Friday, December 1, 2017

Crisis On Earth X Review: Parts 2,3, & 4

The Crisis on Earth X CW crossover ended earlier this week and I have been trying to put together coherent thoughts on it. For one, I decided early on that I would tackle all the remaining parts in one swoop in this post which meant I would need to only hit the high marks. But that has proved to be a bit of a harder task as there was so much goodness in this crossover that I may end up hitting only the high points so that I can also put in some of the geeks moments that made me happy.

But as I said in the Supergirl episode review post, this was everything a 'company wide' comic crossover should be. Heroes coming together to fight a major threat, tons of nods to continuity, and major changes for those involved. This felt like a Crisis and I mean that in the very best sense of the word (in comic context).

While I will be commenting on all the characters, this is a Supergirl blog. So let me say a few things up front. I was thrilled to see Alex featured in these episodes as prominently as she was. There is something about seeing Alex looked upon at the same level as these super-heroes that made me beam. She is brutally efficient in her work as we see her gunning down Nazis at point blank range with head and neck shots. Her arc about again working her way through life post-Maggie made sense. And as usual, her chemistry with Melissa Benoist is perfect.

Kara herself is depowered for most of these episodes but it allows us to further delve into the alien/human character plot she has happening this season. And when she finally is repowered she has the best line in the whole crossover. Fantastic.

On to the crossover.

 Last episode, we saw that Nazi Prometheus was captured in the church fight. It is here that our Earth 1 heroes realize that something is truly odd. Prometheus is Tommy Merlyn, Ollie's friend who died 3 years earlier. At first Tommy seems to be listening to reason about the evils of his Reich but then he laughs it off, saying this Earth is weak, and kills himself with the classic cyanide tooth.

I don't know Arrow as a show but seeing this man alive seems to shake Ollie a bit. It is here that idea of Earth X is brought to light. This isn't some anachronism or time remnant. This is Tommy from a world where Nazi Germany won the war.

Now the politics of the show are right on display, right on the nose, as the characters all give lines which resonate with the current political climate. ("They want to Make America Aryan Again ... even though it never was." ) But the sentiment is true. No one should like Nazism.

Even the Nazis don't seem to like themselves. As we meet their trinity of baddies ... Dark Arrow, Overgirl, and the Eobard Thawne Reverse Flash (somehow still alive), we see they can squabble as villains often do.

Thawne thinks they are on this Earth to conquer it. Arrow has a different mission. And they actually come to blows over it. Now you would think Thawne might want to avoid this Earth. Surely there are others to conquer. But that just made me realize that this other mission is probably the true mission.

 And I can't say that the villains don't all have hate in their heart.

Arrow and Overgirl are married on this Earth. And he vows to complete his mission.

When my daughter saw this she said 'ick!'

As the heroes regroup, we see Alex questioning her leaving Maggie. This one night stand seems so unlike her. And at least Maggie was real, there, and loving. Waking up in a strange bed has shaken her.

But Kara seems to roll with it. Maggie was great and she did help Alex come to grips with who she was. But Maggie's differences and the conflict over kids is also real. There will be someone else for Alex.

I am glad that these character driven plots which are major life events don't just disappear but are actively dealt with over the season.

At STAR Labs, a Nazi break-in at Dayton Opticals where the villains are there to steal a prism/crystal of some sort for nefarious purposes. (There is a cute moment of Flash and Supergirl waiting for Arrow to arrive on his bike. He has to remind them he doesn't have super-speed.) This  to the first face-to-face showdown with the trinity doppelgangers.  How can the heroes fight themselves. It is a good moment. The villains are heading into the lab to

In the fight, Arrow unleashes a Kryptonite arrow at Overgirl wounding her. I love how Supergirl asks him why he would have a K-arrow and he says in case an evil Supergirl ever showed up. Well, can't knock the logic because one actually did. But it reminded me that this Arrow is the Batman of the CW, always having contingency plans, even against friends.

The villains nearly collapse a building forcing the heroes to head to the rescue and so the Nazis escape with their booty. The rescue scene is a nice one, showcasing the teamwork of the crew.

 The prism turns out to have multiple uses including the ability to make a neutron bomb. Our heroes assume that is the purpose.

On examining Overgirl's blood, the group can tell that she has been oversaturated with yellow sun rays. She is giving off radiation. They can track that to a building in where they know she is hiding.

One thing the CW knows how to do is the 'dramatic walk' scenes like out of The Right Stuff. The heroes, including Firestorm, gear up to head for a showdown. And it is a dramatic fight. It is here we see Sara and Alex using firearms to dispatch with ruthless precision a huge number of Nazis all while the heroes do battle with Reverse Flash and Overgirl. It is a well choreographed if perhaps a bit too long sequence. Brilliant.

