The original Crisis on Infinite Earths event in the DC comic books wasn’t something DC planned out years in advance. Rather, it was a solution to a problem created by years of complex storylines and multiple generations of characters colliding. The Crisis on Infinite Earths TV crossover that began Sunday night is no different. When Marc Guggenheim and Greg Berlanti created Arrow, that’s all they were doing. Now, almost a decade later, Arrow has spawned six television shows and nearly 30 seasons of television across at least three on-going universes. Crisis on Infinite Earths attempts to bring the shows together under one umbrella. It’s a complex and truly ambitious television event. If it works at all, it’s basically a success.
And so far, it’s working. Spoilers follow for Crisis on Infinite Earths: Hour 1 on Supergirl.
Crisis on Infinite Earths: Hour 1
Stuff starts popping off right away as the anti-matter wave unleashed by the Anti-Monitor wipes out a few different earths. First, we see Alexander Knox of the Gotham Globe reading a newspaper. The headline: “Batman captures Joker.” Behind him, the sky is red and the Batsignal flares and the classic Batman 1989/Animated Series theme is playing. Earth-89 perishes. Hawk and Robin from DC Universe’s Titans stare at a red sky, and Earth-9 disappears. An aging Robin, walking his dog in Gotham City, looks up a red sky, and shouts “Holy crimson sky of death!” as the Batman 1966 theme plays, and Earth-66 dies.
The Crisis is claiming lives right away, just as it should. The wide universe of DC live-action expanded quickly and is contracting almost as fast.
Back on Earth-38
The first part began on Supergirl. We get a quick cameo from Wil Wheaton before things kick-off. The Monitor’s plan had the heroes of the multiverse making their stand on Earth-38. The Monitor and the Harbinger bring heroes from The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow to join the fight. The anti-matter wave hits Superman’s Argo City, and once again the House of El is putting its infant son into an escape pod headed for earth. Superman is dead… or is he?
The Harbinger rescues Superman and Lois at the last second, leaving Kal-El, Kara Zor-El, and Jonathan Clark as the last three Kryptonians. The heroes are assembled at the DEO, where Kate Kane briefly questions whether she can trust the other people. When Kara assures her that she can, she takes off her mask, revealing her identity to the other Earth-1 heroes at the same time. Oliver’s reaction is perfect as he sees her face and says he should’ve known. Now I wonder if he’s figured out who Batman really is.
Star City 2046
A lot of stuff happens fast. Alex goes to plead with Lena to help them evacuate Earth-38. Lois, Sara Lance, and Brainy travel to Earth-16’s Star City, in the year 2046, where it seems the anti-matter wave knocked Jonathan’s escape pod into. There, they come across an aged Oliver Queen (who has both of his arms).
Oliver is, understandably, quite confused about what’s happening. On his earth, other heroes never appeared, and Sara died on the Queen’s Gambit 12 years earlier. We get a touching scene between Sara and Oliver, though, as Sara reminds Oliver that the Sara that got on his boat could make her own decisions. She then tells him about the Oliver from her earth, and what a good man he’s become. It’s a goodbye for Sara and a release from loneliness for Old Oliver.
Back on Earth-38, Oliver gives Mia her Green Arrow suit, passing the torch to her, and then we’re off as the collected heroes battle an onslaught of the Anti-Monitor’s soldiers and try to keep the Monitor’s anti-anti-matter towers (matter towers?) running to stave off the destructive wave.
All is lost, though. Just as the ships evacuating Earth-38 for Earth-1 leave, the Monitor also starts teleporting the heroes away. Oliver, determined to give the escaping ships a few more moments, stuns the Monitor and keeps fighting. He saves a billion lives, but sacrifices himself in the process.
I am the Green Arrow
And this is how the Green Arrow dies. Incredibly, the crossover sacrifices Oliver Queen at the end of the very first hour on Supergirl, not on his own show in January.
That, impressively, made his death, which we’ve known about for a full year, actually shocking.
There are four hours of the Crisis left (here’s when to watch!), with two of those airing this week. There’s a lot of time to over-complicate this and mess it up. But so far, it’s actually working really well, especially in a TV-sized budget. The heroes look good, the costumes look good. If you know the shows, it’s coherent the same way that Avengers: Endgame required that you have watched a few Avengers movies for it to make sense. And, just like that movie killed off the character who kicked off the MCU, this episode killed off the character who spawned the Arrowverse.
We’ve watched for the last couple of months as Oliver Queen tried to come to terms with something he knew was inevitable, and last night we got to watch him accept that fully, sacrificing himself with a moment’s hesitation to save millions. I’m impressed at how well Oliver’s final moments worked, and I already want to go back and re-watch the episode. The most powerful shot was that of Oliver, still fighting, reaching back for another arrow only to find, for what might be the first time in 8 seasons, an empty quiver.
Now, we’re left wondering what comes next. 3 billion people from Earth-38 are en route to Earth-1, and so is the Crisis. I’m excited to see what the next episode brings.