It’s that time of year again. Time for the DCW TV Critics Society of Multiversity to come together and discuss the annual crossover. This year, though, we’ve got something a bit different thanks to the MASSIVE event that is “Crisis on Infinite Earths;” This time, there are five of us. Yup, five people in one conversation? Chaos, you say! Well, fear not for rather than chaos, we got something more ordered and a little more scattershot. Coordinating between this many time zones and schedules with day jobs is a tough thing, y’all. So join us for some of our thoughts, a bit of a chat, and get ready for part two, coming to a screen near you later tonight and our thoughts the next day. Editor’s Note: Conversation has been edited for clarity & to account for our, well, time zone coordination. If it seems like we jump around, just pretend that universe’s segment was wiped by the Anti-Monitor. Spoilers ahead.
Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And nothing will ever be the same again.
Elias Rosner: This was an episode that revived my hope in these CW crossovers. It actually made the Supergirl episode an integral part, rather than just a tacked on piece. But I think the part that made the episode for me was the opening. It set the stage perfectly, dramatic and epic in scope, and then hit us with the nostalgia factor (Danny Elfman’s Batman theme, Burt Ward on the streets of Gotham.) That’s the way you introduce something of this scale.
Joe Skonce: It’s been a minute since I’ve watched the DC CW shows outside of Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow. (It just started becoming too much to keep track of.) I really enjoyed seeing all of these familiar faces. It was fun watching all of the interplay between the different characters, so because of this, I think my favorite part has got to be the climactic battle. Like all good crossovers, it felt like action figures punching each other. That’s the good stuff right there.
I was impressed at how it handled the heavy lifting of the whole situation. As a person who only watches Legends (and now Batwoman) I didn’t find myself confused at any point. It also established and then escalated the threat really well.
ER: I felt the same way! Though, to be fair, I do watch all the shows. But I’m glad that “Crisis” went out of its way to be super accessible to people who have 1) haven’t watched certain shows/haven’t watched any in a few seasons and 2) have never watched an episode ever.
I can’t say for certain the latter is 100% but I like to think it is
JS: Yeah. I was aware that Crisis was at lease being set up, but I didn’t realize how much groundwork had been laid out already. The only thing I knew for sure was that the Legends finale the Monitor showed up. But he ended up just enjoying the show and some popcorn.
It was a great visual gag for the record
ER: Legit that was the best gag with the Monitor. He’s super serious and dour everywhere else but that popcorn moment made it all worth it.
JS:: So here’s a question for you, have all the shows been laying the groundwork for this? Or has one show taken on more of the responsibility? I know that the only real mention Batwoman made was the sting at the midseason finale.
ER: Well, Legends has been on break so popcorn Monitor is all we got there. It’s been mostly our two oldest CW shows, the original World’s Finest, Flash and Green Arrow. Supergirl had the Monitor pop in and out, mostly to allow for J’onn’s brother to come through. But yeah, Flash and Arrow did most of the heavy lifting.
JS: Got it. I wasn’t sure just how massive or involved the scale was. But as I mentioned earlier, it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the show.
So what would you say your highlights were? For me, it’s gotta be the battle at the tower. All that interplay was just so much fun. That, and of course the score from Blake Neely. I think one of the best decisions they’ve made is making him the sole composer. I’m sure it can be a lot at times, but the continuity of the soundtracks helps make this universe feel cohesive. Plus, that man can just get me to feel some emotions!Continued below
Michael Mazzacane: Returning to Star City 2046 … or at least a version of Star City 2046. That was one of my favorite episodes from the first season of Legends and it leans into one of the best parts of this crazy cape comic adjacent story business. Giving characters something they never expected due to overwrought sci-fi wobbly wibbly. I do wish they gave Amell that sweet bad beard from the original episode.
Christopher Chiu-Tabet: Other than killing off Burt Ward’s Robin, seeing Ray Palmer & Sara Lance hanging out in a bar and losing a trivia contest thanks to their own dumb antics across history.
Ramon Piña: Well, it must be Green Arrow’s sacrifice, to be honest, there was not much for me in this episode.
