Saturday, December 2, 2017

Supergirl Season 3, Episode 8: Crisis On Earth-X Part 1

It's time for The CW's big annual Arrowverse team up event, in which the network's four superhero shows cross over in an epic adventure. 

Last year the crossover concerned an alien invasion, this year it's Nazis from Earth-X.

Unlike last season, this crossover event utilizes the Arrowverse shows much, much more efficiently. See, last year the big crossover allegedly started in Supergirl, but it didn't actually happen until literally the last thirty seconds of the episode. Lame!

This year the action begins right off the bat in Supergirl, which spreads out the story more evenly and gives the plot extra room to breathe. It also makes Supergirl a much bigger part of the action than she was last year. 


It's good to see the Arrowverse treating the wedding of Barry and Iris as the major event it is, and giving it the time and attention it deserves. It's a bit odd though that their wedding  takes place in an episode of Supergirl, but whatever.

There wasn't a huge amount of plot in this episode, as it was more of a character-driven story. And you know what? That's perfectly fine! We've been watching these characters and getting to know them for years now, so it was fun seeing them all interact. The episode did an amazing job mixing and matching the casts from the four shows, especially the pairing of White Canary and Alex Danvers, Professor Stein's reunion with Caitlin Snow, and Heat Wave's interaction with pretty much anybody.

There was a huge amount of heart in this episode, and it was actually quite emotional at times. Again, that's because we have a history with these characters, and they're all very clearly defined by this point. 

While watching this episode, I lost count of how many times I said to myself, "This is SO much better than the new Justice League movie!" How crazy is that? That's because the people in charge of DC's TV shows know you can't just take a bunch of new characters the audience has never seen before, team 'em up in the most expensive movie ever made and expect the audience to care about them. You need to slowly and carefully establish your characters before you start thinking about crossovers. It ain't rocket science, Warner Bros. executives!

Check out the other parts of the Crisis here:
Crisis On Earth-X Part 2
Crisis On Earth-X Part 3
Crisis On Earth-X Part 4

SPOILERS!

The Plot:

We begin on Earth-X, a hellish parallel world where the Nazis won WWII and rule the entire planet. Since this is an alternate Earth, blimps hang ominously in the red skies over the city.

Inside a warehouse, a group of scientists have just invented a dimensional portal device, which they plan to use to "bring hope back to this dark world." Just then Dark Arrow, the Earth-X version of Green Arrow, enters and kills the scientists and their guards. He's interrupted by the Earth-X Guardian, aka James Olsen. 


Guardian deploys a shield decorated with the American flag, which is outlawed on this world. Dark Arrow mocks the shield, and he and Guardian fight. Ultimately Dark Arrow gets the upper hand and kills Guardian! He then stares ominously at the portal device, saying, "With this, our reign will last for eternity!" He stops just short of twirling his mustache and laughing maniacally.

On Earth-1, we see the various Arrowverse characters in action. In Central City, Barry Allen, aka the Flash, battles King Shark while his fiance Iris West calls him on his comm to discuss their upcoming wedding. 

Meanwhile over in Star City, Arrow fights a group of ninjas as Felicity Smoak calls him on his comm to ask if they're going to the wedding. In 1183 England, the Legends Of Tomorrow are posing as Robin Hood and his Merry Men, while also discussing Barry and Iris' nuptials.

Over on Earth-38, Supergirl, aka Kara Danvers, battles an alien Dominator. Afterward she sits in her apartment moping over her recent breakup with Mon-El. Her sister Alex pops in and sees an invitation to Barry & Iris' wedding. Kara says she's not going, as she's too depressed. She eventually decides a wedding might be just the thing to cheer her up, so she and Alex plan to go.

Cut back to Earth-1, where Iris and her bridesmaids Caitlin Snow, Felicity and Kara (who apparently traveled from Earth-38 while weren't looking) are all getting their nails done. Iris asks Felicity if she and Oliver will be the next to tie the knot. Meanwhile, Barry and Oliver are being fitted for their tuxedos. Barry asks Oliver the same question, and says he should "put a ring" on Felicity as soon as possible.

At STAR Labs, we see the Legends have returned to the present. Professor Stein and Jefferson Jackson, the two halves of the superhero Firestorm, ask Cisco and Harry for their help. They want to split up Firestorm so Stein can retire and finally spend time with his family. Cisco and Harry manage to whip up a serum that will break up Firestorm for good, but leave both men without any powers whatsoever. Despite the fact that this whole separation thing was Jackson's idea, he begins having second thoughts about it.

