on the mantle of The Spectre, essentially a ghost. Plus, something kept me from being emotionally engaged in Part Four.

Zandarl: I feel this was done for those who may not have seen the series and maybe occasional viewers to give a bit of back storyline as well. It’s also gave some fun moments in the flashbacks.
Oliver’s second sacrifice for me seemed a lot more final than the first as I always thought they might try the resurrection. It also had a positive feel from his death came rebirth.

Legends of Tomorrow: The Legends of Tomorrow hour ended with an unforgettable homage to the Hanna BarberaSuperfriends cartoons, a fitting reflection of the episode's mostly lighthearted tone in contrast to the more serious earlier episodes of the crossover. The episode suggests that this is only the beginning of this bunch teaming up more often. Which of these new friendships do you see the most potential for in future mini crossovers and why?

Aimee: In typical Legends of Tomorrow fashion this episode had a different tone and I just don’t think that tone worked to conclude this massive crossover. But it did bring about the first glimpses into the new Earth Prime, so at least it helped the audience begin to get a feel for what is to come. Having all the CW DC heroes on the same Earth, finally, opens a lot of doors for potential crossovers. I think it’ll have the most impact for Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Kate as it has been stated that they are basically the heirs apparent to what Oliver and Barry had while the former was still alive. Given that information and how excited Kara was to see Kate on Earth Prime with them, I expect those two ladies to team-up the most often. Plus, given what Kara came back to, and what it has been hinted at that Kate came back to, these two ladies are likely to need some backup occasionally to deal with their new realities. Not only that, but they also share a strong bond forged in the heat of battle. They certainly have the most potential to be paired up in future crossovers.

Donna: As far as the Legends tone I’ve come to expect that from the Legends writers who just don’t take things as seriously as the other shows do at times. However, I think their levity was misplaced in this episode. Everyone was still reeling from their worlds being combined and the realization that Oliver was not coming back and their response to that was Beebo? Inserting him here and to have Ray want to take time fighting a threat to the world by taking a selfie seemed extremely disrespectful to the situation to me. In hindsight, I also feel it illustrated how much the character of Ray Palmer has been torn down since his first appearance on Arrow. Compare this Ray Palmer with the one Kate saw in the Speed Force. That Ray was forceful, self-assured and not afraid to stand up to Oliver. When you put the two side by side it was like watching two completely different characters. By far the strongest and most effective team-up was Kate/Batwoman and Supergirl. The torch has been passed from the Barry and Oliver bromance to the new and solid-looking friendship of Kate and Kara. I look forward to seeing more interactions between the two shows. I also would like to see perhaps some Supergirl and Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Sara Lance interactions. Alex and Sara made a dynamic fighting team in Crisis on Earth-X. Sara was also a great voice of reason and sounding board for Alex at that time as well. I think they’d make great friends.

Ellys: GLEEEEEEEK! That was a ridiculously fun Easter Egg that I truly hope to see expanded in the future. No reason why they can’t take some of that Beebo special effects money to bring the famous monkey to life. The Arrow hour glossed over the fact that the Superfriends spent several months trapped together, which presumably resulted in some new connections and friendships. We saw this in Barry and Sara’s heart-to-heart and Kate hanging out with Kara and Alex by the end. I was surprised by how little Ryan (Osric Chau) factored into anything, which makes me hope they have a bigger role for him in the future of the Arrowverse. With everyone on Earth Prime now, I’m going to need way more interaction. Barry and Jefferson (Cress Williams) had a great spark (no pun intended), and I can see several cool ways their powers could be combined to take on some foe or another. Since Legends is coming back for another season, there’s no reason why a couple Superfriends couldn’t hang out on the Waverider occasionally. And more Kate and Kara working together is high on my wish list. They play off each other’s personalities so well.

Lisa: I’m very much in the minority, I know, but I’m not a big fan of the silly, “light-hearted” episodes. That said, I think Legends does those the best. I can see more pair-ups between Supergirl and Flash – after all, they’ve already don’t a bunch. I think the fact that Batwoman is sitting on Supergirl’s couch is a pretty good indication that we’ll see these two team-up. Black Lightning seemed quite at home with Frost (Danielle Panabaker) and Mick (Dominic Purcell), so some potential there too.

Naomi:The Legends episode saved the crossover from being too heavy. The fun that comics should be, even amid chaos, was a nice touch. Mick was hilarious as always - his Rebecca pseudonym took me out! I am super excited for the potential of more crossovers now that The Justice League is official. Supergirl and Batwoman team-ups are on my radar for sure. I’d also love to see Flash and Black Lightning; they have great chemistry as heroes and as men.

