It’s over! The four-part CW crossover that brought Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow together for ‘Crisis on Earth-X’ came, saw and conquered. Our three regular reviewers of these series – Elias Rosner (Supergirl), Christopher Chiu-Tabet (Legends of Tomorrow), and Brian Salvatore (The Flash, Arrow) – gathered to talk about the first two parts yesterday, and now we conclude our conversation on the final two parts. There will be spoilers:
Chris: I think we should begin with a curtain call for Victor Garber, who is a fabulous actor and really classed up these shows with his presence.
I felt Jax was awfully quick to euthanize Stein, and the debate may have gone on if this wasn’t a crossover, but I suppose their psychic connection meant he was the easiest person to persuade to do that.
I wish Stein could’ve lived on in Jax’s head, or that he would’ve retired to be a doting grandfather. I do think Jax will make an amazing godfather though.
Brian: Yeah, that scene was both legitimately heartbreaking and weirdly written. I thought, for sure, that as captain, Sara would have essentially forced Jax’s hand, which would’ve been a nice callback to the ‘taking orders’ conversation between General Winn and the Ray.
But guys, here’s the problem with all consequences on Legends…why didn’t they just time travel to fix that? I know they often spout a line of bullshit about not changing their own destinies, but they do that all the time. Doesn’t this seem like a prime moment to Back to the Future this and give Stein a bulletproof vest?
Chris: The Waverider can’t go into alternate realities, and it’s such a big bulky piece of equipment, not to mention causing a predestination paradox.
Brian: Literally all of those things have workarounds on the show, and have been used to workaround stuff before. It just annoys me how sometimes the show wants to follow a sort of logic protocol, and other times just throws its hands up and says “fuck it.”
Elias: I’m too much of a sucker for a well earned death scene and I think I was too busy crying to really consider how annoying the time travel logic in this show is.
Brian: In a lot of ways, his death was the only one that could have mattered this much. He has the most to lose, which means that losing him hurts the most.
Although it did have a bit of that cliche “I’m four days away from retirement, my daughter is getting married, and I just bought a beach house – life is good KABOOM” feel.
Chris: Yeah, I mean the writing was on the wall.
Elias: Oh, it totally did but he’s been saying it since the start of the season, so it had already worked its way into the fabric of the series.
And now we get to deal with the fallout of that within the pages of Legends. I wonder if Jax is going to refuse to accept Stein’s death there and try some bullshit time travel shenanigans.
I think I’m lenient on the scene because the actual post-death scenes felt impactful and true to each character. They took the time to show the gravity of the death and the effect it has on those who knew him.
Brian: I can agree with that. I really do wish, however, that the CW/Garber didn’t announce his departure ahead of time.
Chris: I suppose that may have given it that extra punch, not knowing how exactly his storyline in Legends season 3 was going to play out.
Let’s rewind a bit and talk about The Flash turning into The Man in the High Castle.
Brian: Personally, I loved both parts of last night’s festivities. I thought they were far stronger than night one’s.
Elias: Brian, they did that? I must’ve completely missed that.
Well, yeah, that’d do it.
Brian: Yeah, they released a press release and everything. It killed the momentum completely.
Chris: My takeaway finishing the crossover was, I enjoyed the wedding(s), the adventure on Earth X, and the final dust-up, but did it need to be a four-part crossover?
Brian: In some ways, I think it needed to be 8 parts. There were so many threads/ideas that were undercooked or rushed because of the constraints of 160 minutes of action. On the other, I could’ve trimmed a lot of the fat.Continued below
Think of it this way: this was the truest Justice League film we will get this year.
Elias: If only we had gotten Starro, then it could’ve really felt like the first appearance of the JLA.
Brian: I mean, I’d argue that the first crossover, with the Hawks two seasons ago, was the first JLA appearance, but I see your point.
Chris: I was gonna end asking if we preferred this to Justice League (which I have not seen) or The Defenders, but ok!
Elias: Oh, wow, I totally forgot they were in these shows. But yeah, I totally agree that this could have, and probably needed, more time to tell the story itself instead of revolving around a few action scenes and a bunch of exposition.
I have not seen either yet, Chris, so I’m going to be pretty useless with that question.