Barry and Iris have their rehearsal dinner at Jitters, so the producers don't have to spend money on a reception hall set. During the dinner, Alex meets Sara Lance, aka White Canary, and the two hit it off while sharing drinks. Stein approaches Jackson and says he's reworked the serum, which will now separate Firestorm, but give Jackson spider-like powers (?). Jackson says he doesn't want to be Spider-Man and storms off.

Joe West stands up and gives a toast, reminiscing about raising Barry and Iris and how happy he is that they're getting married (which probably sounds reeeeally horrible to an outside observer). He thanks them for showing him how to love again, and hugs his fiance Cecile. Everyone cheers, as we see Alex and Canary making out in front of Jitters.

Oilver's so moved by Joe's speech that he proposes to Felicity. She nervously explains she loves him, but doesn't feel the need to make it legal and rejects his proposal. When he pushes the issue, she yells that she doesn't want to marry him and stalks off, as everyone looks aghast. Awkward!

Cut to the next morning. Barry wakes up, looks over at Iris and zooms off at superspeed. When she wakes up, she sees he's made her breakfast, and left a note saying it's bad luck for the bride to see the groom before the wedding. Actually I'd always heard neither of them are supposed to see one another, but whatever. Meanwhile, Alex wakes up with a raging hangover, and see's she apparently spent the night with Canary. Embarrassed, she hurriedly gets dressed and sneaks out

At the church, Kara waits outside for Alex, who's ashamed of herself for having a one night stand. Kara tries to convince her it's no big deal. Inside, a young waitress of vague ethnicity approaches Barry and tells him how honored she is to be at his wedding. Barry's puzzled by her excitement, and wonders who the hell she's supposed to be, ensuring she'll become important in a future episode of The Flash.

Barry asks Kara to sing, and she happily complies. As she belts out a romantic tune, the guests all stand as Joe walks Iris down the aisle. At long last, Barry and Iris are finally getting married! The priest, who looks oddly familiar if you grew up in the 1980s, begins the ceremony. When he asks if anyone objects to the wedding, a beam of energy stabs out from above, instantly vaporizing him.

Everyone turns to see Overgirl, the masked, Nazi version of Supergirl from Earth-X. She's there with her army of Nazi goons, who open fire on the wedding guests. Barry and Iris realize their wedding plans have been interrupted yet again.

The church erupts into an epic and impressive free-for-all, as the heroes in attendance begin fighting the Nazis. Barry catches the enemy bullets at superspeed before they can hit anyone, while Wally zooms the non-powered guests out of the church. Caitlin reluctantly transforms into Killer Frost, and teams up with Heat Wave. Oliver, who for some reason brought his extendable bow to the wedding, begins battling his counterpart Dark Arrow. Canary and Alex fight the Earth-X Prometheus, while Supergirl and Overgirl crash through the roof of the church and face off in an epic aerial brawl.

Supergirl manages to knock out Overgirl, which causes Dark Arrow to grab her and order what's left of his grunts to retreat back to Earth-X. In the confusion, they leave Dark Prometheus behind. As everyone surveys the ruined church, Heat Wave declares it the best wedding ever.

At STAR Labs, the heroes lick their wounds and discuss the situation. Canary and Jackson escort Dark Prometheus to the STAR Labs Secret Super Jail and lock him up. Caitlin examines Cisco, who's unconscious from a minor concussion so he can appear in the other parts of the crossover. Barry orders Wally to take Joe and Cecile to safety for the duration of the crisis. Oliver and Supergirl seem puzzled by the fact that Dark Arrow and Overgirl seem to have the same skills and powers that they do (gosh, I wonder why?). Oliver says it's time they get some answers, and question Dark Prometheus.

Back on Earth-X (I think?), Dark Arrow and Overgirl stand on a rooftop and discuss their defeat. They're approached by the Dark Flash, who takes off his mask to reveal he's Eobard Thawne. Dark Arrow and Overgirl remove their masks as well, revealing they're evil versions of Oliver and Kara. Thawne scolds them for not sticking to the plan and attacking Earth-1 before they were ready. Overgirl assures him they'll get another chance to achieve victory, and when they do, they'll kill every hero on Earth1.

Thoughts: 

• As the episode opens, we see the skies of Earth-X are dotted with blimps.

What the hell is it with parallel worlds and blimps? They have 'em over on Earth-2 as well. It's like some kind of universal law that mandates all alternate dimensions must be filled with blimps!

• Fun Fact: The Crisis On Earth-X is not to be confused with the Crisis that's coming in April of 2024, in which the red skies vanish and the Flash disappears.

