Supergirl: Crisis on Earth-X, Part 1

“I hate Nazis.”

The first of a four-part story arc, where we have our heroes from the four series in the Berlanti universe. Pleasant, amusing, seems well done – but mostly it’s set up and there’s no great emotional hook.

Let me begin by saying that although I am familiar with all four series, I only watch Supergirl regularly. So I was apprehensive about reviewing this because I was concerned that I would not get what was going on with the other characters from the other shows. But it was actually well done and I did not feel lost. In fact the introduction of the groups of heroes was entertaining, as they fretted about who was coming (on The Flash) or whether they were going (the other shows).

And before that we saw Nazi banners on buildings, always a bad sign, and not nearly as obsolete as it should be.

The emotional content for most of the episode was predictable but pleasant. We have plenty of good one-liners, especially from Mick. Barry and Iris and Joe are really happy and think they’re going to have a happy end. Oliver considers proposing to Felicity (and he does but she says no). From Legends, we have Jax and Stein working on a permanent separation and Stein offering a vial containing a substance to give Jax other superpowers. Kara and Alex, both unhappy because of break-ups, at first plan to wallow in misery but then decide to go.

A couple of things I really liked. I liked the fact that Supergirl could show the girls getting their nails done for a wedding without its being too feminine (and of course Kara’s nails are too hard to file). And the fact that Alex could hook up for a night with Sara Lance without the show getting all judgmental (although Alex is surprised at her one-night stand). Both seem like steps in the right direction toward real equality for women.

I thought the treatment of the officiant was fun. First, he makes clear that he doesn’t know Barry and Iris well, which implies that Barry and Iris must not be terribly religious. Second, he does give a great little speech, complimenting the guests and saying that Barry and Iris must be a fantastic couple to have so many friends. And then he asks if anyone has any objections. Now, usually someone from the audience speaks up, or one of the spouses-to-be gets cold feet. I’ve never seen the minister get zapped before, and I thought it was one of the best, most unexpected moments of the episode. We won’t miss him, either, as he doesn’t know Barry and Iris well.

But – although I enjoyed it – what was the point of killing the minister? As far as I know, he didn’t have superpowers. Seems to me that you’d want to take out someone else with your first shot, the only shot in which you have the element of surprise. Still, for entertainment value it was terrific.

We get a great battle, in which all our heroes from the different series get to show their stuff. Cisco is injured but not dead, whereas everyone else seems to be OK. And then we finally meet our villains, who are our heroes gone to the bad. This, of course, lets the Berlanti universe use the same actors (and explains why they have been too busy to make more than cameo appearances in their own shows) and also helps us keep everyone straight. Dark Flash (another Harrison Wells) complains to his team that they have jumped the gun with this attack. The others argue that the opportunity was too good to skip. Their intention seems to be to kill all the heroes, but we don’t yet know why. Or why they took out the minister with their opening salvo, instead of someone who could do more damage (my opinion of the episode will go up if they give a reason for that). Anyway, we discover that the villains certainly don’t know everything, which is surely good news for our side.

Title musings: The title for the episode, “Crisis on Earth-X, Part 1” does not really seem to have deeper meaning, although I am wondering about the significance of X. Does X mean 10? X marks the spot? Or X as the unknown variable? These were my initial thoughts, but then I learned: "In the DC Universe, Earth-X was a version of Earth where World War II ended with a complete German victory in the year 1968." (see Imdb.com)

Bits and pieces

Melissa Benoist did a great job singing at the wedding, better than her performance in an earlier episode, “Duet.” To be fair, in “Duet” she was supposed to be new at it.

If I could choose a superpower, it might be to eat without gaining weight! But this means that Melissa Benoist is not allowed to gain any weight, which is rather hard.

I did not like how Felicity refused Oliver's proposal. I know it was meant to be funny but the scene felt forced.

Barry had an awfully long conversation with the caterer, which implies that the actress will be of importance later.

The battle in the church is all too common. Recently we’ve had Texas and that terrible shooting in the Egyptian mosque, not to mention dreadful events in earlier years. Maybe we are on Earth X ourselves.

