The Flash: Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part 3

After half a decade of build up, after the playful Easter Eggs and then the season long arcs teasing it, the Flash’s day of reckoning finally arrived. 

Of course, he had to share that day with a very large guest cast of friends and fellow chosen ones. Having Ray’s machine magically discover that — surprise, surprise! — almost everyone already on the ship was a paragon they needed felt like a lazy finish to hastily introduced concept from Part Two. It could be there's still more we have to learn, but even so the sudden introduction and dismissal of the paragons felt clumsy in an installment that already had some more trouble pacing than the last two episodes. 

Another great example of this issue is Vibe’s re-introduction. It was wonderful to see Cisco suited up again, but the execution of his return was so rushed we didn't even get a real reaction from anyone. I can't help but feel it would have made much more sense to have the Monitor restore his powers in a regular episode of The Flash, where there would have been time to dig into how Cisco felt and what it meant for him as the new leader. 

It's unavoidable in a crossover of this magnitude that some things are going to be glossed over for the sake of time — which is why I don't hold it against the episode that Cress Williams’ Black Lightning comes around to the concept of the multiverse in less than two minutes, or that everyone took the news of their planets being destroyed in superhumanly good stride. It's an unavoidable hazard of having this many characters to serve. But Vibe’s comeback didn't have to be one of these moments. It would have been all too easy to build up to this turning point the same way the show did Nash becoming Pariah, and it feels like a real missed opportunity. 

Even so, those concerns still managed to fade into the background as Barry prepared for his last run. As it happens, it was the Barry from Earth-90 who really could have used the time for goodbyes, as he ultimately took our Barry’s place, fulfilling the letter of the Monitor’s prophecy, if not the spirit. I'm sure Barry getting off on a technicality won't be every fan’s cup of tea, but given the titular character was never going to stay dead no matter how things played out, I think a little wordplay is fair game. It was certainly a dignified and heartfelt sendoff for John Wesley Shipp’s Flash; that perfectly timed flashback to the 1990 TV series during his final moments really made the whole thing sing. 

What I was truly mystified by was the resurrecting Ollie subplot. It’s understandable that Mia and Digg would want to do everything they could to save a loved one, but their insistence making that their top priority while the Anti-Monitor is destroying reality itself is ludicrous. What's the point of bringing him back from the dead if every world in existence is wiped out? It really derailed the urgency of the Crisis to see many characters be fine putting pause on the mission for a sidequest to Purgatory, and the fact that the same people Oliver died trying to save from Crisis were being wiped out while his friends spend their time trying to revive him just amplified the emotional whiplash. 

Thankfully everyone’s priorities got on track in time for the cliffhanger ending that saw all life beyond the Vanishing Point get wiped out. The added twist of Luthor’s appearance only made the drama better. Brandon Routh’s Superman has been one of the biggest highlights of the whole event, and I'm sad to see him go, but it does feel like a classic Lex Luthor move to ensure his own survival at the cost of humanity itself and to find a way to do so that hurt Superman. It’s a great end point for the break, as it really feels like a turning of the page for Barry and the others while still creating many new questions to take into January.

Written by Kaitlin Roberts, THE FLASH Beat Writer