Airing in the UK on Sky 1, new episodes every Wednesday
Writers: Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim (Story), Phil Klemmer & Keto Shimizu (Teleplay)
Director: Gregory Smith
Essential Plot Points:
- Jax loses it, desperate to get to Stein even as still more Nazis swarm them.
- Barry and Ray are closing in on Red Tornado.
- Stein drags himself across the floor to the switch, pulls himself upright and, despite being shot again, opens the portal.
- Barry and Ray destroy Red Tornado seconds from the compound.
- Stein is critically injured and can’t be moved. Jax joins with him, becoming Firestorm again so they can get him to Gideon to fix him up.
- On Earth One, Thawne prepares to cut Kara open but can’t.
- BECAUSE RAY!
- He pulls everyone else out but Iris stays to shut down the pipeline and free the prisoners.
- In the lab, Olly X tells Thawne to evacuate everyone else while he hunts Supergirl.
- The Legends face off with Metallo as Ray is taken down by Olly. Felicity, disgusted by the Nazi scumbag version of her boyfriend, faces off with Olly X. He’s about to kill her. When Olly appears holding Kara X at arrow point.
- It’s a standoff, until Thawne pulls Olly X and Kara X out. Felicity and Olly hug and Olly FINALLY shakes off the grumpy mood he had in the first couple of episodes.
- The heroes leave on the Waverider. Firestorm separates and Jax collapses. He’s acting like he’s been wounded too. Caitlin figures out the only thing keeping Stein alive is the Firestorm matrix.
- Mick meets Leo. Mick instantly wishes he hadn’t.
- Jax comes round and Caitlin reassures him. Then, she leaves, meets Ray and we find out the truth; Stein is deteriorating and the only thing keeping him alive is Jax. And it won’t last.
- Curtis, Vixen and some of the others put their heads together with Ray. Earth X Kara isn’t just dying, she’s going supernova. Unless they find her, she’ll explode and destroy the planet.
- Stein comes round in the lab and tells Jax the truth; he’s dying. He tells Jax that the only way he can live is by taking the separation serum Cisco developed. Jax is distraught but there’s no other way; Stein takes the serum, and Jax stays with him as he dies. Stein’s final words are thanking Jax for the adventure of a lifetime and wishing him a long, happy life.
- Sara finds the two men, Jax still holding his father’s hand. Jax leaves, barely able to keep it together. Sara kisses Stein’s forehead.
- The news spreads across the ship. Jax tells Stein’s family and they break down, holding each other together.
- Olly and Sara get back on track, because they have no choice to do anything else. They bring the team together and are hailed by Olly X. he offers a truce; they’ll leave if Supergirl comes with them back to Earth X.
- OIiver shuts him down. The combined forces of every team prepare to go to war in Martin Stein’s name.
- Olly X leads his forces in indiscriminate slaughter, attacking innocent civilians across the city to draw the others out.
- It works.
- All out war breaks out on the streets as everyone goes toe to toe with the Nazis. In the skies, Cisco, Wells and Felicity dogfight with the Nazi Waverider.
- It’s a deadlock, until Kara arrives, itching for payback. She goads Kara X into a fight and Killer Frost leads a team aboard the Nazi Waverider to shut down it’s shields. It works and as Kara, Barry and Olly slug it out with their counterparts, the tide of the battle turns. Wells obliterates the enemy ship, Barry drives Thawne away and…
- Kara X starts to go critical. On Wells’ orders, Kara flies her into space where she detonates. Olly X screams in grief and rage, turns to face Olly and Olly kills him.
- In the aftermath, Ray heads home. Leo decides to stay a little while but tells his boyfriend he’ll be coming back. They kiss, Ray smiles and walks through the breach to go home.
- The heroes bury Stein. Jax gives a eulogy that’s as heartfelt as it is heart wrending. Jax breaks down, apologizing for not being able to save him and is embraced as a member of the family by Stein’s wife and daughter.
- Afterwards, Sara and Alex say goodbye. They’ve helped each other get re-centred and are happy to go their seperate ways.
- Kara and Alex head home. Barry and Iris reveal that they’re not planning on having the wedding again but are just going to get a Justice of the Peace.
- And then Felicity remembers that Diggle has been ordained…
- One slightly pukey pick up later, Diggle is on site and ready to officiate. Barry and Iris exchange massively sweet vows, Diggle is about to pronounce and…
- Felicity proposes.
- Olly says yes. A LOT.
- And Diggle pronounces them married.
There’s a moment towards the end of the second act here where the combined forces of the Arrowverse are standing together. The Legends, Team Arrow, Team Flash, Kara and Alex. It’s an astounding amount of characters and a genuine air punch of a moment as they band together to drive the Nazis off their world.
