The Flash: Crisis on Earth-X, Part 3

In part three of our story arc, which is probably the darkest hour of the Berlanti-verse ever, things went from bad to worse...

Our heroes have lost everything, almost everyone was captured and things looked hopeless. This is a common structure for storytelling, especially when dealing with heroic fantasy. The characters have to struggle for the story to have weight and tension, otherwise our fantastic protagonists would just win without any real opposition.

Kara's story was all about vulnerability. Overgirl spent the episode looking down at Kara who was defenseless, boasting about how her world was superior and how they should be ruling the humans instead of helping them. Yet even though she had no powers, Kara didn't relent or give up on her beliefs. Is Overgirl more powerful than Kara? Well, no, but she doesn't hold back in a fight. She has no qualms about hurting or killing her enemy, and that gives her an advantage over Supergirl who is defined by her mercy and goodness.

The other side of the story at S.T.A.R. Labs was with the supers locked up in Cisco's prison, and all that was left was Iris and Felicity to save the day. Thankfully, Iris and Felicity were pretty bad-ass in this episode, defeating Nazi soldiers and at least temporarily saving the day by turning off the power and calling for help from the Legends (who didn't show up in the nick of time). It was pretty hard to watch Thawne threaten Felicity like that, and of course Kara sacrificed herself to save Felicity's life.

The A-Plot was focused around the rest of the team trapped on Earth-X. The cages were very evocative and really sold the appalling conditions on Earth-X. The prisoners still wore the same prison garb that was used in World War II, with some new patches to denote their 'crime.' At first I hoped that Commandant Lance would see Sara and have a moment of humanity, but instead he was as awful as Laurel's doppelganger (Black Siren). Of course they had to try and use the classic doppelganger ruse, with Oliver pretending to be the Fuhrer.

But it was the details and characters that made the Earth-X segments delightful. A new Snart was introduced and I really love him. With the same personality but good, he was like the Snart the Legends had managed to draw out of the Earth-1 version before he sacrificed himself. It was also a lot of fun for him to be involved with the new character Ray, who has very similar powers to Jax and Stein. We got to see Winn in a position of power, and he was kind of a dick. We also got to see Felicity, who was not only a good person, but also an unsung hero (a theme that seems very apt for her) giving ration cards to children who had no food.

The emotional focus was also on Jax and Stein who have been struggling for several episodes with Stein's desire to leave the Legends and retire with his wife, so he can spend time with his daughter and grandson. That culminated in Jax admitting that he saw Stein as a father, and in this episode Stein finally acknowledged that he felt the same father-son emotions towards Jax. It was sweet, and unfortunately spelled doom for one of them. Given that Victor Garber has publicly left the show, it had to be Stein who died. I wish they had allowed the character to retire, but I guess it makes sense that they would kill him off instead. There's precedent for transferring the Firestorm powers if one of the two halves is deceased.

Bits:

Red-Tornado must be a good-guy on Earth-X. I do wonder if Overgirl's problem could be solved by him, since the last time Kara faced him she lost her powers for a little while.

Edelweiss was playing in the background during the concentration camp scenes. The flower is a symbol for dedication (to a loved one), and was a personal favorite of Adolf Hitler. Rogers and Hammerstein wrote the song for the classic musical, The Sound of Music. It is frequently believed to be the national anthem of Austria but was written in 1959, a full fourteen years after World War II had ended. So it is a bit of an anachronism for it to exist at all on Earth-X.

Russell Tovey, who plays Ray, is most well known in America for his role as George on the BBC version of Being Human.

I didn't mention it in the main body of the review, but Eobard performing open heart surgery on Kara was beyond awful. It seems like when Kara or Clark are truly vulnerable the villains always go above and beyond to do the absolute worst thing imaginable to them.

Quotes:

Wells: "Rip Van Ramon awakens."
Cisco: "This doesn't look like a wedding."
Caitlin: "You missed quite a bit, Cisco."
Wells: "All you need to know is that you are locked up in one of your fabulous anti-meta-human cells with the rest of us. We can't escape."
Cisco: "Of course we can't. That's what I designed them for, genius."

Barry: "So you're Leonard Snart's doppelganger."
Snart: "No, I'm Leonard Snart, but you can call me Leo. That is a fantastic outfit. Did you make that?"

Snart: "In ten minutes, Red Tornado's gonna bring down this entire facility, and there's nothing we can do to stop that robot."
Oliver: "Then we need to reopen the gateway before that happens. Barry, Ray..."
Barry: "We know. Stop a flying robot somehow."
Oliver: "Good. The rest of us will open the breach."
Snart: "That's the whole plan?"
Barry: "Well, as a Snart we know use to say, 'Make a plan. Execute the plan. Expect the plan to go off the rails. Throw away the plan'."
Snart: "Wow. That is... that is terrible advice. I always have a plan, down to the second, so nothing never goes wrong."

Kara: "My... my cousin... he'll find you."
Thawne: "Your cousin. Really? Fun tidbit. I fought your cousin once. In the future. He is fast. I'm faster."

Like the first two entries in this cross-over event, I loved this one, but it also was a middle chapter which makes it incredibly hard to rate. It falls on our Legends reviewer to rate the whole damn thing. Sorry about that.

(Here is a link to "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 4.")

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.

3 comments:

Mikey Heinrich said...

Great review. Super dark episode

Not sure if you were referring to the triangles when you mention new patches at the internment camp, but it bares noting in any case -

The pink triangle was used in concentration camps in WWII to mark homosexual prisoners. It was later reclaimed and used as the symbol of the gay rights movement for that very reason.

Billie Doux said...

Snart and Ray... other Ray. So cute. A fun moment in a pretty darned dark episode. Because I am not cool with what happened to Martin Stein. Death is too final for a beloved character.

yodudeyo100 said...

Anyone notice the mystery girl at the wedding who talked to Barry never showed back up? Hmmm...