Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 3, Episode 8: Crisis On Earth-X Part 4

It's the final chapter of the epic, four part Crisis On Earth-X crossover event! And what an ending it was! We got the casts of all four Arrowverse shows teaming up for a showdown with an army of interdimensional Nazis, two epic superhero battles, a major death, a funeral and even a double wedding! And all packed into a scant forty two minutes!

Crisis definitely outshone last year's Invasion! event in virtually every measurable sense. It featured more characters, paired them up in fun new ways, and even managed to give them all something memorable to do. 

Best of all, it utilized the four Arrowverse shows much more efficiently than Invasion! did, as it simply took the massive story and divided it equally among the four series. It was actually more like a separate miniseries in that regard. Maybe last year's crossover event was a trial run for the producers, and they wisely learned from their mistakes?

That's not to say Crisis On Earth-X was perfect though. Far from it! There were plenty of plot holes, puzzling motivations, inexplicable character decisions, and the overall scope was much less epic than what we were promised. 

That said, it got a lot more right than wrong though, especially regarding character interactions. There were dozens of wonderful character moments sprinkled throughout the crossover, which more than made up for any story shortcomings.

SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT!

The most touching and intense part of the entire crossover was undoubtedly the fate of Professor Stein. It's no secret that actor Victor Garber was planning on leaving Legends Of Tomorrow this season, so the show's been doing its level best to make the most of him before he goes.

I assumed Stein would simply walk off into the sunset to enjoy his retirement with his family and newborn grandson, which would be a fitting ending for the beloved Professor. I really wasn't expecting the producers to Henry Blake* the character! Holy Crap!

While I really hated to see the character actually die, I understand why they did it. A epic this big needs some actual stakes— if the heroes take on an army of interdimensional Nazis and don't lose a teammate or two, then there's no gravitas to the story. Killing off a beloved character gives the story some much needed emotional weight. And you can't get much more emotional than killing an old man who wants to watch his grandson grow up!

Jefferson's heartfelt goodbye to his mentor Professor Stein, the reactions of his wife and daughter and the funeral scene were all very well done, and filled with some real and heartbreaking emotion. I actually feel affection for these characters and care what happens to them, which is something I can't say for any of the ciphers that inhabit the recent Justice League movie.

I know I keep ragging on Justice League, but believe me, it's justified— any five minutes from Crisis on Earth-X is better than the entirety of that $300 million + movie!

We also finally, at long, long last, got the marriage of Barry Allen and Iris West. Enjoy the honeymoon, kids, as I'm sure there's trouble brewing on the horizon.

Lastly, I'm afraid the Arrowverse producers may have painted themselves into a corner here. It's gonna be really difficult for them to top Crisis on Earth-X next year!

Check out the other parts of the Crisis here:
Crisis On Earth-X Part 1
Crisis On Earth-X Part 2
Crisis On Earth-X Part 3

* "Henry Blaking" is a M*A*S*H reference. It's when an actor (in this case, McLean Stevenson as Col. Henry Blake) decides to leave a series, and the producers kill off their character, either for dramatic purposes or out of pure spite.

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
We pick up right where Crisis On Earth-X Part 3 ended, as our heroes, trapped on Earth-X, battled their way through a Nazi horde in order to make it to a portal and return home. Professor Stein attempted to pull a lever that would activate the portal, but was shot in the back and collapsed. 
As this episode begins, Jackson's pinned down by Nazi fire and can't reach Stein.


Meanwhile, General Winn Schott, leader of the Earth-X Freedom Fighters, has sent Red Tornado to the portal facility to blow it sky high. He wants it destroyed so that Dark Arrow, Overgirl and Dark Flash, who are currently on Earth-1, can't return home.

Barry Allen, aka the Flash, and Ray Terrill, aka the, um, Ray, attempt to stop Tornado, as they need the portal so they can all return home. The Ray fires a blast of energy at Red Tornado, while Flash generates a massive Speed Force lighting bolt and slings it at him. Their combined powers blow the robot to bits (hopefully he wasn't sentient!).

Back at the facility, Stein somehow finds the strength to crawl across the floor and heroically pull the lever. Just as he does so, he's shot yet again. The portal activates, creating a breach to Earth-1. For some reason, this disintegrates the Nazi soldiers who're standing in the staging area.


Arrow, Jackson, White Canary, Alex Danvers and Citizen Cold (the Earth-X version of Captain Cold) rush to Stein's side. He's bleeding profusely, and Canary says they need to get him to the Waverider so Gideon can fix him up in the ship's futuristic medbay. Alex says he's too weak to be moved, so Jackson merges with him to form Firestorm.

