REVIEW: The Flash, S6E9 – Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part 3

crisis on infinite earths 3 westallen

As much as I should start off with applauding The Flash for bringing the main conflict of “Crisis on Infinite Earths” to the forefront and stepping up the tension of the crossover, I can’t get over the three Westallen kisses we got. That’s right, more kisses in tonight’s episode than in the entire season thus far, praise the Monitor. Or should we say the Anti-Monitor, since the former kind of gasped his last? But more on that later.

First, the Birds of Prey universe must be destroyed – long live those 13 episodes of fun and cheesy television – and the rest of the Paragons must be discovered. Luckily, Barry (Grant Gustin) is pronounced the Paragon of Love and J’onn (David Harewood) gets to be the Paragon of Honor. That means there’s only the Paragon of Humanity left, and it’s none other than Ryan Choi. Neither The Flash episode nor the “Crisis” hour preceding it necessarily explained what the Paragons are supposed to do, but suffice it to say they’re the multiverse’s last hope. Iris (Candice Patton) and Ray (Brandon Routh) set off to reason with Ryan, but not before the former shares a beautiful goodbye with her husband. It’s unfortunate that the show never gave Iris the chance to fully explore her feelings about Barry choosing the world over her repeatedly, but Patton and Gustin bring it in all their scenes tonight.

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Powers back just to be zapped in 30 min.

“Crisis on Infinite Earths” at least offers her the opportunity to expound on how proud she is of Barry and his selfless choices, though. Which she does to Ryan himself, ultimately convincing him more effectively than his hero-worship of Ray previously did. The entire plotline was more effective in terms of stopping the crisis than what Mia (Katherine McNamara) continued to get up to with Constantine (Matt Ryan). They decided to recover Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) soul from Purgatory, with a little help from Lucifer in perhaps the most surprising cameo of the week. But while they find the lost soul wandering Lian Yu and Diggle (David Ramsey) nearly pulls his friend back to life, the Spectre pops up out of nowhere to say Oliver still has more work to do while dead. We can assume this means the Arrow will take on the mantle of Spectre in the second half of “Crisis,” but overall it feels like an exercise in futility that doesn’t move the plot forward at all.

Some of the best plot on The Flash, on the other hand, came courtesy of a Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) appearance. Fresh off an incredible Black Lightning episode in which his world disappeared, Jeff was dragged to Earth-1 by Pariah (Tom Cavanagh), who was trying to undo the damage he caused by releasing the Anti-Monitor to begin. Team Flash was racing against the clock after knocking Earth-90 Flash off his Cosmic Treadmill and unleashing the countdown to multiversal destruction. Despite reeling from the loss of his family and everyone he loved, Jeff has a powerful heart-to-heart with Barry that contains some of the show’s best writing and proceeds to contain the treadmill’s energy for as long as possible.

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The Paragons we deserve.

We finally come back to the sacrifice Barry has been preparing for all season. He plans to hold back the antimatter by racing into oblivion, and thus shares a sweet farewell with a newly Vibe’d Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Frost (Danielle Panabaker). Best of all, he remembers to pass his love onto Iris and Joe, unlike previous crossovers. But before he can head out, his power is temporarily stolen by Earth-90 Flash. The older Barry rightly points out that the Monitor never said which Flash had to die, and with the help of footage from the 90s show, there isn’t a dry eye in the house when he completes his mission.

Meanwhile, Kara’s (Melissa Benoist) distrust of the Monitor goes, as does Kate’s (Ruby Rose) concern that her friend may do something foolish with the Book of Destiny. The crossover has cemented a great relationship between the two heroines, and it’ll be a shame if they don’t visit each other’s shows every once in awhile. While Kate convinces Kara not to use the Book to try to bring her Earth back – and doesn’t even have to pull out Bruce’s Kryptonite to do it – someone else already used it for a far more sinister purpose.

Despite all the heroes’ best efforts, the Anti-Monitor manages to destroy all the Earths but 1 – and eventually that one goes too. Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) is revealed to be under his control, as well, and together they kill the Monitor before the remaining characters’ eyes. Thankfully, Pariah knows to zap the Paragons away to a place the Anti-Monitor can’t reach… But he leaves the others behind. And so The Flash kills off Iris, Jefferson, Clark, and Diggle in one fell swoop – for now, anyway. If that’s not enough, the other Superman turns out to be Lex Luthor, who harnessed the power of the Book of Destiny to make himself a Paragon instead. Talk about a cliffhanger for the new year!

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on the CW. “Crisis on Infinite Earths” returns on Monday, January 14th during Arrow.