I still don’t understand why the Arrowverse crossover “Crisis on Infinite Earths” is turning Oliver Queen into the Spectre, a ghostly DC Comics character with powers equal to a god. But it’s cool as hell.
In “Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part 3,” which aired this week as an episode of The Flash and serves as a cliffhanger before the last two episodes air in January 2020, ended with the totally obvious metamorphosis of Oliver Queen, played by Stephen Amell. In purgatory, Oliver Queen meets Jim Corrigan (Stephen Lobo), a former police officer turned superhuman known as the Spectre.
Just as quickly as they met, Jim tells Oliver, “It’s your turn now. Only you can light the spark, Oliver. It is your destiny.” When Oliver questions what that actually means, Jim/Spectre elaborates: “To save everyone. Otherwise all universes, all the people you love, will perish.”
“Only you can light the spark,” Corrigan says, presumably having seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi and thinking Leia had all the good lines.
It is, unfortunately, too rushed of a scene to elaborate on nuance, but, we’ll take it. Oliver Queen, who has spent all year long in his prologue narration ominously hinting he will become “something else,” something other than the Green Arrow, we now know what he means. The Green Arrow is now the Spectre.
I repeat: I don’t know why the Arrowverse is doing this, but it’s kind of awesome. In the comics, the Spectre has gone by several different “hosts” (although Corrigan is the most prolific by a wide margin), but the Spectre’s never had Oliver Queen as a host.
This is new territory for DC media. It’s bold, new, and unexpected, which is harder than it seems when you’re working with material that is literally decades old. The actual Crisis on Infinite Earths is a comic written and published in 1985, while Green Arrow debuted in comics in 1941 and Spectre in 1940. Old stuff, yet combining it all is very new.
But what is the point of Oliver Queen becoming the Spectre? Besides Oliver being the most important character in the Arrowverse — the entire franchise is basically his namesake — giving him Spectre’s limitless and godlike powers doesn’t seem to have any purpose that is obvious and clear, at least for now. While the next two episodes of “Crisis on Infinite Earths” will probably reveal an answer, it’s hard to see what the goal is from where we’re at in this long hiatus between episodes. (Gosh, it’s going to be a long month isn’t it?)
However Oliver’s turn as Spectre ends up being, the one thing anyone can agree on is that no one knows what direction “Crisis on Infinite Earths” is going, nor even how it will end. In a time when most commercial storytelling is predictable and rote, it’s impressive when something like a superhero TV show on a network channel can still hold a few surprises.
“Crisis on Infinite Earths” will continue on January 14, 2020.