The Flash and the Ray arrive, and everyone jumps through the breach back to Earth-1.


At STAR Labs, Dark Flash, aka Eobard Thawne, begins to operate on Supergirl. He's planning to transplant her heart into the ailing Overgirl, her Earth-X doppelganger. As Dark Flash brings the scalpel closer to Supergirl's chest, it suddenly stops. 


He looks closely and is surprised when he sees Atom holding the knife back. Atom grows to normal size, knocking out Dark Flash. Steel frees Cisco, Caitlin, Heat Wave, Mr. Terrific, Black Canary and Wild Dog from the STAR Labs Secret Super Jail. Vixen and Zari sweep through the building and eliminate any stray Nazis.


Dark Flash comes to, and Dark Arrow tells him it's not safe on Earth-1 anymore. He orders him to take Overgirl to the 
Wellenreiter (the Earth-X version of the Waverider) and return to their home dimension, while he stays behind and kills all the Earth-1 heroes— especially Supergirl. That makes absolutely no sense, but whatever.


Team Arrow and the Legends are attacked by Metallo. Fortunately they're able to combine their various powers to blow him to smithereens.


Meanwhile, Atom and Felicity are helping Supergirl to the Waverider when they're confronted by Dark Arrow. He shorts out Atom's suit with a... suit shorting arrow, I guess. Felicity stands up to him and says he's not getting Supergirl, and to get off her Earth. He says he admires her guts, and aims an arrow at her heart.


Just then Arrow appears, holding a knife to Overgirl's throat. He threatens to kill her unless Dark Arrow stands down. Um... does Arrow know a knife can't penetrate a Kryptonian's skin? Anyway, Dark Flash zooms in and snatches Overgirl and Dark Arrow away.

On the Waverider, Firestorm separates, and Jackson places the gravely injured Stein in the futuristic medbay so Gideon can work on him. Suddenly Jackson doubles over, bleeding from the mouth. Caitlin somehow knows that the two men's conditions are still linked. If Stein dies, so will Jackson.


Cold wanders into the galley, where Heat Wave's having a beer. Heat Wave sees the duplicate of his old partner and thinks he's hallucinating again, as he did last season.


At STAR Labs, Barry and Iris are reunited, as are Supergirl and her sister Alex. Meanwhile, The Ray, Vixen, Zari and Team Flash discover the Earth-Xers have their own version of the Waverider. Mr. Terrific scans the ship, and detects Overgirl inside it. He says the radiation in her cells is reaching critical levels, and if something isn't done she'll explode like a supernova, taking out the entire Midwest.


Stein wakes up and hands Jackson the serum that'll separate Firestorm forever. He says he had Gideon alter it, so that it'll disconnect them from one another and leave Jackson with all of Firestorm's powers. Stein urges Jackson to take the serum so they won't both die. 


After lots of tears, drama and goodbyes, Jackson finally gulps down the serum. Stein asks Jackson to stay with him a while, and he quietly passes away.


Canary enters the medbay and sees Jackson standing over Stein's body. She realizes what's happened, and places a gentle kiss on Stein's forehead. Word spreads all over the ship, as the various heroes who fought beside Stein grieve in their own way.


Jackson goes to Professor Stein's house and knocks on the door. Stein's wife Clarissa and his time aberration daughter Lily answer. The instant they see Jackson, they realize what's happened.


On board the Wellenreiter, Dark Arrow tells Overgirl to hang on.


Meanwhile, the heroes all gather on the spacious bridge of the regular Waverider, to discuss their plan. Dark Arrow calls up and offers a deal— hand over Supergirl and the Nazis will leave Earth-1 peacefully. Arrow politely declines. The heroes vow to defeat the Earth-Xers for Professor Stein.


The Wellenreiter flies over Central City (I think?), blasting innocent citizens from above. Dark Arrow leads an army of Nazi soldiers through the streets, killing everyone in their path. 


Suddenly they're confronted by the entire casts of all four Arrowverse shows. We're then treated to yet another lengthy but impressive superpowered battle.


Cisco, Harry, Iris and Felicity are all onboard the Waverider, chasing after the 
Wellenreiter and trying to blow it out of the sky. Unfortunately the Nazi ship has its shields up. 


Suddenly Supergirl confronts the Wellenreiter and taunts her Earth-X counterpart. Overgirl, who minutes earlier could barely lift up her head, somehow pulls herself together, crashes through the windshield and begins fighting Supergirl over the city.


Killer Frost flies through the air via one of her ice slides, as Vixen and Zari tag along. They sneak onto the Wellenreiter and deactivate the shields. Cisco then breaches them back a second before Harry blows the Nazi ship out of the sky. Um... couldn't they have kept it intact and used it themselves?


