Hour one of the Arrow-verse mega-crossover balances an astounding number of story lines
The first hour of the CW’s mega-Crisis on Earth-X crossover bursts onto our screens with a giddy jolt of energy, and if hour one is this exciting, imagine the intensity of the next three!
The villains for this epic event come from a hellscape of dark skies, red lightning, and swastika-bedecked skyscrapers. A black-clad figure, familiar but masked, is wearing an SS armband when he takes out a group of rebels before killing a masked hero who turns out to be James Olsen/Guardian. Nooo!
Nazi-archer collects some sort of device that will let them “reign forever.” He delivers it, along with a “heil victory” Nazi salute, to an eeeevil scientist, and a flying masked woman with “SS” on her chest gives him one day to examine the device for rebel traps.
Now let’s check in on a better Earth, shall we? Barry’s fighting King Shark in Central City when Iris beeps in to complain about people not RSVPing to their impending nuptials. And just who are these discourteous jerks?
Oliver and Felicity, for one. He’s fighting ninjas in Star City when Felicity confirms that they plan to attend. Ditto all of the Legends, who are skirmishing in 1183 England when they realize those RSVP cards never got sent.
Kara’s not off the hook, either. She and Alex are spending some romantic-misery-loves-company couch-and-wine time when she decides that Alex is going to be her plus-one for the West/Allen wedding.
The next thing we know, Kara’s joined Iris, Caitlin, and Felicity for mani/pedis and champagne. (Kara’s cuticles, naturally, break the equipment. “Super-strong nails,” Felicity quips.)
Iris, in the tradition of happily coupled people everywhere, asks Felicity if she and Oliver are next to the altar. “Maybe once the city’s not being attacked and Oliver’s no longer under indictment and he’s spent enough time with his son who’s still mourning the loss of his mother,” Felicity replies, looking a little bummed when they all joke that this means “any day now.”
Meanwhile, Barry’s trying on his penguin suit and worrying about his vows. Oliver enters in his own tux, causing Barry (and the viewing audience) to quietly say, “Damn.” Oliver assures him that the vows will come, and Barry asks Iris’ question: When will Oliver and Felicity tie the knot?
Oliver assures Barry that he loves Felicity “soooo much” (trust me, he pronounced those extra o’s), but with everything going on, it’s not the right time. Still, Barry’s pleased that Oliver’s finally learned that being a superhero doesn’t exclude loving someone. In fact, it gives you something to fight for.
Not all of our heroes are so lovey-dovey, though. Stein and Jax are still trying to split up Firestorm, so Cisco, Harry, and Caitlin engineer a serum that’ll strip the powers away from both of them. Stein is psyched; Jax is decidedly not.
Stein tinkers with the serum and comes up with a way to end Firestorm but still leave Jax a superpower: the power of incredible adhesion! Jax isn’t impressed at the thought of becoming the Spectacular Sticky Man. The extra time in the lab does allow Stein and Caitlin a chance to talk about Ronnie, and Stein vows that once he’s un-Firestormed, he’ll be a better husband, father, and grandfather. Wow, do I hope that’s just conversation and not ominous foreshadowing.
The rehearsal dinner, which is held at Jitters (awwww!) is lovely. Everybody hugs, clinks champagne glasses, and, in the case of Mick, hits the buffet hard. He also asks Caitlin if he ever kidnapped her, and she recommends he not try it again. Ha!
Over shots of booze, Alex tells Sara about the end of her engagement, and they toast to how awful it is to be at the rehearsal dinner for the world’s most perfect couple. I…think we all see where this is headed. And yep, before long, they’re outside kissing.
Barry finds Kara looking down on the proceedings from the second story. She briefly explains the Mon-El situation (exiled to space, lost in time, returned married) and says it’s her own fault for trying to live as something other than Supergirl. She’s different than Barry and Oliver, who can let love into their lives; she’s an alien, and she’s alone. Sensing defeat, Barry backs off of this topic and, in light of their musical adventures last season, asks if Kara will lend her talents to the ceremony the next day. She agrees.
Then Joe delivers a toast commending the grace, trust, and love Barry and Iris have shown during their recent challenges. “Thank you for showing me how to love again,” he says, raising a glass to his children.
Inspired, Oliver suggests that he and Felicity do something along these lines: friends, family, crab cakes, toasts. And he doesn’t just mean a rehearsal dinner; he wants the wedding, too. Although he doesn’t go down on one knee because he’s sore from the ninja fight, he proposes beautifully to the love of his life.
The, uh, love of his life who says no. Felicity says she doesn’t need a piece of paper to make things legal and suggests they discuss it some other time. Oliver replies, “I’m actually physically incapable of talking about anything else right now.” Flustered Oliver Queen is the best Oliver Queen. The conversation ends with her yelling, “Oliver, I don’t want to marry you!” Girl, I am always on your side, but OUCH. Presumably this is all tied up with the baggage surrounding their broken engagement and not-wedding, but it still hurts my heart. Thankfully, they’ve got a few more crossover episodes to sort this all out.
It’s now the morning of the wedding! Our heroes wake up in various moods. Barry tenderly watches a sleeping Iris, Oliver and Felicity sulk on separate couches, Jax is scowly, Mick parades in a bathrobe, Kara floats in her sleeping bag (cooool), and Alex and her shockingly un-smudged makeup wake up next to Sara. Her attempt at a sneaky exit is neither quiet nor graceful.
