Sunday, December 3, 2017

Arrow Season 6, Episode 8: Crisis On Earth-X Part 2

It's Part 2 of the epic Crisis On Earth-X crossover event!

I very much enjoyed Part 1 of the crossover in Supergirl, as seeing the entire Arrowverse united onscreen was frankly more fun and enjoyable than the new Justice League movie. Unfortunately Part 2 doesn't quite live up to the standards of its predecessor.

The main problem is that while Part 1 gave us a world in which the Nazis, having conquered their own planet, decide to branch out into the multiverse and rule the other fifty two Earths. That's a damned fun and ambitious premise. Unfortunately, Part 2 scales down that initial plan almost exponentially. Instead of vast armies of alt-world Nazis goose-stepping through the multiverse, we get a measly three generals and a couple of squads of soldiers.

Even their objective seems to have shrunk in this episode. Instead of planetary conquest, their only concern seems to be ripping Supergirl's heart out of her chest to use in a transplant.

The fact that the Earth-X Oliver Queen is somehow the Fuhrer of his entire world seems a bit suspect too— especially when Overgirl's standing right beside him. Wouldn't an all powerful and invulnerable alien make a much more formidable (and believable) leader?

Even better, why not have the Fuhrer be a huge surprise for the audience? Someone completely unexpected, yet logical. Someone like... Superman! Or, I guess in this case, Overman. Now that would have been an awesome reveal!

The episode was also bogged down by a poop-ton of interpersonal drama between the various Arrowverse heroes— in the middle of a battle for the planet, yet. Yes, yes, I get that you can't have constant action and these scenes were inserted to give the episode some emotional weight. But these mopey, overwrought conversations are always a slog to sit through in a regular episode, so they were especially egregious here.

On the plus side, Stephen Amell, Melissa Benoist and Tom Cavanagh all turned in wonderfully evil performances, and were obviously having a ball chewing the scenery. The fight scenes were once again very well done, honestly rivaling (if not surpassing) the ones in Justice League. As always, Caity Lotz as White Canary kicked twelve kinds of major ass, and The CW needs to do everything in its power to keep her on its shows.

Here's hoping Crisis on Earth-X Parts 3 and 4 can pull the crossover out of its minor slump!

Check out the other parts of the Crisis here:
Crisis On Earth-X Part 1
Crisis On Earth-X Part 3
Crisis On Earth-X Part 4


The Plot:
Picking up where Crisis On Earth-X Part 1 left off, the heroes enter the STAR Labs Secret Super Jail, where they're holding Dark Prometheus, a masked, evil villain from Earth-X. Arrow questions him, asking who he is and what his people want. Dark Prometheus removes his hood, to reveal he's the Earth-X version of Tommy Merlyn, who died several years ago on Earth-1.

Arrow tells the other heroes to scram so he can talk to Tommy-X alone. Tommy gives him a big sob story, saying he grew up without choice. He was born into the hellish world of Earth-X, where the Fuhrer would kill his parents if he didn't join the cause. Arrow says he has a choice now, and encourages him to stay on Earth-1 and become the man he was meant to be. Suddenly Tommy-X begins laughing, saying Arrow's stupider and weaker than he was told. He then bites down on a cyanide capsule, killing himself instantly. Well. That's that, I guess!

Upstairs, the other heroes discuss what's going on and why Nazis from another world would want to crash Barry and Iris' wedding. They bring up the multiverse, and the fact that it contains fifty two alternate Earths. Harry ominously says there's actually a fifty third world called Earth-X, where the Nazis won WWII. Harry says these Nazis took over their entire world, and now they want to branch out into the other fifty two. Just how he knows all this is left to our imaginations. Barry says they need to find how the Earth-Xers are getting here, and suggests the scientist characters start figuring it out.

Over on Earth-X, Dark Arrow gets a text from the biosensor in Tommy's suit, saying he just died. He scoffs and says he was always soft anyway. He orders Dark Flash to get busy and find a mysterious Prism they're searching for, which is located on Earth-1. Dark Flash doesn't appreciate his tone, and the two threaten to kill one another. Overgirl calms them down and tells them to trust in the Plan. The two men realize she's right and stand down.

In STAR Labs, the assembled heroes work on locating the Earth-Xers. Arrow interrupts Felicity to talk about their fight the night before. He asks her again to marry him, but she rejects the idea again, saying they don't need to formalize their relationship. Jesus Christ, could this crap possibly wait until after this world-shattering crisis is over?