• Gosh, it's too bad Superman wasn't around this week! He could have popped over to Earth-1 with Kara and Alex and singlehandedly swept the floor with all those Nazis!

OK, I get that 
the budget was already stretched pretty thin with all the actors in these crossover episodes, so they probably couldn't afford to bring in Tyler Hoechlin as Supes. And if was better from a dramatic standpoint for Superman to be AWOL in this crossover. But c'mon, throw us a bone here. They could have at least given us a lame throwaway line explaining his absence. Say he was off on a space mission, or had the Kryptonian flu. Something. Anything!


• As a service to new viewers, the episode introduces the main characters of all four Arrowverse series by showing them in action, battling various foes. Flash, for example, is seen fighting King Shark.

Obviously they included King Shark here as a fun bit of fan service. But in terms of the story, it means he's escaped from ARGUS yet again! This is at least the second time he's escaped now. For a high tech metahuman holding facility, ARGUS seems about as secure as the jail on The Andy Griffith Show.

• Somehow Supergirl gets an invitation to Barry and Iris' wedding, even though she lives on an Earth in a parallel universe. I wonder how many stamps Iris had to stick on that envelope!

• We're then treated to this shot of Central City, as the various wedding guests arrive. At the upper left we see the Legends' Waverider timeship zoom over the city and land. Near the middle of the frame we see a breach open, and Supergirl flies through with Alex. At the bottom we see Arrow on what I assume is his Arrowcycle, speeding down a curiously empty highway.

One thing about the Waverider here. The futuristic ship flies directly over Central City, in full view of the entire population. It's not until it starts to land that they activate its cloaking device and turn it invisible.

Why the hell bother by that point? Everyone who happened to be looking up already saw it circling the city!

• The day before the wedding, Iris and her bridesmaids get makeovers, and have the following conversation: 

Felicity: "Iris, you are really glowing!"
Iris: "Awww."
Caitlin: "Wait, it's pregnant women who glow. Brides blush."
Iris: "Right. Blushing bride I can do, the other one, not just yet."

Welp, that settles it! Iris is pregnant! That's some heavy duty foreshadowing right there, and if you didn't recognize it, you've never seen a TV show in your life.

• For weeks now over on Legends Of Tomorrow, Jackson's been doing his best to separate Firestorm so Professor Stein can retire with his family. Then suddenly in this episode he starts acting cold and distant towards the Prof. When Stein questions him, Jackson says he's changed his mind about the separation because he considers him the father he never had, and doesn't want to lose him.

Where the hell did THAT come from? Jackson's never once mentioned anything remotely like that on Legends, and honestly seemed like he couldn't wait to get shed of Stein. Suddenly in this episode (of Supergirl, mind you) he does a complete 180ยบ turn that comes out of nowhere and feels really arbitrary and unearned.

• Funny how Ralph Dibney, aka Elongated Man and newest member of Team Flash, is AWOL for all four episodes of the Crisis.

Actor Stephen Amell, who plays Arrow, said it took six weeks to film all four crossover episodes. That's because they were filming them while all the shows were busy shooting their regular episodes. So it's highly possible that Ralph just hadn't yet joined The Flash when they started filming the crossover, which would explain his absence.


• For my money, the funniest part of the episode happened the morning of the wedding, when we see Heat Wave's apparently spent the night at Professor Stein's house. 

We see Heat Wave, clad in a stylish kimono, encounter Stein in the hall and say, "Ah, Professor. Your daughter insisted I not walk around your house naked, so I found one of your dresses." He then takes a swig directly out of a milk carton and says, "You're out of milk."


HAW! I bet I laughed for five minutes straight. Something about Heat Wave thinking that Stein had a closet full of dresses (and completely accepting it) struck me as hilarious. Mick don't judge!


• Poor Barry and Iris! Apparently the life of a superhero is a lonely one. They couldn't even scrape up enough friends between the two of them to fully fill up the entire church! Look at all those empty pews!

Heck, Iris has so few girlfriends she had to import a bridesmaid from another Earth!

• When Heat Wave arrives at the church, he sits next to CCPD Captain Singh and his husband Rob. Singh squints and asks if they've met, and Heat Wave shakes hands with him and says, "I hate cops." Rob asks Singh if Heat Wave's a friend from work, and he replies with an exasperated "Not quite."

OK, I admit it's a funny scene, and I actually liked it. That said, it doesn't make a lick of sense. I doubt that Singh knows Heat Wave's part of the Legends, or that the team even exists. As far as Singh's concerned, a known felon just barged into Barry and Iris' wedding and sat next to him. There's no reason why he shouldn't discreetly place him under arrest then and there.


