Warning: spoilers ahead for the December 9 episode of Black Lightning Season 3 and the first two episodes of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover on The CW.
The five shows of the Arrow-verse have been building to the epic “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover off-and-on for the better part of a year, with Arrow and The Flash going overdrive in the fall TV season… while Black Lightning more or less went about business as usual. Separate from the Arrow-verse from the very beginning, Black Lightning could very well have been left out of The CW’s mega-crossover this fall. Now, however, Cress Williams’ Jefferson Pierce, a.k.a. Black Lightning, will appear in the Arrow-verse’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover, but was this episode’s twist ending the way to do it?
The five-show crossover — which is now more or less a six-show crossover, even if Black Lightning doesn’t get a full hour of “Crisis” and technically didn’t get pulled into the Arrow-verse action until the final moments of the December 9 installment — will feature Jefferson in at least the third hour, while only time will tell about the fourth and fifth hours when “Crisis” picks up in January. Adding Freeland’s hero can only be a good thing, but the potential problem is that somebody from the Arrow-verse plucked him out of his universe right before his whole Earth was destroyed.
The Black Lightning Earth and people on it went the way of Earth-2 in the Arrow Season 8 premiere (which also took out some Flash characters) in what will undoubtedly be both traumatizing and confusing for Black Lightning when he pops out to meet the Arrow-verse heroes.
Now, if Black Lightning had ended the episode with Jefferson’s family, friends, and other series regulars yanked to safety along with Jefferson (presumably by Pariah), it might have been believable that their Earth fell victim to the Crisis and they would have to rebuild their lives on Earth-1.
That’s what Supergirl is facing since the destruction of Earth-38 in “Crisis” Part 1, after all. While the Girl of Steel ended Part 2 of “Crisis” determined to get Earth-38 back, the fact that the rest of the Supergirl regulars as well as future spinoff stars Superman and Lois Lane evacuated to Earth-1 means that the Arrow-verse could very well leave Earth-38 gone and just add Supergirl and the Superman/Lois series to Earth-1. Up until this episode of Black Lightning, there was no reason to be confident that Earths can and will be restored by the end of “Crisis.”
But is there any way Black Lightning would kill off its entire cast of characters just to send Jefferson to pitch in for “Crisis” in the Arrow-verse? Sure, Jefferson could technically meet the doppelgangers of his friends and family from other Earths in the multiverse, and Freeland hasn’t appeared on Earth-1, so it would be simple enough to keep him in the Arrow-verse but still far enough out of the way that he wouldn’t be crossing over to Star City or Central City on a regular basis.
In my book, though, the way the Arrow-verse added Black Lightning to “Crisis on Infinite Earths” kind of deflated a lot of the suspense over whether Earths that are gone are gone for good. Just as I couldn’t believe The Flash would actually kill The Flash, I can’t believe that all of Black Lightning except for Black Lightning is gone in one fell swoop.
Still, only time will tell, and it should be fun to finally see Jefferson interacting with the big names of the Arrow-verse. He might not have the best impression of Oliver if he crosses paths with the original superhero before he gets his soul back.
Find out when Part 3 of “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” complete with Black Lightning, airs Tuesday, December 10 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. Fans will be in for a bit of a wait for the final two episodes of the mega crossover, as they don’t air until Tuesday, January 14.