In a similar vein, Professor Stein approaches Jackson and demands to know why he's been acting cold and distant ever since they found a way to separate themselves from Firestorm. Jackson finally admits it's because Stein's the closest thing he's ever had to a father, and he doesn't want to lose him. Again, could this possibly wait for another time?

Alex runs into White Canary, and the two share an awkward moment. Once again, Alex tells Supergirl she feels guilty for having a one night stand with Canary. And yet again, Supergirl says it's not a big deal and she should stop beating herself up about it. Some other time, please!

Thankfully an alarm goes off to interrupt all this relationship hooey. Iris checks the screens and says the Earth-Xers have returned and broken into Dayton Opticals.

Arrow, Supergirl and the Flash investigate the break in. When they arrive at the building, they're met by Dark Arrow, Overgirl and Dark Flash, who've already stolen the Prism. Barry orders them to hand it over or else. The three villains refuse, and for some reason remove their masks, revealing they're evil versions of Oliver Queen, Kara Danvers and Eobard Thawne. Why Dark Flash isn't an evil duplicate of Barry Allen is anyone's guess.

The heroes then begin battling their counterparts, but are all evenly matched. The villains then begin monologing, boasting how glad they are to be Nazis instead of soft and weak Americans. Dark Arrow states his allegiance is to the Fatherland and his wife, as he stares lovingly at Overgirl. Apparently they're husband and wife on their Earth! Shocking!

Suddenly Arrow pulls out a kryptonite arrow and shoots Overgirl with it. Supergirl seems a bit taken aback with the fact that Arrow has a kryptonite weapon, until he explains he made it in case she ever went rogue. Dark Arrow orders Dark Flash to take the Prism back to Earth-X, as he helps Overgirl.

A very pissed off Overgirl then uses her heat vision to blast a nearby building that's under construction. For some reason the construction site's filled with workers in the middle of the night, and they begin falling as the building buckles. The Flash rescues the workers at superspeed, while Supergirl flies around the building, spot welding girders with her heat vision. Arrow swings from floor to floor, stringing a cable around the building to help stabilize it. Somehow this is more unbelievable than a woman who can fly and a man who can run at the speed of sound. While the heroes are occupied with the building, Dark Arrow and Overgirl escape and return to Earth-X.

At STAR Labs, Felicity and Wells discuss the Prism. They spew a ton of technobabble, eventually stating it can be used to create a neutron bomb. Arrow returns with his kryptonite arrow, which is covered with Overgirl's blood. The team believes they can use the blood to somehow find Overgirl's location. They notice her cells are charged with much higher levels of solar radiation than Supergirl's are. Plot Point!

On Earth-X, we find out that Dark Arrow is apparently the Fuhrer. Thawne tells Overgirl he's worried that Dark Arrow will lose sight of their mission, and choose her over conquering Earth-1. He claims he saw it happen before, to Hitler. Overgirl assures him she'll make sure that never happens.

At STAR, Arrow whines to Flash about his relationship with Felicity. Sigh... Again with the relationship nonsense! Luckily Felicity interrupts and announces they've found the Earth-Xers. She says they're in an abandoned (of course) shipping depot outside of Danville, where they're keeping the Prism. Um... I thought Dark Flash was supposed to take it back to Earth-X?. Barry scopes out the place by rushing there and back in a split second, and says the place is filled with Nazi soldiers. The heroes all head out to recover the Prism.

Iris and Felicity stay behind in the STAR Labs Cortex to monitor the situation, and give their characters something to do. Heat Wave wanders in and asks where they keep their mustard, and realizes he's been left behind.

The heroes converge on the depot and an impressive battle breaks out between them and the Earth-Xers. Elsewhere, Dark Arrow walks determinedly toward STAR Labs. The whole battle was just a diversion to get the heroes out of the Lab!

Harry walks down a STAR Labs hallway, and almost bumps into Dark Arrow. He turns and runs, managing to sound an alarm before he's knocked out by Dark Arrow (lucky for Harry he didn't just shoot him through the heart, like you'd think a Nazi overlord would). Heat Wave tells Iris and Felicity to hide, and orders Caitlin to change into Killer Frost.

At the depot, the battle rages on, as Arrow shoots another kryptonite arrow at Overgirl. This time she catches it and snaps it in half, strangely unaffected by it.

