“In all my travel to distant times, one thing sadly remains constant is man’s ability to feel hatred for other men.”
Night two of the CW/DC ssuperherocrossover found our favorite CW heroes battling it out with their Earth-X Nazi counterparts in what was a strong, sometimes uneven showing was a reminder of the dichotomous nature of bringing four effects-laden shows together on a tight-schedule and limited production budget.
But first, the primer:
- Barry and Iris get ready to tie the knot
- Felicity professes her opposition to ever getting married to Oliver
- Jax admits that Stein is like a father to him and him leaving hurts more than Jax realized
- Alex has a drunken one-night stand with—surprise, surprise—Sara
- Earth-X dopplegangers invade our world and interrupt the West-Allen wedding
- Evil Oliver is da Fuhrer and Evil Tommy Merlin is Prometheus
- Overgirl is not only the general of Evil Oliver’s army but his wife as well
- Earth-Prime’s Eobard Thawne is working with the Reich…God knows why
- Overgirl is dying and needs a heart transplant; only Supergirl’s will do
- Round Two of the fight goes to the Earth-Xers, with our heroes locked up in an Earth-X concentration camp and Supergirl (thanks to a prism that simulates a red sun) is being prepped for a heart transplant
If that seems like a lot of goings-on, you’re right. Night two is just as busy with the narrative and, in my opinion, seems to suffer more from that time and budget crunch than the first night.
The first thing we see are the horrid conditions of an Earth-X concentration camp where, for some unknown reason, Oliver the Furhur decides sending most of the heroes to Earth-X is the way to go, despite having no real use for them. It’s a moment contrived for the purposes of the narrative and while that’s a bit disappointing, we do get some cool moments from it, starting with the picture of Quentin Lance as the Sturmbannfuhrer. He rounds up the heroes and the random prisoner that just happens to be Ray Terrill, aka The Ray for summary execution.
Enter Citizen Cold. Or, as we know him—Leonard “Leo” Snart. The one-man rescue is anticlimactic and the first visceral proof of the budget. Yes, we get to see The Ray in action but compared to his feats later on, it’s wholly forgettable. Snart and Ray (who just so happens to be from Earth-Prime) lead the heroes to the resistance and the general of their army, Winn Schott. Credit to Jeremy Jordan for giving it his all but his turn as the grizzled commander doesn’t quite vibe for me. It may be my own prejudice of seeing him as the lovable Winn on Supergirl, who knows. With that said, he carries the pain of losing so many—past and present—to the Nazi regime as well as one could. He’s also an integral part of what happens next as our heroes need the temporal gateway to return to Earth-Prime while General Schott wants to destroy it and strand the Earth-X triumvirate on our world and turn the tide on his. His decision comes across as callous and selfish but after all the blood and death he has seen, I can understand his point of view. He knows others will probably suffer at the triumvirate’s hands but he also knows his people are suffering and, as a leader, that has to come first.
Though Evil Oliver is just another shade of the Oliver Queen we’ve come to know and love over five plus seasons, I must say that Melissa Benoist’s Overgirl steals the show. Though much of her time is spent in operation prep, her conversation with Supergirl is one of the top five moments in the crossover arc. She talks proudly about being better than humanity, being more. “They want someone to bow to,” she tells Supergirl, “To worship. To lead.” Her words are not dissimilar to Loki’s addressing of the crowd early on in The Avengers. “You people were made to be ruled,” he told the cowering masses. Overgirl’s philosophy—truthfully that of the Reich is that there is no place for weakness. Weakness is a disease to be stamped out. Only the strong deserve a place in their world.
So much happens in the back half of the episode, ranging from Jax and Stein making amends, Sara promising Alex that they will save Kara, and ‘Leo’ Snart and Ray convincing Winn to give our heroes time to use the gateway to make it back home. All the while, Felicity and Iris channel their inner John McClaine in an effort to free Cisco and the others from the Pipeline in one of the cheesiest rescue attempt you’ll see on television. Granted it doesn’t work but they do get an SOS out to the Waverider.
Speaking of, we discover that the Reich’s doomsday weapon is the Wellenreiter. After it’s sent to Earth-Prime, the assault on the gateway facility begins. It looks good at first, but then the Nazi army threatens to overwhelm our heroes while General Winn sends the Red Tornado to destroy the gateway for good.