Brian: I certainly prefer this to Justice League, but I’m also someone whose ideal league has randos and sidekicks and not necessarily the Big 7, so my opinion is biased. And I haven’t seen Defenders.
Chris: I enjoyed both but at least ‘Crisis on Earth-X’ actually killed someone off.
Brian: Let’s follow Chris’s suggestion from 10 minutes ago (oh, tangents!) and talk about The Flash. First of all, it was nice to see the name of Superman evoked, and nice to see Kara get some character moments. Her offering her life for Felicity’s was a really well constructed scene.
Elias: Although it did resurface the question, why isn’t Superman here? What does him being slower than Thawne have to do with anything?
Chris: Going back to what you said about it feeling bloated and undercooked, Felicity and Iris’s adventure felt like it was marking time before the contractually obligated Legends showed up. Don’t get me wrong, Melissa Benoist acting opposite herself was fantastic, she’s so talented, but it could’ve gone by a lot faster.
As we were talking about the lack of villains, it really demonstrated when all the heroes get together, they’re no match for them, so the crossover felt drawn out because of the lengths they have to go to separate them.
Brian: Side note: didn’t Benoist as Overgirl give off a serious Taylor Swift vibe?
Elias: Totally Swift and totally drawn out.
Chris: She’ll probably do a music video as Overgirl.
The adventure itself in Earth X was pretty emotional, it was really alarming to see Quentin Lance as an officer, with a German accent no less.
Elias: I still can’t believe that there were only three Nazi versions of the heroes on that planet if it was set up the way it was. What happened to the other counterparts?
Oh, yeah, Lance was probably the scariest of all the villains because he is just a “regular” guy. He has none of the posturing – well, a little posturing – and gets right down to being terrible.
But I still have a little bone to pick with the set up for the episode and it’s because of that undercooked feel. They don’t have the time to really delve into anything or slow down, which hurts scenes like these, which should have been much more powerful than they were. There were also ways to avoid the imagery altogether.
So, quick history lesson, there were two types of camps in Nazi Germany, the death camps (of which Auschwitz was one) and the political/work camps. Both were horrible, horrible places but the former was expressly there to kill those who were sent there while the latter at least tried to keep their prisoners alive because they were doing work. So, ok, let’s assume our heroes were put into one of the work camps, fine, but by using the Arbeit Mach Frei bannister, that connotes that first type of camp and the saying, work makes you free, is a cruel joke on the part of the Nazis but they play it off so flippantly.
No one reacts with horror, there is no horror to be seen beyond the usual, oh, evil military prison camp. It bothered me seeing that, especially because we don’t get any real reaction out Stein, who probably had family in the war and is, you know, Jewish, or Jax or Sara, both people who because of their skin-color and sexuality respectively, would also have been thrown into these camps. They pay lip service to the fact that Jews and Queer men were placed in the camps, although they don’t mention anyone else (who was and was not thrown into the camps is its own strange bag of history) but beyond a very veiled way of saying it (no one expressly says what the stars and triangles mean), there is not attention brought to this big part of the background.Continued below
I feel like this all could’ve been avoided by not placing the characters in a camp. I don’t know how they would’ve gotten the Ray in though. I am glad that they are recognizing the fact that there were other people in the camps beyond just Jewish people though, it’s a piece of history that is too often forgotten, I just wish they had used that setting better.
And on a somewhat lighter note, another conspicuous absence from the crossover is Gypsy.
Chris: Fascinating, thanks for that. I never actually thought about the difference between death camps and labour camps.
Brian: And an apt one given the Holocaust setting, despite her problematic name.
Elias: Yeah, that’s what, unfortunately, reminded me that she wasn’t here, even though she can breach between dimensions and this seems right up her alley.
Chris: I thought the parts with Felicity confronting Nazi Arrow and the scene with her Earth X counterpart were quite powerful though.
Brian: I will echo the Stein bit, as it was weird that the only real acknowledgement to his Judaism was his casket.
And yes, Felicity was great in that scene.
Chris: The story isn’t quite sure how to handle such a heavy enemy sometimes; that joke about due process from Snart fell flat given well, they’re Nazis, and he’s been fighting them his whole life.
