Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Flash Season 4, Episode 8: Crisis On Earth-X Part 3

The CW's big crossover event continues on The Flash, in Crisis On Earth-X Part 3!

Overall this was an improvement over the previous episode, as there was quite a bit going on. We got the introduction of a brand new superhero in the Ray, the return of an old favorite (sort of) with the appearance of Citizen Cold, and a few other surprises as well.

Best of all, this episode kept the unnecessary relationship drama to a very welcome minimum. Such hooey was a big problem in Part 2, and really dragged down that chapter of the story.

Given the amount of time he receives in this episode, I'm assuming the CW has big plans for the Ray. I'm not sure exactly what they're intending to do with him though. His powers seem to be pretty much the same as Firestorm's, so it's unlikely he'd join the Legends. STAR Labs is getting awfully crowded these days as well, what with Elongated Man joining the team, so I don't see him landing there either. I guess we'll have to wait and see where he pops up.

Crisis On Earth-X Part 3 also sets up the unfortunate and imminent departure of actor Victor Garber as Professor Stein. I reeeeeally hate to see Stein leave the Arrowverse, and I'm honestly worried as to how his absence will affect Legends Of Tomorrow.

In Part 2 we learned that Dark Arrow is somehow the Fuhrer of the entire planet of Earth-X. I'm not a fan of that revelation, as it's nonsensical and feels like lazy writing. I was kind of hoping that this episode would reveal there was an Uber-Fuhrer or something, one in charge of even Dark Arrow. Someone really powerful and unexpected. Someone like... an evil version of Superman! Wouldn't that have been a jaw-dropping reveal? 

Despite these minor hiccups, I've really enjoyed this crossover quite a bit, and so far it's been better than the recent Justice League theatrical movie. Watching all these heroes on the screen at the same time has been a comic book fan's dream, one I honestly never thought I'd live to see. It's an amazing time to be alive.

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 4


The Plot:
Picking up where Crisis On Earth-X Part 2 left off, the Flash, Arrow, Professor Stein, Jefferson Jackson, White Canary and Alex Danvers wake up in a horrifying concentration camp on Earth-X. They meet fellow prisoner Ray Terrill, who tells them there's no escape.

Jackson and Stein try to merge into Firestorm but can't, due to the power-dampening collars they're wearing. Alex says they have to get back to Earth-1 immediately, to prevent Dark Arrow, Overgirl and Dark Flash from killing her sister Supergirl. Barry and Arrow assure everyone they'll escape and return home. Just how they plan to do that is left to our imaginations.

Back at STAR Labs in Earth1, Cisco finally wakes up from the concussion he suffered at Barry and Iris' wedding. I won't go into how concussions are serious business, and if you're unconscious from one for more than a couple hours you likely won't ever wake up. Oops! I just did it! Anyway, Cisco, Harry, Caitlin, Black Canary, Mr. Terrific and Wild Dog are all being held inside the STAR Labs Secret Super Jail. Harry asks Cisco if there's any way out of the cells. Sadly, Cisco replies he designed them to house dangerous metahumans, and they're 100% escape proof.

Elsewhere in STAR Labs, Dark Flash, aka the somehow resurrected Eobard Thawne of Earth-1, checks in on Supergirl. He's using the Prism he stole in Part 2 to simulate a red sun, which will weaken her and allow him to remove her heart and transplant it into the ailing Overgirl.

Meanwhile, Iris and Felicity are crawling through the Lab's ridiculously spacious duct work, and overhear the plan. Iris says they need to get to the Pipeline and shut down the power, so Cisco and the other prisoners can escape and rescue Supergirl.

At the concentration camp, the Earth-X version of Detective Quentin Lance (father of Sara Lance, aka White Canary) enters. This evil Nazi Lance is a high-ranking officer who's in charge of the camp. He's unnerved by the sight of Canary, and asks why she hooked up with these other-dimensional heroes. She says because she likes women as well as men, and fights for the right of everyone to love whoever they want.

Lance scoffs and says he had a daughter who looked just like her, and had similar tendencies. He killed her to preserve the purity of his family line forever. Harsh!