Prpleight: I'd like to see more of the heroes crossing into other shows, when the story allows it. The Superfriends Easter Egg was fun, but just didn't feel like something I want to see them do more with.
This question has me thinking about the Superman/Batman relationship in the comics back in the day. I would love to see them do more with Batwoman and Supergirl. I'm also curious as to whether they will use this as an entree to bringing Black Lightning into the fold. It was good to see them welcome Black Lightning to the table. (Loved Batwoman's comment that she was the new girl last year.)

Zandarl: I loved the Batwoman and Supergirl team up, while Barry and Kara have always been golden these two in the same universe could provide some great scene’s

Black Lightning:Before Crisis aired there was a lot of discussion about Black Lightning's appearance in the crossover. The original Crisis comic books featured tie-ins with various heroes comics. Although Black Lightning didn't include an episode under the main Crisis banner they did present a tie-in episode. What did you think about the way the show tied into the overall Crisis story? Once Black Lightning crossed into the crossovers were you satisfied with Black Lightning's presence in the crossover? Were you pleased to see him invited to the table on Earth Prime?

Aimee: Honestly, I have never watched a single episode of Black Lightning, so I can’t speak much to the story on that show or what led up to Jefferson joining our motley crew of heroes, but I like what he brought to the big round table. I would not mind seeing him popping in and out of the other shows more often now and just from what I saw in the crossover I think he’d be an interesting addition to Team Flash occasionally. As for being invited to join the others, Jefferson did help them in a major way in the first part of Crisis, so it would have been silly for them to not invite him to the Earth Prime table. I’m excited to see when and if he pops up more in the other shows moving forward now that they are all on the same Earth.

Donna: I tried watching the tie-in episode but was so completely lost as it was the first time ever watching Black Lightning. So, I don’t feel qualified to comment on the tie-in. Being that it was his first time in a crossover I was satisfied with the screen time he got, I can’t begrudge him because they gave him more screen time in his first crossover than Supergirl got in two out of three previous multi-show crossovers. What I saw of the character I liked and might give the show another look. However, I wish someone would pay more attention to continuity. Wasn’t it reported that characters in Black Lightning mentioned Supergirl, meaning they knew about the Kryptonian cousins, yet Jefferson’s first reaction to seeing the two Supermen was, “You mean the stories are real?”. That was a little off-putting for me. Jefferson proved himself more than worthy of a seat at the table due to his heroic actions in the crossover. Instead of wallowing about losing his family and his world, like another unnamed character did, he pulled himself together and fought side by side with the Paragons.

Ellys: I haven’t watched an episode of Black Lightning before, but I plan to catch up on Netflix. Jefferson brought a different kind of energy (pun maybe intended) to the group that really improved the dynamic.

Lisa: As Batwoman pointed out, she was the new kid last year. No doubt Black Lightning will have a bigger role to play in future crossovers. I thought it made sense for him to be at the table.

Naomi: I understand why the Black Lightning creators were hesitant to crossover, but I always knew that if it was done right, it would be successful. Jefferson Pierce is an awesome character and to have him miss out on knowing and working with the Justice League would have been a loss for us comic fans. He fit in seamlessly - his wit and banter with Mick and Frost and his humanity with Barry are just snippets of what can be pulled off. I hope that Black Lightning can do mini-crossovers the way Arrow and Flash did in the past. His seat at the table made me feel like the creators are committed to his place in the multiverse. I’m psyched to see how the Pierce family of heroes learns of all that has happened.

Prpleight: I really enjoyed the Black Lightning tie-in episode. I thought the multiverse allowed them to explore the various consequences of a character's choice in a more active way than usual. It was much better than a dream sequence type of set up. It was also a nice homage to the way the original Crisis tied into other character's comics. I do wish they'd marked the episode as part of overall Crisis marketing. There was the impression that, other than appearing in the crossovers, that show wouldn't be part of Crisis. Who knows? They might have picked up a few extra viewers if they had marketed it better. I thought it was kind of interesting to have the perspective of a character who had absolutely no idea about the other worlds or about any of the other heroes. I'm curious whether the writers of Black Lightning will make any adjustments to their world, now that they're on Earth Prime.

Zandarl: It was brief but it is safe to say Jefferson Pierce made his mark. One would even call it electric.

Which performer do you think delivered the most memorable performance in the finale of Crisis? Why did their performance standout for you? What were their best scenes?

