Tonight, Oliver Queen returned to Earth-1 -- and traveled to Hong Kong, where he found himself working with Tatsu Yamashiro, the vigilante known as Katana, to find a scientist. Early in the episode, Tatsu revealed that she was aware of The Monitor, and did not fully trust him, setting up a conflict between her perspective and Oliver's that lasted the whole episode. That, however, was not the end of the revelations for The Monitor in tonight's episode -- as the back half of the episode revealed someone else who was keenly aware of The Monitor's plans -- and who is approaching them from a very interesting direction.
The scene -- which we will get into below, after a little space for spoiler protection -- actually clears up a question that some fans have had about one element of the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" story for a while. In tonight's episode it is not clearly explained, although certainly it sets up some interesting conflicts of interest going forward.
Spoilers ahead for "Welcome to Hong Kong," tonight's episode of Arrow.
In the final moments of the episode, Lyla Michaels arrived on the scene. Wearing heels with a bright red sole and a bright blue shirt, she already has the colors of Harbinger, the character created by George Perez and Marv Wolfman for whom she was named back in Arrow's first season. And, like Harbinger, she has apparently been working with The Monitor on secret plans.
In those final moments, she arrived to inform The Monitor that she had brought him the scientist Oliver had been seeking. It also seemingly confirms (and this is the question we alluded to above) that the Lyla who works with The Monitor is the Earth-1 version we have known all along. The question, then, becomes whether John Diggle knows what she is up to and hasnt told Oliver, or whether she is keeping everyone in the dark.
"Lyla Michaels as Harbinger is a key component of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths that we were determined to honor in our crossover," executive producer Marc Guggenheim said in a statement. "What makes this particularly satisfying for us is that we introduced Lyla Michaels and her Harbinger codename all the way back in Arrow Season 1."
Lyla was originally introduced as John Diggle's ex-wife, but the two reconciled and had a daughter, whom they named after the then-recently-deceased Sara Lance. Not long after that, Barry Allen accidentally broke reality in the "Flashpoint" storyline and one of the ripple effects that remained in place even after he fixed it was that Sara had been transformed into John Diggle, Jr., the principal antagonist in the flash-forward sequences that provide the setting for a planned Arrow spinoff after the series is done.
"Crisis on Infinite Earths" has loomed over the Arrowverse for years. The series premiere of The Flash featured an allusion to the hero disappearing amid red skies in the year 2024. During the original comics event, red skies were a sign of doom to come to a world during the Crisis. At the end of last season, a couple of things happened: The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett), who had appeared in "Elseworlds," reappeared and revealed that Oliver Queen was destined to die in the Crisis...and the future newspaper at STAR Labs rolled back the expected date of the Crisis from 2024 to 2019.0comments
In the comics, Crisis on Infinite Earths centered on a battle between the combined superheroes (and even some villains) of the DC multiverse and an immortal, cosmic threat known as the Anti-Monitor. Like The Monitor, the Anti-Monitor will be played by LaMonica Garrett in the Arrowverse. As the Anti-Monitor destroys realities, he replaces their positive matter energy with antimatter, growing his own power and sphere of influence. He was eventually stopped by the sacrifices of several heroes, including The Flash and Supergirl, as well as the merging of multiple universes to save reality by becoming a single, unified timeline. Fans have long wondered whether the events of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" might bring Supergirl and even Black Lightning to Earth-1, where the rest of the series take place. The crossover will also feature guest appearances by Tom Welling as Clark Kent, Erica Durance as Lois Lane, John Wesley Shipp as the Flash of Earth-90, Johnathon Schaech as Jonah Hex, Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne, and Ashley Scott as The Huntress.
“Crisis on Infinite Earths” kicks off on Sunday, December 8 on Supergirl, runs through a Monday episode of Batwoman and that Tuesday’s episode of The Flash. That will be the midseason cliffhanger, as the shows go on hiatus for the holidays and return on January 14 to finish out the event with the midseason premiere of Arrow and a "special episode" of DC's Legends of Tomorrow, which launches as a midseason series this year and so will not have an episode on the air before the Crisis.