Wednesday, December 11, 2019

“CRISIS Part 3” on “FLASH” Season 6: DESPARATION and Epic “FAILURE”

The CW has devoted one episode each of five of their inter-connected DC superhero series (and arguably one more) to tell the overarching story of their most daring crossover yet, “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” The stakes have never been higher, with a grand gathering of superheroes trying to stop the Anti-Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) from wiping out the multi-verse, alternate Earth by alternate Earth, with the Antimatter Wave. And amid some of the coolest DC cameo appearances yet, the third chapter of the “Crisis” wallops viewers with the plot swerve wherein the hero alliance fails, only midway through the crossover run!

That part bears explaining, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly. One driving plot element of The CW’s “Crisis” storyline was how it was already foreshadowed since the first season of “The Flash” that the titular hero (Grant Gustin) would sacrifice himself to prevent the destruction of the multiverse. On part 3 of this crossover in “Flash” season 6 Barry/Flash travels with his team including a repowered Cisco/Vibe (Ramon Valdes) to Earth-90 where Wells/Pariah (Tom Cavanagh) noted was an antimatter generator. The surprise is that the power source is another Flash, from Earth-90. That is an awesome cameo by John Wesley Shipp, who played Barry/Flash in the (rather old) 1990 CBS TV adaptation.

To stop the antimatter generator, a Flash would need to make it run backwards, and Earth-1 Barry is resigned to do it, considering that his foretold sacrificial act. The big twist is that Earth-90 Barry is just as ready to make a sacrifice as he is, stealing Earth-1 Barry’s speed and doing the reverse generator run even though it means his death. What really sells this scene is the archival footage add-on of the 1990 show with Shipp and his leading lady Amanda Pays as Star Labs tech Tina McGee.

Before that however, the allied Monitor (also Garrett) has helped identify most of the other Paragons: Barry obviously, then J’onn J’onnz of “Supergirl” (David Harewood), and Ryan Choi (Osric Chau) who created Barry’s future suit from season 5. Choi is then secured by a team of Iris (Candace Patton), Ralph/Elongated Man (Hartley Sawyer) and Ray (Russell Tovy). On the Arrow front, the associates of the late archer (Stephen Amell) have not given up trying to restore him, so they – Mia (Katherine McNamara), Diggle/Spartan (David Ramsey) and Constantine (Matt Ryan) travel to Earth-666, the setting of Fox channel’s DC series “Lucifer.”

So we get this episode’s awesome cameo 2, where Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) directs the team to Purgatory in their search for Oliver’s soul. Even upon finding him, another soul named Jim Corrigan (Stephen Lobo) stops them from leaving, as Oliver’s soul was destined to become a trans-dimensional reality warping entity called the Spectre, something Oliver agrees to. Again, Team Arrow’s quest gets the kibosh. But that is only the start of the hero alliance’s problems because the Anti-Monitor has successfully turned Lyla/Harbinger (Audrey Marie Anderson) against the Monitor, allowing the Antimatter Wave to continue and erase the multi-verse anyway.

How does the “Crisis” story continue when the setting is gone? The Monitor sacrifices himself to allow Pariah to send the Seven Paragons of Flash, Kara/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), Kate/Batwoman (Ruby Rose), J’onn, Sara/White Canary (Caity Lotz), Choi, and Earth-96 Superman (Brandon Routh) to a place beyond the multi-versal constraints of space and time: The Vanishing Point. Unfortunately everyone else in the big group is erased from existence. Even worse, Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) uses a purloined page of the Book of Destiny to kill Superman-96 and replace him as Paragon. How are they going to win when already they lost?

The CW certainly has changed the DC TV multi-verse in such an extreme degree for “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” And that is no idle boast seeing as the multi-verse is no more! The “Flash” season 6 episode even has one more deep cameo from the lead stars of the short-lived 2002 “Birds of Prey” series from The WB as yet another Earth destroyed by Antimatter. And “Black Lightning” star Cress Williams really works his brief scene with the antimatter generator as a hurting hero who lost his world, but still tries to help out by powering the generator while the two Flashes sort things out.

While it would be prime to get the story moving from this bleak circumstance, The CW’s superhero shows are on the holiday break, with the “Crisis” not picking up until next year, with “Arrow” season 8 episode 8 airing the penultimate chapter of this crossover so epic, The CW hinted there will not be another one so soon in 2020.

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