Supergirl and Overgirl continue their aerial battle, while Flash and Dark Flash have a superspeed punch-fest on the ground. Barry eventually gets Thawne on the ropes, but like a true idiot, er, I mean hero, refuses to kill him. Instead of knocking him out or restraining him, he tells him to leave. What. The. F@ck?


Just then Gideon helpfully informs the crew that Overgirl's cells are reaching critical levels. Harry orders Supergirl to fly her into space, where her exploding body won't hurt anyone. She then grabs Overgirl's glowing body and zooms into space with it. There's an impressive Star Wars-type ringed explosion, and Overgirl is no more.


Meanwhile, Arrow and Dark Arrow battle to the death on top of a car. Dark Arrow sees the explosion and realizes Overgirl's gone. While he's distracted, Arrow fires a bolt through his heart. Well that hardly seems fair!


Supergirl, dazed by the explosion, falls back to Earth. She plummets to the ground at dizzying speed, but luckily she's caught by Steel at the last second.


After the battle, Cisco opens a breach back to Earth-X so the Ray and Citizen Cold can return home. For some reason, Cold decides to stay on Earth-1. 


Cut to Professor Stein's funeral, as the casts of all the shows say their sad goodbyes. Afterward, Alex and Canary have an awkward farewell. The Legends then depart in the Waverider. Barry, Iris, Oliver and Felicity say goodbye to Kara and Alex. Kara uses the mini portal generator Cisco gave her to open a breach and return to Earth-38.


Barry and Iris decide to forget about having a big wedding, and just go to the Justice Of The Peace to get married. Felicity says she knows someone who's ordained. Barry zooms off and returns a second later with Oilver's pal John Diggle.


After Diggle throws up from the shock of traveling at superspeed, he performs an impromptu wedding ceremony for Barry and Iris. Just as he's about to pronounce them man and wife, Felicity changes her mind about matrimony, and asks Diggle to marry her and Oliver as well. 


Thoughts:

 When Stein finally manages to summon the strength to pull the lever and activate the portal, all the Nazi soldiers standing in the staging area are instantly vaporized. Um... why, exactly? Characters in the various Arrowverse shows are constantly opening portals and breaches with absolutely no ill effects. So why does it prove lethal this particular time?

 At one point Dark Arrow's about to kill Felicity. Suddenly Arrow shows up, holding Overgirl hostage. He tells Dark Arrow to let Felicity go, or he'll kill Overgirl with a plain, ordinary knife.

Um... he knows she's a Kryptonian, right? And as such, a knife would pose absolutely no danger to her? Yes, yes, he does say, "Her neck doesn't seem invulnerable so I will say again. Lower your weapon." How does he know whether her neck is invulnerable or not? Has it been weakened by her illness?

• I'm kind of fuzzy on Dark Arrow's motivation in this episode. At the beginning of the crossover, we assume he's trying to take over Earth, which is what interdimensional Nazis do. Later we find out that's not true at all, and his goal is to save his ailing wife Overgirl by transplanting Supergirl's heart into her. 

However, once the Earth-1 heroes return home and stop the operation, he sends Overgirl back to Earth-X, and then actively tries to kill Supergirl. Wha...?

First of all, what's he gonna kill her with? An arrow? Again, that seems unlikely to work on a Kryptonian. Secondly, why's he suddenly want to kill her, when she's the only thing that can save his wife? Is he throwing a tantrum because his plan didn't go his way? Why not take Supergirl with him back to Earth-X, and perform the transplant there?


• I really loved the scene in which Atom heroically held back Dark Flash's scalpel, to keep him from slicing open Supergirl's chest.

That scene was straight out of a Silver Age comic book cover. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, the Atom was always being threatened with tweezers, saws and various power tools!

• At one point Iris and Felicity are helping Supergirl escape from STAR Labs, when they're confronted by Earth-X Nazis. Just then Atom appears, and uses his suit's powers to expand rather than shrink his hand and mash a Nazi against the wall.

I wonder... was that a Ms. Marvel reference? Over at Marvel Comics, the current version of Ms. Marvel is a Muslim teen named Kamala Khan. She's a shapeshifter who can expand her entire body, or just certain parts. She often embiggens her fist in order to punch villains into orbit.

Atom doing the same was probably just a coincidence, but who knows? Maybe someone on the Arrowverse writing staff is a Ms. Marvel fan!

