The first hours of the CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths started with some big cameos and then dove into huge action sequences with some great shots and the devastating aftermath. Monday night, we watched the heroes try to cope with that aftermath and to try to move forward having lost a core team member. Spoilers follow for Batwoman, “Crisis On Infinite Earths” Hour 2.
“Crisis On Infinite Earths” Hour 2
The Crisis picks back up during a quiet moment. Sara, Kara, and Kate are trying to have a moment of silence to remember Oliver. But between the Crisis and the complex feelings they’re all dealing with, it doesn’t really happen. Things must go on, though, and the displaced team needs a new base of operations, and so Lyla zips to Earth-74 to find a derelict Waverider inhabited only by that Earth’s Mick Rory and the ship’s AI, Leonard. That’s right – Wentworth Miller is back as Leonard, but this time as just an AI voice. Mick isn’t hard to recruit, and soon the team is assembled on the closest thing the CW has to the Monitor’s base from the comics.
This episode is overall a bit lower-key compared to last night’s action-packed episode, but it’s just as full of cameos and drama as the team essentially splits off into three groups.
The Paragon of Truth
The Book of Destiny speaks of seven Paragons who are strong enough to help stem the tide of the Crisis. Two are already on the Waverider: Kara Zor-El, the Paragon of Hope, and Sara Lance, the Paragon of Destiny. The Monitor has located two more, the Paragon of Truth and the Paragon of Courage. Oh, and Lex Luthor ran away with the Book of Destiny to kill all the Supermen in the multiverse. Cool, Lex. That seems like a constructive thing to do when existence is in peril. But also an extremely Lex thing to do, so good on you.
A perfect ending
Lois, Clark, and Iris go off in search of the Paragon of Truth–a Kryptonian who has experienced unimaginable loss–and to stop Lex. Their first stop takes them to an earth where Lex has already killed Superman. The second stop is Earth-167, to meet Smallville‘s Clark Kent, played by the original actor, Tom Welling. Smallville stood out from other superhero shows due in part to its resistance to putting a cape on Clark. He only flew a couple of times throughout the show’s long run.
The show holds true to that, and they gave Welling the “one scene he couldn’t say no to” according to an interview with producer Marc Guggenheim by TVLine. Lois, Clark, and Iris are zapped away by Lex, who holds out a piece of Kryptonite to Smallville Clark. Clark takes it and tosses it away calmly while Lex looks at him stunned.
This world’s Clark gave up his powers and, as a result, his one weakness, to raise a family in Smallville. On Earth-167, Clark Kent is just “Man.” Lex is wildly disappointed and leaves Clark to his family. This was an absolutely perfect cameo for Welling that let him stay true to his character while also taking part in the huge crossover. It also is a reminder that for all the mistakes the Arrowverse writers have made over the years, they know how to write Lex. Lex reveals that he still doesn’t know Earth-38’s Superman’s identity in a candid moment with the now-boring Clark Kent, too.
Superman v Superman: Dawn of Supermen
Finally, the crew heads to their final stop, where they meet their Paragon of Truth. This Superman, played by Brandon Routh as he reprises his role from Superman Returns, has suffered tragically. It seems that a prankster from Gotham–you can guess who–gassed the Daily Planet, killing Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, Lois Lane, and countless other Superman stalwarts in the process.
Lex shows up again and instead of taking Superman’s powers or killing him, he decides to turn the two Supermen against each other. Routh and Hoechlin battle it out with Hoechlin in his New 52-esque outfit and Routh in his Kingdom Come-style getup, complete with black-backed S and red underwear.
Good wins, Lex gets a bruise on his head, and soon Ray Palmer and Clark Kent, both played by Brandon Routh, are looking at each other face to face.
The Paragon of Courage
Kara and Kate, meanwhile, head to Earth-99 to find the “Bat of the Future.” The two show up at Wayne Manor where Kara kicks down the door. Kate and Kara come face to face with someone who feels more like the Bat of the Past. Down the stairs walks an aged Bruce Wayne held up by a robotic exoskeleton.
Here again we have an awesome cameo with Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman and Bruce Wayne from the beginning of Batman: The Animated Series up until Batman: Arkham Knight. This is his first live-action appearance as the character, and again, I love it, but for a totally different reason. While Welling’s cameo was a great coda for the character and Smallville fans, Conroy’s appearance flips the Batman we know on his head. Earth-99’s Batman was warped by his quest, and Kate is dead on his world. This Batman began killing and didn’t stop, and Kara spots a pair of broken black-rimmed glasses on his wall of trophies. Batman killed Superman on this world.
Batman’s Reign of Terror
Bruce seems to know he’s too far gone, but isn’t interested in redeeming himself. He’s like a Ghost of Batman Future, a warning for Kate about what she can become if she isolates herself and focuses on vengeance. Kara confronts Bruce about his killing spree, and he doesn’t hesitate to unleash Kryptonite on Kara. Kate jumps in the middle and kicks Bruce, sending him reeling into a generator that overloads his suit and fries him.
Kevin Conroy’s Bruce is a smart, smooth, and mildly-aloof character, and his Batman is focused and strong. He’s the perfect Batman and the perfect Bruce. The Bruce we meet here is one that has lost all sense of separation between the two. The exoskeleton even helps play up the fact that Kevin Conroy is a pretty wiry dude. A life of vigilante justice has ruined Batman’s body, and he’s wasting away.
When Kate and Kara return to the Waverider, they find out that the harrowing trial has proven that Kate is the Paragon of Courage.
Barry and Mia, wounded by Oliver’s death and searching for answers, turn to the idea of a Lazarus Pit. Uh oh. John Constantine reluctantly helps the pair find a world with functioning Lazarus pits, and Sara goes along to try to stop them or help them mess it up as little as possible.
It goes as well as Lazarus Pit adventures usually do in the Arrowverse, only John’s magic is being affected by the anti-matter filling the multi-verse, so the feral Oliver isn’t getting his soul back the way Sara, Roy, and Thea did. Man, Arrow really ran everyone through the Lazarus pit, huh?
The DC Universe has had a real way with villain concepts and names over the years. They were creative with Lex Luthor and the Joker, but seemed to struggle when it came to Reverse-Flash (my favorite DC villain). Similarly, the Anti-Monitor isn’t particularly inspired. But he lives up to his comic book heritage in the final moments of last night’s episode as he forces his way into Lyla’s mind and pushes her to do his bidding.
With Supergirl and Batwoman‘s episodes down, we only have one more before the winter break: The Flash. If I had to guess, I’m going to bet Barry dies and stays that way for about a month in real-time. But we’ll find out Tuesday on Crisis on Infinite Earths: Hour 3.