Lance's men then round up the heroes, along with Ray for some reason, and place them in front of a firing squad. Just as the Nazis are about to open fire, their guns are suddenly frozen solid. It's Citizen Cold, the Earth-X version of Captain Cold, to the rescue!

Cold and the others make a run for it as Nazi Lance orders his men to fire. They all pile into a trench, where Cold removes Ray's power-dampening collar. Suddenly Ray glows bright yellow and flies into the sky, firing energy blasts at the Nazis until they retreat. Ray invites the heroes back to his base.

Back at STAR Labs, Iris and Felicity sneak into the Pipeline, and somehow manage to knock out a couple of Nazi guards. Iris tries to shut down the power to the Jail, while Felicity sends out a distress call to the Legends on the Waverider (I guess she has their phone number?).

Ray and Cold take the heroes to their secret base, where everyone marvels (heh) at the fact that Arrow looks exactly like the Fuhrer of this world. Ray asks where they're all from, and when they say Earth-1, he reveals he was born there as well. Oddly enough, while the Earth-1 Captain Cold was a cynical and sarcastic criminal, the Earth-X version is a warm, caring hero, who's annoyingly in touch with his feelings.

Barry asks Ray if he knows how they were brought to Earth-X. He says probably through the large dimensional portal we saw back in Part 1, which the Nazis how control. Barry says that's their only chance to get home, and demands Ray take them there. Unfortunately he says he can't do that. When Barry asks why, General Schott (the Earth-X version of Earth-38's Winn Schott) says, "Because we're blowing it the hell up!"

Schott is the leader of Earth-X's Freedom Fighters, and says they've been waiting for a chance like this for years. He says Dark Arrow, Overgirl and Dark Flash are all currently over on Earth-1, and if they blow up the portal now, they'll strand them there forever, separating the Fuhrer from his armies.

Barry tries to convince him the portal is their only chance to get home and save their loved ones. Schott refuses to listen, and prohibits them from messing with the portal. After he leaves, Ray and Cold, who are apparently a couple, agree to go against the General's orders and help Barry and the others.

Eventually Ray, who still has family back on Earth-1, talks to Schott and convinces him to delay the attack on the portal for one hour. The heroes then plan how they're going to get through the army of Nazis surrounding the place. Barry does reconnaissance at super speed, and says the portal facility contains a power dampening field, which will prevent the heroes from attacking it. Someone's going to have to get in and shut down the field so they can wipe out the Nazis inside and use the portal to go home.

At STAR Labs, Dark Flash begins the grisly transplant operation. Just as he's about to cut into Supergirl's chest, the power goes out. Dark Arrow and Dark Flash leave to search the building. As soon as they do, Iris and Felicity drop down from the ceiling. They rescue Supergirl and carry her to the elevators. Felicity frantically pushes the buttons, and when the door finally opens, they're shocked to see Metallo inside. He blasts Supergirl across the room, as Iris and Felicity are surrounded by soldiers.

On Earth-X, an armored car pulls up to the portal facility. An armed guard asks Cold (who's wearing a Nazi uniform) for his papers. The back window rolls down, and Arrow, who's disguised as the Fuhrer, says they don't need papers. The flustered guard waves them through.

Inside the facility, Arrow meets with Nazi Lance, who shows him the newest Nazi Doomsday Weapon— a ship that looks exactly like the Legends' Waverider. How they got ahold of the ship's plans and managed to duplicate it is apparently none of our business. 
Lance says it has the power to travel not only in time, but between universes as well. He says the ship— which is called the Wellenreiter— is ready for deployment to Earth-1, where it will presumably destroy the planet or something.

Nazi Lance asks Arrow if he should send the Wellenreiter through. Arrow, not wanting to blow his cover, reluctantly says yes. Nazi Lance activates the portal, which opens a large breach high above the facility. The Wellenreiter flies through it, and emerges on Earth-1.

At STAR, Dark Flash reports that the Wellenreiter has arrived. Dark Arrow says he doesn't care, as all that matters to him is saving Overgirl. Dark Flash says he can't proceed with the operation without power, and he can't restore it because Felicity encrypted the grid.