ER: I’m always back and forth on Neely’s soundtracks. On the one hand, he’s done a great job of creating distinct themes for most of these shows, even if I could not tell you for the life of me what the Batwoman stinger is. But on the other hand, that cohesiveness can slip into an unremarkable, low level of noise meant to populate the background and a flattens the soundscape of the many series. It also sometimes slips into that over-scoring that many TV shows have, where they’re afraid of silence and need to spell out the emotions. On the other other hand, Neely knows how to hit all the right beats and, especially here, keeps the score reserved enough to not let it overpower the action.
Plus, we got the Batman stinger. That’s all that matters.
As for highlights. . .hmmm. There were too many great moments to list! Brainy, of course, is a joy to behold and gets the best lines of the night. “As will I. I happen to be good with children.” Classic Brainy.
JS: I was having a lot of fun with Ray and his dynamics with, well, everyone. Ray and Brainy being tech geeks. Ray revealing to Sarah that he accidentally changed history and cost them the trivia contest. Ray upgrading Kate’s tech and Kate reluctantly thanking him. Ray is just the best. (Also special shout out to Griffin Newman as the trivia host!)
MM: Paying off a sight gag from an earlier season of Legends. I wish they had the rest of the team with them for trivia night, they’d be THAT team in the best way.
RP: Yeah I loved that Janis Joplin payoff! To me, the best “easter egg” was Clark sending John on a ship to another world, mirroring his own father’s fate, what a meaningful image! Also, having an Earth-66 means Batman ‘66 is part of the Arrowverse now?
ER: I think this is shaping up to be the best of all the crossovers, hands down.
Maybe, maybe, “World’s Finest” could make a case but the rest fumbled their starts by making the Supergirl episode basically pointless. Here, it was worked in seamlessly and gave the characters the right amount of spotlight while sharing the crossover around.
There was a lot of great camera work too. They took some risks and the CGI integration was handled really well. It feels like the start of a TV movie rather than a usual episode and the cliffhanger is ~~mwah~~ perfection.
I also appreciate how this the Supergirl episode and so we’re advancing some of the plots there or focusing on that cast of characters. Lena seems to be making progress thanks to Alex but she also continues to be unnaturally closed minded in her assessment of others and I think I’ve written enough words on why I hate the way they’ve handled getting Lena to this point so instead, can we make this a Legends appreciation post? Because I love Ray, I love Sara and I love both of their presences here. Sara gets the better dramatic moments but Ray’s goofballness is infectious and lightens up the room just enough to not let this sink to the worst dour depths of Arrow.
JS: This episode had a lot of heavy lifting to do and it did a good job with it. This was especially true with the explanation of the stakes and the “getting the band together” aspects of the episode. It gave us a nice concise explanation of what our other friends were up to and how they viewed the whole situation. I enjoyed Kate’s reaction to it all. She’s a busy woman, damn it! She doesn’t have time for universe jumping. The episode also established and escalated the threat of the anti-matter wave well. We see the destructive power and its impact on Argo, then we destroy a WHOLE EARTH! It was impactful and proves that we aren’t messing around.Continued below
MM: This was a tale of two episodes, one of it was COIE the other was Supergirl and that wasn’t a total hinderance. Most of the time in these crossovers the individual show the crossover is taking place in takes precedence (I guess it’s like that in comics) and you don’t get a smooth transition. This episode felt like it had the right balance using the built in character drama between everyone during COIE. Hopefully they’re able to keep that sort of balance going forward.
RP: I don’t know, maybe I’m asking too much but I pictured the crisis as fully action-packed from the start, and this was… not that, I mean, you guys mentioned it earlier that you liked how it is new-watcher friendly, so I get why it was written like this, but I feel like this was a prologue to the Crisis and not the Crisis itself.
MM: I really wish they’d aired Batwoman episode aka Part 2 of this. This was a good first start to things, it had all the little Easter eggs and fun bits you expect. I also don’t think it was all that great as an episode of TV …. but COIE Clearly isn’t as playing by traditional TV rules. It just took a while to get going, for an understandable reason. They had to show us a smidgen of EVERYTHING, this is the SmashBros Ultimate of the DCWverse after all. It just got a little repetitive.
However, when things did get going and you had the small human moments in between things worked out beautifully because it did what the crossovers do best: smashing these characters together and playing them off one another. Hopefully Mia (and William) get to hang out with cool aunt Sara going forward.
