“I was skeptical when you pitched the idea of putting the legends on television, but they’ve helped pacify the masses. Well? Should we get started then? We don’t want to keep our worshippers waiting.”
Unlike the rest of the Arrowverse, D.C.’s Legends Of Tomorrow did not have their season interrupted by the massive crossover. Because it was a mid-season series, this season of Legends Of Tomorrow actually starts with the final hour of the huge crossover. That means you get thrown immediately into the deep water, and there’s no time to learn how to swim now. So if you aren’t up on the show or the whole Arrowverse thing, you have some serious catching up to do. You need to get caught up on Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and the newcomer Batwoman, and then four previous years of The Legends Of Tomorrow. I can help you with that. Just bang it here to get a look at our previous reviews: Legends Reviews. Once you’re caught up, let’s head straight into that crossover finale, shall we?
“In the beginning there was only a single black infinitude. Then the infinitude found release, and finally the darkness broke, filling it with life and finally the multiverse, every existence multiplied by possibility, and spread out before space and time in infinite measure. Civilizations rose and fell. And rose and fell again across reality’s grasping expanse. Life. A precious gift persevering in the face of every obstacle until finally the age of heroes was born. Chaos, the constant enemy of life kept at bay by champions from across the multiverse. Joining forces to fight on behalf of all creation. They found each other just in time, because now the entire multiverse is about to come under attack. There is a malevolent force at work, one driven by a singular goal: the destruction of all there is. I have planned, there are some who say I have schemed, but the day for preparation has passed. The crisis is upon us…”
Batwoman joins the other shows in the epic 5-part crossover event Crisis On Infinite Earths. Give Warner Brothers bigtime credit here. They have been doing a great job of including these crossover episodes in each of the different shows’ release sets. They’ve fine-tuned the inclusion this season by taking some advice I’ve been giving for years. This time they cut a separate disc that has the entire event all in one place so you can pop that baby in and watch it all without interruption. That’s exactly what I did, and man, was that fun.
It really started with last year’s crossover and the introduction of The Monitor (Garrett), who used that crisis to test the heroes of the Arrowverse. Then the final season of Arrow used its last handful or so of episodes to lay the groundwork. Oliver becomes the central hero who makes a deal to lay down his own life to protect Barry and Kara, whom fate has originally selected to die in the crisis. The crossover event begins on Supergirl.
Lyla Michaels (Anderson) becomes harbinger and gathers the players from the various Earths and cities. Supergirl is first because Earth-38 will be the first to be taken by the anti-matter storm that is driving across the multiverse to inevitably destroy all Earths in all universes. She has to watch her Earth die along with Argos, where her cousin Clark (Hoechlin) and Lois (Tulloch) are living with their new baby, Jonathan. Both are saved along with Kara to fight the crisis. We learn there was an Anti-Monitor who was experimenting with antimatter and created this wave. His plan is to wipe the multiverse clean so that he can write his own universe of antimatter, and thanks to Nash Wells, this year’s Flash Wells, the door is opened, and the destruction is unleashed.
The second entry comes with Batwoman, and we learn that the only hope of defeating this anti-universe is through seven people called paragons. They represent virtues like truth, courage, love, hope, humanity, destiny, and honor. Four are revealed in this episode, and so the search is on for the other three. That means we get to meet alternate versions of the heroes that are represented by earlier film and television depictions of these characters. Kevin Conway, who has voiced Batman/Bruce Wayne on a ton of animated shows, is one of those encounters. He’s dressed in an exoskeleton suit and is a bitter Wayne who lost everything and has become an instrument of destruction, even killing the Superman of his world. We get to see Tom Welling return as a retired Superman, and we’re back on the Kent farm from Smallville. Brandon Routh gets to jump out of his Ray Palmer guise for a short time and put on a modified version of his Superman Returns suit to show us a retired version of that Man of Steel. He’s now The Daily Planet’s boss. We even get a short cameo by Burt Ward who, of course, played Robin in the camp 1960’s television show opposite the late Adam West’s Batman.
The Flash delivers hour three, where the Arrowverse is joined by another comics hero enjoying a third season as a streaming DC show. Cress Williams brings his Black Lightning character to the show. It also marks the return of the 1990’s The Flash, John Wesley Shipp, as Jay Garrick.