At STAR, Heat Wave blasts away at Dark Arrow, distracting him long enough for Killer Frost to attack. She freezes his hands to his bow, but he somehow breaks free. Just then Team Arrow, consisting of Mr. Terrific, Black Canary and Wild Dog, show up and join the battle.

Back at the depot, the heroes manage to dispatch all the Nazis. Suddenly Metallo appears, and takes out Supergirl and Firestorm, the good guys' two heaviest hitters. Overgirl and Dark Flash then knock out all the heroes.

They wake up sometime later, chained to a large column and wearing power-dampening collars. Overgirl comes in to gloat, but doubles over in pain. Dark Arrow, who's apparently returned from STAR Labs, tells her to be strong and stand before their enemies.

The Earth-Xers then start monologing and finally explain the reason for their invasion. Overgirl's dying, due to exposure to too much solar radiation (?). They intend to use the stolen Prism to simulate a red sun, which will weaken Supergirl. They can then remove her heart and transplant it into Overgirl to save her life.

Back at STAR, Iris and Felicity come out of their hiding place. They see Nazi soldiers tossing Heat Wave, along with Team Arrow, into the Secret Super Jail. They decide it's up to them to defeat the Nazis and rescue everyone... somehow.

Cut to Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, Canary, Alex, Stein and Jackson lying on the ground, and gradually waking up. They look around, and slowly realize they're inside a concentration camp on Earth-X!

• I have many questions about Earth-X and its residents.

First of all, why doesn't everyone there speak with a German accent? We're told that Germany developed the atomic bomb before America did, which led to them winning WWII. They then took over Europe and eventually the entire world. 

The Nazis were very Nationalistic group, devoted to the "Fatherland," racial purity and all things Deutsch. It's unlikely they'd all take the time to learn the language of every country they conquered.

You'd think Overgirl of all people would have an accent, since she claims her pod landed in Germany rather than America as it did on Earth-1.

Secondly, how the holy hell did Earth-X Oliver Queen become the Fuhrer of the entire planet? He couldn't have stepped in when Earth-X Hitler died in 1994, as he would have only been about seven years old at the time. I guess he assassinated his way up through the ranks, and killed Hitler's replacement? Or maybe he hooked up with Overgirl and she helped eliminate any obstacles in his way? One wonders why SHE didn't just become Fuhrer then.

• In the Arrowverse, Supergirl lives on Earth-38. She was sent from her home planet of Krypton to Earth-38, in order to watch over Superman. I'm assuming the same applies to Overgirl— she left Krypton-X and came to Earth-X.

So... does that mean there's a Krypton in the Earth-1 universe? Is there a Supergirl living on Krypton-1, that's just never come to Earth yet? I think there is! In this episode, Harry says: "Well, there are fifty three Karas, just like there's fifty three Kryptons and fifty three Earths"

I wonder if we'll ever get to meet the Earth-1 Supergirl?

• Was there any good reason why Dark Flash turned out to be Eobard Thawne and not an evil Barry Allen? The other two Earth-Xers were mirror versions of Oliver and Kara, so why not Barry as well? Why dredge up Thawne for the tenth or twentieth time?

As with Damien Darhk over on Legends Of Tomorrow, I'm not even gonna attempt to try and figure out how it's possible for Eobard Thawne to be alive and well at this point.

And how the hell did a villain from Earth-1 get hooked up with the Fuhrer and his bride over on Earth-X?

• Speaking of Thawne, I've never understood why the hell his costume has veins sculpted into it. Are they sculpted? Or are they supposed to be his distended veins poking up through the fabric of his costume? Ewww.

• Poor Tommy Merlyn dies a second time on the show! He just can't seem to stop dying, no matter what universe he's in!

• After discovering that Dark Prometheus is Tommy Oliver, the heroes discuss how that could be possible. Barry says they must be dealing with a Tommy from another Earth. Jackson is absolutely gobsmacked by this, saying, "There are more than one?. Dude, you're literally standing next to Supergirl, who's from Earth-38. Derp!

This is called "Cabbage Head Syndrome." When there's important information the writers needs to get across, they'll often have someone ask a really stupid and obvious question, so another character can explain things to him, and by extension to the audience. The character who asks the dumb question is called the Cabbage Head.

