Arrowverse Roundup - Week 8 - Crisis on Earth-X - Review
"Nazis? I hate Nazis!"
Not only is that the basis on which everyone should live their life, but it was also the plot of Crisis on Earth-X - the biggest and best Arrowverse crossover yet! Continue reading to see my thoughts on the crossover. The post will be structured the same, divided into four parts based off of the show "banner" they aired under.
There are spoilers for Crisis on Earth-X below, so read at your own risk!
You can see all of this season's reviews right here.
Supergirl - Episode 3.08 - "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 1"
Being that this episode is technically Supergirl I thought it would be mostly her and the cast of that show with everyone else supporting, but they are truly doing a 4-part story, not 4 separate stories loosely connected. The opening credits weren't even Supergirl's they were Crisis on Earth-X's.
Because they have so much time, we got a lot of great character beats in this, and even better, we got character beats between characters we normally would never see interact. They managed to get all of the Supergirl cast in there at the beginning - with Mon-El, Winn and J'onn having small roles before Alex and Kara left for Barry's Earth. James Olsen even got to show up, though not the James Olsen we know, it was James Olsen on Earth-X where the Guardian unsuccessfully faced off against the Dark Arrow.
The pre-credit sequence had everyone in it. The budget for this must have been high, because while we were checking in on all of our heroes before they got together, Team Flash was dealing with King Shark again, and that isn't cheap to do. When we checked in on Supergirl, she got to have the meta joke of the episode when she was facing off against a Dominator (more CGI) and said "these guys are so last year".
I wasn't sure how much "personal business" the crossover would handle, thinking that they would probably want to handle it on their own show, but they continued to deal with Stein and Jax's Firestorm issue from Legends of Tomorrow. It was the perfect opportunity to get Cisco and Wells to help them too. It is things like this that it pays off to watch all four shows, though there is enough exposition to enjoy it if you don't watch one or more of them.
The episode was able to take its time in plotting the story, so we only had a couple brief glimpses of Earth-X. Every time we did, thunder would crack, which is a very bad cliche, equating thunder to "evil". But there was so many awesome things in this episode, the thunder could be forgiven.
Unequivocally, the best part were the character interactions that we don't normally get to see. There were a ton of funny reactions to each other, like Alex and Sara hooking up, which I honestly didn't expect.
For as many people that the episode contained, there were just as many missing. Amaya, Nate, Ray, Zari, Diggle, Rene, Thea, Quentin, Dinah, and Curtis, were all missing, while Wells, James, Winn and J'onn were hardly in it at all. The next episode has some of those people but then are missing others, so it seems like there is a core group from the four shows, and then they rotate the others in and out as the plot/contracts/pay/schedule allows. Wally West was in it, only to be written out again at the very end (along with Joe and Cecile) so Barry could go one on one with the evil speedster.
That evil speedster of course is Eobard Thawne, who took Wells' face again to torture Barry even more. He teamed up with Overgirl - an evil Kara Danvers, Dark Arrow - an evil Oliver Queen, and Prometheus, who was not unmasked this episode.
With all the work they had to do, they had some sweet/fun/light moments too. With the exception of the Nazi stuff it felt more like a Supergirl or The Flash episode than it did an Arrow episode. There was a Spider-Man reference - which is the third or fourth Marvel one this universe has done lately. They also had Kara sing at Barry's wedding, so Melissa Benoist could flex those Glee muscles again. She sang a song with the lyrics "All I want to do is come running home to you" which is the writers taking care of some Mon-El feelings at the same time as everything else.
The episode ended with Jax and Sara capturing Prometheus after they attacked the wedding, and bringing him to a S.T.A.R. Labs holding cell. It was great, but not a lot happened, which was okay, it was only 25% of the story. But for that to be all we got in one day wouldn't have been good enough. Which is why I was thankful that Part 2 aired immediately after.
Arrow - Episode 6.08 - "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 2"
While I was happy to immediately have Part 2 available, I didn't know how I'd feel to about seeing Adrian Chase again, after the events of last season's Arrow. Much to my surprise, I didn't have to find out because the Earth-X Prometheus wasn't Adrian Chase...it was Tommy Merlyn! There was always a rumor that the Prometheus from last season was Tommy too, so this could have been a little wink to the audience. On the other hand, Stephen Amell has wanted Colin Donnell back on the show since he left, so that might have something to do with it also.
Regardless, it was nice to see him, and they gave him and Amell some one and one time. When Merlyn chewed the cyanide pill, it deepened the stakes for Ollie, who went complete Supergirl-Optimist on him and tried to get him to switch sides.
