It is here! The four-part CW crossover, bringing Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow together for ‘Crisis on Earth-X’ is here, and we are set to talk about it. Gathered together, like our own make-shift Justice League, are our three regular reviewers of these series: Elias Rosner (Supergirl), Christopher Chiu-Tabet (Legends of Tomorrow), and Brian Salvatore (The Flash, Arrow) for a free-wheeling conversation about the events – both major and minor – that make up this two-night extravaganza.
Be warned, spoilers abound, and join us tomorrow for the second half of this conversation.
Chris: I’ll start by focusing on the first part: I was worried coming into it that they’d barely acknowledge the events of last week’s Supergirl, but they thought a lot about Kara and Alex’s state coming to Barry and Iris’s wedding. Overall, it was a really fun homage to “Fantastic Four Annual” #3.
Brian: As someone who is a season plus behind on Supergirl, I was happily not lost with the status quo of those characters. The show did a nice job with giving some context without making it an insane info dump.
And, for the record, the reason I’m so behind on Supergirl was because last year I was reviewing the other 3 CW shows, and just needed to not spend my entire week watching CW cape shows.
Elias: Yeah, I’m glad that, in what is ostensibly the Supergirl part of the crossover, they focused on the Supergirl characters. Also, thank god they kicked off this crossover doing, you know, crossover stuff, instead of the usual, here’s a regular Supergirl episode with her heading off to crossover at the end.
In terms of the CW crossover, I know it’s too early to call it, but I’ve got the sense that this is by far the most unified one so far because of this. They’ve got a great understanding of their characters and know how to get them to work off each other, creating new dynamics that have really brought some life, and humor, to them.
Chris: I loved how Mick got excited that Caitlin has the same powers as Snart.
Elias: Yeah, that was great. Mick was just on point the whole time too. He probably had some of the funniest lines of the night.
Chris: Your thoughts on Alex and Sara hooking up?
Elias: Hmm, so, I’m not sure if this is controversial or not but I would love to see a cross show relationship. It seems like its shaking out to be just a one night stand but it’d be interesting to see it develop more. It’d be an interesting dynamic and maybe give us an actual stable queer relationship in the show (after they quite unceremoniously destroyed Alex and Maggie’s engagement). Although, a former assassin, time ship captain and an agent from a different dimension wouldn’t exactly be a stress-less, easy relationship.
Although, I don’t understand Alex’s aversions to it being a one-night stand.
Chris: I think a part of her still hopes she can get back with Maggie, so having sex with another woman during their separation must’ve felt like cheating. She doesn’t want to accept she’s moving on, nor does she want Maggie to know. I also think Chyler Leigh’s religious beliefs may be a factor, she probably wants to discourage girls watching the show from thinking it’s normal behaviour.
Brian: I’m not so sure if it was based on an actor’s religious beliefs (unless Leigh has been outspoken about her beliefs in the past), more than just being in line with the character’s arc. When she finally came out last season, a bit part of it was about her feeling like she wasn’t living up to this ‘perfect, normal’ standard she had set for herself. Removing monogamy/commitment seems like something Alex would be against for that reason. But again, her arc has been one of discovery, so perhaps this will further her liberation.
Elias: That definitely shines through in her actions and I hope that’s the case. I would really like to stop having to see Alex and Kara have these repetitive, very melodramatic one-on-one conversations. It’s definitely gotten to me.
Brian: The first season was about Kara being who she really is, in all aspects of her life. Embracing love, embracing heroism, etc. The second season was about Alex doing the same. I had hoped that would’ve put an end to those conversationsContinued below
Elias: Yeah. They fit the characters but after seeing them on Supergirl week in and week out, I could do for some just regular conversation and subtler ways of showing Alex’s discomfort.
Chris: If we’re talking dull conversations then let’s not forget Oliver and Felicity. My eyes rolled out of my head during his horribly awkward proposal at the cafe.
Elias: You know, I didn’t find it so bad at first. At least the Oliver bumbling through it part. But by the end, yeah, it wasn’t good. I don’t even think we’ve gotten a full-on answer for what it is the Felicity is hung up on. She seems to not want a legal wedding but why?
Maybe I missed something in part two.
Brian: I like Oliver being impulsive for once, and not treading over the same ground over and over again like he tends to do, but I thought the execution of that scene was not great.
Felicity said, essentially, that the last time they got engaged, it all fell to shit.