In the end, Metallo also shows up and turns the tide against our heroes.

The heroes end up with alive with punishment collars and power dampeners on their hands. All but Supergirl are brought to a concentration camp on Earth X. Here we see prisoners marked with yellow stars of David and pink triangles. They meet a prisoner who says he was there for loving the wrong person.

The scenes are filmed well, dark with a sort of orange light bathing everything. I thought this evoked the right feeling.

 Dark Arrow wasn't at the prior big fight because he was sneaking into STAR Labs and dispatching all the remaining heroes there. Only Iris and Felicity are free to skulk around and try to help.

Finally we get the real mission. Overgirl is dying from her oversaturation (she describes herself as being Icarus-like). She needs a heart transplant. And our Kara is the perfect match. The stolen prism will bathe Kara in red sun rays until she is vulnerable enough for the operation.

Now, for me, here is the best scene for Supergirl. For one, I love how Benoist faces off against Benoist. This Overgirl isn't the cold unfeeling Red-K Supergirl from season one. She is passionate in her hate, almost sassy. And this is where that alien/human them is discussed. Overgirl talks about how humans are ants. How they are gods who should rule. How Kara could wring a different life rather than be weighed down by the weakness of humanity. Hmmm ... hopefully our Kara sees how a path of 'alien' can distance her from the people of Earth too much.

And Supergirl does respond saying she is there to help people, how Kryptonians aren't that different from humans. How they need to lead ... not rule. Hmm ... she should listen to her own words!

This return to thinking of herself as human is a great current coursing through the season and Reign will be another foil.

 The heroes in the camp are freed when Citizen Cold (played by the always excellent Wentworth Miller) arrives to rescue. He frees the pink-triangled prisoner as well, his lover who turns out to be the Freedom Fighter the Ray.

They head back to a rebel base where Freedom Fighter General Winn Schott is trying to bring about the end of this Reich. I am glad Jeremy Jordan got a chance to be in this and to play such a different character than the usual Winn we see. He is tough and hardened.

Our displaced heroes learn that the Nazis have been using a portal platform to get to Earth 1. It is a way back. But Schott wants to destroy it, trapping Earth X's worst villains on the other side. And nothing will deter him.

I am a sucker for parallel universe stories and how characters can be played differently. Why wouldn't a tech genius like Winn be a General in a war like this.

 There is a lot of time devoted to Felicity and Iris as they, two non-powered people, try to figure out what they can do to help. Skulking in the ventilation shafts (there is a nice John McClane reference), they realize the best thing they can do is cut the power so the heart surgery can't happen.

I have to say the best part in this. Iris sneaks up to the bound Supergirl and says 'come with me if you want to live'. Right after saying that, a very Terminator-looking Metallo shows up to stop the rescue attempt. That is a nice cut for well-versed geeks everywhere.

 Citizen Cold and The Ray convince Winn to give the Earth One heroes a little time to get back home. We see a Nazi Waverider sent off to Earth One/

Ollie tries to act the part of the evil Dark Arrow but when he is asked to kill the Earth X version of Felicity, garbed in her concentration camp outfit, he can't. (Another nice moment as we see how life has been for Felicity here.) The subterfuge is over; a brawl breaks out at the installation. And Schott decides he can't wait. His war needs to end. He sends his weapon to destroy the platform ... the Red Tornado!!!

The effects and the fighting skills of this Tornado are vastly superior than the one we saw immolated in Supergirl Season One. And that is another nice little addition for comic fans.

 At the platform, Firestorm needs to split so Jax can hotwire the energy source for the platform and Stein can activate it.

This is war and war has casualties. Stein is gunned down.

 Back on Earth, Supergirl won't let Felicity be killed for her sake. She makes Smoak give the code to restore power. But before Thamwn can make the first cut, the Legends who have been missing in time arrive to help. I loved this bit where the Atom blocks the scalpel from cutting.

With the other heroes returning, Reverse Flash, Dark Arrow, and the very ill Overgirl need to beat a retreat. It is clear that Overgirl's conditioning is worsening. And on top of that, her cells will ultimately go super-nova.

 Reunited, the heroes try to figure out their next steps.

I have always liked the chemistry between Heatwave and Captain Cold. It is was even better when Rory has to deal with this nicer, more heroic, and bright Leo Snart. Although, I do wonder in the end if the legacy of the Earth One Snart will influence this one.

 And, as I said, these crossovers have major moments.

