‘Crisis On Earth X’ Was Brilliant in Its Absurdity

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Spoiler Warning for the ‘Crisis On Earth X’ crossover arc.

Last night, the four part crossover story arc between the CW DC shows came to a conclusion. It’s become a tradition ever since the first ArrowFlash crossover that every season, the heroes from each show come to together to fight a common enemy. This year’s was the biggest crossover yet, bringing together characters from Arrow, The FlashLegends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl to battle Nazis. Whether you religiously watch every single show or are completely in the dark about who any of these people in tights are, there was a lot to process in those four hours of television.

Every episode of this story arc felt like it was torn straight out of old school cartoons or comic books; jam-packed with melodrama and campy fun all the way through. It definitely didn’t feel like television, in that almost nothing was grounded in reality. But that’s what was so fun about this crossover.

Barry and Iris’ wedding gets interrupted. Source: CW

What was interesting this year was that, in previous years, each show would “host” one episode of the story arc, and each host show received special attention during their episode. Even tonally, the story would shift ever so slightly to match the normal tone of the host show. In a previous Arrow-Flash crossover, Oliver Queen even addressed the fact that his world and Barry’s were completely different, and the directing of the episodes reflected that. This year however, the tone was consistent throughout the four episodes, both in moments of comedy and drama. I think at this point, DC and CW expect that you’re watching each of their shows anyway. Any plot points or references from other shows were briefly explained with no-frills exposition.

I’m glad that these shows have honed in on the concept of just having fun rather than trying to ground itself in reality. Arrow, which is probably the one show of the CW-verse that tried to stay gritty has shifted its tone ever so slightly, as the whole “serious superhero” thing stopped working for it about 3 seasons ago.

'Crisis on Earth X.' Source: CW
Our heroes stuck on Earth X. Source: CW

That isn’t to say that ‘Crisis on Earth X’ didn’t have its serious moments. The scenes from the concentration camp on Earth X were chilling. The terrifying cruelty of Nazis is a pretty universal concept. While Nazis have been used an endless number of times as the quintessential villain in both fiction and science fiction, it’s very timely that they were the villains; especially during a year in our country when Nazis have openly marched and rallied. Seeing these DC superheroes, who embody all the values that we hold dear, coming out to denounce Nazis and telling them they have no place on our plane was well-needed.

‘Crisis on Earth X’ also brought us Martin Stein’s death (the other half of the hero Firestorm.) Martin sacrificing himself to save the team, then subsequently separating himself from Firestorm to save Jax was truly emotional. One thing that took me out of the emotional scene though was the actor portraying Jax, whose crying scenes were tearless and not at all convincing. Regardless, it was a shame that the other members of the team and Martin’s family couldn’t say a proper goodbye. I’m also glad that they gave his character a definitive out, instead of doing another time travel or alternate dimension type thing to keep Stein in the show, as the CW-verse has been well known to do.

Jax mourning the loss of Martin. Source: CW
Jax mourning the loss of Martin. Source: CW

Another strong aspect of the show was that all of the primary characters had their moment to shine. This is no simple task when you’re balancing four separate ensemble casts. Not only that, but the synergy between the characters was fantastic. In fact, this team up was much more cohesive than the ones from the DC Cinematic Universe.

‘Crisis on Earth X’ was a fun time when you embraced it for what it is. It definitely had weaknesses too. It had the absurdity of villains letting heroes bargain with them even when the heroes had no bargaining chip. The fact that Felicity and Iris were kept alive even after constantly getting caught by Nazis was implausible. Also, the “Oliver pretending to be Nazi-Oliver” plan was such a crappy plan; both within the show, and as a plot point.

Also, I know they need to water down the abilities of the heroes so that there are challenges, but it was silly that despite having 15 or so superheroes in one place, and more than half of them with superpowers, it took so long to beat up 50 or so non-powered Nazis. Realistically, the Flash, Supergirl, the Metal dude (sorry forgot his name), or even Killer Frost, could easily have taken them all out solo.

Crisis on Earth X
Hero graduation photo? Source: CW
Miscellaneous Thoughts
  • Who designates what number each Earth is? I mean, to people on Earth X, isn’t their own Earth technically “Earth One?”
  • I’ve watched all of these shows in the past. However, I’ve stopped for different reasons. Arrow was becoming too much to handle, with pretty much everybody donning a costume after a few months training. All while still trying to ground itself in reality and making it gritty, which doesn’t work when 10 people are wearing spandex in the same frame. Legends of Tomorrow, I’ll do a catch-up binge in between seasons since it’s a fun time travel show. I only watched parts of Supergirl. The Flash is the only one I’ve consistently kept up with.

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