Brian: And so, to her, engagement is cursed? Or something like that. It was a weird way to deal with that issue. I don’t think this crossover needed more melodrama, but here we are.
Elias: It is the CW after all. What would these shows be without the melodrama?
Chris: So much melodrama in the Arrow episode. I was so thankful when the Arrow and Supergirl banter began during the fight with the evil twins.
Do we have any thoughts on the church employee who congratulated Barry at his wedding? I’m a Black Sails fans so I recognized Jessica Parker Kennedy immediately.
Elias: Ooh, this was one of my notes actually. I think it’s Barry and Iris’ child or grandchild from the future.
Brian: I initially thought it would be Barry and Iris’s time traveling daughter, but now I’m not so sure. It was a weird touch to throw in there, for sure.
Elias: Oh yeah and if it doesn’t lead to anything, I’ll be very disappointed. Or at least hopeful it’ll lead to something down the line.
Speaking of set up, did it both anyone else that the crossover wasn’t really set up all that well in the shows prior to this, even though the evil Nazi versions of the characters said they’ve been watching them for a while?
Brian: I understand why it wasn’t – they want folks like me, who aren’t current on all four shows, to be able to jump in. If this was months in the making, they couldn’t expect that to happen. It would simply confuse the viewer.
Chris: Not for me, no, I accept that it feels like a standalone miniseries in the midst of all these overarching storylines. I don’t watch Arrow for the record, so I would’ve had no idea if they referenced something set up there.
Elias: Yeah, there was nothing, which is fine but I could’ve gone for some background stuff or little details in the other shows that didn’t quite add up until the crossover to make that line feel more cohesive. This is probably me reaching for something akin to subtlety in foreshadowing, which when it come to these shows, they’ve got a pretty terrible track record for.
It’s such a minor thing too.
Brian: My bigger problem with the crossover in general is one of simple mechanics: we’ve got an evil speedster, an evil archer, and an evil Kryptonian.
Cool, but we’ve also got 2 good speedsters, a good archer and an entire team, a good Kryptonian, plus a nuclear man and a bunch of time traveling superheroes. Shouldn’t it be an easy fight?
Elias: Speaking of, where are the rest of the Legends? Why’d they knock out Cisco so soon?
Chris: I wondered about Ray, because he does know Barry.
Brian: I noticed that, too. I think the show went with “who knows Barry and Iris?” For that reason, it is silly to include Mick and not Ray. I bet they show up in night 2.
Elias: I hope so
Brian: But am I alone in thinking that this fight is far too lopsided to the evil team?
Chris: There will be more villains to come, I believe.Continued below
Elias: I think the creators just wanted an excuse to split the team between worlds.
Chris: I also must point I did not recognize Wally at the wedding, even when he threw that bullet back in the gun chamber. I don’t recall seeing him at the reception. It really felt like he only had a day of shooting.
Brian: But in terms of the fight we saw last night, why did the heroes fall so quickly?
Elias: To Brian’s point, the villains, up until the end, were losing pretty handily until that final fight. They kept running away.
Hmm, the more I think about it, the more that final battle feels wrong.
Chris: Same, I don’t think Metallo alone would’ve turned the tide.
Elias: Granted, evil Supergirl does seem to be stronger than regular Supergirl due to…reasons? Is it the same thing as Superman in “All-Star Superman?”
Brian: Especially because we’ve seen Thawne defeated many times before, by less capable teams, and Ollie is a human with no powers.
So, if they take out Ollie and Thawne, that whole team versus SSupergirl (copyright 2017, Salvatore) seems winnable. If not, then Supergirl should be the world’s most boring show, as literally nothing can stop her.
Chris: Man, who saw the “All-Star Superman” reference coming? That was a great surprise.
Brian: Oh man, that put a huge grin on my face.
Elias: I was hoping for a much larger team from the evil side, like, you know, the evil Justice League. (or the CW version of it).
Brian: I’d be fine with it being one villain, as long as there is a reason for it. This just feels like they cooked up half a story, and have to stretch it out to maximum elasticity.
Speaking of that, how is Ralph invited to the bachelor party, but not the wedding?
Elias: Well, he did kind of invite himself to that. But I was having the same thoughts.
Chris: I imagine Ralph was deemed unnecessary to the larger storyline, it may have let us down, like Team Arrow’s appearance.