• Onboard the Waverider, Zari, Vixen and Mr. Terrific discuss Overgirl:

Zari: "Yeah, we had been tracking them using the radiation signature given off by Overgirl, because of her..."
Mr. Terrific: "...Extreme exposure to the solar radiation. Are these readings right?"
Zari: "Yeah, of course they're right. Why?"
Mr. Terrific: "Well because the trace radiation readings on here are slowly approaching the Chandrasekhar Limit."
Vixen: "Which means?"
Zari: "Overgirl isn't just dying."
Mr. Terrific: "Yeah, if she doesn't get Supergirl's heart, she'll create a supernova that will destroy the entire Midwest."

I looked it up, and the Chandrasekhar Limit is a real thing in the world of astronomy! As near as I can tell, the Chandrasekhar Limit is 1.4 times the mass of our sun. Any star that exceeds that mass is destined to become a supernova.

Even though it's a real term, I don't think they used it right in this episode. The Chandrasekhar Limit refers to stellar mass, but the characters seem to think it has something to do with radiation. Unless they're saying Overgirl's mass is rapidly increasing, and will soon be 1.4 times that of the sun!

• Really liked the battle between the various heroes and Metallo. Especially the 360 degree shot of them all combining their powers against him. The scene had quite an Avengers feel to it, and frankly was more exiciting than any of the action in Justice League.

Eventually their combined powers are too much for Metallo and he blows up real good, as his Terminator-like head flies up toward the camera. Wasn't there a similar shot in one of the Terminator movies, or did I dream it?

• Zari gets a new costume in this episode. One that's strategically designed to show off her, um... magic amulet. Even Vixen seems to be admiring it!

• I have to say, for an unstable villain who typically only looks out for herself, Killer Frost seems really... cooperative in these episodes. All through the Crisis she risks her life battling the Earth-Xers alongside all the other heroes. Heck, she even takes orders from Arrow, Cisco and Heat Wave (!). 

It seems out of character for her to throw in with all the do-gooders, but I guess maybe she hates Interdimensional Nazis more.


• Speaking of Killer Frost, at one point she, Vixen and Zari infiltrate the Wellenreiter.  They apparently kill all the Nazis inside the ship, then deactivate its shields. Cisco then breaches them off the bridge as Harry blows the ship to Kingdom Come. A couple things here:

First of all, Killer Frost flies herself and the gals up to the Wellenreiter via one of her ice slides. We saw her travel by ice slide last season on The Flash, but it's never not awesome.


Secondly, why in the name of Stan Lee's Toupee would they destroy a perfectly good timeship like that? The good guys had control of the Wellenreiter at that point. Why not commandeer it and start blasting away at the Earth-X ground troops? Even better, hand it over to Cisco so STAR Labs could have its own timeship! Sure, it was decorated with Nazi insignia, but that's nothing a good coat of paint couldn't fix!

Destroying a futuristic ship for no good reason just seemed like an obscene and senseless waste of resources.


• So is Jackson now powerless after gulping down the serum? I could have sworn Stein said it would separate them and leave Jackson with all of Firestorm's powers. But Firestorm was conspicuously absent from the big final battle, so... I'm not sure.

• In the third act, Canary gives the heroes a motivational speech, telling them to whup Nazi ass for Professor Stein. It's a cool scene, if for no other reason than we get to see the entire casts of all four shows assembled together in one shot!

The scene had to be an homage to comic book illustrator Alex Ross, who specializes in these kinds of superhero group shots!

• During the epic final battle, Supergirl flies up to the Wellenreiter's windshield and calls out Overgirl, saying, "General, would you care to step outside?"

• Apparently Supergirl's a big fan of Superman 2, in which her cinematic cousin said the exact same like to General Zod.

• I don't really have much to say about this shot, other than it was very, very cool seeing the combined casts all together. If I saw this crossover when I was ten years old, I think my brain might have melted!

• As I said earlier, I reeeeally hate to see Legends Of Tomorrow lose Professor Stein. At least the show's given him an epic sendoff all this season, culminating in a heroic death for the character this week. I have to admit, Stein's funeral was truly touching and moving.

Especially this scene. I almost lost it myself when even Heat Wave started choking up.

Mick's my favorite of the Legends, as he's had the best overall character arc of any of them. He's definitely grown over the season, starting out as a violent psychopath, and gradually becoming a... well, a somewhat less violent psychopath.

I keed, I keed. Dominic Purcell's done a great job injecting some humanity into what started out as a one-off stock villain character. It's obvious that Mick has developed true feelings for his dysfunctional superhero family— even if he's loathe to show them.

Take one last, good long look at Professor Stein's daughter Lily and wife Clarissa, as I doubt we'll ever see them again

• The funniest line of the entire episode once again goes to Heat Wave. In the final minutes of the show, Canary says an awkward goodbye to Alex. Suddenly Heat Wave walks up.


