written by Cara Russell
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
The annual crossover event is upon us, and even more than in prior years, lead-up and hints were embedded in the series proper. Carrying the torch from previous crossover events, you’ll need to have kept a close watch on all Arrowverse series, or have a wiki handy to keep up. But it’s all worth it, for only during the crossovers do we get to shed much of the CW-type melodrama and focus on the spectacle and wonder of superheroes without wallowing in angst.
And since we’re dealing with infinite earths, we’re treated to additional cameos from Alexander Knox (Batman, 1989), Hawk and Robin (Titans, 2018), Dick Grayson (Batman, 1966), and Wil Wheaton (who earned his DC connection from voicing a slew of characters in animation). All of them are in the first five minutes, and this sets the breakneck pace of the rest of the episode. Special nod as well here to Brandon Routh as the nerdy Ray Palmer, a very distinct personality from his portrayal of Superman in 2006’s Superman Returns.
Clark and Lois have (mostly) settled into domestic life with an infant on Argo, until a last-second warning arrives from Kara: Evacuate ahead of the red anti-matter wave, or perish. Unfortunately Argo lacks space travel, and only wee babby Jonathan Kent is sent away on a rocket, as was his father before him. We find out later after Lyla/Harbinger (Arrow) gets the hero team together that Clark and Lois were saved through Harbinger’s efforts. However, everyone else on Argo died – including Kara’s mom, Alura. Clark and Kara are once again the last of their kind, with the rest of the universe soon to follow. This hits Clark more than Kara, who just lost her mother figure for the fourth time, yet she clings to the hope of resilience while they still draw breath.
Jonathan’s shuttle is sucked into another universe, so Lois, Brainiac 5 and White Canary (Legends of Tomorrow) set out to retrieve him while Clark stays behind to defend a quantum tower that is the only defense against anti-matter destruction. Landing in the future-flung, dystopian Star City of Earth-16, they find babby Jonathan has been rescued by that universe’s Oliver Queen. White Canary stops Oliver in his tracks, as her counterpart is presumed dead in that universe, which Oliver carries guilt for. One touching reunion later, grizzled Oliver is left feeling lighter in spirit, but unwarned about the incoming anti-matter wave as the rescue team leaves. Ouch, guys. Well, at least he’ll go out more peacefully.
Meanwhile, J’onn and Alex work on an evacuation plan for Earth, with J’onn recruiting alien refugee ships and Alex appealing to Lena to build an interdimensional portal big enough to send them all to Earth-1. J’onn is confident that last year’s anti-alien sentiments won’t get in the way (it doesn’t, proving alien refugees are better people than everyone else last season), though he doesn’t seem to spare a thought to the brother he just sent to Mars. Alex apologizes to Lena, and while Lena doesn’t accept the apology, she accepts that she’ll help however she’s able to save the world. Being the genius she is, Lena does create the evacuation portal in record time, leaving J’onn and Dreamer to spearhead the evacuation efforts and our other heroes to defend the tower against a horde of Shadow Demon wraiths (previously seen assassinating Caroline O’Connor in Episode 5×03, “Blurred Lines”). We also get a quick clip of Kelly Olsen sporting James’ Guardian shield to help some citizens, which is long overdue since she’s the one with actual combat experience in the Olsen family.
Back at the tower, the team fails to hold Minas Tirith against the flying Orcs despite their heroic efforts. Understanding that Earth-38 is lost, Superman and Supergirl use their solar-powered heat vision to power the portal to Earth-1, ensuring the safety of as many survivors as possible. The Monitor begins to transport the remaining heroes without their consent, but Oliver shoots the Monitor and continues to defend the tower while the people of Earth-38 continue evacuating.
It comes at the cost of his own life, and a mortally injured Oliver gives his last farewells to White Canary and his daughter Mia on Earth-1. Monitor estimates that one billion of the three billion saved were due to Oliver’s actions, while another 4.5 billion were lost on Earth-38. Special shout out to Nash Wells (The Flash), now Pariah, who appeared in the closing minutes to reveal that he released the Anti-Monitor and was serving a penance – to bear witness to the end of the worlds – for doing so. It’s high stakes for Batwoman coming next in Part Two of the crossover, where we’ll get to see the heroes checking out Earth-1’s locals.
Supergirl airs Sunday nights at 9 Eastern/8 Central on the CW. Cara can be found on Twitter @virtualcara.