“A Flash of the Lightning” Review
By Justin Carter
The CW would like to remind you that Crisis on Infinite Earths is a different crossover than the ones that came before it, and it’s why Flash and Arrow are being paired together on Tuesday night. It makes for an interesting double act: Flash establishes in this episode that antimatter is consuming various worlds, and Arrow runs with that to an appropriately devastating degree. Unlike the last time either shows had to set up an event — more specifically, the two-parter that would become the backdoor pilot for Legends of Tomorrow — there’s a lot more control here, which helps “Flash of the Lightning” work in spite of largely being a cog in the crossover machine.
Now that the Monitor has made it clear he has to die to save everyone, Barry’s plan is to travel forward to one day after the Crisis to see how things go, but that idea goes south when that pesky antimatter (or rather, the Anti-Monitor) prevents him from making it to December. Instead, he hops over to Earth-3 and enlists Jay Garrick and his wife Joan Williams, the E-3 version of Nora Allen to help see billions of outcomes that all unfortunately end the same way – with everyone getting wiped out unless Barry sacrifices himself. The reality of his predicament has him in an understandably depressive mood, at least until Joe gives him a classic Dad Speech about heroism and answering the call of duty.
With Barry literally sitting on the couch for much of the episode, it falls on the rest of Team Flash to carry things, and it works well. Recent seasons have made it clear the show has a better idea of how to group the various members of Team Flash together, such as having Joe, Iris and Cecille work a murder case while Cisco and Ralph help Killer Frost be an actual person. These stories are more character focused, presumably to build everyone up for if, and when, they find themselves without a speedster in the crossover’s aftermath.
Barry and Iris’ plan is to now prep Team Flash for his eventual demise, which primes the season for an interesting first half wherein a team of superheroes have to prepare themselves to grieve for their soon to be dead friend. Barry of course won’t be gone long, but it’s an interesting concept nonetheless and one the season could plumb for emotional depth.
Assuming they learned from season four and let that loss stick around long enough to mean something, of course.
Meanwhile, with our Big Bad: Bloodwork accidentally creates a zombie!
Killer Frost s both a bad artist and got a bunch of art by maxing out all of Caitlin’s credit cards, so maybe Ralph and Cisco need to have a better syllabus for her.
Something to note in Barry’s vision is Cisco is in his Vibe getup, meaning he may get his powers back. (Or just be wearing it for appearances.)
Someone’s exploiting metahumans and training them to be killers, in what’s sure to connect back to Ralph in some way.