The professor is dying. His link to Jax means Jax is dying as well. There is an emotional scene where Stein calls Jax his son but the time has come for their link to break so Jax can live. Stein drinks the cure Cisco/Wells made in episode one. Without Jax to keep Stein alive, the professor dies.

We knew Victor Garber was leaving the show. I am glad he was given a powerful moment to exit on.

 With the Nazi plan suddenly awry, Dark Arrow makes a plea to Ollie. They will leave Earth One if Supergirl goes with them. If not, their Waverider will rain death down on everyone.

Ollie won't kowtow to villains. As I said before, the CW does love a good slow walk team shot. Here we get everybody ... EVERYBODY ... right down to the Ray and a ice slide making Killer Frost. All of Team Arrow and the Legends are there too.

A huge brawl erupts. Although how Nazi infantry are supposed to stand up against this army I have no idea. Steel alone could possibly win the fight. But it is a big fight.

 And then, the best moment of the crossover. Repowered, Supergirl floats outside the Nazi Waverider and goads General Overgirl.

In a line ... and a pose ... and a scene set-up ripped from Donner's Superman II, she says 'General, would you care to step outside?"

We then get a fabulous super-powered fight above the city.

 Overgirl ends up super-heating. She does go Nova and the only way to save the Earth is for our Supergirl to fly her (as Wells says) 'up ... up ... and away!' Nice.

Metallo gets destroyed. Overgirl blows up in outer space. Killer Frost, Vixen, and Isis disable to shields of the Nazi Waverider and Wells flying the real Waverider blows it out of the sky. The Crisis is over.

 Except for one thing.

When the two Arrows first met, Ollie told his dark doppelganger he would kill him.

We call that foreshadowing.

At point blank range, Dark Arrow gets one to the chest.

Ollie doesn't fool around.

 As for Kara, she falls to the ground from orbit only to be caught by the man called Steel. A man of Steel, get it.

Okay, I am pretty sick of Crisis #7 homages. This is the third on this show. And one where Supergirl is surrounded by dead soldiers is weirdly off-putting.

 There is nothing left but the wrap-up.

I am glad we got a Stein funeral scene. Jax delivers a great eulogy.

Alex and Sara talk a bit. Alex realizes she isn't going back to Maggie. (Earlier Sara told her to trust her instincts.) These two have a lot in common, from fighting to loving their sisters immensely. I hope we see them interact again.

And ultimately, the whole reason everyone was there in the first place, we get a wedding. Actually two weddings. Barry marries Iris. Felicity (who had spurned Ollie's proposal before) suddenly proposes to him. So they also get married! A double, in the moment, marriage ceremony!

Whew ....

Thanks for sticking with me. I think all the shows characters got some time in the sun. I like Captain Cold returning to Earth One. Barry and Iris are finally married. Ollie and Felicity are finally married. Alex has moved a bit further along in recovering from Maggie. And Kara learned  that she is more human than she might care to admit. All while major brawls happened against Nazis.

The one drawback, maybe, was seeing our heroes so effortlessly kill people. Even Killer Frost slashed people to death in this. I guess it is war.

I have to say, this crossover was way better than the Dominator one. I hope it gets its own DVD.


John (somewhere in England) said...

"Even the Nazis don't seem to like themselves. As we meet their trinity of baddies ... Dark Arrow, Overgirl, and the Eobard Thawne Reverse Flash (somehow still alive), we see they can squabble as villains often do."

That's true to life. The leading figures in the Third Reich couldn't stand the sight of each other. This ensured that, despite the outward fa├žade of order and discipline, Hitler's regime was often chaotic.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to lie. There was a lot of mansweat coming from my eyes when Stein died.

Overall Crisis was everything I wanted it to be. I didn't like that Oliver let Eobard go though, and I wasn't too happy with Kara not trying to save Overgirl from exploding. Oliver killing Oliver was expected though.

Anonymous said...

Oliver = Barry :p

Anonymous said...

A very cool crossover with awesome moments. Crazy how some a number of fans online say this was a better Justice League movie than the JL movie itself.

Kara referencing "Superman II" was great, although... I wish this show references Supergirl's own mythos rather her cousin's constantly.

Anj said...

I can't believe I skipped Barry letting Eobard just run off.


You don't need to vibrate your hand into his chest and kill him. Just break his leg. Then throw him in Pipeline.

Anonymous said...

