This post contains spoilers for Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Check out Part One's review here.
Harvey Dent once said “you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Boy oh boy, did that quote ring through my head a lot in part two of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Things slow down quite nicely in the second episode, but not with the intent of mourning the loss of Oliver Queen. Instead, there’s focus on strong character beats. Teams split up as they search for the Paragons, and away we go!
Seven Paragons must be found to defeat the Anti-Monitor. They know of four right from the jump. Supergirl is the paragon of hope, while White Canary is the paragon of destiny. Truth and courage, the other two that the Book of Destiny spoke of, are a little bit more complicated. The team is given descriptors and sent on their respective ways. Kara and Kate head out to find the Bat of the future (courage), while Lois, Clark and Iris set off to find the one who experienced more loss than any man can bear (truth).
While the five hunt Paragons, there’s still the small issue of Oliver Queen being very dead. Unsurprisingly, Mia and Barry aren’t about to just let that situation stay the way it is while the Monitor’s off in the corner whining about becoming weaker. If you’re counting, you’ll notice that just leaves Ray out of the “original” team brought together to take on Crisis. He hangs around on another earth’s Waverider, building a tracker to find the other three Paragons. But he doesn’t stay alone. The Waverider came with its own inhabitants. A doppelgänger of our Mick Rory (who is surprisingly good with babies), and the voice of one Leonard Snart acting as the ship’s version of Gideon.
Each away team runs into roadblocks. The Monitor sets Lex Luthor free with the Book of Destiny in hand so he can wipe out the Supermen across what remains of the multiverse, making Lois, Clark and Iris’ job a touch more urgent. Somehow, Kara and Kate find themselves face-to-face with a more sinister foe: Bruce Wayne.
There was a big part of me that felt robbed with the story Kevin Conroy was given as Bruce. My kneejerk reaction was that perhaps it’s just time to give up hope that we’ll ever see another live-action version of Batman that actually shows why the hero matters. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we already have that. Then the episode even went out of the way to say it: Bruce Wayne isn’t the Bat of the future. Kate Kane is. Though it still might be hard for some folks to stomach, we’ve got a large library of media with Conroy portraying Batman as he’s meant to be portrayed.
We’re given a lot of great moments with The World’s Finest ladies, between Kara bringing Kate a beer after their mission, Kate being ready to pummel Lex just because Kara was uncomfortable, and the many moments with the two of them and Bruce. But there’s a lot hovering over that friendship. It also feels important to note that Kate straight up killed Bruce, accident or no. Maybe they’ll dive into it, maybe they won’t? In the process, she also stole his kryptonite. Contingency plans are standard Bat behavior, but c’mon, Kane!
Aside from the Lex Luthor situation, things go relatively smooth for Team Find The Superman-iest Superman. Seeing this version of Clark Kent still smiling with those big old baby blues after all the loss he’s experienced almost hurt more than if he were simply emotionally devastated by it. It also goes a very long way to show why this version of the Boyscout is the one that they need. Hoechlin does an exceptional job in his role as Supes, and so does Brandon Routh. There’s no secret “but” coming. They’re both great and they both bring something special to the table. And man was it awesome to see Brandon Routh in the Kingdom Come getup.
Two out of three teams return to the Waverider unscathed, with their two additional Paragons in hand. Barry, Sara, Mia, Constantine, and Oliver are a different story. It’s fun to watch Mia and Uncle Barry feed off of each other’s grief, but Sara and Mia’s interactions are where this grouping really shines. Few folks on any earth know more about the dangers of the Lazarus pits, and you’ll have a difficult time finding two more stubborn women. Constantine’s along for the express purpose of collecting Oliver’s soul once they revive his body, but it appears good old John’s having a little bit of trouble. We don’t get resolution to this in part two, but you can likely expect Oliver to return right as Barry runs out of time.
Slowing things down for part two was certainly the right choice. So much happened in the first hour that it took nearly a whole day to digest it all. Next thing you know, it’s time to do it all over again for part two! By pumping the breaks a little, we got a real chance to see things like Kara’s mourning, and light moments like Mick and Ray playing parents to little Jonathan. Heck, that slowdown allowed for our very own Smallville moment. Clark’s given up his powers, he has two little girls, he’s still not afraid of Lex Luthor – there’s just a lot of cute wrapped up in their five minutes of screen time.
I’d be remiss in all of my praise if I didn’t take a moment to acknowledge the music so far. Hearing Batman the Animated Series’ themes, John Williams and Danny Elfman scores and more all woven together with the music of the Arrowverse has given me goosebumps every single time it happened. That music is so iconic, and hearing it be brought into this world just feels so… big.
Tomorrow’s our last Crisis hurrah until January. Midseason hiatus is going extra far out of its way to bring you a little bit more agony than usual. But, in the meantime, we’ve got Black Lightning’s first foray into the Arrowverse, The Flash reconciling with the fact that it might be time to go, and Batwoman facing the music over her murder rock. As always, shout out those episode thoughts in the comments!