Aimee: Caity Lotz delivered the most memorable performance of this last part of Crisis. Sara was amongst a group of heroes and leaders, but in such a dark time and in the group’s darkest hour when they needed someone to step up and take charge she rose to the occasion. In doing so she honored the memory of Oliver and the path he paved for each of the surviving members of the team. Lotz delivered on every nuanced and heartbreaking moment the story demanded of her. One of my favorite scenes was between Lotz and Gustin as Barry tracks down Sara. The way Lotz delivered Sara’s lines speaking of the past, of Oliver and Laurel (Katie Cassidy), was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. She carries both in a prominent place in her heart and even though a version of Laurel still exists, it is nice to see that Sara hasn’t let go of the memory of the sister she knew and grew up with. Her heartfelt performances and take-charge attitude really made Lotz’s performance standout.

Donna: In the Arrow episode I enjoyed Melissa Benoist’s hopeless Supergirl’s blatant disdain for Lex Luthor. “Thanks for volunteering, Lex.” However, for the pure emotional punch, I think most satisfying character arc belonged to Caity Lotz’s Sara Lance. Her standout moments included her optimistic return to the bunker to look for Oliver, and her genuine grief and breakdown when Diggle convinces her Oliver was truly gone. In the scene where Barry comes looking for Sara, Lotz was stellar in mourning not only the loss of her dear friend but also her last connection to Star City. The moment she declares the Legends her family showed a strength and maturity and how much the character had grown. Barry could certainly learn a thing or two from Sara about managing grief.

Ellys: Caity Lotz and Jon Cryer. No competition. The heart of these episodes was carried by Sara Lance and how she responded to Oliver’s death and the restructuring of their world. I can’t say that everyone was really given high-quality material to work with other than Lotz. I didn’t expect Sara’s musings on what it meant to lose her connections to the past, very relevant considering the show literally rewrote its universe, to hit me as hard as they did. What did impact me was because of Lotz’s performance. And Cryer! He was clearly having such a blast that made Lex’s antics an absolute delight. I was thrilled that Crisis left Lex where it did. Made me want the next episode of Supergirl in front of my eyeballs immediately. I think he’s a wonderful foil for Kara.

Lisa: I must go with Stephen Amell and Oliver’s death scene. In the final, final episode, I’d give the nod to Caity Lotz and her scene with Barry as she laments the loss of Oliver and the loss of her past.

Naomi: Grant Gustin’s performance stood out the most for me. His character had the most to do, and he delivered. Barry was a hero and a comfort to the team - especially Sara. When she needed to feel like her life still had meaning, he helped her see that even with loss, it did. My favorite scene with him is a tie between him meeting the other “Flash” (Ezra Miller - who isn’t quite The Flash yet) and when he assembled the device that defeated the Anti-Monitor (Lamonica Garrett). Both fun scenes that remind us why Barry Allen is a comic favorite.

Prpleight: I had a great deal of fun watching Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor. I had seen him in promos for Supergirl, but I haven't been watching that show. His performance was as much fun as I expected. I also liked Stephen Amell's take on The Spectre. I had been expecting Spectre/Oliver to, basically, be Oliver, but he decided to play The Spectre differently and I appreciated that.

Zandarl: I do feel as it was his swan song Stephen Amell gave us one of his best performance to date. He had me reaching for the tissues on more than one occasion. Caity Lotz also delivered a strong performance as well as she mourned not only her friend but her last link to her past.

What are your final thoughts regarding the conclusion of Crisis? What are your predictions for how this will impact the overall Arrowverse moving forward?

Aimee: Overall, I think the ending did not live up to the expectations set by the first part back in December. The promise was there, and they had exceeded expectations in the first half, but something happened in this finale and it just couldn’t hold the momentum set in place for it. That’s not to say there weren’t awesome moments, because there were, the version of Justice League that they set up was cool and well done. Oliver’s memorial by his brothers and sisters-in-arms was very well executed. All the heartfelt moments remembering Oliver were nicely done, but a lot of the in-between fluff like the weird Beebo stuff just didn’t work and took down the energy of the entire last half. As for what comes next for the Arrowverse, I expect more casual pop-ins from stars from other shows now that they all inhabit the same Earth. I also expect we’ll see slightly different versions of some of the other main characters in each show. Things will be familiar yet different across all the shows. I’m excited to see a breath of fresh air breathed into each of the established shows because let’s face it, they all need it. I’m also curious to see how Batwoman the freshman show of the bunch, will adapt given how little history it must fall back on. Batwoman came out of the gate strong and burned through storyline rapidly before suddenly having to pump the brakes as they neared time for Crisis. I really hope that with Crisis out of the way Kate/Batwoman will finally be free to really grow into her own. I’m expecting a lot of small changes and some big throughout Arrowverse and I’m excited to see what all those changes are and what they will lead to.