Elias: Oh yeah, I forgot they showed up just to get their asses handed to them. All this being said, I still prefer this crossover to the Dominators so far.
For all its missing characters and weak villain set-up, this one is the most cohesive of them all.
Brian: Well, the framing device of the wedding helps.
Elias: True. It also gave us some groan worthy but funny opening battles.
Brian: Oh, that shit was insufferable.
Again, I get it, but I rolled my eyes so hard they fell out of my head, and I spent an hour trying to find them in the couch.
Elias: Which was the worst? The Flash one where they’ve, once again, reduced Iris’ character to just caring about the wedding?
Chris: As cool it would be to pit the CWVerse against someone like Brainiac or Starro, I think Earth X provides a really topical storyline.
Brian: Oh, absolutely, Chris. I love the idea of this storyline thus far, I’m just waiting to love the story itself.
I actually think the shows could do something really cool and have Iris and Felicity save the day, but it won’t.
Elias: Also, didn’t Kid Flash battle Starro off screen?
Chris: Yes! That could’ve been all the foreshadowing you wanted!
Brian: And yes, he did.
Elias: That would’ve been so much better!
Chris: “Why do you want revenge on all of us for? He’s barely in this crossover!”
Elias: “And he’s got a haircut that makes him look completely different.”
Chris: That’s why I didn’t recognize him, yeesh.
Elias: Yeah, it took me a while. I thought there was another speedster, like Impulse or Jessie Quick.
I kind of wish I’d live-tweeted this because there were so many moments that came and went and never get addressed again. Like a Guardian that actually did stuff or them finally giving Melissa Benoist the opportunity to sing again.
Chris: She totally lulled Mick to sleep.
Brian: You know what my first note, post-Earth X sequence was? “This looks like an episode of Supergirl”
The way it was lit and staged was far brighter than what we get on non-Mondays on the CW. I’m glad that they decided to keep some of the visual style for each episode.Continued below
Chris: Ironic as Alex complains about the lack of clouds in Central City.
I thought the camerawork was pretty dynamic and the CGI budget was a lot higher. That Supergirl and Overgirl fight in the church – wow. But then the Arrow episode had some shonky fx with the otherwise cool scene of saving the construction workers, and of course the climax takes place in a parking lot.
Elias: Oh yeah, totally. The camera work was a little less stellar during the final battle though. I had a lot of trouble following that one.
Brian: Again, that is true to Arrow‘s mantra of “as dark as possible, all the time.” Last season, there was a scene with three guys in dark hoods, fighting in a dark warehouse. It was impossible to follow.
Elias: What about rubber Ollie and his arrows of safety on that building? At least he’s given up his stupid gravelly voice. Although, the Nazi versions of them more than make up for that with their masks.
Chris: I don’t get the masks, do they even wear them in the second part? I thought they were for the stunt doubles’ benefit.
Elias: I hadn’t thought about that. And no, they don’t really.
Chris: I wish there’d been more surprises as a result, like Merlyn turning out to be Earth X’s Arrow.
Elias: Yeah, me too. More surprises would’ve been great.
Chris: One thing I noticed was the Nazis storming into STAR Labs shove aside an Asian scientist. I could’ve sworn only Wells, Cisco and Caitlin work at STAR Labs.
Brian: I didn’t notice that scientist. Huh.
I will say this, re: Merlyn. That should have felt more momentous. But Arrow had changed so much in the past five years that the reveal felt small.
Chris: I was shocked no one checked for cyanide.
Brian: Yeah, that’s the oldest trick in the “have to find a way around the obvious structural problems” book.
Chris: I agree they could’ve made more of it, but I loved that scene regardless. I went ‘oh please’ with his sob story, only to have them acknowledge that’s what Nazis want you to think about them. Ollie’s totally the guy who read that shitty NYT story and felt sympathy for a white supremacist.
Brian: Yeah, I agree with all of that, but the gravity of that reveal should have sent Ollie (and the audience) into a tizzy. It just kind of came off as flat – and I recognize that part of that is that the majority of the viewers didn’t watch Arrow Season One.
Chris: Is that so? I gave up during season three.
Elias: Did anyone start on later seasons of Arrow?
Brian: I would think that a fair amount of the crossover audience doesn’t watch Arrow, specifically because it wasn’t on Arrow‘s usual night. I’m sure a lot of Supergirl viewers watched Arrow for the first time last night.
Elias: That’s a good point. I forgot that not everyone watches all four shows week in and week out.