Elias: Oh yeah, I loved how the two paralleled each other, although having Thawne and not Oliver do the threatening undermined that a bit.
To Chris’ point, yeah.
Chris: Why did Earth X Heatwave die saving policemen’s lives when they’re all Nazis?
Elias: Maybe the police were from a free area at the time? That’s a stretch and I think the writers were only thinking of the joke.
Brian: I agree, that was a bit of a stretch, logic wise.
Let’s talk Snart for a second. It was great to see Wentworth Miller chewing scenery left and right, wasn’t it?
Elias: Oh my god, I keep forgetting how much I miss him until he’s back on screen. I’m glad he’s sticking around again.
Chris: Same, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that.
Brian: Well, didn’t Miller recently tweet that he was filming ‘his last ever scene‘ in the Arrowverse?
I feel like I know too much about this shit.
Chris: Right, so that’ll hopefully mean he’ll be around a lot for the rest of The Flash season 4.
Elias: Here’s hoping he actually stays around for a while and isn’t just there for a couple episodes.
Brian, I think you follow this just the right amount and I don’t read enough news.
Brian: I would guess he’s gone by February, but who knows. But seeing him as the full on hero, not the reluctant Legend, was a nice change of pace.
Elias: Well, the mid-season finales are next week.
Brian: This is probably also a good time to praise the shows for not shying away from his and the Ray’s romantic relationship. Network TV used to be terrified of men kissing, but the CW put it front and center.
Chris: I hope we see more of the Ray, Russell Tovey is such a wonderful actor. There’s something wonderfully symbolic about seeing him ascend to the Heavens and fry some Nazis too. A lot of the queer characters in the CWVerse are played by straight actors as well so it’s important he keeps appearing. (They also killed the oldest gay actor on the show.)
Elias: Shoot, wow, yeah they did. I wonder what the CW’s plans for the Ray are though. Will he be only on his own show or will he show up every so often in Flash/Legends?
Chris: Terrible, isn’t it? I hope he joins the Legends, and that the show becomes more like Doctor Who or Star Trek in that we see more alternate realities and different planets like Rann or Thanagar.
Elias:Same. That would be fantastic and really expand the universe.
Brian: If Vixen is any indication, he’ll be around, just not in any sort of regular capacity.
Chris: Oh god, where is Mari?
Elias: Shit, you’re right! It’s modern day and she knows Barry.Continued below
Brian: Look, you can’t always invite everyone you want to your wedding. Meals ain’t cheap.
Chris: As it turns out though, who needs guests when you got the Diggle?
Brian: His aversion to running really fast is such a weird but enjoyable running gag on the show.
Elias: Especially when you invite Mick. But, I do want to beat the dead horse and once again ask, where the heck are all the other heroes on Earth-X? Are they dead? Where are the evil versions of other people? Why the heck did they need thawne? And why the hell did Barry just let Thawne go at the end… again?
Brian: Yeah, the Thawne thing is really problematic. Part of what made him, initially, a great villain is that he was evil with a purpose. As time has gone on, he’s become just more boilerplate evil for no good reason. I know he hates Barry, but does he hate Barry enough to go Nazi to take him down? That seems like a bridge too far, especially as Nazis would be the distant, distant past to him, and any and all sympathy would be gone. Y’all wouldn’t join the Hutts to get back at your enemy, would you?
Also, why are Barry’s only options “kill him or let him go?” Couldn’t he just bonk him on his head?
Chris: I get they want to impart moral messages to young superhero fans, but ugh, that would’ve made more sense. Allying with Nazis is definitely crossing the line, I guess he just doesn’t give a shit and neither do we about him anymore.
Brian: Especially as Ollie just straight up murdered his dopple. Man, he is the worst at the whole “no more killing” thing.
Elias: He really is quite terrible at that.
Chris: Nazis, man, they’ll drag you into the abyss with them.
I loved Barry’s reaction to all the ones he mowed down.
Can we talk about Red Tornado? I was quite happy to see him again they completely forgot about him after his debut in Supergirl, but once again he was an antagonist.
Elias: To be honest, I had forgotten he was in Supergirl too.
As an antagonist, he was pretty boring too, which is a shame.
Hell, if they had remembered about Red Tornado in Supergirl, he could’ve been that background warning ala “52.”
