So this is fully the fan service episode, and I don’t say that in a negative way. We get Earth-99 Bruce Wayne and Luke Fox, Earth-74 Mick Rory, Earth-75 Superman, Earth-167 Clark Kent, Earth-96 Clark Kent, and finally Earth-18 Jonah Hex. Broad strokes, the team deals with the reality of Oliver being dead, while Harbinger picks up the Waverider and Mick Rory from Earth-74, and The Monitor reveals that there are seven Paragons who are required to defeat The Anti-Monitor. The Paragons of Hope and Destiny are Kara and Sara respectively, while they are told the Paragon of Truth is a Kyptonian who’s lost more than any other, and the Paragon of Courage is the bat of the future.
Clark, Lois, and Iris head on a tour of the multiverse to find the Paragon of Truth; Kara and Kate head to Earth-99 to fetch Bruce Wayne of the future; Mia, Sara, and Barry search for a Lazarus Pit to resurrect Oliver; and Lex (revealed to the heroes to be alive) steals the Book of Destiny and sets about using it to kill every Superman in existence.
Being as this is the Batwoman episode, we’ll focus on the Kate storyline first. I will say I was surprised that Kate got as little focus in the first half as she did, although that picked up in the back end of the episode. After meeting the Earth-99 Luke, Kara kicks in Bruce Wayne’s door, and the pair are introduced to an exoskeleton-clad Bruce. At first this looks like he’s a post-Bane-backbreaker Bruce, or an early Dark Knight Returns Batman, but the reality is much worse. While Bruce reveals to Kate that he’s killed a ton of people after he broke his code once and then kind of snowballed from there, Kara discovers Bruce’s trophy case WHICH INCLUDES CLARK’S GLASSES. Yep, this Bruce killed Superman in a Batman vs Superman throwdown that left him crippled!
Bruce goes on an anti-alien tirade and insists there’s nothing on his Earth or any Earth worth saving. When Kara steps up, Bruce immobilises her with kryptonite, but Kate steps in and kicks him into a breaker that electrocutes and kills him. They return to the Waverider, believing that they’ve failed.
Almost on arrival on Earth-75, it’s revealed that Lex has killed Superman, so they move on to Earth-167. The Smallville Earth. Trying to warn Clark of Lex’s intentions, they’re breached back to the Waverider and Lex and Clark are left alone. At first Clark doesn’t even accept that Lex is Lex, because he’s John Cryer and not Michael Rosenbaum. Lex takes out a piece of kryptonite that has no effect on Clark, and he reveals that he gave up his powers to have a quiet life with his wife and daughters. After getting punched in the face (Clark is still stronger than Lex), Lex leaves Clark as he feels he’s already won since he’s depowered.
Clark, Lois and Iris arrive on Earth-96 to be introduced to the Ray Palmer dead ringer, Kingdom Come version of Clark Kent / Superman. He reveals that Lois, Perry, Jimmy, and dozens more were killed when The Joker attacked The Daily Planet. Lois realises this makes him the Paragon of Truth, but Lex arrives and uses the Book of Destiny to turn him against Earth-38 Superman. They slap each other around a bit, but when Earth-96 Supes turns on Lois and Iris, Lois hits Lex over the head and steals the Book of Destiny back. They’re unable to just flip him back to normal and instead talk him down, shaming him into a little self-reflection. Paragon in tow, they return to the Waverider.
After giving Sara some pretty unwarranted levels of snark, Mia and Barry reach out to Constantine alongside a reluctant Sara to find an active Lazarus Pit. They only find one, on Earth-18. Barry and Constantine head back to the Waverider to pickup Oliver’s body, and in the time they’re gone Mia and Sara have to kick the tar out of Earth-18 Jonah Hex, with Sara giving him his trademark scar as a parting gift. Some time after being submerged in the pool Oliver awakens, but soulless. Once he’s been knocked out, Constantine finds that the antimatter is messing with his magic, and he can’t simply give Oliver his soul back.
Back on the Waverider, Ray’s “Paragon Detector” reveals that Kate is in fact the Paragon of Courage. Shock and awe. Honesty it’s a bit of a shame, as Bat of the Future was a moniker I truly hoped meant we were getting a Terry McGinnis in the Arrowverse to go alongside the Arrow 2040 team. Anyway, Kara gives a photo of Earth-99 Kate and Beth together, which is a lovely moment, but in TRUE Batman style, it’s revealed that she kept hold of Old Man Bruce’s kryptonite just in case. Oh boy, is that ever going to be a wedge in Kate and Kara’s friendship down the line.
Throughout the episode, the Book of Destiny has been messing with Lyla/Harbinger’s head, and at the end of the episode we see her interacting with the Anti-Monitor, which could mean that she’s being turned.
I liked the first episode, but this was better both as a plot progression episode, and as a fan service one. The twist with Earth-99 Bruce was absolutely brilliant. Roll on part 3!