Brian: Also, Arrow‘s first season is not great. Season two is when it got interesting.
Chris: We should do a retrospective at some point, even if it might descend into bickering.
Elias: The more I think about it, the more I realize how much of this crossover’s problems are due to the size of the cast and the wasted potential of seeing long dead characters return, only as a perversion of the originals.
Chris: I’ve never been big on crossovers in comics myself and definitely prefer it when characters guest star in another’s story.
Elias: I’m a big fan of standalone crossovers but not huge events. Sometimes you need that extra space to tell a different story with the same characters.
The Tommy thing is the perfect example of that for Ollie. They had the perfect opportunity to have him compare this to the Laurel’s “return” all over again. He believes the sob story because he’s not seeing evil Nazi Tommy but his dead friend and I think that’s why he was sucked into the sob story more than he otherwise would have been. So, when the illusion is shattered, Ollie would have been extra devastated.
Brian: Yeah, it feels like a waste of Tommy’s return. Let’s do this – let’s just plow through our notes and share any stray thoughts/observations we have before wrapping up.
I’ll start: how cheap was it to have Thawne ‘put on the Wells face’ just to avoid paying yet another actor?
Chris: Oh gosh, “time travel, very confusing” is basically their equivalent of Basil Exposition telling audiences to forget and move on. And you’re absolutely right Elias.
Elias:If this were a couple more episodes in, I’m convinced that we could’ve had the Legion of Super Heroes here from Supergirl. Hell, why didn’t she instantly pop-over and grab J’onn to help with the fight? Mostly it’s the missing Legends that bothers me.
Brian: The J’onn thing bugs me every time they do these crossovers.
Chris: We do have two more parts to look forward to, but it stinks J’onn isn’t involved, David Harewood is such a brilliant actor.
Brian: That’s a critique I have all the time – if they can travel for a wedding, why can’t the shows call each other up for help more often?
Chris: I take way too many notes, so all I’ll say is, I wonder how Kara could’ve been brainwashed on Earth X?
Chris: Even in Injustice 2 she’s still a goodie.
Brian: This is them doing “Superman: Red Son” with Kara. Oh, and speaking of that, grab Superman for a giant battle for fuck’s sake
Chris: So this Kara was born on Earth X?
EliasOh yeah, she arrived when she was a teen. We don’t really know what values the Kryptonians instilled in her before she left though.
Where is Nazi Superman? He makes more sense to be evil if he was raised from birth instead of teenagehood.
Chris: I have this weird feeling we won’t be seeing Tyler Hoechlin at all this season.
Elias: That’s sad. Tyler Hoechlin was a highlight of last season. Oh, and Felicity is Jewish but we never really get much from her beyond the one scene with her being disgusted by the Nazi Earth. I blame the writers for failing to remember that except around Hanukkah time.
Seems our stray thoughts were quite numerous.
Chris: It seems a lot of our criticisms were for the Arrow part. I really enjoyed the Supergirl chapter. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the final two parts. Just don’t kill Victor Garber, you mad bastards!
Elias:You think they’re going to do that? Also, The Flash question. Did DeVoe know about this? Does this mess with his plans? Will it even be acknowledged?
Chris: I hope not, I’ll be distraught. I’ll let Brian answer that as our Flash reviewer.
Brian: I think we have to think of this as a completely isolated event that will barely be referenced after it is over.
Elias:Which is both great and unfortunate.
Chris: We have that Freedom Fighters: The Ray animation to look forward to. Another reason to look forward to tonight’s episodes, as he did not make his debut in the first half.
Brian: Ultimately, four episodes is not enough to do all that they want to do here, but the idea of a 2 week crossover seems unlikely. Next season, I would rather 2-3 smaller crossovers than this huge one.
Elias:Same and if they are going to do a big one like this again, I would really like it to have ramifications for the shows while also being teased in them. Not much but it would make these larger crossovers feel like events instead of just a mini-series slapped into the middle of a season.
Hell, I just wish we saw the casts hanging out in each others shows more often. We also have the return of Leonard Snart, if promos are to be believed.
Brian: We know that the Ray is an Earth X hero, but I bet that Cold is also a hero on Earth X.
Chris: Well he died a hero on Earth 1 at least. We should save all this for tomorrow.
Brian: That’s as good an excuse to grab some coffee as any. See y’all tomorrow!
Elias: See ya then!