Donna: I did not get the chance to watch these final two hours live but after watching what I had recorded my honest first reaction was that I was decidedly underwhelmed. They set the bar very high in the first three episodes and despite very fine moments like: Marv Wolfman’s cameo; Barry running into the movie Flash; Supergirl’s attempt to sacrifice herself to the Anti-Monitor; Supergirl, Superman and Martian Manhunter’s battle with the giant Anti-Monitor; Oliver’s more noble death; Sara Lance’s journey into the new world; the tribute to Oliver Queen; and the creation of the Justice League, the second half failed to impress. They defeated the Anti-Monitor far too easily in my opinion and there should have been more battle scenes and more emotionally satisfying reunions after they all returned to a new world. As far as the impact, I think it will be the greatest on the shows that had no season-long build-up (Supergirl, Batwoman, and Black Lightning). Seeing these shows navigate a new reality like Lex Luthor being the good guy (or is he?) and owning the DEO are going to be interesting to watch. For Supergirl, National City is now the home to 3 of the 7 paragons. I think they will use the opportunity to reset some storylines that were heading to being bogged down and perhaps set up next season by preparing to trim the fat of an oversized cast and characters who have outstayed their welcome. For Batwoman, I think they too will take a hard look at tweaking the plot holes in their storylines and bring us hopefully in line with the current timeline so from here on out we see the self-assured and dynamic Batwoman that shone during the crossover. As for Black Lightning, I’m sure, as well, the focus will be on adjusting to this new world with perhaps visits to the other shows particularly The Flash or Legends. He fit nicely with the characters of those shows he interacted with in the crossover.

Ellys: Crisis came, we saw it, and, while it didn’t conquer by most measures, it certainly shuffled the cards in more ways than I expected. This is one of those things that we can’t really evaluate until we see how the impact plays out. My wish list starts with a big reset for The Flash. Get them out of that lab and into the larger world. Get them away from meta villains, send them after aliens or mad scientists, have them solve mysteries, etc. And, I say this from my knees in prayer, let this Supergirl reset be as good as it has the potential to be. I also hope to see the Legends crew interact more with the other shows now. Can’t express my hopes for Batwoman for fear of jinxing them. I predict that most of the Arrowverse shows will use this Crisis to shift in big ways and majorly shake up character dynamics, with the exception of Legends which is just going to keep on keeping on.

Lisa: I did like that so much of the conclusion focused on being a tribute to Oliver. I did think that in the end, it only took them about 5 minutes to figure out a way to defeat the Anti-Monitor. Without a true Green Arrow, I think they should stop calling it the Arrowverse. Certainly, putting everyone on Earth Prime will make crossovers much easier, and I think there will be more “casual” crossovers. With the true Arrow gone, I think the shows will focus now completely on a lighter tone.

Naomi: In all, Crisis was solid. The fun of the cameos, the inclusion of Black Lightning and the foreshadowing of team-ups to come make me feel better about the ending. I had hoped for higher stakes for The Flash since his entire series had been steeped in the belief that Crisis was his albatross, but that was not how it played out. Oliver dying in Barry’s place for the team and the universe was a fair ending to a character that began as very self-centered. I guess I’m cool with it. I’m not so great at predicting, but I’m guessing Mia (Katherine McNamara) will take her father’s place, Flash and Black Lightning have a blooming bromance on the way, Kara and Kate will have a blast together at some point, and Legends will, well, they’ll be Legends and that’s okay.

Prpleight: The nice things about the crossovers is that they've gotten better over the years. (Not sure how they'll top Crisis next year. LOL) I hope they will continue to make the crossovers a major event. I thought the decision to make Arrow the show that set up the Crisis story was a great one. I had stopped watching Arrow 2 seasons ago and, for me, the changes necessary to lay the groundwork for the Crisis story, re-invigorated Arrow. Supergirl looks to gain the most from the fallout of Crisis. The changes introduced in Part 5 were big shakeups. I don't expect to see much change in Black Lightning. The story they were telling before Crisis was built on the isolation of the city of Freeland. I'm assuming that isolation will remain in place until this story is over. I'm really hoping we'll see a few mini crossovers happen more frequently.

Zandarl: Let’s be honest it is certainly going to make things easier and a lot more interesting putting all the heroes together. For me, it was the best crossover to date despite being a bit too silly at the end. I realize what they were trying to do but after all Oliver had sacrificed it was in poor taste. Though I did laugh at the Beebo selfie. As for the departure of the Oliver Queen’s Green Arrow. I do feel there wasn’t much left to be done with the series but to have him depart and handing the mantel over to the others was a fitting tribute. I loved the round table and the creation of Earth Prime’s Justice League. In the future I see a lot more interactive stories between the various shows and not just a yearly crossover. We also have the return of Lex Luthor a bad guy that the world now thinks is good except our band of hero’s, it is certainly going to be entertaining.

Please take a moment to tell us your thoughts in the comments.