Quotes

Supergirl/Kara (beating up a dominator, a big threat in the previous season): That is so last year.

Alex: This is not our time to go out or have any fun. This is our time to wallow, to drown our sorrows, and put on break-up weight.

Barry Allen/Flash: If I can have my happy ending, so can you.

Barry Allen/Flash: I have been known to catch up.

Jax/Firestorm: Do you just make up scientific words to make yourself sound smarter?

Felicity: If I know my history – world domination. Ethnic cleansing.

Overall Rating

Rating the first part of a tetralogy is difficult. On the other hand, a tetralogy itself is really difficult, especially when you are combining four shows. I thought they did a pretty good job; the characters were good; little felt forced. Three out of four zapped ministers.

(Here is a link to "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 2.")

Victoria Grossack loves math, Greek mythology, Jane Austen and great storytelling in many forms.

11 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I have to say that I enjoyed it tremendously. This one was really all set-up for the four-part story (I am assuming, since I haven't seen the other three episodes yet), but seeing so many characters I care about interacting in the same place was so much fun.

I also loved the women in the nail salon scene, and Dominic Purcell's Mick of course stole the show over and over, as anyone could have predicted. But my favorite thing was Alex and Sara Lance having a one night stand. The moment they met, I knew it was going to happen. :)

Victoria, the minister thing was a cameo in-joke, which I think might explain why he was a target. It was William Katt, who was the star of another superhero show way back when, The Greatest American Hero. I laughed out loud when I recognized him.

Victoria Grossack said...

Oh, there are all sorts of entertaining reasons to kill off the minister the way they did (although I'm not as well-versed in other TV shows as I should be for this gig). But if you are talking tactics, it's not the best move.

But we want the villains to lose, and we want to be entertained. And I sure laughed when he was zapped.

Shari Houtman said...

Thanks, Billie. I thought the minister looked familiar, but I couldn't place him. I'm going to go out on a limb and make a prediction. I think that waitress/caterer was Barry and Iris's daughter.

I know it was mostly set up but I've been looking forward to this for a while, and so far it's lived up to my expectations.

Great Review.

Mikey Heinrich said...

I also think that was their daughter from the future

She had a very 'watching my parents wedding' kid of nervous/excited vibe, and she looked believably like she could be their daughter.

Do we have a 'ship lane for Sara and Alex yet? Because I am so on board. Sarex? No... Sounds like a superman villain... Alera?

Anonymous said...

Mystery waitress is named Dawn.....Another damn speedster from the future...But she is way more interesting than the others...Im sure she was also plastique on Smallville.
Glorious episode, don't think i stopped grinning once. The only thing i didnt like was the Olicity drama out of nowhere.

Mark Greig said...

Mickey, I think they have been unofficially dubbed Agent Canary.

Mark Greig said...

Sorry, Mikey. Forgive me, I'm under the weather at the moment and my brain isn't working 100%

Gary said...

Why is the Nazi Earth called Earth-X? Well, it goes back to the original comic book story published in Justice League of America #107 and #108 back in 1973. Writer Len Wein originally wanted to call it Earth-(Swastika), but editor Julie Schwartz refused to allow a swastika in the title of any book he oversaw. Len understood Julie's feelings, so he changed the name to Earth-X as a compromise.

Billie Doux said...

Gary, thanks -- that makes sense.

Deborah Gallegos said...

Thanks, Gary! That was a bit of Len Wein history of which I was unaware. RIP Len. :(

Not sure I'm on board that normalization of one-night stands is equality for women or Kara explaining it away as it just showing that Alex is "healthy." Maybe one-night stands aren't that cool for either gender?

Victoria Grossack said...

I am also grateful for the explanation of Earth X.

I agree that one-night stands may not be the best way as a rule, but what we are seeing in this episode is that a woman is not being punished for having had sex. And as long as the one-night stand is consensual, and especially if neither participant is in another relationship, then why should anyone else care?