Unfortunately Jackson's gets to play the part here, even though he fought with Supergirl in the big Invasion crossover last year and surely to hell knows she's not of his Earth. Honestly everyone in the lab has encountered beings from the multiverse before, so no one should have had to ask about it. The writers needed to find a less hackneyed way to introduce the concept to the audience.

• After establishing the concept of the multiverse, Harry ominously tells the others he believes they're dealing with invaders from Earth-X. Several things here.

First of all, how does he know about the existence of this fifty third Earth in the first place? Especially when no one else has heard of it? He seems to know quite a bit about the history of the place too— right down to the dates of specific events!

Secondly, where the hell did he get the comprehensive Earth-X newsreel footage that he shows to the others? Is he an Earth-X cable subscriber? Or is he just playing similar Earth-1 Nazi videos to illustrate his point?

Lastly, Harry says that over on Earth-X, Hitler died in 1994. Hmm. I don't know how closely their history followed ours, but here on good old Earth-1, Hitler was born in 1889. That means he was 105 when he died! I guess it's not impossible, but you gotta admit, it's definitely unlikely. Maybe they used some sort of advanced Earth-X technology to keep him going?

• All this season on Legends Of Tomorrow, Jackson's been doing everything in his power to split up Firestorm so Professor Stein can retire and spend time with his family. Suddenly in Crisis On Earth-X Part 1, he began having second thoughts and started acting cold and distant toward Stein.

In this episode, Stein confronts him and demands to know what the hell's wrong with him. Jackson finally blurts out that he thinks of Stein as the father he never had, and doesn't want to lose him.

It's a nice sentiment, but... WHERE THE HELL DID THAT COME FROM? As far as I know Jackson's never once indicated he felt that way about the Prof, as he often acted annoyed by the fact he was connected to him and they shared a psychic link. Suddenly in this episode he does a complete 180ยบ turn and can't live without him.

I get that that this is just prep for Stein's looming departure from the show. But the Legends writers should have been setting this up all season, and not springing it on us at the very last second like this. And in an episode of Arrow to boot!

By the way, isn't it interesting how the Jackson/Stein psychic link lets each of them sense what the other's thinking— except when the script says they can't?

• The Earth-Xers steal the Prism from a lab called Dayton Optical. The Arrowverse shows love to name streets and buildings after prominent comic book writers and artists. I'm not aware of any named Dayton though.

There is a DC comic character named Steve Dayton though. He was a superhero named Mento, who was a member of the Doom Patrol. Was this a Doom Patrol shoutout, or just a coincidence?

• Harry and the other brains theorize that the Earth-Xers stole the Prism because it can be turned into a neutron bomb. At the end of the episode though, we find out they're actually using it to simulate a red sun, which will weaken Supergirl.

So which is it? Did they steal it to make a bomb or a sun? Was Harry wrong? Or did the writers need to polish this script a bit more before filming it?

• Overgirl seems curiously unaffected by Oliver's kryptonite arrows. Early on he shoots one at her that actually pierces her shoulder. She pulls it out and throws it back at him, but otherwise seems completely unfazed. Toward the end of the episode he fires another one at her, and this time she catches it in midflight and snaps it in half!

Generally whenever Supergirl's exposed to kryptonite on her own show, she's instantly weakened by it and can barely stand. So why doesn't the same happen to Overgirl? Does Earth-1 kryptonite not affect Earth-X Kryptonians the same way?

I have a feeling this is one of those cases where kryptonite has a certain effect except when the script says it doesn't.

• Once again, I'm convinced that the Flash cowls are so tight they're virtually impossible to put on or take off without the help of an army of makeup people. When Eobard Thawne takes off his cowl, he grabs it with both hands, then we get an awkward cutaway. When the camera points toward him again, his cowl's off. The same thing happens in this episode when Barry puts his on.

• My favorite part of the episode is when Dark Arrow invades Star Labs. Heat Wave spots him on the security camera, then turns to Iris and Felicity and says, "You and you, hide!" Iris asks, "What about Caitlin," and he replies, "It's gonna get a lot colder in here," implying he's gonna try and summon Killer Frost.

I love this scene, especially the part where he tells the non-powered women to hide. It proves that despite his gruff exterior, Mick really does care about his teammates, and shows just how much he's grown as a character since he was introduced.

• When Dark Arrow attacks STAR Labs by himself, Killer Frost freezes his hands to his bow. Somehow he manages to break free without shattering his hands into a thousand pieces, as should have happened.
• Felicity's a PKD fan! At one point she discusses Dark Arrow with Iris, saying, "It was Oliver, but it wasn't Oliver. It was Oliver In The High Castle!"