Meanwhile, Nazi Lance is suspicious of the "Fuhrer," and decides to test him. He brings in the Earth-X version of Felicity from the concentration camp, and presents her to Arrow. He says he knows how much the Fuhrer enjoys killing Jews, and offers him a gun. For or a second it looks like Arrow might actually go ahead and shoot Earth-X Felicity, but he turns on Nazi Lance and points the gun at him. He pulls the trigger, but unfortunately it's empty. Busted!

Arrow then throws the gun at Lance, who runs away like a little girl. The soldiers attack, and Arrow kicks, punches and shoots his way through the horde, eventually killing them all (!). He gives a gun to Earth-X Felicity and tells her to go.

Arrow then deactivates the power dampening field. Flash immediately rushes in, and sees the portal controls have been damaged, making it impossible to activate. The heroes will have to fight their way to the platform— which is apparently in a completely different location— and operate it from there (?).

Just then, Cold gets a call from Schott, who says he's changed his mind about waiting, and has launched a weapon at the portal. In an effort to cram in as much fan service as possible, that weapon turns out to be— Red Tornado!

Back on Earth-1, Dark Arrow orders Felicity to turn on the power or else. She refuses, and Dark Flash threatens to vibrate his hand through her chest. Right as he's about to kill her, Supergirl enters and volunteers to go through with the heart transplant to save Felicity. A defeated Felicity reluctantly gives Thawne the code, and STAR Labs' power's restored.

Cold informs the heroes that Red Tornado's on his way to destroy the portal facility. Barry and The Ray zoom off to stop Tornado, while Arrow, Cold and the others head for the portal platform.

At the portal facility, Nazi Lance orders his troops to protect the device at all costs. Firestorm blasts down the door and Arrow, Cold, Canary and Alex burst in, and start kicking Nazi ass. Meanwhile, the Flash and the Ray try their best to stop Red Tornado, but he defeats them and blasts off at supersonic speed.

Firestorm sees the portal activation lever, and starts to head for it. Professor Stein's disembodied voice, which exists inside Jackson's head when they're in Firestorm mode, says the lever is powered by battery that has to be activated first. Stein suggests they split up, so Jackson can activate the battery while he pulls the lever.

They split up, and Jackson manages to hot wire the battery. He's then instantly pinned down by Nazi gunfire, unable to move. Stein dashes toward the lever, and is shot in the back by Nazis! He collapses on the floor, as Jackson screams out in anguish.

• Inside the concentration camp, the Legends notice the prisoners are wearing either Stars Of David or colored triangles on their uniforms.

Jackson sees Ray Terrill, and asks what his pink triangle stands for. He replies, "I loved the wrong person."

That was actually a thing in real Nazi concentration camps back in WWII! 

Triangle badges came in various colors, which indicated a prisoner's alleged crime:

Red Triangle - political prisoner
Green Triangle - criminal
Blue Triangle - emigrant
Purple Triangle - Jehovah's Witness or other pacifist religious group
Pink Triangle - homosexuals, rapists and pedophiles
Black Triangle - sort of a catchall, including alcoholics, drug addicts, pacifists, draft dodgers and prostitutes
Brown Triangle - Romas (sometimes called "gypsies")

Jewish prisoners wore badges shaped like a Star Of David, which were multicolored to indicate their crime:

Red & Yellow Star - political prisoner
Blue & Red - foreign laborer
Green & Yellow - habitual criminal
Purple & Yellow - a Jewish Jehovah's Witness (?)
Pink & Yellow - sex offender
Black & Yellow - asocial or "race defiler" (?)

• Ray Terrill turns out to be THE Ray, a light-powered superhero who's originally from Earth-1, but is now living on the hellish Earth-X for some reason.

The Ray first appeared way back in 1940, and was published by Quality Comics. When Quality was bought out by DC Comics sometime later, the Ray became part of a superhero team called the Freedom Fighters (no connection to the Freedom Fighters seen in this episode though). In addition to the Ray, the team consisted of Black Condor, Doll Man, the Human Bomb, Phantom Lady and Uncle Sam. Oddly enough, in the comics the Freedom Fighters lived on... Earth-X!