What sticks with you about it is twofold; that almost all these characters have been put through the wringer this season. And that Martin Stein is not with them.
Its a gutsy move to make ‘INTERDIMENSIONAL SUPER NAZIS ATTACK!’ a story that’s ultimately about individual people. But it’s also the only way that story can work. On the heroes’ side you have the loss of Stein, the emotional healing Alex and Sara both go through, Olly and Barry and Iris and Felicity’s differing attitudes towards their relationships and the Legends’ weird, broken family buckling under the loss of one of its own. None of them are normal, none of them are fully together, all of them have lives that are untidy, or messy or damaged by their own actions.
And all of them have people to lean on, and a line they will never cross. Kara calling Earth X Kara out for a fight rather than ambushing her, Barry letting Thawne go, Olly waiting for his counterpart to face him before killing him. These people pay hefty prices for their heroism and the Legends pay the heaviest price of all this time. But they pay it anyway, knowing the other choice, the selfish choice their Earth X counterparts make, is no choice at all.
That’s why for all the impressive action sequences and superheroics, the scenes that stay with you this week are the ones between Victor Garber and Franz Drameh. Garber has almost superhuman natural dignity and Stein’s quiet, polite farewell is all the more gut-wrenching for that. But it’s Drameh who carries the episode. There’s incredible, and we suspect largely unheralded courage, behind his performance here. Because Jax LOSES it. He is barely able to keep himself together, crushed by the guilt and horror of losing the man who is essentially his dad. There’s nothing easy there, no quick heal or workaround and Drameh, and the writers, have the courage to show us that. Even Legends lose people they love. Even heroes fall. And what matters the most is not remembering them, but being honest with ourselves and our grief. This episode made us lose it twice; once at Stein’s death and Sara kissing him goodbye and once at the funeral. In both cases there’s no special effects, no massive stakes. Just what happens when the people we love pass on, portrayed with honesty and courage. Jax and the Legends will hurt for a long time. They’ll heal for longer.But they will heal.
Which isn’t to say that the massive acts of superheroism here aren’t fun because they ARE. Around this emotional heart, Crisis on Earth-X builds the most successful live action DC crossover so far crammed with epic scale, lovely in jokes and brilliant character touches. But for us at least the fact it does this from such an honest, emotional place is what makes it truly stand out. A towering conclusion to a massively successful crossover. Roll on next year.
- Ray! Immensely perky cheerful Ray!
- Mick Rory’s visceral horror at how Earth X him died is WONDERFUL
- Stein’s final scenes are very difficult to watch and that’s a good thing. The clear love between the two characters comes across in waves and both Garber and Drameh are heartbreaking.
- The reaction to Stein’s death is one of the best we’ve seen in a show like this. Everyone is taken out at the knees by his loss and Franz Drameh in particular brings total sincerity to his scenes.
- Another REALLY good action scene! We especially liked the shift into Flash vision with everyone else in freeze frame as Barry and Wells beat on each other.
- Steel holding Kara at the end is a callback to the iconic cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
- Olly grins so rarely that his dopey, happy smile at the end here is truly sweet.
- Ray and Leo. Much more of them please, they’re awesome.
- The Nazis obediently standing on the portal as it opens is way too easy a solution.
And the Random:
- Ray’s reference to the suit ’embiggening’ is a nod to Ms Marvel. Marvel’s breakout character of this century, Kamala Khan’s abilities including being able to shrink, ’embiggen’ and be incredibly charming. She’s one of the best characters in western comics and it’s brilliant to see her referenced here. Especially after the reference to Spider-Man we got earlier.
- Gregory Smith is an actor and director who has recently appeared in Designated Survivor. He’s best known for his work on Everwood and Rookie Blue but has directed for Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, among others.
- Phil Klemmer has written for The Tomorrow People. Veronica Mars, Chuck and others.
- Keto Shimizu wrote Vixen: The Movie, Arrow, Being Human, The Cape (SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE!) and others.
- ‘Give it time I’ll get through that crusty exterior.’
‘No, you really won’t.’
‘I was talking to you.’
- ‘Oliver got the girl, I got a life of adventure on a time travelling spaceship.’
- ‘I just love a good pop culture reference in a moment of crisis!’
- ‘We should have just eloped.’
- ‘You’re a gangbanger.’
‘…I think you mean doppelganger.’
- ‘Your secret identity is your first name…with the word The in front of it?’
- ‘How could a father do anything else?’
- ‘Cut the chatter, Red two. Just fly the ship.’
- ‘Guys this isn’t working, I think we need a bigger gun.’
‘WAY AHEAD OF YOU.’
- ‘General!, You care to step outside?’
- ‘You need to fly her up, UP…AND AWAY!’
- ‘You hit that?’
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