Of course she's referring to Phillip K. DIck's novel The Man In The High Castle, which is an alternate universe story about— what else— Nazis (and Japan) winning WWII.

• Funny how the Overgirl has the exact same little scar over her eyebrow that Supergirl has (click on the photo to see it better)! Now THAT'S what I call a coincidence! Somehow these two women who live in completely different universes must have suffered the exact same injury in the exact same spot, at the exact same time! Crazy!

What the hell kind of injury would leave a scar on a Kryptonian in the first place? Aren't they invulnerable?

• This episode features another epic, impressively choreographed fight scene between all the heroes and the Nazi hoard. It's not quite as impressive as the church battle in Crisis On Earth-X Part 1, but it's not bad.

There's one thing in the warehouse fight that made me laugh out loud though (and not in a good way). As the camera pans across the battle, you can actually see White Canary engaging in hand-to-hand combat with... Overgirl!

As if that wasn't bad enough, a few seconds later you can see the two of them still going at it!

Eventually Overgirl tires of the fight and starts choking Canary.

This is absolutely ridiculous. Canary's a normal human woman with impressive fighting skills, but that's about it. She'd last about 3.5 nanoseconds in a fight against a Kryptonian. Was there any reason why Overgirl didn't just snap Canary's neck and get it over with, like Superman did in Man Of Steel? Was she just toying with Canary, the way a cat plays with a mouse before eating it?

• Things I learned in this episode: Apparently if you throw Firestorm against a support column hard enough, he'll literally split into Jackson and Professor Stein again!

• At the end of the episode, a new version of Metallo appears and blasts the heroes into unconsciousness, so they can be transported to Earth-X. 

Obviously Metallo's here as a fun bit of fan service for Supergirl fans. But why do the Earth-Xers have a version of Metallo in the first place?

Metallo's a Supergirl villain who lives on Earth-38. He has no equivalent on Earth-1. So how the hell can he be on Earth-X? Did they spy on Earth-38, see Supergirl fighting Metallo and say, "Hey, that's a good idea for an evil robotic henchman!" and decide to build one of their own? I'm confused.

This Week's Best Lines:
Iris: "Ok, but why would Nazis from 1945 want to crash my wedding?"
Heat Wave: "Crab legs. They were delicious."

Dark Flash: (to Dark Arrow) "Don't threaten me, or have you forgotten? I can end your life before you birth your next thought."
(now THAT is an awesome piece of comic book dialogue!)

Overgirl: "You have to trust in the plan, Oliver. You should. It's yours."

Dark Arrow: "And do you trust me?"
Overgirl: "Yes, with all of my heart."

Caitlin: "Ok, but what about the Waverider? I mean, a time-traveling spaceship must have some sort of tracking technology that we can use."
Jackson: "Yeah, not exactly. It's, uh, it's in the stone age."
(He sees Caitlin looking at him skeptically)
Jackson: "Oh, like, literally in the stone age!"

Dark Arrow: "My allegiance is to the Fatherland and to my wife."

Supergirl: "His wife? Gross! (turning to Arrow) No offense!'
Supergirl: "Is that a kryptonite arrow? Why do you have a kryptonite arrow?"
Arrow: "In case an evil you ever showed up!"

Felicity: "The bottom line is that we have to catch these parallel-earth goose-steppers!"

Alex: "Is that a kryptonite arrow?"

Barry: "Yup."
Felicity: I know I shouldn't have to ask this question, but I have to ask this question. Oliver didn't shoot Kara, did he?"
Barry: "Sort of."

Dark Flash: "Do you like my face?:
Barry: "It's the face you were wearing when I became the Flash."
Dark Flash: "I thought I'd put it on again. You know, for old time's sake. Plus, handsome!"

Barry: "That's why you stole the Prism? So you could duplicate a red sun, weaken Kara, and cut into her?"
Dark Flash: "Can't make an omelet with invulnerable eggs."

Iris: "I thought we were gonna die."
Felicity: "If I had a dime for every time I thought that, I... I'd have two dollars and forty centsI really thought I'd have more than that."

Stein: (seeing the heroes are in a concentration camp on Earth-X) "This is somewhat disconcerting."
(wow, the Prof. has quite the talent for understatement!)

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