• Right before the wedding begins, Barry's approached by a nervous young waitress. She offers him some sparkling water, tells him how excited she is to be at the wedding, and says she has a feeling it's gonna be "one for the ages."

Based on the way the scene's played and how much screen time they devote to it, it's obvious the writers are setting up some new character here. But who?

Most fans are convinced she's either Dawn Allen or Jenni Ognats, either of which traveled back in time to see the wedding.

In the comics, Dawn Allen and her brother Don are the children of Barry and Iris. They're both speedsters like their father, but usually spin around so quickly they resemble tornadoes (?). For reasons too complicated to get into here, they live in the 30th Century, and are (will be?) members of the Legion Of Super-Heroes (a team of super-powered teen crime fighters).

Jenni Ognats (whose last name sounds like an anagram) is the daughter of Dawn Allen, which would make her Barry and Iris' granddaughter. Like her mother, she's also a speedster, who goes by the codename XS. She also lives in the future and is a member of the Legion.

Given the mysterious waitress' vague ethnicity, she definitely looks like she could be Barry and Iris' offspring. If the waitress was supposed to be Dawn Allen, they'd probably have had Don appear along with her as a waiter. So I'm betting she's Jenni. 
If she is Jenni Ognats, then she came from the 30th Century just to see her grandparents marry. Anyone who carelessly travels back in time and risks altering the past just to see a wedding is definitely related to Barry Allen!

By the way, if this girl is somehow Barry and Iris' granddaughter and is from the future, then she knows the wedding was interrupted and canceled. So why the hell would she come back to see it?

• Barry asks Kara to sing at his wedding, and she happily obliges, belting out a sweet rendition of Running Home To You. I see what you did there, writers.

• Right as the wedding starts, Joe leans over to Barry and says, "I wish your parents were here to see this." Gee, thanks Joe, for reminding Barry of his dead parents on the happiest day of his life.

• Did you recognize the priest that attempts to marry Barry and Iris? He looked reeeally familiar to me, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out who he was or where I'd seen him before.

Turns out he's William Katt, star of the 1980s superhero TV show The Greatest American Hero! Awesome! TGAH wasn't a DC character, but it's cool that they gave him a cameo role in this superhero show anyway.

In case you never saw the show, Katt played Ralph Hinkley, a school teacher who was given a super-powered suit by aliens, and told to use it to fight crime. The suit gave him most of Superman's powers and more. Ralph never quite got the hang of flying, and usually usually looked like he was having a stroke as he sputtered across the sky, before typically crashing into a building. Com-O-Dee!

• I loved everything about the church battle between the heroes and the Earth-X Nazis. It was very well choreographed, and the action and effects were pretty darned impressive— especially for a TV budget. Honestly this battle rivaled any of the ones in the recent Justice League movie!

I always love seeing Jackson and Professor Stein merge into Firestorm, as it looks like the comic book come to life. I'm gonna miss that after Stein's gone.

Barry snatching Nazi bullets out of the air at superspeed was a nice touch as well.

Even the non-powered heroes got into the act, as Canary and Alex kicked some major Nazi ass.

And I loved seeing Heat Wave fight alongside Killer Frost.

By the way, he's definitely got a thing for chicks with cold powers. When Caitlin first transforms into Killer Frost, there's a brief instant where Heat Wave looks right into the camera before saying, "Now that's what I'm talkin' about!"

Watch out, Mick! If you're not careful, Killer Frost will accuse you of inappropriate behavior, and your career with the Legends will be ruined!

Cisco even got into the act, using his breach powers, which oddly enough can either open a portal to another Earth, or blow sh*t up real good, depending on the needs of the script. 

There was an awesome moment with Cisco, in which Arrow told Cisco he needed a breach "up top." Cisco opened a portal on the ground floor that exited on the second level, allowing Arrow to leap through and attack Dark Prometheus in the mezzanine.

I think my favorite part was when Dark Arrow fired an arrow right at Harry, who was trying to get everyone to safety. Arrow saw it and knocked it off course with an arrow of his own, saving Harry's life. Harry then looks at the arrow sticking in the wall, realizes what just happened, and nods in appreciation at Arrow. Cool!

The superpowered and evenly matched battle between Supergirl and Overgirl was amazing as well! Kudos to the Arrowverse creative team for everything about this scene!

• As I said earlier, this epic four part crossover event was a huge logistical and scheduling nightmare, requiring certain actors to be absent from certain episodes so they could film others. For example, last week on Legends Of Tomorrow, White Canary spent the whole Welcome To The Jungle episode in a coma. This was presumably so she'd have time to appear in this week's Supergirl and Arrow episodes.

