Legends of Tomorrow: Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part Five

"Wait, was there a crossover? Were we invited? Did we win?"

Is this the concluding chapter of Crisis on Infinite Earths, or a grace note epilogue?

Don't feel bad if you don't know. It doesn't either.

Still lots of fun though.

I don't want this to start off sounding negative, because this episode was a ridiculous amount of fun. It was crammed full of cool things and was 42 minutes of awesome, plus commercials.

It was not, however, an episode of Legends of Tomorrow, but that's just fine.

This year, the majority of Legends didn't appear in their hour of the story. Most of them didn't even get name checked. Sarah, Mick, and Ray – AKA the three remaining originals – continued to be just as much a part of the Crisis as they were in the previous four installments, but other than a couple of cutaway shots of Nate and Ava, the Legends were in absentia for the first episode of their own fifth season. In fact, not one but two commercial breaks made a point of announcing that next week was the season premiere of DC's Legends of Tomorrow, which is a weird thing to say about episode two.

But I get it. Legends is in a weird place at the moment regarding crossovers. Last season ended with Zari being overwritten by her brother Behrad, who got about fifteen seconds of screentime before the season's close. They really didn't have time to spare in this one to explain that whole situation, nor could they have Behrad appear and not explain that situation. If season five had started a few months ago it would have been no problem, but given that their segment of Crisis would by necessity also be their season opener, that wasn't an option. Also, Crisis already had about four million moving pieces. Not adding the additional seven or eight regular cast members of Legends into the mix was an easy call.

So, that's awkward hitch number one. Awkward hitch number two is that the plot of Crisis on Infinite Earths clearly wrapped up at the end of Part 4. Oliver's big sacrifice was complete. Resolving his plotline resulted in the Anti-Monitor's defeat having real resonance since we cared about the stakes, and the victory itself resolved the essential problem of all the universes no longer existing. Boom. Huge climax. Happy (and sad) ending achieved. We all catharted and went home. But the resolution meant that all the significant universes were now the same universe, and they had to show the heroes discovering that. Having them all find out individually in the next episode of their own shows would be much less fun, so they decided to devote the entire final segment of Crisis to showing the heroes going, 'Wheeee! We're in the same universe!' This is obviously the most enjoyable choice they could have made.

Except, someone was clearly worried that they couldn't have an entire episode of the heroes finding to their delight that they share a universe now, since the main thrust of the crossover was fighting the Anti-Monitor, and an entire episode of Beebo and Sargon the Sorcerer after his defeat was too much declining action. The fight is against the Anti-Monitor, therefore we have to resolve the fight with the Anti-Monitor in the final segment, emotional closure be damned. So, 27 minutes out of the allotted sixty (including commercials) have already passed before we even get a hint that the AM might be coming back for one more round. It's the 40 minute mark when he shows up. The battle with him lasts eight minutes, and then we're back to the fun, shared world-building stuff.

That final fight with the Anti-Monitor just mostly served to remind us how cool the fight at the end of 'Crisis on Earth-X' was and wish we had all the heroes here for this one. Particularly since a lot of the heroes staging this final epic battle are just people with guns, and Ryan Choi who doesn't even have that. Honestly, they would have been better served leaving the AM's defeat at the hands of Oliver in the previous episode and committed to this one being world building and mourning his loss.

But then they go and form the League-who-shall-cautiously-not-be-named, with all the iconography of the League, plus a healthy dollop of the Super Friends, and they could have spent the previous forty minutes kicking puppies and I probably would have forgiven them. The dramatic V tribute to Oliver with the eternal flame, the way that they left him an open seat, the way that they expressed the bulk of the grief through Sara and Barry as those who had known him longest and closest, all judged perfectly.

I just wish they had shown Diggle with his Green Lantern ring. That's the only wish I didn't get.

Best.  Selfie.  Gag.  Ever.
Bits:

-- The effects budget had clearly run out by the time of the final fight. Both Superman and Martian Manhunter had moments where it wasn't at all clear what had happened to them, as if they hadn't had the funds to do a tight shot to clarify things.

-- It's wonderful how everyone loves J'onn. That feels so completely right. Also, how convenient that he was around to restore those handy memories. Love his new armor as well. If the sum effect of combining universes is that J'onn gets to hang out with everybody, it was all worth it.