Chris: His outfit was pretty poorly received on Supergirl, so maybe making him look good is an expense issue, it’s either him or J’onn. Thing is, if they can invest money into a decent animatronic, that would save money on week-to-week CG.
I loved the Terminator nod with Metallo, given that was the inspiration for John Byrne’s redesign.
Elias: That was pretty great and that final fight was really well done. It was easy to follow and dynamic. I especially loved the speedster battle, with everyone else frozen. It was a cool way to use them.
Chris: My favourite part was Killer Frost sliding around like Iceman. And I loved the Superman II nod.
Elias: There were a lot of nice nods throughout this crossover, which was great, and I’m sure I missed at least 80% of them (like that Superman II one).
Chris: I guess that’s what always makes them fun to rewatch.
Feeling like wrapping it up, any final thoughts?
Elias: Very true. Three quick thoughts:
1) Alex was wasted in this half of the crossover, save for her final scene with Sara. I think that has to do with the writers not knowing what dialogue to give her. The “You don’t understand…oh, I didn’t know” exchange was maddening early in the The Flash episode.
2) Is Cisco self-aware of being in a CW-show?
3) There is no decompression from having come back from the evil Nazi planet and instead all they worry about are weddings, even Alex has a line like this. Ugh.
4) (I lied) The funeral scene killed me. Having gone to a couple, having the characters put the dirt on the casket was a real-life touch that I really appreciated.
Chris: Strange, I never considered the lack of putting on dirt in funeral scenes in other media.Continued below
I think my last note for the crossover was Zari’s lack of screentime. I really adore her and her perspective, I love the new outfit with its Black Adam colors, but as a new character it was really noticeable she wasn’t introduced to Green Arrow, the Flash and Supergirl.
C’est la vie.
Elias: It’s a Jewish custom which is probably why it isn’t present.
And yeah, the Zari thing is very conspicuous.
Chris: I’m not Jewish and we do it. Maybe it’s different in America?
Elias: Could be. Is the custom to have the family fill in the entire hole or just put in a shovelful/handful per person?
Chris: Everyone takes a handful of dirt.
Elias: Yeah, I think that’s customary for some in America too but it’s never shown in film/TV. Jewish custom is to have the family/close friends fill the entire hole by hand.
Well, by shovel.
Brian: I think some traditions/areas do it, some don’t.
My stray thoughts, in no particular order:
– I thought Winn was used really well. He can sometimes be underused on Supergirl.
– I was annoyed at multiple characters saying stuff like “I know your doppleganger loved someone that looked just like that.” There is no way that could be known, and just sounded corny as hell.
– Ray going all Giant-Man was weird, as was his use of ’embiggens,’ even if I appreciated it.
– I know Wally was instructed to get his family to safety, but I didn’t expect him to pull a Huell from Breaking Bad and be away forever.
– Final thought: I hope someone either clued in that Rabbi/funeral director or the Legends did their Men in Black thing on him, because otherwise, he must be freaked the fuck out.
Chris: I have a hard time buying Winn as an imposing leader in any reality, maybe a scar would’ve helped, or they could’ve leaned in on the Toyman legacy. Maybe that was the idea behind bringing back Red Tornado?
Also Ray’s arm was so gross.
Elias: You know, there are so many Supergirl details that I forget because the writers just stop addressing it and that’s a shame.
And yeah, I turned away for a couple seconds and saw that arm and went, well, that’s something I could have gone without ever seeing.
Chris: I missed the embiggens line as well, too busy making a note of how bad it looked. All in all, it’s been a hoot though.
Brian: Yeah, this was super fun.
Elias: Quite true. So, until the next crossover, I guess this is it for these long conversations.
Chris: Same time next year?
Elias: If they do another big one. I heard they were holding off in favor of smaller ones (this could also be wild speculation).
Chris: I can’t imagine a six-parter with Black Lightning and Titans, which I know is not part of the CW multiverse yet but then neither was Supergirl.
Brian: I think, if anything, we will see more shows jump to DC’s streaming platform than the other way around, if it proves profitable.
Chris: We should have another roundtable on that then.
And if you got through all that, thank you for reading, and we’ll be back next week with regular coverage of the winter finales of Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow!