Wednesday, November 29, 2017

My Review of DC TV's Crossover: "Crisis On Earth X" (Supergirl/Arrow/The Flash/Legends Of Tomorrow/Freedom Fighters: The Ray)

And here we are once again. Last year we had not one but four shows band together and tackle the Invasion! of the Dominators but this year, it's technically five shows in a way and we're being thrown into something of a Crisis On Earth X. I can't promise this will be the last of terrible puns to be honest but I'll try to keep them to a minimum.

Written by Andrew Kreisberg & Marc Guggenheim & Robert Rovner & Jessica Queller & Wendy Mericle & Ben Sokolowski & Todd Helbing & Phil Klemmer & Keto Shimizu
Directed by Larry Teng & James Bamford & Dermott Downs & Gregory Smith

Mick (and basically everyone): "I hate Nazis."

First of all, this mega epic crossover found the perfect way to merge the four main shows together - a wedding. Notably Barry and Iris's, which started off in the Supergirl side of things as the groom tried on his tuxedo with Oliver, Joe and Wally while the bride indulged in a nail salon with Caitlin, Felicity and Kara as the latter and Alex decided to beat their break up blues by going to a wedding. In this instalment we had an opening scene on Earth X where their version of the Guardian/James Olsen came to an unfortunate end but until the wedding on our Earth getting gatecrashed, things were running smoothly enough. We had some nice speeches from Joe, a delightful if totally predictable hook up between Sara Lance and Alex and of course, Mick providing his own commentary on weddings itself when he wasn't somewhat fascinated by Killer Frost. The wedding itself then led to Kara singing a beautiful rendition of Running Home To You but then the Nazi invasion of Earth X began as Dark Arrow, Overgirl and Reverse Flash (as Wells) made their presence known. The fight scenes were bad ass but they were also the calm before the storm though.

The chaos then continued on Arrow as the gang managed to capture Earth X's version of Prometheus and it was quickly revealed that this version was none other than Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell). Tommy's one of a few Earth X versions we got along with the evil versions of Oliver and Kara, who were not only Dark Arrow and Overgirl but on top of the former being a Fuhrer and the latter a General working with Reverse Flash, the pair of them were also married. I think our Kara's aghast reaction to this particular pairing summed it up rather nicely to be honest as the evil trio schemed and battled with our heroes. The ending of this particular installment saw Barry, Oliver, Kara, Alex, Sara, Stein and Jax ending up on Earth X themselves as prisoners in a brutal concentration while Star Labs on Earth 1 was also getting invaded with everyone being taken out (that included Dinah, Curtis and Rene) while Iris and Felicity had the good sense to mostly stay out of sight, at least for this part of the story. I'm glad that the show made the decision to actually air these four episodes over two nights and that the Oliver side of things was the second act.

The third act - The Flash side of things really upped the tense. Aside from seeing an absolutely hateful alternative version of Quentin (his comments to our Sara, sadistic glee over Earth X's brown haired version of Felicity made my skin crawl) to realising that evil Oliver's scheme was just to save his evil version of Kara, even if it meant destroying so many lives. I did like the little alone time scene with both Karas along with Oliver breaking his cover with Quentin and seeing Alex interact with Earth X's version of Wynn, who is a bit of a tough nut compared to the relatively puppy dog version that we're used in Kara's world. The highlight of this segment though was the introduction of Russell Tovey's heroic, The Ray/Ray Terrill and of course, Earth X's Citizen Cold/Leo Snart. Having Wentworth Miller back was a treat and this version is as bit as delightful as the Snart we loved and lost nearly two years. Of course, this episode did have a rather nasty sting in the tail when it ended with Stein committing one last and fatal act of heroism himself.

With Legends Of Tomorrow being the concluding chapter, it was probably the most appropriate for Stein's last stand out. Through that show's current season and especially in this crossover, the writers have been hammering home that Stein and Jax were going to split up and that the former would go home to his family. Unfortunately he died in this episode and his last scene with Jax along with Lily and Clarissa's reactions to his death had me in bits. I've loved seeing Victor Garber in this universe and it's a shame that we lost the character but this was a hell of a story to write the character out with. Martin Stein, you will be missed big time. Of course the rest of the episode then saw the rest of the gang (hello, Amaya, Ray, Nate and Zari) and everyone band together to take out everyone except Reverse Flash. A part of me was annoyed at Barry for letting that guy go but it did subside a little though as I'm sure they will be another encounter with those two in the near but for now, the Earth is saved, Nazis have been defeated and everyone is back to their own business. Then things ended with Diggle being roped in to officiate two weddings - Barry and Iris and Oliver and Felicity, giving the crossover it's romantic conclusion and thus pleasing two ships at the same time.

This crossover certainly had everything. I know there were fans who criticised the Nazi storyline but a) it's from a comic book and b) this crossover showed the horrors of Earth X throughout, there was no glamourising here and c) learn to separate fiction from reality, people. On top of the non stop action, so many beautiful character interactions, comedy courtesy of Mick, Stein's unfortunate demise and pleasing both Olicity and WestAllen shippers, for LGBT viewers, not only did we have Alex and Sara's fun hook up which got the former to let go of losing Maggie and the latter to want something more than one night stands, we also got the amazing pairing of Citizen Cold and The Ray (the latter also being from our Earth) but it seems that for a while we're holding on to one of these guys while the other one goes back to Earth X but either way, it's another inclusive string to this universe's diverse bow as well as providing some context for the upcoming Freedom Fighters: The Ray animated series.

- Lena, Samantha, Black Siren, Thea and William sat out this crossover but Susanna Thompson provided the voice for Earth X's version of Gideon on their Waverider. Mon El also had a brief cameo while Wally and Joe were there for the first bit.
- Cameos included Red Tornado, a Dominator, Killer Shark and Metallo. Eobard also implied that he might have killed Superman as well.
- That waitress talking to Barry was clearly meant to be Dawn Allen, wasn't she? The show also had a different title sequence for all four shows, which I loved.
- Chronology: Mostly present day, except for the bit in the 12th century for the Legends at the start of the saga.

This crossover event had a lot riding on it and after seeing some of our heroes meet on the big screen a fortnight ago with Justice League, the small screen version really did deliver even better. Crisis On Earth X was a good choice in story to tell - topical and uncomfortable for some, but it utilised heroes from four shows brilliantly while nicely setting up another animated show to boot. I don't know how they will top this crossover next year but I definitely cannot wait to find out.

Rating: 10 out of 10

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