During five episodes of TV, The CW's "Crissi on Infinite Earths" managed to pack in a lot of cameos, a lot of Easter eggs, and a lot of different realities. Perhaps none was more surprising -- and strange -- than an appearance by a character familiar to fans of classic DC TV...and not so much the comics. Yeah, this character exists in comic books, but really anybody who got the reference right away wasn't thinking "oh, yeah, there were those handful of comics last year..." but thinking back to their childhood, where they remembered the heady days of Black Vulcan taking the place of Black Lightning in Super Friends.
Spoilers ahead for "Crisis on Infinite Earths." Turn back if you don't want to know.
It was not the most important or even the most shocking cameo in "Crisis on Infinite Earths," but the final moments of the crossover, after introducing fans to this universe's version of the Justice League, the team gathers around its table, drinking in the glow of victory and their new comfortable chairs in the Hall of Justice. Then, there's a crash, and the sound of...a monkey?
No, it's not Gorilla Grodd -- although the way they frame the reveal is virtually identical to the way The Flash first revealed that Grodd was going to be a part of their story in the pilot. Instead, we get an abandoned cage, with a banana stuck between the bars, and a S.T.A.R. Labs sign on the outside that identifies the escaped subject as "Gleek."
Gleek, for those who might be too young to remember, was the name of a blue, alien monkey who was always getting into trouble in the Super Friends cartoon series. He was a comic relief character and the pet of Wonder Twins Zan and Jayna. The gag with Gleek getting into trouble to close out this five-part, 200-minute, reality-altering crossover was likely a wink and a nod to the fact that a joke involving the character would often serve as the closing moments of Super Friends episodes in which Gleek appeared. In spite of speaking in fairly normal monkey sounds, Gleek is highly intelligent and understands English. He can communicate through sign language and use of his monkey/alien language with the Wonder Twins. At one point, the monkeys of Exxor, Gleek's homeworld, invaded Earth, and we found out that their leader had psychic powers and could speak English...so maybe keep Gleek away from Grodd?
It's hard to imagine what role Gleek might play in the Arrowverse...except that we have DC's Legends of Tomorrow, where basically nothing is too wild or out there.
The post-"Crisis on Infinite Earths" Arrowverse begins on Sunday with new episodes of Batwoman and Supergirl on The CW.