The Flash will return soon from its winter hiatus but if you haven’t seen the last two parts of The CW’s 5-part crossover event Crisis on Infinite Earths, there are a few big changes that might surprise you. Here’s a quick recap of what you need to know.
Part 4: Arrow
When we last left our heroic Paragons, Pariah has transported them to the Vanishing Point (a location beyond time and space and untouchable to the Anti-Monitor) just before the Anti-Monitor wiped out the rest of existence with his anti-matter wave. Lex Luthor, known for his unique ability to cheat death, used the Book of Destiny to kill Superman (Brandon Routh) and take his place as the Paragon of Truth.
By the opening of part 4, the Paragons have been trapped in the Vanishing Point for months just trying to find a way out and formulate a plan. Ryan Choi, Paragon of Humanity, and Lex Luthor have been tinkering with pieces of junkyard tech to create some kind of teleport. Barry has been missing for weeks. The rest just sort of cope in their own way.
One day, Barry comes crashing back into camp. He’s been trying to enter the Speed Force and from his perspective, he’s only been gone for a few minutes. Something is pushing back, keeping him out. This is when Oliver Queen shows up.
But he’s more than just Oliver; he’s become what is known as a Spectre, and he has a plan. The Speed Force is the key to saving everyone. Millenia ago, Mar Novu attempted to time travel to the birth of the universe and mistakenly opened a breach to the anti-matter universe and created the Anti-Monitor in the process.
Supergirl, Ryan, and Lex Luthor go back to that moment to prevent Novu from his mistake while the rest go back to the dawn of time to fight the Anti-Monitor at his moment of creation.
Oliver unlocks Barry’s potential by poking him in the forehead and Barry gathers up his passengers and runs into the Speed Force (presented in beautiful, cinematic widescreen!).
Barry drops off Supergirl, Ryan, and Lex before the Anti-Monitor attacks and scatters the rest of them to different corners of the Speed Force. Oliver is using their memories and connections to keep them in the Speed Force, but if they fall out they’ll be consumed by anti-matter, so Barry has to hurry up and find them.
But first Barry runs into himself, in a very surprising and high-profile cameo by Ezra Miller’s Flash from the Justice League movie. It’s all very confusing, but they really like each other’s outfits. Ezra’s Flash fades away, saying, “I told Victor this was possible.”
Meanwhile, Supergirl and Ryan plan to find Mar Novu by checking out the central databank of that huge city, but Lex goes missing before they get very far. He’s got sinister plans and he gave himself the ability to shoot lasers out of his hands when he used the Book of Destiny. He knocks out Supergirl and Ryan and heads into the city on his own.
He does convince Mar Novu not to use his time travel device and offers to share his future knowledge with him if he shares his super abilities with Lex. Supergirl and Ryan wake up after being “Luthored” and find Mar Novu in time to stop Lex from making a shady deal.
Long story short, everyone meets up at the dawn of time where the Anti-Monitor still exists because some version of Mar Novu somewhere in the multiverse will inevitably make it happen.
There’s an epic fight, Oliver sacrifices himself to beat the Anti-Monitor and create a new multiverse. Barry and Sara share a heartbreaking goodbye with Oliver as he dies and a new universe is born.
Part 5: Legends of Tomorrow
This one is all about that new universe. It’s kind of unclear on how all the Paragons got home from the dawn of time, but they wake up in a new world where they all exist and live together on one Earth and always have.
As is characteristic with crossovers like this, there is a slight inconsistency of tone between the shows. Barry and Kara geek out together about the timeline changes and living on the same Earth now, while members of Team Arrow brood darkly over Oliver’s death. And quirkiest of all, the Legends have to fight off a giant Furby-type creature called a Beebo. What even is this?
J’onn goes around to everyone and psychically updates their memory about what happened. In this reality, Lex Luthor is a good guy, maybe, and Supergirl works for a division of Lexcorp.
Ray is super pumped about the crossover and finally being invited to join one. Mick is a successful and prolific romance novelist. Everyone seems to have been restored in this new universe, except for Oliver who made the ultimate sacrifice to create it.
Anyway, back to Beebo. They try to take him down before he crushes the whole city, but its not even a real Beebo. It turns out to be a distraction so Sargon the Sorcerer can rob a bank vault.
They knock him out and Beebo dissolves. They think they’ve solved the problem, but Nash Wells comes running in to warn them of a massive surge in anti-matter readings. The fight isn’t over yet.
The Paragons are being hunted by shadow demons. Oliver’s sacrifice may have created a new universe, but he didn’t kill the Anti-Monitor after all.
They can’t destroy him because he’s made of anti-matter, so they make a plan to shrink him infinitely. Cool. Ryan, Nash, and Ray work on a shrink bomb while the others face down an army of shadow demons and the Anti-Monitor.
Flash gets called in to build the bomb once the blueprints are finished. It’s a funny scene where Barry’s speed causes concern to the three scientists regarding the volatility of the components, but the bomb is constructed perfectly and no one but the Anti-Monitor gets shrunk (well, no one else except Superman, briefly.).
Everyone goes back to their lives in this new timeline. Some things are mostly the same, while others could take some adjustment for the Paragons who haven’t caught up to things.
We get a glimpse of the new multiverse, full of new potential friends, allies, and enemies. Green Lantern and Brandon Routh’s Superman are featured, along with Stargirl, Titans, Doom Patrol, and Swamp Thing all now confirmed to be part of The CW’s Arrowverse.
The episode ends with the creation of the Arrowverse’s version of the Justice League. Barry and Co. pay tribute to Oliver and set up a headquarters in an abandoned warehouse.
Barry unveils a very cool table with impressive leather chairs emblazoned with their own personal symbols. Superman tells him, “Great idea, Barry.”
Barry basically blushes like a little girl and it is adorable.
They take their seats, but their moment of solidarity is interrupted by a crash and some monkey sounds. It is revealed that Gleek – a blue alien monkey originally from the animated series Super Friends – has escaped his STAR Labs cage and is on the loose.
The Flash returns on Tuesday, February 4 at 8/7 C on The CW.