Really nice use of space, it was essentially a series of arena combat sequences – they really have grown since fighting an alien invasion on a rooftop and Jesse Warn and co. Squeezed every last bit of cinematic juice out of it.
ER: I see where you’re coming from, Mike. It was a bit scattershot in terms of getting the ball rolling, and maybe my bar has just been set low for these openers, but I was entirely pleased by the way this opening chapter played out. I am with you that I kinda wish we had one more episode last night…but only so we could bring the count up to six. There are a LOT of characters and this would give them all more time to shine.
But, then again, I won’t know if 5 was the right call until the end.
CCT: I thought it was ok, the DC CW shows have long since been surpassed as the most sophisticated superhero stories on television, but they still offer a lot of campy fun. I particularly enjoyed the sight of everything I know and loved being destroyed in the cold open (RIP Burt Ward’s Dick Grayson), but everything else didn’t really sell the idea of the world coming to an end – a bunch of extras fleeing, CG ships entering a portal, and a bunch of actors we like fighting CG extras…
I gotta admit, even though I haven’t watched Arrow since season 3, I did get a little emotional watching Oliver make his last stand. I don’t think he’s dead though, and I think the ending got a little undermined by my Monty Pythonesque thought after realizing no one checked his pulse.
ER: I was shocked there! Like, holy shit, I cannot believe that they actually killed off Ollie. I mean, I knew they were going to kill him but the fact that it happened here, rather than in the finale, was genuinely shocking. And the Monitor being shocked as well? Well, that’s just the icing on the cake of drama. The same is true of Nash being the one to have released the Anti-Monitor. What a bomb drop, though most people figured out he was going to be Pariah, I didn’t put together that he was actually the one to release the Anti-Monitor.
JS: I’m going to have to agree with Elias on this one, it is bold move to kill off Ollie in episode one. I think it was important to talk about all of the different Ollie iterations, and for Sarah to meet the broken and sad Oliver. Oliver is the reason this whole thing started and even though he might flawed, he is the glue and the leader. Everything about his death was just perfect Ollie. Defiant until the end, even surprising the man who is supposed to know everything. I was also surprised (and delighted) by all the cameos!Continued below
MM As Multiversity’s resident Thinker on Arrow, I’m not all that surprised they “killed” Ollie. Been kinda the whole point of this final season. That said I also don’t think he’s going to stay dead for very long – he still has two episodes of a TV show to be in somehow.
My biggest surprise was how impactful Supermaning Superman was. Sure it’s a reference to the Superman-esque birth to Alexander Luthor of Earth 3 from COIE but there’s something almost mean about making Lois and Clark pull a Superman to save their son. I mean they’d make that choice in a heart beat but still that was ROUGH in the best way.
RP: Mine is that Mar Novu is scared! Ollie’s death was not planned like that, and now, he doesn’t know how the Crisis is going to keep developing! I liked it because I was kinda expecting to have him as a reliable source of help, but now that he doesn’t know what’s coming next, neither he nor we have the means to know what’s happening now.
ER: Wow, I guess I’m the only one who buys into Ollie actually being dead here.
CCT: I think if you’re not feeling emotional enough, it’s probably a fake out, because you know there has to be more and the filmmakers know that.
ER: That’s a fair assessment. I still think this will stick, though a different universe Ollie will appear with the full Goatee will allow Amell to ride out the crossover. Or time travel thanks to everything dying will do that. Barring that, I just can’t see them undermining this moment with an, oh man, we just didn’t notice. The Monitor would not be that stupid, right?
CCT: Wait, he says this is not the death he foresaw for Oliver so unless (dun dun dun), there has to be more.
RP: I also bought that he’s dead, I mean his show is ending, he agreed with the monitor since last year, I will actually be disappointed if he is alive somehow (although I’m referring to Earth-1 Ollie, I think we will see more Ammell in this crisis)
CCT: I dunno, I think it’d be a pretty weak exit for the Ollie we’ve known if that’s the case – like imagine if the Avengers had kidnapped Black Widow from an alternate timeline after our Natasha died and she sacrificed herself to stop Thanos. Probably my fault for not watching Arrow but I didn’t know or care what these shadow demons were: would’ve preferred more time getting to see Batwoman (whose own series I’m way behind on)’s reaction to all this, or including more of the Legends.