Our final image is of a mortally wounded Stein, lying in a pool of his own blood…
“For the Professor”
Though our heroes make it back to Earth-Prime, there’s still that triumvirate to take down. But first, there’s the death in the family.
Though I knew he was leaving the show, watching the final goodbye between Stein and Jax was, at first an anticlimactic letdown. Maybe it was the lack of tears, but I didn’t feel Martin Stein’s death as I should have. Until, that is, Jax had to tell Stein’s wife and daughter. There was no denying the emotional pull as the three people closest to Martin Stein cried together. But even when a hero falls, there’s still a battle to be waged.
Unfortunately, it is this end where “Crisis on Earth-X” hits its most uneven notes.
It’s almost unfair to use this review of Legends to really focus on the crossover’s shortcomings but considering it’s the finale and the weakest of the four parts, I’m compelled to point out what I see.
Now, that’s not to say that the episode is a failure. Far from it. In fact, there are some very good character moments and while the final fight is disappointing on several levels, watching the heroes take down Metallo-X was one of the highlights of the entire crossover.
Back to the big dustup that was the final battle. We get the archers, speedsters, and Kryptonians all squaring off against one another while the Nazi redshirts face the rest of the team. Loose battle choreography, coupled with a true lack of scale takes what could have been an absolutely memorable moment. Sadly, it suffered from the same fate as last season’s crossover finale with the Dominators. Great idea and, good execution in many respects but when you have budget and time constraints, there’s only so much you can do. Big-time battles is not one of them; it’s why these type of shows must have good character arcs lest the effect constraints take the audience out of the experience.
Thankfully, there are some truly dynamic character moments throughout the crossover, culminating on some teary goodbyes and major changes for the two biggest heroes.
After taking down Overgirl and Evil Oliver, saying goodbye to their friends, and burying Stein, Barry and Iris decide an impromptu ceremony in the park—with an unsuspecting Diggle presiding—is the way to go. Their words to one another remind us of the foundation that keeps The Flash on track. Though I wasn’t surprised at their nuptials, Felicity’s proposal and subsequent marriage to Oliver was a bit of a shocker to me. Without being too much into spoilers for any of the shows, I did not know this was going to happen. With that said, I must say…
About damn time.
This was a good time. While the finale may have fizzled in the action and pacing department, the crossover itself was a step up from last season’s Dominators storyline (albeit with similar issues that will always be in the way of a network television series). Some of the biggest positives include:
- Every character on every show was affected in a major way. Not only are Barry and Oliver now married, but the Legends have to deal with the loss of Stein (especially Jax), and Alex (thanks to Sara) is ready to move forward with herself. Perhaps the eye towards the future will rub off on Kara as well.
- Though he was in it for but a moment, it was great to see Colin Donnell reprise his role as Tommy Merlin. That scene between him and Oliver was gold.
- “I just love a good pop culture reference in a moment of crisis.” Leave it to Cisco identify his own meta. So great.
- One of my favorite lines this season was Kara’s “General—you care to step outside?” Straight from Superman II.
- Not quite as strong was Harry’s “You need to fly her up, up…and away.” That got the eye-roll chuckle.
What the Frak?!
Many of the issues I had with the Crisis crossover are captured in the body of the review, but there were a few things that didn’t quite warrant the time to go over in detail, thus are relegated to bullet points in this WTF section
- Overgirl’s super nova explosion. First off, there’s no real explanation as to why she was oversaturated with solar radiation and, more to the point, that massive of an explosion would have had ridiculous consequences for the folks on Earth-Prime as Supergirl never had the chance to get her far enough away from the planet to mitigate said aftereffects.
- Did you actually let Eobard Thawne go, Barry? They guy that has sworn to destroy you, you just let walk away? Barry has done some stupid things but letting a mortal enemy walk free takes the cake.
- I’m sure we’ll get his story later but we never get why and how long Ray has been on Earth-X. It’s mentioned a few times but that’s about it. Also, why doesn’t he stay with Snart when he gets the chance?
- And finally…the caterer from the wedding: who was she supposed to be? Would they really take Jessica Parker Kennedy (Max from the insanely good Black Sails) for such a small cameo? She has to be someone important, especially the way she looked at Barry. Could that be his daughter?
Crisis on Earth-X: 7/10