Similarly, Cisco gets knocked in the head and spends part of this episode unconscious with a concussion, which I assume is so he can still appear in The Flash and Legends Of Tomorrow.

• After the church battle, Barry tells Wally the best way he can help is by taking Joe and Cecile to safety. This makes perfect sense, as neither of them have superpowers and are in mortal danger from the Earth-Xers. For some reason though, Barry doesn't send Iris to safety with them.

I get why
— the writers wanted to give Iris something to do, but it doesn't make sense in the reality of the show. Iris doesn't have powers and she's not a scientist, so there's no reason for her to hang around STAR Labs. All she's gonna do is constantly be in danger and serve as a distraction to Barry.

• It's mighty considerate of Dark Arrow and Overgirl to wear masks whenever they face off their Earth-1 counterparts, so the effects team doesn't have to worry about compositing "twin" effects! Convenient!

I'm actually amazed that Arrow and Supergirl couldn't instantly figure out the identities of their Nazi counterparts. They see villains who have the exact same skills and powers as they do, with identical builds, and they both know of the existence of multiverse doppelgangers. Yet somehow it never occurs to either of them in this episode that they're fighting evil versions of themselves.

• This Week's Best Lines:

J'onn: "Supergirl, identify the threat so we can help you fight it."

Winn: "Whatever it is, it came out of deep orbit and it is maaaad."
J'onn: "So it's alien?"
Winn: "Well, it's definitely not NASA."
Alex: "Is it Czarnian?"
Winn: "Or Hellgrammite?"
Supergirl: (punching a Dominator) "Dominator. These guys are so last year!"
(ah, metahumor!)

Supergirl: (as the manicurist burns up a buffer on her indestructible nails) "Uh Oh, I'm sorry. I should have warned you. I take a lot of keratin."

Iris: "So, um, you and Oliver? You guys next, you think, to walk down the aisle?"
Felicity: "Maybe once the city is not being attacked and Oliver is no longer under indictment and he's spent enough time with his son who is still mourning the loss of his mother."
Caitlin: "So, any day now!"
Felicity: "Any day now."

Heat Wave: "Sorry, didn't I try and kidnap you, once?"
Caitlin: "Yes. And I wouldn't try that again."

Stein: "The contents of this vial will rewrite your DNA and give you superpowers."
Jackson: "Are you serious? What kind of powers?"
Stein: "Well, I extrapolated it from the genetic abilities of a Microhexura Montivaga. The spruce-fir moss spider."
Jackson: "You're trying to turn me into Spider-Man?"
Stein: "Well, no. I mean, you won't be super strong and able to lift ten times your body weight. Nor will you be able to shoot webs from a subdermal gland in your wrist flexor muscle."
Jackson: "But I'll have spidey-sense?"
Stein: "No, I'm afraid not."
Jackson: "So what powers will I have?"
Stein: "You'll be able to stick to things. Incredible adhesion. Like glue. You'll just be stuck right on something, no sliding off."
Jackson: "Mmm. The spectacular Sticky Man."
Stein: "Well, I'm sure Cisco could fashion you a more exciting sobriquet."

Usher: "Welcome to the West/Allen wedding, can I show you to your seat? Are you here for the bride or groom?"

Heat Wave: "Well, considering I've tried to kill the groom a couple of times, it's probably best I sit on the bride's side."
Usher: (laughs nervously) "Uh, well, that would be the left side."

Iris: (seeing Nazis invading her wedding) "Oh, you've got to be kidding me."
Arrow: "Nazis?"
Arrow & Supergirl: (together) "I hate Nazis."
(apparently they have Indiana Jones movies on Earth-38 too)

Cisco: (to Caitlin) "I think it's time you introduced these guys to your mean roommate."

Heat Wave: (surveying the ruined church) "Best. Wedding. Ever!"

3 comments:

  1. In the pre-52 days, Wally West had twins through his wife Linda. Given that Wally isn't white in the Arrowverse, maybe that mysterious young woman was one of Wally's kids?

    ReplyDelete
  2. You can get all four cross over on any of the shows on blu ray and DVD are the same thing in getting the four parts put together so it doesn't matter which ones you buy you are still getting it this way for the first time sold that way with the season of each tv show comes with it this way so you are not missing anything from any one of them that you want to buy you will still be buying it this way for first time on blu ray and DVD with this episode of the four shows have it this way for this time they are doing it for now

    ReplyDelete
  3. Um... thanks for the info, Cary. May I interest you in some punctuation?

    ReplyDelete

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