ER: I’m surprised y’all didn’t like it as much as I did. I mean, yeah, the CGI specter army was a bit old hat and just an excuse to get some good old traditional fighting in, instead of letting worlds end unceremoniously, but, it was still fun and far more engaging than the others have been at this early point.
But I get ya with Ollie, Chris.
The way I see it, this kind of shocking end was exactly what he needed. Sure, it may not be the fitting end we expected but he’s done his victory lap, he’s said his goodbyes, and he went out trying to save the planet. Now, the moment is kinda undercut when you remember that Earth is not the only planet of sentient life in that universe but…
CCT: Fair, I suppose the fact I don’t watch Arrow may be coming into how I feel – but I also think it could’ve been stronger, and this is more to do with the limits of network TV than anything.
But I must praise the crew for trying to fight against that, that extreme close-up of Ollie as he wastes away is very unusual stylistically speaking.
ER: There were a lot of moments like that throughout the episode that were out of the norm. The whole conversation between Supergirl and Superman after the destruction of Argo had a far more restrained feel with the editing and shot composition.
What didn’t feel out of the norm, and that I really didn’t like, was Kelly. By far and away, Kelly. She has, what, two lines? And they’re both obvious statements that add nothing to her or the situation. “James gave it to me” in reference to the shield? No shit sherlock. Where else would she have gotten it? Was that for the benefit of people who haven’t seen any episodes of Supergirl? If so, that was definitely the weakest part of the script.Continued below
JS: I wasn’t overly fond of the Lena and Alex stuff. I get that this is a Supergirl episode first and foremost, so perhaps it might work better if I had been watching the shows. But as it stands, it was just random technobabble with some occasional barbs thrown in. Those were the parts I found myself losing focus. That also kind of bled over into the evacuation subplot.
MM: The opening two acts were a little too scattershot for my taste. It was fun seeing all the little Easter Eggs, like a version of the Titans, but it got repetitive after awhile. That montage was than replaced by another montage of gathering the Heroes. It all just kinda blurred together for a solid 15 minutes and wasn’t great TV.
RP: I get that this was a Supergirl episode, and there were good parts like Sara, Brainy and Lois going after John and the scene where Clark and Kara talked about feeling the impotence of not having powers and not being able to save people. But I feel like the scenes with Lena & Alex, and Kelly & Dreamer had no usefulness in advancing the plot or giving the characters any growth.
ER: I was also disappointed we didn’t get more Nia! And a better written Kelly. Also Ruby Rose settling into her role? I dunno, she’s seemed like Stephen Amell in season one in terms of guardedness between her and her role. Like she hasn’t sunk into it yet and is trying to be the stoic hero but wants to go in a different direction that isn’t being allowed.
CCT: My exact reaction: “Hey it’s Dreamer! Where’s she been again?” followed by disappointment.
JS: I guess I was just disappointed that more of the Legends weren’t there. Their team dynamic is just so much fun and they provide such a nice contrast to the other shows. Supergirl brings hope. Ollie brings leadership. Flash brings determination. Batwoman’s dynamic in the team remains to be seen. But the Legends, that’s where that silly Silver Aged superhero fun lives. Ray and Sarah were great, but I just want to see how Mick handles all of this or watch Nate freak out at meeting Superman.
MM As previously discussed the Multiversal montage was a bit much for me. The little nods and all the musical ques around them were delightful but there was a disposability to them.
RP: Maybe it’s just jealousy because I review The Flash but he appeared way to little in this episode! On the other hand, this was great to showcase the other heroes without meta powers, so it’s not a big deal.
ER: OK, to close us out, since this is by far the most complicated crossover for the CW, well, ever, what do y’all think, before tonight’s episode airs, what’s gonna be in it, what you’re excited for, and what trepidations do you have?
JS: I’m curious about how much of a Batwoman episode this is going to be. Are they going to try and fit Alice into all of this? How will that work considering Kate’s vow at the end of the midseason finale? The show is starting to find its groove and getting its feet wet, but how will a big crossover impact all of that? That’s my major concern
ER: I’m with you there, Joe. It’s gonna be weird having Batwoman suddenly thrown back into the depths of the CW verse. How will the others being there help or hurt her quest? Will it even be addressed or will it be like Supergirl? I think it’ll be a good balance with some big Batman related reveals and I’m just excited for more cameos and some Clark hijinks.