DC revamped and reintroduced the character in a 1992 comic miniseries. The Ray seen in this episode sort of resembles the 90s version.

• When we first see the Ray on Earth-X, he's being held prisoner in a concentration camp. I wondered why he didn't just fly away, since he doesn't appear to be wearing a power-dampening collar like the Earth-1 heroes.

Later after Cold rescues the group, he reaches up and takes a collar off of Ray so he can finally use his powers. I went back and looked at the first scene and there's definitely not a glowing blue collar around his neck. 
Either the collar was stuffed way down under his uniform so it couldn't be seen, or somebody goofed and didn't put one on him in the opening scene.

• The head of the concentration camp is Sturmbannfuehrer Lance, the Earth-X version of Detective Quentin Lance of Arrow fame.

Back in Part 2, I wondered why none of the Earth-Xers spoke with German accents, which you'd think would be a given in a world ruled by Nazis. Oddly enough, Sturmbannfuehrer Lance is the only Earth-Xer we see that actually does have a German accent! Well, sort of. 

Actually it's a non-specific accent that mutates over the course of the episode, starting out sort of German and ending up British-esque. Anyway, why he has one and none of the other Earth-Xers do is apparently none of our business, as it's never explained.

• At one point we see Cisco, Caitlin and Team Arrow imprisoned  in the STAR Labs Secret Super Jail. Many times on The Flash we've seen one of these cells at the end of a long, equipment-filled corridor. I'm pretty sure this is the first time we've seen there's apparently a whole wall of them though.

So I guess these cell "pods" must be on some kind of track, and they work much like a Star Trek turbolift. I'm imagining that one will slide over to the hallway so the STAR Labs Gang can load a prisoner into it, then it moves back up onto a storage rack?

By the way, during this scene we see Harry bouncing a ball against the wall of his cell (don't ask me where he got it) as he does his best impression of Steve McQueen in The Great Escape.

This scene brings up something I've always wondered about these cells— how the hell do prisoners go to the restroom in 'em? I'm not seeing any facilities inside. Is there some kind of privy that folds down out of the wall or something? Or do they just have to pick a corner and squat?

• Iris and Felicity sneak into the STAR Labs Cortex to call for backup. 
Felicity says, "I'll send an SOS to the Legends." Iris asks, "How long will it take for them to get it?" Felicity then replies, "Depends where they are in time." A couple things here.

First of all, STAR Labs apparently has a transmitter that can send signals through time. Impressive!

Secondly, Felicity's statement implies that the farther back the Legends are in time, the longer her message will take to get to them. I guess that kind of makes sense? Hopefully they're not still in the Stone Age, or the signal might take 2.5 million years to reach 'em!

• Ray takes Barry and the other heroes to the Freedom Fighter base. Once there, Barry and Ray have the following conversation:

Cold: "You still haven't told us which Earth you're from. Clearly, it's not this one."
Barry: "We're from Earth-1."
Cold: "Earth-1? Well, golly."
Jackson: "Am I missing something here?"

Ray: "I'm from Earth-1 too."

Hmm. So Barry and all agree they're from Earth-1, Harry somehow knows he's from Earth-2 and on several occasions Supergirl's mentioned she's from Earth-38. How do people from all these various worlds automatically know what number Earth they're from? 

Are they labeled somehow? Is there a large "38" floating in the sky of Supergirl's Earth? Does Harry send out a multiverse newsletter that lists the names and numbers of all fifty three Earths?

• As always, it was great to see Wentworth Miller back as Captain Cold, or his Earth-X equivalent at least. That said, I'm not a fan of Citizen Cold, who's actually a valiant freedom fighter rather than a cynical villain. 

I appreciate that they were trying to do something different with the character, but I didn't much care for his soulful, caring, in-touch-with-his-feelings personality. I much prefer the original "antihero" Cold. Your mileage may vary.

• Not a nitpick or anything, but an observation: In this episode, it's revealed that the Ray and Citizen Cold are a gay couple. The two characters are played by Russell Tovey and Wentworth Miller respectively, who're both gay in real life. Interesting.

