iReview | BATWOMAN - “Crisis on Infinite Earths” Part 2
Facing impending doom and mourning the loss of one of their own, our heroes are introduced to the concept of the “paragons” among them. Seven heroes from across the multiverse that may be able to stop the “crisis” that’s consuming their world!
The search for the heroic “paragons” begins as Part 2 of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover continues in Episode 9, Season 1 of Batwoman. For the latest character to inherit the cape and cowl of Gotham City’s Dark Knight, Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) is out of her natural element when it comes to battling Shadow Beings and traversing the multiverse. The able street fighter is more equipped to the trenches of darkened allies and the perilously high rooftops of her city. With The Batman missing in action, Kate has moved herself into her cousin Bruce Wayne’s inner sanctum and with the help of Lucas Fox (Camrus Johnson) appropriated his alter ego.
Audiences are now very familiar with Kate Kane’s Batwoman, especially after her significantly splashy induction into the “Arrowverse” in last year’s “Elseworlds” crossover. That storyline effectively set-up the existence of Gotham City on Earth-1 as well as confirmed the presence of “The Batman” (which had been considered an urban myth), though Oliver Queen’s Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) is adamant — he is the first vigilante hero to take on the fight for justice. Debatable, perhaps, but Batwoman has proven she is a force all of her own to be reckoned with, though Kate is not comfortable with their presently cosmic predicament.
Though they may have been dealt a serious blow with the sacrifice of Oliver Queen at the conclusion of Part 1 (see Supergirl S5/E9), The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) reveals the existence throughout the multiverse of “Seven Paragons” — heroes that best embody the virtues of heroism. Borrowing a Waverider time-ship from an alternate-earth (Erath-74 to be precise) that comes packed with its own Mick Rory (DC’s Legends of Tomorrow cast mate Dominic Purcell) our team learns that among them are 2 of the 7 paragons: Supergirl, Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) is the “Paragon of Hope” and White Canary, Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) is the “Paragon of Destiny”.
Her fellow Legend Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) is not at all surprised, but when The Monitor reveals that a missing paragon, “The Bat of the Future” supposedly The Batman of the “future-tense” Earth-99, Bruce Wayne may need to be indoctrinated into their cause, the revelation of the billionaire industrialist’s alter ego does trip Palmer’s fancy — Kate insists that they all keep that secret close and among themselves. Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) are intrigued to hunt down the next paragon, a Kryptonian — the “Paragon of Truth”. During the mission ops gathering, Harbinger (recurring Arrow guest star Audrey Marie Anderson) begins to stumble.
This is important because it establishes a significant plot point that is part of “Crisis” canon. In the original 12-issue maxi-series by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez Lyla is corrupted by one of the Anti-Monitor’s shadow agents and slays The Monitor; this does nor come as a surprise to him — he admits he had foreseen and anticipated her betrayal. As Part 2 opens up, Lyla reveals to Sara that she hasn’t told her husband John Diggle (David Ramsey) about Oliver’s sacrifice, even as Oliver’s daughter Mia and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) attempt to resurrect the Green Arrow by dunking his body into a Lazarus Pit.
With the help of Legend magi John Constantine (Matt Ryan) they are able to find a working pit on Earth-18, and thinking that it’s a good idea drop, Oliver’s body in there — the predictable consequence unleashes a soulless and angry Green Arrow that nearly takes down his daughter Mia (Katherine McNamara). During this exercise, Batwoman and Supergirl travel to Earth-99 hoping to persuade Batman to help them save the multiverse, but there instead they find a crippled and battle-hardened Bruce Wayne (guest star Kevin Conroy) who warns them both, there is no hope and that it may be best to let the multiverse just die!
Iris West-Allan (Candice Patton) has joined Lois and Clark on their pursuit of the Superman that is the proper paragon, and warns the super-couple that Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) is determined to destroy all the Supermen of every earth! Lex is using the Book of Destiny to alter their fate, and after meeting with a powerless Clark Kent (Smallville’s Tom Welling) that rightly puts Lex in his place, they stumble upon an alternate-earth’s Clark Kent, the Editor of the Daily Planet, who has a bit of gray in his temple and sadly has suffered his share of loss. The trio successfully recruit this Superman (Brandon Routh in a super-suit tailored after Kingdom Come) to help them, but Lex has other plans!
