Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 3 Ending Explained: What Happened in the Arrowverse Midseason Finale?
Who lived? Who died? How many times did Crisis on Infinite Earths make us cry?
This article contains major Crisis on Infinite Earths spoilers. You were probably able to guess that from the headline, though.
Somehow, Crisis on Infinite Earths is three hours in and it has exceeded expectations in every single one of them. The biggest Arrowverse crossover of them all has been an astonishing translation of the original comic book mega-crossover. And it’s given us three really good episodes of the shows the crossover is jumping between. But with the conclusion of “Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 3” on The Flash, the crossover is now put on pause for a month, and it dropped some giant bombs on its way out the door.
So what happened at the end of “Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 3” which also serves as the midseason finale for the entire Arrowverse? We’re here to help.
What’s Going On With Oliver Queen?
Oliver Queen died a surprising death in “Crisis on Infinite Earths Part One” and had his body resurrected in an Earth-18 Lazarus Pit during Part Two. But as it happened with Sara Lance all those years ago, bringing Oliver’s body back didn’t return his soul to his body, so Mia, Diggle, and John Constantine headed to Purgatory (with an assist from Lucifer of Lucifer fame) to retrieve it. But as soon as they got him, he was cornered by a random guy who convinced him to not return to life.
Well, not all that random. That person was Jim Corrigan. Corrigan is an ex-cop who was betrayed and murdered, and as a result became The Spectre. According to the comics, the Spectre is an agent of the Christian God’s vengeance on the universe. He has a big role to play in the Crisis. More on that shortly, but we can promise you it is potentially major and contains a heartbreaking series of spoilers.
Lyla has been working for the Monitor for a while now, but last episode she started getting mysterious headaches. Her weirdness culminated at the end of this episode, as she flipped to join the Anti-Monitor, and channeling his power, battled the Monitor on the Waverider, restarted the antimatter wave, and destroyed the last remaining universe.
This is straight from the comics. Harbinger was introduced in the original Crisis story as The Monitor’s helper. She was infected by the Anti-Monitor and functioned as a plant within his operation. Eventually, she turned on him and enabled his destruction.
Lyla channels the Anti-Monitor during her fight with the Monitor, so we get to hear the two brothers talk to each other. And at one point, the Monitor refers to his counterpart as Mobius, and says “it was foolish to allow [his] creation in the first place.”
Mobius is the Anti-Monitor’s name from the comics – he was named in the DC Comics story Forever Evil (and revealed as the true owner of Metron’s Mobius Chair, but that’s a story for whenever the Arrowverse people get around to doing a Fourth World crossover). However, the Monitor…didn’t really “allow” the Anti-Monitor’s creation. The short version is he’s the child of an all-powerful creator, Perpetua, and brother to the Monitor and World Forger.
Pariah Saves the Day?
The Monitor loses his fight with Lyla, but as he’s fighting he tells Pariah that he’ll “know what to do.” And as the antimatter wave overtakes Earth-1, Pariah zaps the seven paragons off of the Waverider, presumably to safety.
This isn’t really lifted from the comics. The Pariah of the comics was very much a watcher and not a doer. But there is one moment from the comics that bears some resemblance to what happened here: when Comics Pariah witnessed the end of Earth-6, he pulled Lady Quark from the planet before it was destroyed, and she ended up playing a key role on the final team that saved the multiverse.
But yeah everybody’s dead. The antimatter wave breaks over Earth-1, and Earth-1 is the last remaining world in the entire multiverse when it happens. So Black Lightning’s Earth, Earth-73, gone. Supergirl’s Earth, Earth-38: old news. DC Universe’s Titans/Doom Patrol Earth, Earth-9: dust.
As for whether this will stick, it’s tough to say. The deaths will very likely mostly be undone. The people who died with purpose, like Earth-90’s Flash or Oliver Queen, will probably stay dead. The multiverse full of redshirts will probably be brought back.
After the comics Crisis wiped out the multiverse, comics creators couldn’t get it back fast enough. They spent the next 20 years trying to find loopholes in the now singular multiverse, and in doing so, completely broke the shared continuity of the DC Universe. I don’t think the TV folks want to put themselves in that kind of a box. Instead, you can probably expect the Arrowverse version of Crisis to simply make it easier for the CW shows to cross over by existing in the same universe. There is some speculation that Earth-1, Earth-73 and Earth-38 will get merged so Black Lightning and Supergirl can exist on the same planet as the rest of the shows. The rest of the DC multimedia multiverse (such as Titans and Doom Patrol‘s Earth-9) will have to return and continue to exist parallel to whatever the new Earth-1 ends up being.
Pariah sends the seven paragons – Ryan Choi, Supergirl, Batwoman, Kingdom Come Superman, Martian Manhunter, The Flash, and White Canary – to Vanishing Point, something we haven’t seen since the end of the first season of Legends of Tomorrow.
It’s not entirely clear why these seven were chosen. You have the Paragon of Humanity in Ryan Choi; of Hope in Supergirl; of Courage in Batwoman; of Truth in Superman; Honor in J’onn; Love in Barry; and the Paragon of Destiny in Sara. You can make a case as to why that word fits each character, but it’s hard to see how humanity, hope, courage, truth, honor, love, and destiny will all somehow combine to restart the multiverse, unless it’s some kind of weird Captain Planet gestalt entity.
Vanishing Point was the original headquarters of the Time Bureau. It exists outside the regular flow of space and time, and thus was apparently immune to the death of the multiverse. This has a strong comics parallel – the death of the Monitor enabled the release of enough energy to create a pocket universe and transmit Earths 1 and 2 in, and Harbinger used all of her powers after she broke free of the Anti-Monitor’s control to send in another three worlds – Earth-X (the Freedom Fighters world), Earth-S (the Shazam Family’s Earth), and Earth-4 that was the home to the Charlton heroes like Blue Beetle and Captain Atom. Those were the worlds combined to make the new main DC Universe timeline at the time, so see our note above about how Earth-1, Earth-38, and Earth-73 are likely to get merged.
And then Lex Luthor had to go and ruin everything.
Once at Vanishing Point, the seven Paragons discover the wreckage of the Legends last battle with the Bureau. As they’re exploring, Kingdom Come Superman gets a mean case of light-based indigestion. He lays down, and in a flash of light is replaced by Lex Luthor, who apparently used the Book of Destiny to swap places with Clark.
Lex then pulls a page that he ripped out of the Book of Destiny out of his copy of The Count of Monte Cristo, and the episode ends on a shocking dadpun from Luthor about “the Book of Destiny need[ing] a little rewrite.” That’s likely to come back to haunt Lex: like most library books, the Book of Destiny seems like a book you would pay for defacing with blood.
The villains definitely have a role to play, and Lex aside, have been fairly conspicuous in their absence. In the comics, there was an entire team of villains working with the heroes (and the Spectre) to stop the Anti-Monitor from ever escaping.
Is Superman Dead?
It’s not clear if this process actually killed the Earth-96 Superman or if Lex merely swapped places with him. If that’s the case he was simply wiped from existence like the other heroes who were left back on the Waverider. The red antimatter color scheme of the energy that consumes him would seem to favor that theory. In any case, considering that Earth-96 Superman is basically an avatar of one of the most beloved live action interpretations of the character of all time, it seems unlikely they would give him a permanent death this tragic and passive.
We’ll get the answers to all of these questions when Crisis on Infinite Earths returns for its two-hour finale on Jan. 14, 2020!