Superman on Television

Supergirl: Episode Reviews

Season 3 - Episode 8: "Crisis on Earth-X" (4-Part Crossover)

Reviewed by: Christopher Hart

Crisis on Earth-X Originally Aired: November 27 and 28, 2017
WRITTEN BY: Robert L. Rovner, Jessica Queller, Wendy Mericle, Ben Sokolowski, Tod Helbing, Phil Klemmer, Keto Shimizu
DIRECTED BY: Larry Teng, James Bamford, Dermott Downs, Gregory Smith

Melissa Benoist (Kara Danvers/Supergirl/Overgirl)
Chyler Leigh (Alex Danvers)
Jeremy Jordan (Winslow "Winn" Schott/General Schott)
Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen/Green Arrow/Dark Arrow)
Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity Smoak)
David Ramsey (John Diggle)
Juliana Harkavy (Dinah Drake/Black Canary)
Echo Kellum (Curtis Holt/Mr. Terrific)
Rick Gonzalez (Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog)
Grant Gustin (Barry Allen/The Flash)
Candice Patton (Iris West)
Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost)
Carlos Valdes (Cisco Ramone/Vibe)
Tom Cavanagh (Dr. Harry Wells/Eobard Thawne/Dark Flash)
Caity Lotz (Sara Lance/White Canary)
Victor Garber (Dr. Martin Stein/Firestorm)
Franz Drameh (Jefferson Jackson/Firestorm)
Brandon Routh (Ray Palmer/The Atom)
Dominic Purcell (Mick Rory/Heatwave)
Tala Ashe (Zari Tomaz)
Nick Zano (Nate Heywood/Citizen Steel)

4Rating - 4 (out of 5): "Why do you care if I take your heart? You're not using it." - Overgirl

'Crisis on Earth-X, Part 1'

In last year's event, Supergirl was shortchanged - the crossover content barely grazed her episode at all and she wasn't as present in the other episodes as I would have liked. This year, Supergirl's exclusion is, thankfully, as "last year" as the Dominator that Kara uppercuts to the face.

Barry and Iris' wedding was the catalyst that brought everyone together under one roof, to celebrate an unshakable love that everyone admires. Especially tardy RSVPers Oliver and Felicity, who caused a scene at the wedding after Felicity rebuked Oliver's spur-of-the-moment proposal. As genuine as Oliver's intentions were, I felt like this was one instance where Felicity was right to be hesitant - their engagement didn't lead to good things last time, including some of the show's worst Olicity storylines.

Vowing to "get out of this funk," Kara persuaded Alex to come with her to the wedding and once there, Alex had a livelier time than she bargained for, bedding Sara Lance (White Canary) three times in one night. It's something she felt abashed about the following morning, while Sara maintained her trademark confidence.

Just as the nuptials began to take place, the Earth-X hordes showed up with their Nazi forces in tow. Overgirl is a character that Supergirl fans have been looking forward to for a while and she didn't disappoint - it was made very clear, very quickly, that she held a high position of power within this group and that the others listened to her commands.

The 'dark' versions of our characters being masked always seemed - right from the promos - like a little bit of a cop out. A move just so the show runners could have stunt doubles playing the villains for the majority of the screen time. Once their masks were removed, it was really quite stunning how great Melissa looked. Her appearance was by far the best and the most drastically different of the 'dark' characters, thanks to a brooding shade of lipstick and some nuanced acting.

In the confined spaces of a church, all of our characters-in-attendance (so far) got to flex their Nazi-punching skills (something the Legends were one-up on), with Wally standing out in some particularly cool moments. Crucially, Supergirl was actually able to beat Overgirl here, but we learned later on that Overgirl was dying, which in retrospect could have made her easier to fell.

This being a crossover episode didn't mean we lost those adorable Supergirl moments. The best of these were Kara having to explain away her impenetrable nails by claiming that she takes a lot of keratin, Kara singing at the wedding (something that made me long to see 'Duet' again) and best of all - Kara "sleep flying," as Felicity called it, as she looked on in envy.

'Crisis on Earth-X, Part 2'

The origins of the evil doppelgngers were carefully considered this time around and theory that they were anachronisms was broached by the Legends, which was a crucial note for the writers to hit (it would seem odd if the Legends didn't consider this). But it's Harrison Wells who identified that they're from Earth-X - a doomed Earth where the Nazi's won World War II.

We quickly learned that Overgirl is actually married to Oliver. This immediately made me think of a moment in a recent The Flash episode this season where Iris and the girls all agreed that Oliver Queen is "really hot." Although Kara wasn't involved in that moment, this now seems like some crafty foreshadowing, in retrospect.

