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The CW’s Crisis on Earth-X Review: An Epic Crossover Event In Every Way

Crisis on Earth-X
Photo Credit: The CW

Crisis on Earth-X, the four-part CW DCTV crossover featuring Greg Berlanti’s Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl has come to an end and it did not disappoint. It was no small feat to bring together four different television shows in one epic event that was equal parts emotional and action packed without blowing every show’s entire season budget and still making it look cool. I tip my hat to the entire cast, crew, writers, and directors of all four shows for pulling together something truly amazing for the fans. If you are a comic book lover, this was like Christmas and your Birthday all wrapped in a candy filled gift box and served to you on a silver platter.

Each part was written and directed by the respective showrunners it was representing, but unlike last year’s crossover, Invasion, this felt like one cohesive narrative that didn’t stop and start depending on which hour you were on. Everyone gathered for the West-Allen wedding and the Earth-X Nazi doppelgängers of Oliver and Kara (who are married…what?), the Fuhrer and the General, have come to take our Supergirl’s heart because Kara-X is dying. Several of our heroes get stuck on Earth-X leaving Iris and Felicity to try and free who has been left behind and call the rest of the Legends for assistance. Iris’ leadership skills were put to great use and together these ladies made an awesome duo.

Earth-X introduced us to some interesting doppelgangers including Quentin Lance as a Nazi General who drags a brunette Felicity-X in to test Oliver who is pretending to be his Earth-X doppelgänger. I know, confusing. Freedom Fighter General Winn Schott gave us a glimpse into a much more badass version of Winn; Jeremy Jordan did a great job with this part. We also saw The Ray and Citizen Cold, who are a couple! This version of Leo Snart was by far my favorite and that’s saying a lot, because Captain Cold was my reason for watching Legends Season 1. Wentworth Miller’s joy at playing this version of his character radiated off the screen and having been a fan of his for some time, I can only begin to imagine how much it meant to him to portray a homosexual superhero. I was absolutely elated for him. The Ray was a delight and I am hopeful we will get to see both of them as future guest stars on The Flash or Legends of Tomorrow.

The brightest spot in the whole crossover, was the culmination of the Firestorm story that has been playing out the last few episodes of Legends of Tomorrow. We, as an audience, know that Victor Garber (Martin Stein) is leaving the show and Firestorm must be broken up somehow. I was wondering if one of them would die or if it would be a write off left open to revisit in the future. I must applaud Phil Klemmer and Keto Shimizu who penned Part 4. The scenes with Jax and Stein were breathtakingly beautiful as this unlikely pair came to terms with not only what they meant to one another, but saying goodbye. Jax’s pain over this loss will no doubt be felt on Legends for the next few episodes, and I can’t help but wonder if it will lead to his departure as well. Franz Drameh (Jax) was the standout of the entire crossover for me; he hit every emotional beat and left me in a bucket of tears each time.

A lot of speculation went on previous to these episodes airing over the Sara/Alex dynamic. Sanvers fans were worried they would be rushed into a pairing, thus negating the significance of Maggie in Alex’s life. This was yet another very well handled story arc. Sara helping Alex come to terms with and accepting her decision while getting to have a little night o’ fun was just what Alex needed. I can see possibilities for the future with these two, or not, and either would be fine. Mick asking Sara if she “hit that?” at the end was great.

Everything was so exciting and fun, I almost forgot to mention the best cameo of them all, Colin Donnell’s brief appearance as Prometheus-X. Arrow fans last year were waiting with bated breath for the reveal that Prometheus or Vigilante was actually an un-dead or doppleganging Tommy Merlyn. Alas, Colin Donnell is a series regular on Chicago Med, so that dream never came to pass. It was a nice touch, albeit a short one, seeing Tommy’s face once more with Oliver (Stephen Amell), even if it was an evil Nazi version of him. Stephen tweeted that Colin Donnell flew into Vancouver early in the morning, filmed his scene, and then flew immediately back to Chicago, so thank you Colin for taking the time to do this for us long time Tommy Merlyn fans, it was one of many neat surprises.

These four episodes were filled with meta and pop culture references, so many I can’t name them all. Cisco saying “I love a good pop culture reference in a time of crisis” was one of my favorites along with Iris telling Kara, “come with me if you want to live”, and Nate saying “you need the man of steel to catch the girl of steel”. I also appreciated that while this was light and fun, the Nazi stuff was taken pretty seriously. An emotionally poignant moment was Felicity standing up to Oliver-X declaring that her grandparents didn’t survive the Holocaust for this earth to be taken over by Nazis. That juxtaposed with our Oliver helping Felicity-X was a really nice touch. The effects were pretty good for a tv show considering their budget restrictions and most of the group fight scenes looked great. Barry’s lightning bolt he threw up for The Ray to stop Red Tornado was honestly one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen on television. Every shot of all the heroes together was like a dream come true, I want a super large poster of them!

A thing I noticed, which was obvious, yet subtle at the same time was towards the end when everyone is saying goodbye; There is #WestAllen, #Olicity, and the Danvers sisters as the “closing shot” of the crossover. These are our anchors for the shows. The Legends are mostly a team, even though Sara is the dominant figure, but for the other shows those 6 are the glue if you will. My take away from that was mostly for Supergirl fans who might be frustrated with the Sanvers and Karamel stuff this season. The most important relationship on that show is the sisters and we should remember that at the end of all things, it’s their relationship that drives the show, the same way WestAllen drives The Flash.

And yes, WestAllen are finally married! An awkward interruption from Felicity has her and Oliver shoe-horning in on the vows, an oddly placed yet predictable moment that faded us into black and ended this year’s crossover. I have a sneaking suspicion we may not see something of this magnitude next year as several of the people involved have expressed how taxing and difficult it was to bring this together, but either way we’ll always have Crisis on Earth-X and it was pretty close to being one of the best things I’ve ever watched on television.

If I had to rate Parts 1-4 from best to worst, I would have to say the weakest link was Part 2, with the other 3 being pretty on par with one another. Part 2 was written and directed by the Arrow crew, take from that what you will; but overall Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim crafted a story that they put in the very capable hands of Robert Rovner & Jessica Queller (Supergirl Part 1), Wendy Mericle & Ben Sokolowski (Arrow Part 2), Todd Helbing (The Flash Part 3), and Phil Klemmer & Keto Shimizu (Legends of Tomorrow Part 4).

We can thank the talents of all the directors, Larry Teng (Part 1), James Bamford (Part 2), Dermott Downs (Part 3), and Gregory Smith (Part 4) for a visually stunning spectacle of comic book superhero goodness.

About the author

Michele Curran

Michele Curran is the newest addition to the TV Source Magazine team! She's a New Yorker with passionate TV opinion, loves soaps, music, attending broadway and being a masochist for sports. Oh, and she's #TeamCap. Follow her on Twitter @MimiC1019.