Hour 4 Arrow spends one of its final 10 episodes joining the fun. Here we even catch up with Ezra Miller, who played The Flash in the Justice League film and the intended but beleaguered Flash feature film. Now Oliver is playing a little Jedi Master games with the team. He’s a rather mysterious hooded character who helps guide the team. Barry has to travel to the Speed Force, where he must reunite the team after the destruction of the multiverse. It’s a place outside of space and time and the only place they can exist at that point.
The final hour comes courtesy of Legends of Tomorrow. The team now has a version of the time ship which is now voiced by Wentworth Miller, who of course played the redeemed Captain Cold Leonard Snart and who was Dominic Purcell’s Prison Break brother. Purcell is Rory, Snart’s old partner, and they manage to have great chemistry even when one of them is nothing but a voice. The end of Crisis on Infinite Earths is not exactly a win. They could not save the multiverse, but they did save one of them. Now that Earth: Prime contains elements and characters from various Earths so that Supergirl now lives on the same planet as the other heroes. The 1980’s comic event was the brainchild of Marv Wolfman, who had migrated over to DC from Marvel and pitched the idea to solve DC’s then really bad continuity issues. Multiple places had confused readers to such a point sales were at a decades-long low, and this story across all the DC’s titles allowed them to reset everything to free them from old continuity and issues, much like Star Trek employed the Kelvin time-line in the new films to reset everything. The entire Arrowverse will now get a chance to reboot things without completely wiping the slate clean. There will be no more “breaching” to travel between the many Earths. The timelines will also be altered so that each hero will be returning to a world somewhat changed from the one they left, and they’ll have to catch up on the new history of the consolidated planet.
Overall this was a very good event. It’s the best yet, and now I’m not sure how they are going to beat it in future years. With COVID shutting down productions, I’m willing to bet there will be no major crossover this next season. That doesn’t mean there won’t be visits, but it’s going to take heroic effort just to get the seasons back on track without the pressure and challenge that such a huge event entails. The event also sets up the establishment of a Justice League within the Arrowverse. In a wonderful homage to the old 70’s cartoons of Justice League and Super Friends, they set up in a building that looks just like the cartoon Hall Of Justice, and there’s even a nod to the alien monkey character Gleek.
The series starts with the new timeline and Earth: Prime where the Legends are actually famous legends. The first episode back is a mockumentary where a film crew follows the Legends on a mission. It’s straight out of reality TV complete with confessionals. If you didn’t get the message that this is the silly member of the Arrowverse, this episode should leave no doubt.
So let’s get right into the season’s big bad. Astra (Swann) is an old nemesis of John Constantine (Ryan) She’s enjoying a leadership in Hell as a human but desires much more. So she releases the souls of some of the baddest bad guys in history. The Legends call them Encores. Now their mission is to go through time and either kill or round up these historic baddies. They can only be killed with a weapon from Hell, so their new reigns of terror are bigger than anything they did the first time around. These Encores include Bugsy Seigel, Genghis Kahn, who’s now a drug-runner, Marie Antoinette, but looking very much like Nora (Ford), and a dinner party that includes Vlad Dracula, Bonnie and Clyde, Brutus, and Jack The Ripper. While the Legends attempt to capture or kill the Encores, Constantine does his best to find a magical or Hell-bound solution with his new partner Gary (Tsekhman).
Charlie (Richardson-Sellers) is also the Fate Clotho and has an idea to reassemble the Wheel Of Fate which she destroyed and scattered out in the multi-verse. After Crises, they are all on the new Earth: Prime, but her sisters are also seeking the loom so that they can control humans. That means a dystopian 1984/Soviet-like society where the Legends face Zombies and mind control before ultimately trapped inside of television shows. There’s a Friends clone called Ultimate Buds and Hardcastle Abbey riffing off of the famed BBC series. As they escape there’s a great chance to constantly riff on the crossover concept. And that’s where my little beef with this show can be demonstrated.
I know this is the silly place in the Arrowverse, but it is starting to become a spoof of itself. The crossover jokes fly far too frequently and flat. Look. I get what you’re making fun of here. I got it after the 90th joke. You can stop now, because it’s not even amusing anymore. The show breaks the fourth wall a bit too often, and it’s getting hard to take these dangers to the universe very seriously anymore. So let’s grow up a tad and try to restrain ourselves, shall we?
