Because even in the darkest times, hope shines through.

This post contains spoilers for Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Check out our review for Part 2 here.

If you’d been waiting for the Arrowverse to really solidify Jon Cryer’s Lex Luthor as the absolutely unbearable monster that the character is supposed to be, part three of Crisis on Infinite Earths is going to give you exactly what you’re after. Despite tonight’s episode acting as a midseason finale for the universe, things remained relatively slow. While that’s less of an advantage than it was in part two, the crossover’s midpoint still has a surprise or two up its sleeve.

After a brief regrouping, the team splits up once more. This time it’s to find the last Paragon – Ryan Choi (J’onn J’onnz and Barry Allen are both revealed as Paragons as well, but no one has to go hunting for them). While Iris, Ray, and Ralph go work on Choi, The Flash, Killer Frost, Pariah, and newly re-powered Vibe all head to get to the bottom of this whole Anti-Monitor situation. Their visit to his lair reveals an old friend and a complicated predicament: Earth 90’s Flash is powering a treadmill that also happens to be powering the anti-matter that’s destroying the universe.

The solution here seems pretty simple – get The Flash off of the treadmill, stop the anti-matter. Turns out that’s not quite how it works. If the treadmill stops, everything destabilizes, and that’s a bad day. That’s where Pariah comes in. Though he’s been a wallflower for most of Crisis, his powers come into play exactly when they’re needed most at multiple times throughout the episode. The first is by bringing over Black Lightning, who zaps the tower until Earth 1 and Earth 90 hash it out, and Earth 90 convinces Vibe to get him back on that treadmill so they can reverse the wave and stop the destruction of the last remaining earth. With that, the Flash vanishes in Crisis. It’s just not the Flash that our Barry thought it was going to be. A special shout-out to Jefferson Pierce, who’s given exactly three seconds to digest the fact that his family is gone forever before he’s expected to save the last remaining earth.

Things are a little less straight forward in Purgatory. After enlisting the help of Lucifer on Earth 666, Constantine successfully gets Mia and Diggle to Oliver. Thing is, Oliver’s not ready to leave Purgatory. Before they can make their escape plans to get Ollie’s soul back to his body, they’re intercepted by Jim Corrigan. Y’all might know him as the Spectre. He’s got a job for Oliver, which means our Green Arrow might just remain dead after all. A heartbroken Mia and Dig (and Constantine) are transported back to the Waverider empty-handed.

We’re once again given some really solid interactions between Supergirl and Batwoman. Like, what I’ve been waiting to see characters wearing those symbols do in a live-action format all of my life, solid. Kate stands up to Kara knowing that even the kryptonite might not save her, and Kara listens even though she’s hurt. After their exchange, Kate comes clean about the murder rock in her pocket. Kara, though rattled, tells her to keep it. It’s a simple back and forth in a format we’ve seen countless times and I gobbled it up. It’s exactly what it should have been. World’s Finest indeed!

Oliver’s gone, Ryan Choi is collected, and Kate’s stopped Kara from potentially driving herself mad in an attempt to bring back the multiverse. All that’s left is to find Harbinger, but the Anti-Monitor sees she’s found in no time. He’s been pulling strings on both her and Pariah from the jump, but he waits to strike until all of the Paragons are in one spot. What the Anti-Monitor never banked on was Pariah transporting all of the Paragons to The Vanishing Point, where they’d be well out of The Monitor’s reach.

And what we never banked on was Lex Luthor using the Book of Destiny to rewrite history and put himself in place of Kingdom Come Superman, ultimately wiping him from existence.

With that, part three concludes. The last Earth has been decimated, only six Paragons remain, and they’re in a place out of space and time without any allies. Oh, and what remained of their loved ones were just wiped out of existence. It’s a cool day for our heroes. But that just means that things ended exactly how they should have mid-season (or mid-Crisis).

Though there are some predictable beats here and there, part three acts as a solid close to the first half of the crossover. It was always likely that Earth Prime’s Barry Allen was never going to be the one to die, but the Superman death at the very end was a “fun” shock. If you’ve been reading these reviews for a minute, you know of my love for any and all mentions of Barbara Gordon. Getting some of the Birds of Prey ladies at the very beginning was a lovely, albeit short-lived, surprise as well.

The Paragons currently reside firmly in a boat lodged in a messy creek with absolutely no paddle to be found. As we’ll be seeing The Legends of Tomorrow return in the latter half of the crossover, it seems reasonable to assume that their rescuer will be Waverider shaped. Lex’s betrayal means that they’ve got the Book of Destiny in hand, so it looks like Kara might get her chance to try and drive herself insane after all! All we know for sure at this exact moment is that Barry will find himself confronted by the Speedforce in January, and it won’t be taking its standard Nora-shape.

They’ve made clever use of Stephen Amell in the last two episodes without pulling from the weight of Oliver’s death. It being a superhero show, there’s always going to be a looming “but what if they just did this” in hopes that we’ll see our hero cheat death one last time. But it seems like Oliver Queen’s death might have a little more permanence than we’d initially suspected. Before Crisis kicked off, we’d theorized that Oliver and Felicity would be getting the pocket dimension ending that Lois and Clark received in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths story. Oliver becoming Spectre could put a real dent in that plan, but we’ll just have to see what comes next in January when we return with parts four and five! You’ve got a month to theorize and a whole comments section to do it in!