All of these episodes held surprises - small deep cut moments that only fans of that particular show would recognize (a very brave move, really, given that crossovers will always have uneducated viewers). While Part 1 had Earth-X's Guardian, Part 2's surprise (this was the only truly good use of a mask) was even more effective. Under the Prometheus costume was a true blindside - a character choice that no one would have expected: Tommy Merlyn. Oliver's late best friend.

Why this wasn't Adrian Chase was never explained - I can only assume Tommy beat Chase to the mantle of Prometheus on their Earth, or that the Earth-X Oliver never gave their Chase a reason to take revenge. This also implies that our Tommy could have become Prometheus, under the right circumstances, if he had lived. It's not too far of a stretch; Colin Donnell is as adept at playing dark as he is the mild-mannered best friend and I was very glad to have him back here, as short-lived as it was.

This episode closed with an even larger battle - one set in a bigger, open-space this time, which allowed the continuous tracking shots (a great directorial motif) even more room to pan and flow. This time, Earth-X's villains showed their identities to our heroes too, leading to some very confused-looking superheroes and Kara remarking "gross" at Overgirl being married to Oliver. And this being an Arrow episode, it was only right that Dinah (who I adore) and co showed up to help out, and they did so with aplomb.

A dark version of Kara seeking to steal and keep our Kara's literal heart was a surefire metaphor for Kara's recent pain seeking to consume her for good. Of all the hearts to pick, the fact that the writers chose Kara's is no accident - other than Alex, hers is the only heart that's broken ("You're not using it," Overgirl chides).

'Crisis on Earth-X, Part 3'

The Flash installment opened with a captive, helpless Kara, at the mercy of red sunlight and our Earth-X rogues. "It's a strange sensation, isn't it? Feeling vulnerable," Overgirl taunts, also remarking that both she and Kara are "everything they want to be," referring to their Aryan looks.

Kara keenly observes: "You did all this just to get me." That's a really important observation to note, as the deeper we got into this crossover event, the more apparent it became that the whole thing was very much centered around Kara. And that's the nicest retort to last year that we could have got - Supergirl being the focus this time. This third part was supposed to have a strong lilt towards The Flash and its characters, but it felt far more like a second Supergirl episode.

Unlike the other parts, this third act slowed the pace a little and allowed us a glimpse at Earth-X. Quentin Lance was a high-ranking SS officer and Winn headed up the rebels as General Schott. The former proved far from a fool, spotting our Oliver's ruse, and the latter proved far from a coward; this Winn's will was iron and resolute, no matter the lives at stake.

Earth-X also gave us Captain Cold once more and more importantly, Ray Terrill (The Ray). It shouldn't be forgotten that this crossover served not only as our yearly event, but also as a vehicle to set up CW Seed's upcoming animation Freedom Fighter: The Ray. Now we know who The Ray is, where he's from (our Earth) and what his motivations are. Given what happened to Overgirl before the end of this crossover, my best guess is that this animated foray will take place before this crossover (because Overgirl is present).

The sly references were rife here. We had a The Terminator reference (with more The Terminator references in Part 4, where Cisco outright laughing at them) when Iris said: "come with me if you want to live." We also had a really nice little nod for Superman fans, when Eobard mentioned that he fought Kara's cousin once in the future. That's a battle similar to what we saw recently in Justice League - a Kryptonian with super speed facing off against a speedster.

'Crisis on Earth-X, Part 4'

Then came the death. I'm all for killing off key characters - it adds a real weight to any narrative and I think a crossover is the right time to do it. The only problem I have with this death is we all expected it. News that Victor Garber was leaving the show was released a while back and despite Stein's plans to live with his daughter, it was always easy to guess that he would probably meet his end here.

That lessened it a little, for me, but it was still emotional to see how our heroes (especially the Legends) react to his death. Stein has been part of their fabric for three years - a true father figure, not only to Jax, but to all of them. They didn't skirt over the loss either - we got to see everything from Jax delivering the news to his family, to the funeral itself.

This episode delivered the very best of the four battles - an open-air bout that gave us everything from Killer Frost's ice bridges to Kara fighting Overgirl in the sky ("You need to fly her up, up and away, now!"). It all ended, beautifully, with Citizen Steel catching Kara with the line: "Figured it'd take the Man of Steel to catch the Girl of Steel."

Nate is my preferred Legend and Kara is my favorite character full stop, so out of all the cute little random character interactions throughout this crossover, this was the best, for me. Other delicate touches like Zari wearing her costume came close.

It's always important to end on a high (these shows always seem to be striving to steer towards lightheartedness) and we got the sweetest closure. Barry and Iris decided to marry there and then, after hilariously pulling Diggle into play. It made sense; the crossover began with an interrupted wedding, so it was only right that it should end with that being rectified.

What wasn't expected was Felicity deciding to change her mind about matrimony, which lead to her and Oliver tying the knot too. It really rounded things out perfectly, in The CW's best crossover so far.

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