-- Except that's not the sum total. Kate has apparently taken to hanging out with Kara and Alex, which I love as much as how excited Kara was to see Kate show up to fight Beebo. Seriously, I don't recall the last time I saw a group of friends hanging out on TV where the LGBTQ+ characters outnumbered the straight ones, and it wasn't in any way relevant or plot related.

-- Where the Hell was Cisco? Did I miss something terrible happening to Cisco? Last we saw him he was vibing them away from Earth-90 Flash's noble sacrifice. But then we don't even get a name drop from Killer Frost this week. That felt odd. Honestly, did I miss something?

-- It's time to stop referencing giant Beebo. It's still fun now, but they're in danger of becoming that guy who only knows one joke.

-- Why are the Doom Patrol and the Titans on separate Earths now? Was that strange to anyone else?

-- I was surprised that they went to all the trouble of collapsing all the alternate Earths, and then immediately created more alternate Earths. I suppose they needed a mechanism to keep things separate if they want to. Plus it's a fig leaf to people who want to continue believing that the DCEU movies really happened out there on one of the alternates. Maybe there's even a parallel Earth where the Snyder cut is a thing that actually exists and isn't just a sad angry hashtag.

-- Setting Lex up as his Peace Prize winning super philanthropist should have been held back for Supergirl's next episode. That felt too big to just throw out there and not come back to. The fight with Weather Witch accomplished just as much for what we needed here. If they absolutely had to introduce it now it could have just been a quick shot of a news article announcing him winning the prize. That would have made it clear that we weren't going to be addressing it right at the moment.

-- The Marv Wolfman cameo was absolutely endearing.

-- I know it's not on the series I'm responsible for reviewing, but man, yet another memory reset is really going to do a number on Lena when she finds out.

-- Who was the President on Supergirl last we checked? It wasn't this woman, was it? I've lost track.

-- How did they reach Felicity to search for Oliver? Isn't she sequestered in a hidden cabin. Man, that 'we reset the universe, so continuity errors aren't a thing anymore' excuse is really going to come in handy.

-- Now Superman has twins, and J.J. is back to being a girl. That clears up some future-Arrow plot points.


Quotes:

Diggs: "We already know."
Rene: "Martian J'onn came by and gave us a splitting headache."

Sara: "How the Hell did Beebo get here?"
Rene: "Isn't a more pressing question, 'Why is there a giant Beebo walking down the street'?"
Sara: "Well, this wouldn't be the first time. It's a long story."
Barry: "That's right, Wally told us about the time you guys used those totems to turn yourselves into a giant Beebo to fight a time demon."
Sara: "I guess it's not a long story."

Kara: "Hey! Hey, Kate's here too!"

Killer Frost: "I read your book... Rebecca."
Mick: "Which one? I'm very prolific."

Supergirl: "No no, that's fine. I need to punch something."



So many things I would have bet any amount of money I would never see on a screen, and just when you think they're done they throw freakin' Gleek in as a capper. We do indeed live in a glorious age.

Four out of five unnecessary final fight do-overs.

Mikey Heinrich is, among other things, a freelance writer, volunteer firefighter, and roughly 78% water. You can find more of his work at the 42nd Vizsla.

16 comments:

percysowner said...

I have some guesses for some of your questions. I'm guessing that they talked to the creators of Titans and Doom Patrol and they didn't want to be forced into the same universe. I mean there could be alt-Titans in the DP universe and Alt Doom Patrol in the Titans universe.

I read that budget played a big part in why people only appeared in certain episodes. Apparently, if actors appear in a different show during the cross-over the pay changes and they were squeezing every last penny to get the fight scenes to look good. That's probably why Cisco didn't reappear and why we didn't see Barry finding Iris after the worlds came together. It doesn't explain why more Legends didn't appear in this episode, but they couldn't afford for them to appear in the earlier episodes so they really didn't have a way to use them here.

This was a fun cross-over. I've always liked the cross-overs. They did a good job.

Billie Doux said...

It was definitely fun, and I loved the League-y thing with the eternal flame for Oliver. It'll be interesting to see where all of the shows go from here.

I had a feeling that Crisis would resolve the Diggle and Lyla baby replacement problem, and I loved that they ended up with both kids.

CoramDeo said...