Ironic the "McGuffin" in the crossover is the Earth X Nazis desperate bid to "Harvest" Supergirl's Heart, the very thing she has been trying to deny and repress since the Season Three Opener.
Yeah there needs to be a brief Barry-Kara encounter down the line where she smacks him (lightly) upside the head and shout "Schmuck you let Thawn GO??!!! Because WHY????"
Loved this crossover plot contrivances & ultra violence and all....I was sweating out Supergirl's medical captivity counting the minutes until Alex rescued her...except The Atom reaped those honors....very symbolic, a former Superman Actor Rescues the Incumbent Supergirl, I could not have been happier if Eliza did it or if Kara had simply freed herself (both acceptable alternatives).
I dunno why I keep proposing this but I'd love to see a "Heatwave/Supergirl" team up I see a ton of comedy from such complete polar opposites...

Count me happy with it as well Anj...


Nutation said...

I counted 34 recurring characters, though it didn't feel crowded what with 42*4 minutes to work with. Dislikes first.
Yes, Nazis are evil, but that was stated too frequently and crudely. Communisim killed more people in the 20th Century by far. Heck, Daxam didn't sound too pleasant, and Apokalips is out there somewhere.
Why did the writers not make Earth-Nazi one of the 52? There is plenty of variety and creative space available among the established Earths. Captain Carrot, the Shazam people, possibly even the Crime Syndicate are out there. There is room for Nazis. Call it Earth-10, and you can even continue to refer to it as Earth-X. But, expanding the confines of DC's mystical "52" is a bad precedent.
I assume that Nazi Oliver didn't invade Earth-38 (Kara's world) directly because he was using captured tech and couldn't retune it. Of course, if he had, he would have had 2 heroes to deal with rather than 20, so the task would have been harder.
I watch these crossovers mainly for the intimate character interactions that we wouldn't otherwise get. Caity and Chyler outside the church and later on were great. Grant and Stephen have excellent chemistry together, as do Melissa and Grant. Melissa and Stephen in their rare private scenes don't click in the same way. They are both fine actors, but nothing magical happens with them together.
Of the various large fight scenes, I thought the first one in the church worked best. The location was contained and well-defined so that I could tell where everyone was. The other fights all used interchangeable scenery, and I had a hard time determining who was where.
I liked Zari's Halloween ("The Power of Isis") costume better than what she picked out this time, but it wasn't going to be.
Last year, the production crews strained to coordinate 3 hours of scheduling, and at that they cheated some. This time, they managed 4 hours, moving characters in and out of the plot rather naturally. Of course, there were plot holes and imperfections, but I don't care. May this be an annual event in the tradition of the Justice League / Justice Society.

Anonymous said...

Great summary as always Anj. Overall :

- much better execution compared to last year's crossover. And hoping they'll keep doing them for as long as TPTB let them.
- much better interteam personal moments, which was kind of missing from last year. I'd REALLY hoped Winn and Cisco'd meet
up inuniverse, but again we were again denied this this year.
- KUDOS again to Melissa B for acting against herself... honestly the only other one within the Berlanti-verse that's done
this is Danielle P when she played Caitlin Snow and Killer Frost simultaneously in Season 2, IIRC. BRILLIANT acting! Hopefully
no more bad / angry / Red Lantern Supergirl talk for a VERY long time.
- many oneliners to rewind and listen to again!
- sad about Dr Stein, but from the background info of the actor leaving to pursue something else, was a real well done sendoff.
- now I want to see Pt 2 of this where Team Supergirl, Teah Flash, Team Arrow and Team LOT take the fight to Earth-X, as that
seems like a great storyline to do, and to add some closure to this.
- kind of sad Team Supergirl wasn't part of the funeral or the impromptu wedding, but I guess for pacing. And as I mentioned
in your ep 1 review, I like the wrapup of the Alex / White Canary 1Night Stand, but am preparing for the inevitable shipper wars.

> The one drawback, maybe, was seeing our heroes so effortlessly kill people.

As said before here, killing should be the last resort for any Superhero... quite frankly, given the choice of enemies and their
stated objectives, no room there for the niceties of diplomacy, IMHO.

> I wish this show references Supergirl's own mythos rather her cousin's constantly.

Agree, though honestly I can think of no higher compliment to the Donner-verse than the "General, would you care to step outside?"


Anonymous said...

Great summary of the crossover event. I enjoyed seeing all the characters interact with each other and the story arc not only as a cohesive narrative with respect to the crossover, but also advance aspects of each show.

My one concern was with Overgirl's issues with yellow sun saturation. My understanding from the comics is that the Super family are pretty much immortal within the heart of our sun. The only thing that might change is that perhaps each earth's version of our heroes is slightly different. Maybe the yellow sun of Earth X is slightly different in some way than the suns of Earth One and Earth 38.