Manipulating the ancient prophecies inside the Book of Destiny, Lex turns Superman against Superman! As the two take the skies above Metropolis in a showdown of might, the two intrepid reporters, Lois and Iris are left to contend with Lex’s mess. Knocking him unconscious they are able to wrestling the Book of Destiny and figure out how to free Superman (Routh) from its magical grip! Eventually they all return to the Waverider orbiting Earth-1 and bring with them the “Paragon of Truth” and perhaps a means closer to defeating the Anti-Monitor. Unfortunately Kate and Kara are not as successful in their mission to bring the “Bat of the Future” on board.
Still More Spoiler Alert!
Meanwhile Ray has appeared to have succeeded in putting together his “Paragon Detector” but when he fires it up, he is disappointed with the results. The device instead of seeking outwards, places the next paragon within the Waverider. In a stunning turn, the Monitor reveals that Kate and Kara were indeed successful in their mission to locate the next paragon and names Batwoman the “Paragon of Courage”! Along with the Superman of Earth-96, the heroes have now assembled four of the paragons in order to help save the multiverse, but even as they come closet to achieving their goal, stepping out from the shadows is the real villain of the story!
Using the Harbinger as a conduit to keep tabs on his adversary, The Anti-Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) sets in motion his own plan to thwart the heroes and bring about the destruction of the multiverse, leaving in its wake an anti-matter universe at his disposal!
Still not comfortable with a role in this cosmic odyssey or the fact that now she has been tasked with carrying the mantle of a paragon, Kate confides in Kara her concerns. In true form, Kara informs the newer heroine that her place among them is properly earned and that as the Batwoman, has demonstrated her courage and worthiness. Supergirl then hands her a picture, a souvenir she took from Bruce Manor of Earth-99 — it is a picture of that earths Kate and her twin sister in happier, hopeful times. Kate doesn’t reveal to the Maid of Might that she has taken a souvenir of her own — Bruce Wayne’s piece of kryptonite which he used to kill the Superman of Earth-99.
What’s the Endgame?
Part 2 of our crossover epic, is perhaps a little tougher to get through than its previous installment, and certainly a lot clunkier to navigate than Part 3, The Flash episode rounding out the first arc of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” storyline. The “middle story” in an extended piece is often difficult, because it relies on setting more details up that gets our protagonists over the hump and closer toward their resolution. This episode of “Crisis” relied on the Batwoman writing team and showrunners to deliver a very complex piece of the puzzle, while also integrating various cameos and featured roles that were dependent on carrying a certain amount of emotion.
The inclusion of Kevin Conroy, the voice behind the Emmy® Award-Winning Batman: The Animated Series as the hopelessly fatigued and bitter Bruce Wayne was a particularly genius move and allowed for the episode’s star, Ruby Rose to really heft her weight even though she is still new to the “Arrowverse” of characters. It was also important to place her alongside Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl and solidifying the obvious chemistry the two actors share, giving the audience an opportunity to admire the “World’s Finest” team-up potential the two put on full display. For fans the most significant moment still was the appearance of Tom Welling’s Clark Kent giving Smallville fans a nostalgic nod.
Overall, this episode feels narratively choppy and lacks cohesion, especially with the 3 separate missions going on, but it’s well character driven and amply showcases Ruby Rose. As potentially the “new kid on the block” her Batwoman comes out on top, and demonstrates sizable chemistry when paired with Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl — this will bode well as the “Crisis” comes to a conclusion. No doubt giving the writing staff opportunity for “World’s Finest” crossovers between Supergirl and Batwoman.
Batwoman | “Crisis of Infinite Earths” Part 2 | Episode 9, Season 1 | Directed by Laura Belsey and Written by Don Whitehead & Holly Henderson | Original Airdate: 12/9/2019
Batwoman airs Sunday Nights @ 8pm EST on The CW and returns with new episodes in 2020.