Arrow recap: 'Crisis on Earth-X, Part 2'
Barry, Oliver, and Kara come face to face with their evil doppelgangers in an exposition-heavy hour
Watching “Crisis on Earth-X, Part 2,” I couldn’t help but think of the recently released Justice League movie and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. There was a lot to dislike about those two movies (and I won’t take the time to explain what here), but at the same time, it’s hard to ignore the visceral excitement of just seeing your favorite heroes on screen together; it reminds of you of playing with action figures when you were younger. That’s how I felt about the second part of this year’s crossover, which, for the record, I liked way more than those aforementioned movies. While “Crisis on Earth-X” isn’t as strong as the first part due to a lot of necessary yet cumbersome exposition, I nevertheless found myself on the edge of my seat (read: office chair) because seeing Green Arrow, Supergirl, and The Flash team up is just so damn fun.
The hour gets off to strong start with a very surprising reveal: Prometheus is none other than Tommy Merlyn from Earth-X, the dark 53rd Earth where the Nazis won the war (according to Harry, who explains this in one of the episode’s many info-dump scenes, no one ever travels there). Honestly, I thought Roy Harper was going to be Prometheus-X, but I’m glad it wasn’t because the Tommy reveal carries a lot more emotional weight, especially for Oliver, whose eyes well up with tears upon seeing his best friend again. Unfortunately, this Tommy isn’t the man Oliver knew. This Tommy is cold and ruthless and has no patience for Oliver’s sentimentality. Oh, and he’s 100 percent loyal to the fatherland, which we find out when he kills himself to avoid more questioning.
You’d think watching your best friend die a second time would mess Oliver up, but he has something else on his mind: Felicity not wanting to get married. So, Oliver — who, unless we’ve forgotten, is comfortable talking about his feelings now — brings up the issue with her once again. She says she loves him so much, but she just doesn’t want get married to anyone, which is news to Oliver, who very much wants to take that step. As Felicity later confides to Iris, she’s also worried that taking this step will cause more problems, like the last time they got engaged. One of the things I appreciated about this episode was that even amidst the exposition, they found time for these emotional moments that dug into the characters’ relationships. Jax and Stein also share a moment: Jax admits that he’s mainly upset with Stein because he hates the thought of losing the only father figure he’s ever had.
But alas, duty calls! Felicity and Iris receive an alert that the Nazis are attacking some corporation, so Flash, Green Arrow, and Supergirl head out for their confrontation with their Earth-X doppelgangers. And that’s not the fight’s only disturbing revelation: It turns out Oliver-X and Kara-X — whose ship landed in Nazi Germany instead of America, a twist on Superman’s origin story in Red Son — are married (I wrote “EWWW” in my notes when they kissed for the first time, which was Kara’s reaction, too). And the Reverse Flash is actually Earth-1 Eobard Thawne, who decided to wear Harrison Wells’ face for shiggles (and probably because Matt Letscher wasn’t available). How is Thawne alive? Time travel! Does that make sense since we saw him die on Legends of Tomorrow last season? No, not really! But who cares? I love watching Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells. Finally, our Oliver surprises everyone, especially Kara, by firing a Kryptonite arrow at Kara-X, reminding us that he’s the Arrowverse’s Batman because he’s always prepared. (Next: Journey to Earth-X)
Unfortunately, this initial fight is probably the episode’s weakest one. The Earth-Xers use a classic villain move — something called the prism — to escape the fight with their stolen property: They place nearby civilians in jeopardy in order to distract our heroes. This leads some unfortunate and unconvincing CGI, especially when it comes to Green Arrow grapple-arrowing around a falling structure.
While Caitlin, Harry, and Stein try to track down the Earth-Xers using Kara-X’s blood and Mick drinks and questions Caitlin about her icy alter ego, Barry and Iris retreat to the Time Vault to talk about Thawne’s return. Obviously, Barry is shaken since he thought he finally got closure on Thawne, but alas that’s not the case. Then Oliver enters and opens up to them about how he’s worried that Felicity may not love him as much or in the same way as he loves her because she doesn’t want to get married. Felicity overhears this when she comes to tell them that they found Kara, but Oliver says they’ll talk about it later because he needs to get his head the game.
So the Superfriends, with White Canary, Alex, and Firestorm in tow this time, fly out to fight the Earth-Xers, leading to the episode’s best fight sequence. Director James Bamford loves an extended fight scene, and that’s what we get here: The camera fluidly moves among our heroes fending off the Nazis as Supergirl, Flash, Reverse Flash, and Kara-X whiz by in flashes of CGI in the background. Meanwhile, Oliver-X attacks S.T.A.R. Labs and makes easy work of Rory — who didn’t join the other Superfriends because he was too busy looking for mustard (#classicRory) — Caitlin, and Team Arrow.
With the help of Earth-X Metallo, the bad guys are able to overpower and capture the Superfriends, but they don’t kill them, because they need them. Oliver-X reveals that they traveled to this Earth not only to conquer it but to capture Supergirl; they want to transplant her heart into Kara-X’s body, which is slowly dying from having absorbed too much solar radiation (I loved this very All-Star Superman twist). Furthermore, they’re going to use the prism to create an artificial red sun that will weaken Kara and allow them to remove her heart. Basically, the Earth-Xers reveal that they’re not as coldhearted as they initially presented themselves because they literally came here to save Kara-X’s life.
With all of that information shared, the Earth-Xers place Oliver, Barry, Stein, Jax, Alex, and Sara in a scary internment camp on Earth-X. How’s it going for these Superfriends at the end of the hour? Not great, Bob!
As I mentioned at the top of the recap, this episode was an exposition-heavy hour. While that was necessary, it was frustrating to watch. Thankfully, writers Wendy Mericle and Ben Sokolowski made the exposition more palatable by including several scenes that were focused on the characters. Because this was technically an Arrow outing, most of those involved Oliver and Felicity; however, I appreciated Alex opening up to Kara about why she’s so upset after her one-night stand (she’s worried she’s going to regret breaking things off with Maggie) and the aforementioned moment between Jax and Stein. Plus, this episode was just funny! See you tomorrow for part 3.
Wall of Weird:
- “This is sick” — Oliver, when he finally comes face to face with the Earth-X doppelgangers.
- Reverse Flash telling Oliver-X he needed to be 10 percent less brooding was great!
- “Just a reminder: superspeed. I don’t have it” — Oliver to Barry and Kara after they fly ahead of him before the first fight
- “He’s an idiot” — Harry, after learning that Reverse Flash, a.k.a. his doppelganger, is working with the Earth-Xers.
- “This is somewhat disconcerting” — Stein, looking around the Earth-X internment camp.
- Oliver’s surprise Kryptonite arrow has convinced me that the Arrow-verse needs to do its version of the “Tower of Babel” story line next year.