A hungover Alex slinks up to Kara outside the church, and then Sara breezes by and casually mentions their nighttime activities. Kara’s amused at her sister’s one-night stand, reminding Alex that she’s a single lady now. Alex is open to this idea, although she’s taken aback to learn that Sara’s an assassin.
Inside the church, Mick states that he should sit on the bride’s side since he tried to kill the groom so many times, and now I want Mick to attend every possible wedding henceforth. (Next: Time to punch some Nazis)
The ceremony gets underway when Kara steps to the front to sing as Iris and Joe come down the aisle. Barry’s eyes shine with tears — and this is before Joe whispers that he wishes Barry’s parents were there. “They are,” Barry replies. Take a second to dab your tears, and as you’re composing yourself, I’ll remind you that Kara sang “Running Home to You,” which was Barry’s song to Iris during the musical crossover. Show continuity, FTW!
The minister steps up to begin the ceremony, but when he reaches the “speak now” portion, he’s swiftly vaporized. So long, William Katt, a.k.a. Ralph Hinkley from The Greatest American Hero. That was a heck of a cameo.
The fatal blast was courtesy of Nazi-girl, who growls, “Peace is overrated.” Yep, the church has been overrun with Nazi troops, who open fire on the crowd.
Barry and Wally speed around to catch bullets, Firestorm appears, Kara whips off her glasses, Cisco encourages Caitlin to channel her frosty roommate, Mick grabs his heat gun, and Sara and Alex both rip slits into their long skirts for maximum freedom of movement. In short, you picked the wrong church, Nazi chumps!
Thankfully, Oliver brought along his wedding bow and is able to deflect a Nazi arrow headed toward Harrison, who’s evacuating the humans. Then he has Cisco breach him up to the balcony to engage the Nazi-archer upstairs.
Nazi-Prometheus arrives on the scene, complete with that ominous cascading theme song that I so loved last season. Sara and Alex team up to take him down, exchanging high fives when they do. Meanwhile, Supergirl’s taken to the sky to fight the masked woman. They’re evenly matched (what a shock!), and Supergirl gets knocked through the exterior of the church to crumple on the floor.
But she’s able to deliver a super clap that stuns Nazi-girl, allowing Kara to punch her in the stomach. Nazi-girl falls, cradling her abdomen, and the Nazi archer immediately leaps over the railing to swoop her up, shouting for his troops to fall back. (Gee, I wonder why Nazi-archer’s so eager to protect Nazi-girl?) “Best wedding ever,” Mick crows.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry promises Iris that he is going to marry her, while around them, Cisco’s down with a concussion, Stein marvels over Caitlin’s frosty dual nature, Sara and Jax march Nazi-Prometheus into a cell, and Mick announces that he successfully memory wiped all the wedding guests, so everybody’s secret identities are safe.
Kara didn’t see any sign of the enemy when she surveilled the city, and they wonder where these particular Nazis came from. (“Apparently they don’t know about the Yalta Conference,” Stein says — although to be fair, neither does Mick.) They worry about the ethnic cleansing, world domination, and “Make America Aryan again” (not that it ever was!) that could follow.
Then our heroes start marveling that the archer matched Oliver shot for shot, and Kara’s opponent was her exact equal. Oh, bless your sweet faces, all of you. Even as an alt-Earth Nazi, can’t they recognize Kara’s fabulous hair from a mile away?
On a rooftop elsewhere in the city, Nazi-archer and Nazi-girl are joined by Nazi-Reverse Flash, who takes off his mask to reveal Harrison Wells (or Eobard Thawne in Harry’s body?). He yells at the duo for attacking before they were ready, but Nazi-archer argues that the wedding was too good to pass up. Then the pair remove their masks to reveal the faces of Oliver Queen and Kara Danvers. Nazi-Kara vows that they’ll have another chance to achieve victory, and when they do, they’ll kill every last one of our heroes.
Snaps of the cape:
- This first hour was such a blast! The show did an amazing job of blending the story lines and characters from four different shows and letting our favorites interact. And boy howdy, did the names in those opening credits keep going and going and going…
- Meta moment of the night: Kara KOs a Dominator in the first minutes of the episode and declares, “These guys are so last year.”
- Gotta admit, evil looks good on Melissa Benoist, although the “SS” hurts to look at. Also, I’m dying to know who’s under the Prometheus mask, as the showrunners have broken my heart by announcing that Josh Segarra isn’t back for the crossover.
- We all agree that the starry-eyed server pushing the sparkling water and exclaiming about how happy she is to be at this particular wedding is totally Barry and Iris’ daughter from the future, yes?
- I’m on the fence about Alex and Sara hooking up. Alex’s story line as a single woman could be as compelling and sensitively told as her coming out and her first love were, but this felt rushed after the devastation of the Sanvers breakup. Still, who among us hasn’t had, considered, or witnessed a drunken rebound hookup or two?
- Okay, let’s discuss the Nazis in the room. Sure, it makes for a straightforward “good versus evil” storyline, but in this, the Year of Our Lord 2017, Nazis are a little less…hypothetical than we might like. It takes a bit of the fun escapism out of it for me — but only a bit, honestly, because this episode overall was a gas. What say you, Arrow-verse fans? Are you on board for more episodes of Nazi punching, or would you like to keep the Third Reich out of your superhero escapism?
- Head here for our recap of “Crisis on Earth-X, Part 2.”
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