Crisis on Earth X, Parts 3 & 4: Tears of Sadness, Joy Punctuate Thrilling Conclusion

Crisis on Earth X Parts 3 & 4

The annual CW crossover came to a bittersweet, yet satisfying conclusion. The third part suffered a bit from middle chapter syndrome but it all leads to a thrilling climax, with more than a few tears shed along the way. Here’s everything you need to know about the final parts of Crisis on Earth X:

Part 3: The Tide Turns

What’s the scoop:  Things are looking grim with Ollie, Barry, and a handful of others in a prison camp on Earth X, and Kara on the operating slab in STAR Labs. But, thanks to Earth X’s Leo Snart, his superhero underground and the plucky team of Iris and Felicity, the heroes get a bit of an upper hand.

Meanwhile in B-plot Land: Snart also helps introduce The Ray, an Earth 1 metahuman who is part of the underground and Snart’s lover. There are several noteworthy character threads running throughout the episode, most notably Kara, who has an extended conversation with her Nazi doppelgänger. There’s nothing quite like a conversation with a version of yourself that is totally stripped of her humanity to make you realize the value of your own human nature.

Metahumans being meta: Iris makes a Terminator reference (“Come with me if you want to live”) while rescuing Kara.

One GIF says it all

What about the action: The gateway to Earth 1 is in a heavily fortified base. The underground’s leader, Gen. Winn Schott (yes, Supergirl’s Winn), snarls out orders to destroy the gateway, while Red Arrow, General Zor-El and Reverse Flash are on the other side. He largely ignores the pleas of the Earth 1 team, who beg for the chance get back home, so they help both worlds by taking out Nazis there. Schott gives them an impossibly small window to fight their way through a fortified base manned by hordes of Nazis before he unleashes his doomsday weapon, the android Red Tornado, to destroy the gateway. This sets up a two-pronged sequence with The Ray and Flash trying to slow down Red Tornado, while the rest of the team fights their way through to the gateway.

The aftermath:  Iris and Felicity save Kara and send an emergency notice to the Legends for backup, which is needed because Reverse Flash temporarily turns the tables and strongarms Kara into submitting to the surgery. Thankfully, the Atom is there to block the scalpel and thwart the plan. Over on Earth X, they accomplish their mission of getting to the gateway, but at a cost. Stein is shot in the back, just a few days before retirement.

Part 4: Two Weddings and a Funeral

What’s the scoop: Much of the emotional weight of the episode is centered on Stein. Despite being shot, Stein opens the gateway and kills a bunch of Nazis in the process. He and Jax join together as Firestorm to keep Stein alive, but it’s a temporary solution. Even the advanced medical technology of the Waverider is unable to save Stein. What’s worse is that, because of their link, Stein’s wounds are also killing Jax. Stein accepts his fate and asks Jax for the serum that will split their connection and save Jax’s life. It’s a heart-wrenching moment as the partners in crime-fighting say their goodbyes, and life leaves Stein’s body.

Meanwhile in B plot land: Once released, the B-Team gets together to take out Metallo, and Olicity is reunited.

Metahumans being meta: Along with Marvel Comics, Star Wars exists in the Arrowverse, as is evidenced by Wells telling Cisco to “cut the chatter Red 2” (the callsign of Wedge Antilles in A New Hope). Ray Palmer appears to be a Simpsons or Kamala Khan Captain Marvel fan, with his use of the word “embiggen.” Wells also drops a nice “up, up and away” to Supergirl.

What about the action: After a brief period of mourning, it’s time for the combined team to gather to stop the rampaging Nazis and end their plan to destroy Earth 1. This major battle sequence serves as a worthy bookend to the big fight in the church in Part 1, with plenty of shots of heroes in costume looking tough, and fast-paced action. There are speedster vs. speedster fights. The Karas square off in the skies. It’s a flurry of battle that is fun and full of energy.

GIF quote of the week:

The aftermath: With the day saved, we are given some final character moments. Snart decides to stay behind on Earth 1 as The Ray heads back to Earth X. A funeral is held for Stein, where the heroes show their appreciation. Sara and Alex have one more conversation about love, life and trusting your gut. Finally, there’s the impromptu double wedding where WestAllen and Olicity kidnap the ordained Diggle to officiate their small ceremony in the park, putting a happy bow on the big crossover event.

Last impressions: While being killed by a classic TV/movie trope is not the way we wanted to see Victor Garber’s character leave the Arrowverse, it provided the team with a rallying point to make their final push against the Nazis. Aside from some slapdash effects here and there, this was an excellent execution of classic comic book storytelling — no small feat considering the constraints of time and budget that go along with making TV. The group was able to band together to confront a worldwide threat, but, at the same time, the story left room for the kind of small individual character moments that make these shows so appealing. We’re not sure how they will top this crossover next year, but here’s hoping they try.

Craig Wack

For a weekly discussion of comic book TV shows please join Craig Wack and Tatiana Torres for the Agents of GEEK podcast updated every Friday and now on iTunes

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