We found out there were 52 Earths, but Earth-X is the 53rd Earth. Harry Wells also said (because Cisco was in a coma from last episode, since things were going to be too easy with him, and contracts/pay/schedule must have came into play to make him sit this one out). Later on when it was revealed that Overgirl and Dark Arrow are Earth-X Kara and Oliver - who are also married, Harry was supremely unsurprised noting that "there are 53 Karas". If the Kara we know and love is from Earth 38 then where is the Kara from Earth One?
While this episode ramped up the story more than Part 1, it still had time to slow down to have character beats. The big ones were between Felicity and Oliver, Caitlin and Rory, and Alex and Kara. The Alex and Kara stuff was concerning Maggie, and I was again surprised that they were to handle deep show stuff in a crossover that wouldn't have their regular audience. The Oliver/Felicity stuff was because Oliver wanted to get married and Felicity didn't want to "temp fate" again. I don't ever remember Felicity being superstitious or believing in fate, but she did this time.
With the reveal of evil Kara and evil Oliver, naturally I expected evil Barry, instead it was Thawne. You will never hear me complain about Tom Cavanagh being on my screen, but it messed the symmetry up. Plus Grant Gustin was Savitar last year, so too many comparisons would have been made to that if Gustin was evil Flash. The Reverse Flash works, it is already built in, so it was a happy accident, symmetry be damned.
In a perfect world, Batman and Superman would be part of this, but because it isn't really possible, they've given a lot of Batman stuff to the Green Arrow. One of those, is making sure to have weakness for all of his hero friends. The Green Arrow shot a Kryptonite arrow at evil Supergirl, and my nerd heart soared! At the time of writing this paragraph, I haven't seen parts 3 and 4 yet, but this is my favorite moment of the crossover yet, because it is so very much Justice League (comics) like. Much more, in fact, than what we got in the movie a couple of weeks back.
Team Arrow showed up to stop Evil Ollie when he infiltrated S.T.A.R. Labs after he made fast work of Heatwave and Killer Frost who seem to have a good rapport. Well Rene, Curtis, and Dinah showed up. Diggle is still MIA. After all of his wreckless behavior, I can't see him sitting in the hospital when this happened. Even if he was relegated to helping Felicity and Iris with computer stuff, it would have been better than him not showing up at all. Diggle has been there from the very beginning and he deserves to be a part of this, more so than some of the others. Hopefully he'll be in Part 3 or 4 because if he's not in it at all, it would be an absolute shame.
Amaya, Nate, Zari, Diggle, Ray, Thea, Cisco, James, Winn, J'onn, Quentin, Wally, Joe and Cecile were all M.I.A. this episode. The episode is great, seeing a bunch of characters together is really an awesome feat, but it does feel like there is something still missing. Now, most of our main heroes have been captured and transported to Earth-X so maybe they'll call in the rest to help rescue them.
The Flash - Episode 4.08 - "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 3"
The end of Part 2 had most of our main heroes on Earth-X. Now the mission was to not only stop the Nazis from invading Earth One, but to get back to Earth One to stop Thawne and Overgirl from stealing Supergirl's heart.
When I found out that the bad guys were doppelgangers of our heroes, the one thing I didn't want them to do was "the ol' switcheroo". I kept waiting for Dark Arrow to pretend to be Earth One Oliver to kidnap Felicity or something. I was pleasantly surprised that they avoided that trope...kind of. They did use it, but the audience was in on it, which was okay.
When our heroes were imprisoned, they had shock collars on them, and a Nazi-version of Quentin Lance used them on all of our heroes. I wasn't sure if it would work on the Flash - wouldn't that just power him more? But I guess in the moment it couldn't work like that.
There were some character beats still. Iris being able to use lines from Terminator and Felicity referencing Die Hard while they were in the air ducts would have brought a tear to Cisco's eye. The other was Kara having a one-on-one with herself. It was more poignant and deeper than it had any right to be. But it was meant to show Kara what she could become, she wants to give up being Kara Danvers and just be Supergirl, and seeing Overgirl was a wake up call to her of what could happen if she got rid of her humanity.
It was fun to see Iris and Felicity team up to save Supergirl, and while their attempt failed, it was a nice attempt. It didn't feel like a waste of time. It would have been a bit fresher had they not done virtually the same thing a few weeks back when Felicity was there for Iris's bachelor party, but it wasn't a big thing. Maybe my favorite part, however, is Earth One Thawne teasing Supergirl that he had faced Superman before, and that it happened in the future. If I ever get to see that, my geek heart will be fulfilled!
We also saw a Nazi Wave Rider (Wellenreiter), and a POW Earth-X Felicity. For the actors who have been playing their characters for so long to be able to do something different must be fun for them.