There are cast changes going on here. There’s a new Zari created in last year’s time alteration at Hayworld. Nora is now Behrad’s (Sobhian) sister who is a self-absorbed social network influencer. Inside of her is the real Nora, and it is Nate (Zano) who can see and feel her. Ray (Routh) and Nora (Ford) get married and end up leaving the team. Of course, the two actors are actually married in real life. Sarah (Lotz) is missing a bit, likely because of her work on the crossover. So her main squeeze, Ava (Macallan) becomes her co-captain and takes over when Sarah is gone. I have to say I find both of these characters rather annoying. Never liked Caty Lotz even back in her first Arrow days, and Ava is just too crazy to have been in control of anything, let alone a time ship.
The best part of the season starts as a show that Ray tries to share with a kid who is on the ship. He shows her tapes of his favorite childhood show, a Mr. Rogers spoof called Mr. Parker’s Cul De Sac. It’s spot on and ends up showing up again in the episode where they are banished to television land. Best creation of the season hands down.
Another bright spot seems to be The Flash hold-over villain-turned-good-guy, Rory (Purcell) He adds so much life to the series, and the only time he was ever better is when he was teamed up with his Prison Break brother Captain Cold, played by Wentworth Miller. I truly miss that dynamic. But Rory is a force of nature on this show. This season he finds out he has a daughter and tries everything he can do to make up for not being there. It’s both an emotional center for the season and the kind of humor that works without being so dang obvious all of the time. Purcell was rumored to be leaving, but he quickly shot all of that down. He loves being there, and you can certainly tell. It’s quickly become his show.
Each episode is presented in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC MPEG-4 codec. This high-definition image presentation suffers from Warner’s decision to put 16 episodes plus features on just two discs. There’s a lot of nice production design that suffers from compression artifact and shimmer. There’s no place for that on a Blu-ray release. It’s twice the number of episodes that should be here, and I strongly urge Warner Brothers to reconsider this cheap alternative to do it right.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 actually pretty aggressive. There are a lot of super-battles going on with laser guns, fireballs, and plasma blasts. All of this is brought to life quite nicely. The sub levels add a depth to it all. This is a pretty ambitious audio presentation for a television show. Through all of that explosive fun, the dialog manages to cut through just fine. Balance is the word of the day for this one.
Gag Reel: (7:28)
Deleted Scenes on select episodes
Gag Reel: (8:12)
Post Production Theater: (3:50) A look at crew inserts that serve as placeholders for pickup shots.
More Fun Moments Collection: (11:58) These are skits that connect back to the show. Most of them feature Mr. Parker from the Mr. Parker’s Cul De Sac show.
Deleted Scenes on select episodes.
Crisis On Infinite Earths – The Architects Return: (11:55) Many of the DC people who were involved in the original 80’s comic story talk about that event and the impact it had on DC and comics in general. Marv Wolfman is the center of that discussion and offers a ton of inside information on the comics event.
Crisis Management: (13:08) Showrunners from each of the five shows talk about the connection between the comic event and the crossover. There’s some welcome behind-the-scenes footage, and Marv Wolfman continues to glue it all together.
Crisis Past And Present – Kevin Conway Bat Legend: (3:17) A profile of Conway and his cameo on the crossover.
Crisis Past And Present – Superman vs. Superman: (4:37) A behind-the-scenes look at the Superman fight as well as a profile on Brandon Routh’s chance to put the suit back on from his film version of Superman.
Characters In Crisis – Pariah: (4:18) A behind-the-scenes look at Tom Cavanagh’s new version of Wells who plays a big part in the event.
Characters In Crisis – The Anti-Monitor: (4:55) A character profile on the event’s big bad.
The season ends with somewhat of a resolution, but there’s also a cliffhanger. It’s hard to tell if this was originally intended to lead into next season’s problem or if the loss of production time took away the intent. It works as a season-ending situation. Of course, all of these productions ended early because of the pandemic. We’ll have to wait until early 2021 to find out what the situation is and if they’re clever enough we might never know what was originally intended. “What could go wrong?”