Gordon S. Miller
I have been disappointed that Black Lightning hadn't taken part in previous crossovers. Even though it was a DC Comics character in a show airing on the CW, the series set itself apart from the Arrowverse. Thankfully, that changed this year although Black Lightning wouldn't be one of the five shows presenting “Crisis.” However, similar to a comic book that is apart from a major story event yet still references it, Black Lightning: “The Book of Resistance: Chapter Four: Earth Crisis,” which aired after Batwoman, embraces the Crisis indirectly.
The citizens of Freeland notice the sky turn red, unaware that it's the Monitor's antimatter wave approaching to wipe them out. Jennifer (China Anne McClain) Davis is affected, knocked unconscious and her body phasing in and out of the world. Her consciousness meets two alternative versions of herself from different timelines. Seeing their lives play out, allows her to work through her own issues. Her father Jefferson Davis / Black Lighting (Cress Williams) disappears through a portal just before the wave destroys his homeworld.
The stakes of Crisis ramp back up in The Flash as Earths throught the Multiverse are destroyed. The remaining Paragons are revealed, Barry Allen/Flash, J'onn J'onzz/Martian Manhunter, and...Dr Ryan Choi, a scientist with no super powers? He is scared when first approached, but in another discussion about heroism and sacrifice, Iris West-Allen talks him into helping.
John Diggle, Mia, and Constantine seek access to Purgatory, which leads to one of the many fun cameos in the episode. They almost talk Oliver's soul in returning, but Jim Corrigan, a man and a spectre, shows up to tell Oliver he has a higher purpose to serve, which Oliver accepts.
The Flash and his teammates Killer Frost and Cisco, with his Vibe powers restored by the Monitor, find the device responsible for the anti-matter wave, which is powered by the Flash (John Wesley Shipp) from Earth-90 on a treadmill. He has to stay on otherwise, the device will erupt, destroying the remaining Earths at once. Which seems to be a really odd plan because if he has the power to do that, why create a slow moving wave that people could attempt to overcome?
Black Lighting arrives from the portal created by Pariah, and in typical comic book fashion, heroes that don't know each other fight each other. Once he finds out what's happening and what's required, he steps to the plate. Unfortunately, the prophecy about the Flash's sacrifice comes to pass. It is a well-written sequence with clever twist that pays tribute to the character and the actor.
Kara and Kate get the Book of Destiny from Lex Luthor. Kara wants to use it to somehow restore the worlds that have been destroyed, but Kate talks her out of it, concerned about the unintended consequences.
Through Harbringer, the Anti-Monitor defeats the heroes and the Monitor, and his anti-matter wave destroys every Earth in the Multiverse. The seven Paragons are sent by Pariah to a point outside of time and space, but somehow Lex has switched places with Superman.
They probably could have accomplished just as much in two episodes, but it's been fun seeing the characters interact. The less time spent on making sense of the plot the better. They have set up a good cliffhanger that should have fans eagerly anticipating the concluding two hours in January.
The third episode in the Crisis crossover should serve as the end of the Second Act. One would hope that in a story structure that we end up at the lowest point where things seem their darkest for our heroes. Then we would get a break until the story is rejoined in January. Thoughts that occurred during this episode:
- The oversized Book of Destiny that can rewrite history is ridiculous. Any book that huge would be at least 50 lbs.
- The meeting of Constantine and Lucifer is the crossover that I've really been waiting for. This is the best idea the writers have had since Scooby crossed over with Supernatural.
- The return of Vibe is the least surprising development of the show - I expected this a long time ago.
- Black Lightning just doesn't belong in this. Not the way that they've portrayed him on his show. Bringing them into the Arrowverse is in someways more problematic than bringing in Supergirl.
- The best thing to come out of this crossover so far is we are seeing a new side to both Supergirl and Batwoman. Their chemistry is even better than the early interactions of Flash and the Arrow. Maybe if they end up on similar Earths, we can get the same type of relationship that we've seen over the years between Batman and Superman.
- Oliver/Arrow is back. So surprised.
- We have spent this whole season saying "goodbye" to Barry. Do we really need more for the new viewers? Except it's going to be Velveteen Flash instead?
- At least we get a Dylan Thomas quotation.
So how does it end? Kinda reminiscent of how Avengers: Infinity War ended? A little too similar maybe thematically. The teams are split up and unsure how they are going to get back to the fight. I don't think this is the low point I was thinking we were going to be at after three episodes. The main characters are still all in play. The way forward is complicated but still doesn't feel impossible. The stakes seemed much higher at the start than they are at this point. I'm interested in some of the character interactions especially how it relates to Supergirl and Batwoman, but I don't know that this is what I'd truly call a Crossover-worthy cliffhanger.