I loved this episode, far more than the previous one. Actually, it's interesting, Mikey, because according to IMDb this is Legends episode 5.0, rather than 5.1.

Yes, no Cisco bothered me, almost as much as not even a mention of Iris. And no cameo for Felicity, or even Mia, was hard.

That Alt-Titans and Alt-DP theory from percysowner actually makes a lot of sense, given that we never see any effects from the events of Titans on Doom Patrol, and when the DP was introduced on Titans the Chief was a different actor.

Mikey Heinrich said...

Is it really? That's legit fascinating.

Billie, should I change the notation to episode 0?

Billie Doux said...

Maybe IMDb isn't sure because -- I totally believe CoramDeo that it was 5.0 before, but now it's 5.1. We could wait a bit and see how it shakes out...?

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4532368/episodes?season=5&ref_=tt_eps_sn_5

CoramDeo said...

That's fair. Last time I checked was before even the first three parts aired.

Mikey Heinrich said...

Having a part 0 is such a DC comics thing to do, I kind of hope they keep it.

Josie Kafka said...

I enjoyed this episode but absolutely agree that it wasn't a real episode of Legends. And that's okay!

I wasn't familiar with Doom Patrol, so I had to ask a friend "What was the dancing universe? Y'know, the aliens and humans outside of a mansion butt-dancing for no reason? I want to see a show about them!" And now I'll try to make that happen. :-)

The one universe I'm worried about is Earth X. In one of the earlier episodes, we saw a glimpse of Ray (the Ray who is married to a version of Leonard Snart, not Ray-Ray) flying through the air on Earth-X. So he existed, still, pre-Crisis. Did that universe return?!

Mikey Heinrich said...

Oh my god, doom patrol is so good.

Plus, the guy that reviews it here is just so superhumanly sexy. It's unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing I love more than a sexy review.

~Josie

CoramDeo said...

Earth-X concerns me slightly, Josie, but I'm more worried about Earth-2. Maybe that's just because I'm more of a Flash fan than anything else.

Mikey Heinrich said...

Billie - Wait, were the two kids there Sara AND J.J.? I assumed the second one was Connor.

Coram- I like the Alt- Doom Patrol and Alt Titans theory. Head cannon accepted.

Maybe I'm a terrible person, but I'm just not overly concerned about anybody on Earth-X or Earth 2. As long as Ray, (The) and Leo went out together and one of them isn't left to grieve (Or worse, endure Donna Noble syndrome and not be able to remember that they were loved) Then I'm sort of OK with us just never talking about it again. And I just never cared much for Earth-2's Wells or Jesse Quick.

I do wonder if this all did away with the Flash's annual tradition of finding a new version of Wells, because that's been one of their best recurring bits and I bet Tom Cavanaugh loves it. Ah well. Maybe it's run its course.

Josie - The key to a sexy review is to imagine Barry White reading it. That's why my reviews always contain my catchphrases, 'Mmmmm baby', 'Yeah, girl', and 'Make sweet, sweet love'. Those got really awkward in the Jessica Jones reviews. Sorry again about that.

Billie Doux said...

Mikey, I just assumed that it was Sara *and* J.J., but maybe the happier version would indeed be that J.J. and his evil wasn't meant to be and it was Sara and Connor.

Mikey Heinrich said...

Well now I really want to know what the show intended. I wonder if they've been asked that question. I'm not sure which I'm rooting for to be honest

CoramDeo said...

IMDb can definitely come to the rescue here. The kid in that scene is not Aiden Stoxx, who played Young Connor as recently as earlier this season. It is Marcello Guedes, who is credited as 'JJ Diggle.'

Red Pearl said...

This did feel more like an epilogue than an ending.

It made no sense for the Anti-Monitor to survive. You'd think Oliver would have made sure to take down the Anti-Monitor with him. And if the Anti-Monitor survived, so should Oliver. I mean, he was the Spectre. That would make him hard to kill.

All the heroes ended up in the same world, which is a different world. Lex Luthor is obviously going to be a major problem for Supergirl, I wonder if he's going to be a problem for other heroes now they all share the same world.

Iris didn't show up, but I knew better than to expect that this world has fixed the WestAllen situation, which is disappointing because this is the perfect opportunity to get rid of Iris.

Oliver's absence is felt.