Hold on to your butts! The CW is about to launch the biggest crossover event in TV history with the Arrowverse's Crisis on Infinite Earths. This crossover will occur over the course of five episodes, one for each show participating in the crossover — Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman.
No matter how addictive these series are though, we're aware that not everyone has the capacity to watch hundreds of episodes featuring caped and hooded superheroes gallivanting across the multiverse. What's even worse, executive producer and crossover guru Marc Guggenheim confirmed at a press screening of Crisis that no "previously on" recaps will air before episodes to clue you in on details you might not remember.
So, that's where TV Guide comes in to help you out! If you're not up to date on any of the aforementioned shows, it should be obvious by now that there's little hope of you binge-watching all the necessary episodes before Crisis on Infinite Earths kicks off. To help you prepare, scroll down to read a short but informative summary of what's been happening on each of the Arrowverse shows in recent weeks to fill you in on why Lex Luthor ( Jon Cryer) is still running around, who the hell the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) is, and why you probably shouldn't get too attached to Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell).
After making a deal with the Monitor (an all-powerful deity who keeps the multiverse in balance) to sacrifice himself in the upcoming Crisis, Oliver Queen has spent most of Season 8 of Arrow completing a series of bizarre quests. The Monitor, along with Diggle's (David Ramsey) wife, Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson), has tasked Oliver with assembling a weapon to use in Crisis while also arming him with allies he'll need. And some of those allies are his time-traveling kids from the future; thanks to the Monitor, future versions of Mia Smoak (Katherine McNamara), William Queen (Ben Lewis), and their teammate Connor Hawke (Joseph David Jones), Diggle's adopted son, have joined forces with their fathers to help take on this Crisis. In the end, the weapon Oliver's team assembled just so happened to be Lyla, who was turned into Harbinger by the device Oliver's team assembled.
Barry ( Grant Gustin), too, received a death prediction from the Monitor in anticipation of the coming Crisis, and he's spent the past few months preparing his team to go on without him. He's also been battling some inner demons as he faces down an unavoidable fate, trying to reconcile himself to his eventual death. While on that journey, he's had to fight Bloodwork (Sendhil Ramamurthy), a villain who let the desire to avoid his own imminent demise turn him into a horrifying monster. Most mysterious of all, Nash Wells (Tom Cavanagh) — this season's iteration of Harrison Wells — arrived in Central City with a mission to find and destroy the Monitor. His quest led him to an underground chamber, which he eventually opened only to be sucked into an ominous glowing light.
Most of this season of Supergirl has centered around Lena Luthor's (Katie McGrath) quest to cure humanity of its deceitful and violent urges after finding out Kara (Melissa Benoist) had been lying to her about being Supergirl. Things came to a head when Lena confronted Kara for her lies and then tried to use Myriad (an alien mind-control technology) to stage a worldwide takeover. Meanwhile, the Monitor released J'onn J'onzz's (David Harewood) mind-controlling brother from the Phantom Zone in an effort to reconcile J'onn with his own past before heading into Crisis. It's also important to remember from last year's crossover that Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Bitsie Tulloch) went to go live on Argo, the last remaining piece of the planet Krypton, to safely have their baby under the Red Sun. Finally, Supergirl's fall finale revealed Lex Luther to be alive, having been brought back to life by the Monitor so he could help save the multiverse in Crisis.
Given that Batwoman has only just launched its freshman season, much of the first eight episodes were spent developing Kate Kane's (Ruby Rose) double life and setting up the world of Gotham rather than prepping for this epic crossover. After a long game of cat and mouse with her evil twin sister, Kate has seemingly given up on saving Alice (Rachel Skarsten) after she poisoned and killed Kate's stepmother in Batwoman's fall finale. Other than that, all you'll really need to know about Batwoman so far is that she's stepped into her cousin Bruce's shoes to protect Gotham after his mysterious disappearance three years ago.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
DC's Legends of Tomorrow exists almost in a world of its own, so much so that the show was left out of last year's crossover altogether. However, the characters' involvement in Crisis was teased in the Season 4 finale, when the Monitor appeared at Hank Heywood's (Tom Wilson) amusement park for mystical creatures, munching on popcorn as a giant dragon spewing fire incited chaos all around him. Given that Legends' new season won't premiere until after Crisis, there's not much to catch you up on other than the team is just as zany and awesome as always!
Crisis on Infinite Earths will kick off with its Supergirl episode on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 8/7c. It will continue with Batwoman on Monday, Dec. 9 at 8/7c and The Flash on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 8/7c. The event will then return after the winter hiatus for its conclusion with back-to-back episodes of Arrow and DC's Legends of Tomorrow on Tuesday, Jan. 14 starting at 8/7c.
(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.)