REVIEW: DCTV’s Crisis on Earth-X, Parts 3 & 4

Following the events of Monday’s night’s “Crisis on Earth-X,” the third part of this crossover begins with Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh), Jefferson “Jax” Jackson (Franz Drameh), and Martin Stein (Victor Garber) trapped in a concentration camp on the Nazi-ruled Earth-X. Meanwhile back on Earth-1, Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) is given a red sun treatment at S.T.A.R. Labs by Eobard Thawne (Tom Cavanagh) in order for her to become weak enough for Eobard to extract her heart and supply it to her Earth-X doppelganger, who is slowly dying. All while Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) and Iris West (Candice Patton) try and figure out a plan to stop them.

Team-up with the Freedom Fighters of Earth-X

“Crisis on Earth-X, Part 3” is all about bringing our heroes back from a real low point, while introducing some fun new elements to the Arrowverse and showing us the dark world of Earth-X. The world of Earth-X has completely fallen to the rule of Nazi overlords, but there is a glimmer of hope in The Freedom Fighters – an anti-Nazi regime led by a gruff version of Supergirl‘s Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan), which includes the Earth-X version of Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller), a.k.a. Citizen Cold, and The Ray (Russell Tovey), a hero who actually originated from Earth-1 and who we’ll get to know a little more about in CW Seed‘s upcoming animated web-series, Freedom Fighters: The Ray.

While this crossover is fun for the most part, part three doesn’t shy away from addressing the horrors of Earth-X’s Nazi rule. The concentration camp in which our heroes are initially imprisoned not only includes those of the Jewish faith, but homosexual prisoners as well, evident by the inclusion of The Ray. When our heroes are to be executed by Nazis led by the Earth-X version of Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne), we are even given a glimpse of what can only be a mass grave, before Citizen Cold comes to the rescue.

Afterwards we are back to having fun as the team plans an attack against a Nazi base in order to activate a breach that will lead them back home. Jeremy Jordan gives a very different and solid performance as his Earth-X doppelganger, General Winn Schott, and Oliver proves how much of a bad-ass he is, posing as his Earth-X doppelganger and taking down a control room full of Nazis single-handedly. The following sequence is action packed and features each respective hero demonstrating their abilities, from Sara and Alex fighting their way through Nazi soldiers to Barry and The Ray attempting to take down General Winn’s Red Tornado before it destroys the Nazi base and ruins their chances at returning home. Opening the breach falls under the responsibilities of Jax and Stein, which sadly leads to Stein getting shot twice in order to open the breach himself, which in turn leads to something Legends of Tomorrow fans probably didn’t see coming.

Back on Earth-1, Dark Arrow (Stephen Amell), Overgirl (Melissa Benoist), and Eobard Thawne continue their plan to remove Supergirl’s heart in order to cure Overgirl. This is pretty much their only motivation for coming to Earth-1 in the first place, with the exception of Eobard, who only seemed to joined these Nazis because it was the evil thing to do. Their plan to overtake Earth-1 seems completely secondary. During these sequences, we are treated to a fun team-up between Iris and Felicity as they attempt to free Wells (Tom Cavanagh) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) as well as request the help of the remaining Legends. While these sequences do lack tension, since we know Supergirl will not be killed off, it’s great seeing Iris and Felicity, two non-superpowered heroes, kick ass and use their know-how to delay Eobard’s plan. Once the Legends do show up, their presence is completely earned and Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) uses everything in his arsenal to take down the enemy, including shrinking to stop Eobard’s scalpel and “embiggening” his hand to take down Nazi soldiers.

Goodbye Professor Stein

Part four of “Crisis on Earth-X” all leads to the epic battle between good and evil. Doppelganger against doppelganger. Earth-1 heroes against Earth-X villains. But before the crossover’s inevitable conclusion comes to a head, we have to deal with the fallout from the escape from Earth-X. After merging into Firestorm, Jax becomes affected by Stein’s bullet wounds, which would lead to the both of them dying. In a shocking twist of fate, Stein takes the serum developed by Cisco and Wells in order to detach Jax and himself, thus sacrificing himself for someone he views as a son.

Watching these scenes play out it’s almost hard to believe what we’re seeing on screen. Part of me was waiting for the other shoe to drop and see Stein come back to life, though “Crisis” never gives us the satisfaction. Instead we are given a truly tragic and upsetting end to Firestorm as Stein passes away from his wounds. Victor Garber’s performance really sells the death of Stein, making for a very teary eyed moment. Pulling at the heart strings even more are the reactions from Stein’s wife and daughter, who are given the news by Jax himself. I hate to speak ill of Franz Drameh’s performance and I’m not much of a nitpicker for acting in general, but I can’t say I was pleased with how he portrayed Jax’s emotional state. His idea of crying is the equivalent of scrunching up his face and closing his eyes real tight. But this is a minor nitpick. In no way did his performance affect the gravity of the situation in a negative way, and the reactions from Stein’s family made up for this. Stein’s final words thanking Jax for the adventure they’ve shared are bittersweet, but truly heartbreaking to hear.

Moving on to more lighter aspects of “Crisis on Earth-X,” the climax of part four is exhilarating and is everything fans would have wanted and more from a final super hero showdown. For the most part the sequence is shot in the Arrow tracking shot style I hated on in last week’s review, though it’s done to greater effect this time around. Every hero is displaying their respective powers in a scene that’s easy to follow, bouncing back and forth between characters and battles. Green Arrow takes on Dark Arrow, The Flash takes on Reverse-Flash, Supergirl takes on Overgirl, and the rest of our heroes battle the remaining Nazi soldiers.

Can we just call this the Justice League?

The conclusion of the battle tied up everything pretty well, though certain characters did make some odd choices. Oliver straight up kills his doppelganger, further solidifying Oliver’s grey stance on killing. Supergirl drags Overgirl into space in order to prevent Overgirl’s supernova death explosion from affecting the Earth. The odd choice lay with Barry, as he lets Reverse-Flash go. While it makes complete sense that Barry would not kill his arch enemy, the reasons for him letting Eobard go aren’t so clear. After some debate it may be safe to conclude Barry let Eobard go in order to prevent screwing up the timeline, since we don’t know when this version of Eobard is from. That being said, this is never made abundantly clear.

“Crisis on Earth-X” concludes in a slightly cheesy fashion with two weddings and a funeral. These events are wrapped up pretty fast, as it seems both Barry and Iris, as well as Felicity and Oliver, get married not very long after they just buried their friend. In that regard, the conclusion is a little odd. Perhaps the marriages of these couples should have been saved for next week’s episode, no matter how cute the moment was.

On the whole, “Crisis on Earth-X” was a consistently fun and well put together crossover. We can look forward to the fallout from the event in upcoming DCTV episodes. On Supergirl, it’s safe to say that Alex will stick with her gut in regards to her decision to break it off with Maggie, after her experience and discussion with Sara. The Flash and Arrow may both make light of their recent marriages. Legends of Tomorrow is definitely going to be affected the most. For one, the series lost one of its long-standing characters and it will definitely take Jax some time to grieve the loss. Secondly, Leonard Snart of Earth-X decides to stick around on Earth-1 despite his partner returning to Earth-X to continue to fight against the Nazis. We’ll see how this new version of Captain Cold meshes with Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell). “Crisis on Earth-X” sets the bar for how a comic book television series crossover should be, and was surprisingly a more satisfying team-up of DC Comics characters than a certain film currently in theaters. But that’s another story. If and when next season’s crossover occurs, there will be a lot to live up to.