• One of the biggest surprises of the episode was the leader of the Freedom Fighters turning out to be the Earth-X version of Supergirl's pal Winn Schott! Actor Jeremy Jordan did a pretty good job as the no-nonsense general, which was a huge departure from the way he usually plays the role. Kudos!

So... if there's a Winn on Earth-38 and Earth-X, does that mean there's one on Earth-1 as well? One we've just not met yet?

• There's a really cool moment in the scene in which the Earth-1 heroes discuss infiltrating the portal facility. Arrow wonders how tight the security is inside the place. Barry zips away and returns half a second later, saying it's pretty tight! Apparently he ran off and did recon in between heartbeats!

There was a slight potential problem with the scene though. When Barry returns from his split second recon, he says the portal facility contains a power-dampening field. So how'd he get in and out of the place at superspeed then? Did he stay outside and just poke his head in the door, or peek through the window?

• When Dark Flash starts to remove Supergirl's heart, she defiantly tells him, "My cousin... he'll find you!"

She's obviously talking about Superman here, and it was probably a mistake to bring him up. Mentioning him just makes the audience wonder why he's not helping defeat the Earth-X Nazis. Even worse, the writers never provide any explanation as to why he's AWOL. 

The least they could have done is say he was on a secret mission on Earth-38. And if they weren't gonna offer an explanation, then they shouldn't have alluded to him at all.

By the way, apparently Dark Flash, aka Eobard Thawne, will face off against Superman at some point in the future. After Supergirl mentions her cousin, Dark Flash says, "Your cousin. Really? Fun tidbit. I fought your cousin once. In the future. He is fast. I'm faster."

Yikes! That sounded... ominous. Does Thawne defeat Superman in the future? Or maybe even kill him?

• Somehow the Nazis build a perfect replica of the Waverider. So where the hell's they get detailed schematics of it? 

Even if they did somehow come across the plans, how would they be able to duplicate it? The ship was built by the Time Masters, and is filled with advanced, futuristic technology. Tech that I'm sure doesn't exist on Earth-X in 2017. It'd be like Karl Benz getting ahold of the plans to a Tesla, and somehow building one with 1885 technology.

By the way, the Earth-X version of the Waverider is called the Wellenreiter. As you might expect, that's German for Waverider! It's a nice little touch, but as I brought up in Part 2, it once again raises the question of why the Earth-Xers aren't all speaking German.

According to Nazi Lance, the Wellenreiter can travel through time, just like the Waverider does. So why don't the Earth-Xers ever take advantage of that feature? Instead of fighting the Earth-1 heroes in the here and now, they could have gone back in time and prevented their births or something.

• It seems like Federal Law at this point that all superhero movies and TV shows MUST feature a blue laser stabbing upward into the sky at some point.

I'm pleased to report that Crisis On Earth-X Part 3 boldly and fearlessly bucks this worn-out trend. Instead of a blue laser shooting into the sky, it breaks new ground by featuring a red one! Trailblazing!

• In an effort to save Supergirl, Felicity shuts off the power at STAR Labs and encrypts the electrical grid. Dark Arrow threatens to kill her if she doesn't restore the power, and she eventually folds and gives up the password.

For the record, the password is "Latte, Ada, Jonas, 1-1-9-0-0." 

Are those just random words, or do they have some special meaning to Felicity? I'm assuming "Latte's" in there because she likes coffee, but is there any significance to the names "Ada" and "Jonas?" Her parents were Donna and Noah, so that's no help. Maybe those were the names of her grandparents? 

Over on Legends Of Tomorrow, Rip Hunter had a son named Jonas, but it's unlikely Felicity would know (or care) about that. Maybe she's a fan of the Jonas Brothers?

• Things I learned in this episode: Felicity isn't a natural blonde! 

When Nazi Lance suspects Oliver's not the real Fuhrer, he has the Earth-X version of Felicity brought in for him to execute. As Earth-X Felicity kneels before Arrow, we see she's dressed in a striped concentration camp uniform with a "Jude" Star Of David badge, and has brunette hair!

From what we've seen so far, the various multiverse doppelgangers are usually identical to one another. That means Earth-1 Felicity must be dying her hair blonde!

By the way, as I said earlier, the Nazis used many types of color-coded concentration camp badges in WWII, but never an all yellow one like we see here. This isn't necessarily a mistake though, as it's possible they use this one over on Earth-X.

• I fully admit I'm only a sporadic Supergirl watcher—  nothing against the show mind you, but there're only so many hours in a day, and I can't watch everything. As a result I'm not as versed in Supergirl lore as I am the other shows. So I have to ask: Is there a reason why Metallo appears to have an Australian accent in this episode? 

• At one point Arrow pretends to be the Earth-X Fuhrer to sneak into the portal facility. Um... so where'
d the Freedom Fighters get a full, perfectly accurate Fuhrer uniform? I can see how they might have some regular Nazi uniforms lying around, since they've probably killed a ton of grunts. But a full Fuhrer one?

• In order to trap the Earth-Xers on Earth-1, Schott sends Red Tornado to destroy the portal facility. Where the hell did the Freedom Fighters get a goddamned flying robot? Did they build him? You'd think if they've got the technology to create a sentient android with tornado powers, then they shouldn't have any trouble defeating the Nazis.

Missed Opportunity: The Freedom Fighters had Red Tornado, while the Nazis had Metallo. Why the hell didn't we get a battle between those two?

• Man, people talk about Stormtroopers not being able to hit anything, but they've got nothing on these Earth-X Nazis! Over and over during this crossover they fire at the heroes, spraying bullets like water from a hose, and never once hit anyone!

• At the end of the episode, Professor Stein tries to pull a lever that'll activate the dimensional portal. This lever is the biggest, brightest, reddest, most obvious lever that's ever appeared in a network TV show! I honestly laughed when I saw it, it's just so... comic booky!

This Week's Best Lines:
Canary: (inside the concentration camp) "So this crap-hole's Earth-X."

Felicity: (inside STAR Labs' ductwork) "Do you know oww to get to the pipeline from here?"

Iris: "I think so."
Felicity: "Lead the way, McClane."

(if nothing else, Felicity loves her pop-culture references)

Nazi Lance: (seeing Canary, who looks exactly like his Earth-X daughter) "Blonde hair blue eyes This is Nordic perfection. Why would you align yourself with the unpure?"

Canary: "Because I like men and I like women."
Nazi Lance: "You know, I had a daughter who looked just like you, with similar compulsions. And I expunged that filth from my family line forever."

(now THAT'S a true Nazi!)

Flash: "So you're Leonard Snart's doppelganger."
Cold: "No, I'm Leonard Snart, but you can call me Leo. That is a fantastic outfit. Did you make that?"

Overgirl: "We're everything they want to be: blonde, white. Aryan perfection."
Supergirl: "I'm not like you. I don't think I'm better than everyone else."
Overgirl: "You should. You are. You're a god to them. You could have been living like one."
Supergirl: "Like you?"
Overgirl: "
Yes, like me. They want someone to bow to, to worship, to lead."
Supergirl: "What you're doing is not leading. It's ruling."

Overgirl: "Why do you care if I take your heart? You're not using it."
Supergirl: "At least I have one."

General Schott: (as he glares at Arrow) "Wait, why does this man look exactly like the Fuehrer I am trying to kill?"

Canary: "Look, fingerless gloves, all we are asking is for a little bit of time."

Felicity: (as she and Iris rescue Supergirl) "Take that you, Nazi mother... Whoo!"
Iris: (to the drugged Supergirl) "Hey, hey, hey. Come with me if you want to live."

(I guess Iris doesn't mind a good pop culture reference now and then either)

Arrow: "Then we need to reopen the gateway before that happens. Barry, Ray—"
Barry: "We know. Stop a flying robot somehow."
Arrow: "Good. The rest of us will open the breach."
Cold: "That's the whole plan?"
Barry: "Well, as a Snart we know used to say, 'Make a plan. Execute the plan. Expect the plan to go off the rails. Throw away the plan."
Cold: "Wow. That is that is terrible advice. I always have a plan, down to the second, so nothing ever goes wrong."

Cold: (to Arrow) "I thought it'd be fun if we put on our costumes."

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