Heat Wave: "Boss, ship's ready."

Canary: (to Alex) "Catch you on the other side."
(She and Heat Wave then walk back toward the Waverider, as Alex and Supergirl step through a portal back to Earth-38)
Heat Wave: (to Canary) "You hit that?"
Canary: (punching him) "Shut up!"

Leave it to Mick Rory to say the most inappropriate, yet oddly endearing thing possible. Plus Mick don't judge!

• OK, this is some hardcore nitpicking, but it's what I do best.

At the end of the episode, John Diggle, who's somehow an ordained minister, performs a last second wedding for Barry & Iris and Oliver & Felicity. He says, "I'll skip right to the part where I say this: Oliver Jonas Queen, Felicity Megan Smoak, Bartholomew Henry Allen and Iris Ann West, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Please, kiss your brides."


I get how Digg, who's part of Team Arrow, might know Oliver and Felicity's middle names. But how the hell would he know Barry and Iris'? They're mild acquaintances at best.


• This Week's Best Lines:

Arrow: "Thanks for your help."
Cold: "We're not done helping yet. Our enemies are still on your earth, Ollie."
Arrow: "Don't call me that."
Cold: "Give it time, I'll get through that crusty exterior."
Canary: "No, you really won't."
Cold: "I was talking to you."

Atom: (to Dark Flash) "Mitts off, Mengele!"


Atom: "Look, I know I'm late to the party, but why have Nazi doppelgangers taken over STAR Labs?"

Felicity: "They're from Earth-X. They hate everybody. They want to steal Kara's heart, and they have this giant robot."
Atom: "Oh, I've actually fought one of those before!"
(I'm assuming Felicity's talking about Metallo here, except he's not exactly a giant)

Felicity: (as she and Atom help Supergirl through STAR Labs) "How much further, Ray?"

Atom: "Waverider's on the roof."
Supergirl: "How do you two know each other again?"
Felicity and Atom: "We used to date."
Supergirl: "That's awkward."

Felicity: "My grandparents didn't survive the Holocaust so the world could be ruled by Nazis, so if you want Kara, you got to go through me. And even if you do, you're not gonna win. 'Cause we will not back down. We will keep fighting. So get the hell off our earth while you still can."
Dark Arrow: "Hm. As final words go, those weren't bad."

Heat Wave: (to Cold) "You're not my partner. You're a gangbanger."
Cold: "I think you mean 'doppelganger.' And there was one of you on my earth, too. Rest his soul."
Heat Wave: "Wait. I'm dead on Planet Nazi? Let me guess. In a fire?"
Cold: "You just kept going back into that burning police station until the last officer had been rescued."
Heat Wave: "I died trying to save pigs? I'm gonna be sick."

The Ray: "Well, uh, you can use my real name, Ray Terrill."
Mr. Terrific: "Your secret identity is your first name with the word "the" in front of it?"
The Ray: "Yeah. Why? What's your secret identity?"
Mr. Terrific: "Mr. Terrific."
The Ray: "Really? That's a little boast-y, don't you think?"
(Methinks the guys are a little confused here. "Secret Identity" refers to who a character is when they're NOT in superhero mode)

Cold: "Excuse me! You can't just go around roasting people!"
Heat Wave: "Why not?"
Cold: "You ever heard of due process? Rule of law?"

Cisco: (trying to fly the Waverider instead of letting Gideon pilot it herself) "Whoa! This is just like Star Raiders on Atari except it's real!"
Harry: "Cut the chatter, Red Two. Fly the ship."
Cisco: "Launching torpedo one."
Harry: "You don't have to say it out loud."

Cisco: "Harry, you think you can handle this bad boy?"
Harry: "Walk in the park, Kazansky."
(apparently they have Top Gun over on Earth-2 as well)

Harry: "Supergirl, your doppelganger's about to have a meltdown."
Supergirl: "What do I do?"
Harry: "You need to fly her up. Up. And away! Now!"
(Ah, metahumor. It never gets old)

3 comments:

  1. I think the bit with the Atom and the knife is as much of a shout out to Doll Man (an actual member of the Freedom Fighters, as you know) as the silver age Atom. Doll Man was always getting pinned against giant (to him) pistols or other items. While the Atom used that trope occasionally, it seems to have featured in virtually every cover or splash page with Doll Man.
    ~ Dr OTR

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting. I know who Doll Man is, but I'm not very familiar with him, and never actually read any of his stories.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've only seen them in some of the Golden Age reprints that DC would use to pad out their page count in the early 70s. He was a District Attorney, I think? Google "Doll man covers" to get a sense of his shtick.

    ReplyDelete

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