The second episode of The CW's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" is in the books, and it had as many Easter eggs and references to DC lore from the comics, TV, and movies as the first did. The "Crisis" event brings together the heroes from multiple Earths to battle against the Anti-Monitor (LaMonica Garrett), a godlike villain who threatens to destroy all reality. In the comics, the story ended with the deaths of The Flash and Supergirl, and the destruction of DC's multiverse, leading to a single Earth with a complex history packed with hundreds of heroes.
The event is the most ambitious thing DC has ever attempted in live action, bringing together characters from all six of the current DC Comics adaptations on The CW (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman, and Black Lightning), along with characters and actors from Titans, the 1990 version of The Flash, the short-lived Birds of Prey, Smallville, Superman Returns, Tim Burton's Batman, and the iconic 1966 Batman series.
“Crisis on Infinite Earths” kicked off this week with last night's episode of Supergirl, runs through tonight's episode of Batwoman and tomorrow'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. And while Black Lightning's midseason finale -- which airs tonight after Batwoman -- is not technically part of "Crisis on Infinite Earths," there are red skies, and the episode's title is "Earth Crisis." So things are not too far removed.
So -- what did we see? What did we miss? Read on, and let us know in the comments.
That tracks, since last year they didn't participate in "Elseworlds" and most of the Legends are not taking part in the Crisis (at least not yet).
In the episode, Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) appears -- ish -- as the voice of "Leonard," the AI voice of a Waverider from an alternate Earth. In that world, where the Legends are retired, Mick Rory live on The Waverider, the place a mess of beer cans and we assume stolen treasures from all throughout history. Like Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), who provided the voice of the Nazi Waverider in "Crisis on Earth-X" because its captain/owner was that world's version of Oliver Queen.
The Book of Destiny, which can be used to see the future and reshape reality, was a key factor in last year's "Elseworlds" storyline. This time around, it makes another appearance -- even though it was destroyed at the end of "Elseworlds."
It's explained in-story that The Monitor traveled through time to get an un-damaged version of the book so that they could use it to locate heroes they need to help them in the battle against the Anti-Monitor.
Who are those heroes? Seven paragons of virtue, apparently, who will unite to turn the tide. We already know some of them -- Kara, Kate, the Earth-96 (Kingdom Come) Superman...and Sara Lance, the paragon of destiny.
While Kara as hope, Kate as courage, and Superman as truth are all pretty self-explanatory, Sara as the paragon of destiny is a direct callback to her conversation with Earth-16's Oliver Queen last night.
In tonight's episode, The Monitor revealed that he had secretly recruited Felicity Smoak off camera in order to help him find the Paragons and save the multiverse. This ties into the tie-in comic that will be available at Walmart stores on Sunday and next week in the comics direct market.
In the comics, the Book of Oa is a massive book held in the Citadel of Oa. Created long ago, the Book contains the history of the Guardians of the Universe and the Green Lantern Corps. One member of the Green Lantern Corps is selected by the Guardians as Keeper of the Book of Oa, a highly honored position.
We're going to just wrap all of these under a single umbrella.
Tonight's episode of "Crisis" not only blended elements of the Arrowverse themes (something that has happened in every crossover), but also John Williams's theme from Superman: The Movie (as well as the love theme from that film, "Can You Read My Mind?"); Danny Elfman's Batman theme from the 1989 Tim Burton film; and the Batman: The Animated Series score.
Earth-99, the home of Kevin Conroy's aging and dark Batman, is named for the year 1999, when Batman Beyond first premiered. In that show, Conroy played an older Bruce Wayne (actually much older than this one), who took a new young man under his wing to make sure that there would always be a Batman.
Kevin Conroy, who played the Earth-99 Bruce Wayne, has been voicing Batman in animated projects since Batman: The Animated Series. After more than a quarter-century, this is his first time playing the character in live-action.
Luke Fox's immediate rejection of Kate introducing herself as Bruce's cousin, and closing the door in her face, feels like a pretty logical extension of how he reacted when she first presented herself to him in the pilot, saying essentially that she wasn't the first person to show up out of nowhere and claim to be related to Bruce.
Earth-167 is the official designation of the Smallville universe within the Arrowverse multiverse map. The number comes from the 1967 birthdate of Smallville co-creator Al Gough, according to executive producer Marc Guggenheim.
Believe it or not, this is not the first time that Lois has made that "Brawny lumberjack" joke about Earth-167's Clark.
It's just that last time, it was the Lois of his own world.
Universally consistent. pic.twitter.com/ektbYgLbvh— Libby (@ginnytwin) December 10, 2019
At the end of Smallville, fans learned that Lex Luthor would become President in the future. This was a nod to a major story from the comics which was pretty recent at the time, making this a kind of double reference to both the comics and to the end of Smallville, when Clark tells the Monitor's team that
Lex refers to The Monitor's crew as the "Superfriends," a reference to the classic animated series about the Justice League.
Caged Passion is the name of Mick Rory's romance novel, first hinted at in the Legends season three episode "Here I Go Again," and later published to some acclaim under a pseudonym.
The backstory of how the Planet was taken out was also lifted from Kingdom Come, and the newspaper about the gas attack -- seen behind Clark Kent in one scene -- featured an illustration by Alex Ross (artist of Kingdom Come) and an article credited to Mark Waid (its writer).
The grandfather clock in Wayne Manor leads down to the Batcave, an entrance that Supergirl was scoping out with her x-ray vision.
Batman-99's trophy case, besides having Clark Kent's broken glasses, also had items directly related to The Joker, The Riddler, and Mister Freeze.
In addition to Perry White, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen, the Daily Planet memorial wall includes the name of Ron Troupe, a lesser-known character created after the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot of the Superman titles.
The heat vision used by Superman-96 is almost identical to the VFX used for the heat vision in Superman Returns, the movie in which Routh first appeared as the Man of Steel.
When Routh talks about having gone crazy and fought himself before, that's a reference to Superman III.
Superman Returns, when it hit theaters, was presented as a follow-up to Superman: The Movie and Superman II, with the poorly-received third and fourth installments of the Reeve franchise essentially wiped from the collective consciousness. But apparently not from continuity, as Routh's Superman has now, canonically, experienced Superman III.
The Jonah Hex of Earth-18 is still played by Johnathon Schaech, the same actor who played the Earth-1 Jonah on several episodes of DC's Legends of Tomorrow. Here, we see a version of him who hasn't yet got his scars, but he gets a version of them after a fight with Green Arrow (Mia) and Sara Lance.
Bruce-99's monologue pulls lines right out of Frank Miller's seminal Batman story The Dark Knight Returns, accusing Superman of being too complacent/complicit with the government and “Life only makes sense if you force it to.”
Superman-96 refers to his son's name as Jason, which is the name of the child Lois had in Superman Returns. While she had married Perry White's son after Superman left, Jason later exhibited powers that made it clear he was Superman's child.
While Kate Kane and Kara Zor-El started to develop a relationship in "Elseworlds" and continued along that vein in the first part of "Crisis on Infinite Earths," the big-picture conversations about hope and fate that they are having in this episode feels a lot like a similar conversation that the Earth-1 Supergirl in the comics had with Batgirl during the Crisis on Infinite Earths miniseries.