We got to meet The Ray - played by Russell Tovey. We also saw the Earth-X version of Winn - a hardened war general, and Snart, who is too "good" for his own good. It is actually quite off-putting. But since it is the last time he will play character, they'll make him a hero and let him go out on a high note. We also got to see Red Tornado - a DC character I never thought we would ever see on a live action medium.
Speaking of going out on high notes, they dealt with Victor Garber's exit faster than I thought they would. The episode ended with Professor Stein very wounded, near death, and things looking dire.
This episode was the most spread out our heroes were since they came together, and it worked the whole time to try and get them back to a closer vicinity. They needed to, of course, for the finale, and the episode handled it well, with all they had to juggle.
Legends of Tomorrow - Episode 3.08 - "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 4"
If you were to ask me at the beginning of this, who would have the most emotional moment of the entire crossover, down at the very bottom of my list would have been Jax and Professor Stein. But they both brought their A-game, and Stein's death was better because of it. I knew Victor Garber was leaving, but I thought he'd get a happy ending with his wife and daughter. That way he could guest star or return later if he wanted to, after his run on broadway was over. But they made his death much more permanent than that. However, if any universe doesn't make death permanent, it is a superhero one, and people have been brought back from the dead before. So I guess the door is never closed. Stein's last act was opening the portal for everyone to get out. It was one of the most heroic acts in human history.
Thawne was going to use a scalpel on Kara to get her heart for a transplant. If Ollie made a Kryptonite arrow, a Krpytonite scalpel could have been fashioned - just ask Batman. He has one. But outside of that, if they used a machine to replicate the red sun, making her skin vulnerable, why couldn't Thawne just used his hand trick and phase through her chest? I guess because if they did that then the Legends wouldn't have been able to make the entrances they did, which were spectacular. Ray Palmer finally showed up, and he was preventing the scalpel from going in, then the rest of the Legends showed up just in time for the final climactic battle.
Before that though, they fought Metallo in S.T.A.R. Labs to rescue Cisco, Wells and Team Arrow. It was a cool effect, and the text book circular shot of all the heroes using their powers. It wasn't just in the Metallo fight though, Ray Palmer showed that his suit can enlarge as well as shrink and even uttered the word "embiggens!" which reminded me that I am sad that we don't have Ms. Marvel TV show yet. Zari finally had a costume too, which is good. She couldn't be the only one without one.
The climactic fight was a pretty public one. I am hoping that it bleeds into Arrow to show that the Green Arrow is a hero, and we can stop with the arrests and stuff. I can't imagine them not using it, but what do I know. One thing I didn't like was Snart getting on Rory for burning people and lecturing him about Due Process and "rule of law". Meanwhile, everyone else is killing people. It was a bit hypocritical, and kind of forced to show how "good" this Snart is.
There is an iconic comic book cover of Ant-Man riding on an arrow from Hawkeye. They recreated this in Captain America: Civil War. The Arrowverse put its own spin on it, by having The Atom ride on one of Mr. Terrific's T-Spheres. It was pure nerd bliss, and a very fun moment during the fight. Thats not all that was mirrored though, Supergirl falling back into the atmosphere after getting Overgirl "up, up and away" as Wells said, and Captain Steel catching her mirrored Iron Man falling in The Avengers and Hulk catching him.
New relationships were formed that I hope are explored in the next crossover, or maybe even in a smaller version like The Ray showing up on Legends, or Sara and Rory getting transported to Supergirl's Earth or something like that. Snart is sticking around for a little while, but it won't be long. The only question is whether it is on The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow or both.
In the end, the wedding did happen, with Iris and Barry eloping. Oliver and Felicity joined them, and they were to be married by Diggle, who had a cameo at best and was literally shoe-horned in to not be left out. I would like to know the full story there, because it is very disappointing that he was only in one scene out of four episodes.
As good as this crossover was, next year I want everybody. Everyone we saw PLUS Thea as Speedy, Diggle as Spartan, Deathstroke, Superman, Martian Manhunter, The Guardian, and hopefully by then - Black Lightning and his team. They have improved on these every year, so I am excited to see what next year brings. But before that, let's see how they handle the rest of the season. It might be the last time we see Oliver Queen as the Green Arrow again for a while, Barry is going to be harassed by The Thinker now, and the Legends have to deal with the loss of Professor Stein. Kara and Alex will go back to Earth-38 with a new lease on life, and still have to deal with Mon-El and Reign.
This was fun, but now it's back to business. The mid-season finales are next week, so they only have an hour left to handle stuff for the year.
What was your favorite part of the crossover?