The Flash 4.08

‘The Flash’ 4.08 Recap: “Sometimes We Think We’re More Clever Than We Are”

The ‘Crisis on Earth-X’ crossover continues on ‘The Flash’. Somewhat disappointingly, Part 3 is the most plot-focused entry in the event and feels a little perfunctory as it moves pieces in place for the finale.

Barry, Oliver, Sara and some of their other friends are trapped in a concentration camp on the Nazi world of Earth-X. They’re all forced to wear electronic collars that inhibit their super-powers if they have them, and function as shock collars if they misbehave. This is not a good situation to be in.

Sara is appalled to learn that the concentration camp is run by the Nazi version of her own father, Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne). He’s disgusted by her bisexuality and orders the whole group of Earth-1 captives, plus a random prisoner named Ray, marched out to a mass grave and executed. Luckily, they’re rescued at the last moment by none other than Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller). Specifically, he’s the Earth-X version of Snart, who calls himself “Leo” and is much friendlier and easier-going than the original. He’s also in a committed relationship with this Ray guy, so that’s different. Leo distracts the Nazis and gets the collars off the team, whereupon Ray reveals himself to be a meta-human going by the rather unimaginative name “The Ray.” He glows bright yellow, can fly, and fires energy blasts to take out the rest of the Nazis. He also explains that he happens to be from Earth-1 as well.

Leo and Ray are part of a resistance movement operating out of the equivalent of Team Arrow HQ. Their leader is Gen. Winn Schott, who’s much gruffer and meaner than the Earth-38 version. He wants to blow up the temporal gateway that Ollie-X and Kara-X used to traverse universes, and doesn’t care if that means trapping the Earth-1 gang in Naziville. Alex tries to appeal to him as a friend, but he won’t listen to her. Only nice guy Snart is able to get through to him. Winn grants them one hour to get through the breach and back to their own world before he blows it up.

Naturally, the gateway is housed in a Nazi facility equipped with super-power dampening defenses and guarded by a regiment of stormtroopers. Ollie comes up with the idea to drive right up to the gate in disguise as his Nazi double (who’s confirmed to be the Führer, not just a general). He makes his way inside in time to watch a Nazi version of the Waverider fly through the breach to Earth-1. Unfortunately, his cover is blown when he refuses to execute a Jewish prisoner who’s a double of Felicity.

Fighting and shooting break out. Ollie is able to turn off the anti-meta defenses, allowing the rest of the team in. However, the gateway’s controls are damaged and it can only be operated from a manual override. Gen. Schott gets impatient and launches his attack early. Rather than a missile, he sends the Red Tornado robot. Barry and Ray race out to deal with that, which sidelines two of the most powerful fighters from the rest of the battle.

For entirely contrived reasons, Prof. Stein instructs Jax to split up Firestorm and fight separately, then gets gunned down while trying to turn on the manual override. The episode ends leaving the impression that he’s a goner.

Meanwhile on Earth-1

Cisco wakes up in the Pipeline, prohibited from using his powers. In the cells around him are Harry, Caitlin, Mick, and the other members of Team Arrow. Supergirl is restrained on an operating table and subjected to a red sun lamp that weakens her while Eobard Thawne (still wearing the Harrison Wells face, because I guess actor Matt Letscher must not have been available) gloats about how he’s going to cut her open and transplant her heart into Overgirl, her evil Earth-X doppelganger.

Only Iris and Felicity remain uncaptured, but unfortunately neither has any super-powers. They sneak around through the lab’s ridiculously large duct system playing John McClane and formulating a plan to free their friends. Felicity sends an S.O.S. message to the remainder of the Legends team who didn’t attend the wedding, then cuts the power to the lab before Thawne can slice Supergirl open. They’re able to free Kara from the operating table, but are quickly captured by Metallo.

Still weakened, Kara surrenders in order to save Felicity from being murdered by Thawne. Felicity then grudgingly gives Thawne the password to turn the power back on.

Things sure look awfully dire as we head into the finale of the crossover, don’t they? I sure hope it turns out OK!

Episode Verdict

As we get down to the business of taking care of the plot, Part 3 of the crossover isn’t quite as much fun as the first two. It feels like a lot of housekeeping to put things in order. I don’t understand or buy Stein’s decision to separate from Firestorm at a critical moment, other than as a blatant contrivance to put him in danger.

Even so, the episode does what it’s supposed to do and is fine on the whole. As much as I’m usually skeptical of pandering fan-service, I have to say that bringing back lots of old characters from across all four shows (Metallo, Quentin Lance, Red Tornado, etc.) works really well in this context. And if we really needed an excuse to resurrect Leonard Snart from the dead, this is a fun one.

Next: ‘Crisis on Earth-X, Part 4

Back to:
Crisis on Earth-X, Part 1
Crisis on Earth-X, Part 2

1 comment

  1. Guy

    The Jax and Stein split was extremely stupid. They handwaved it as a way to do both tasks at once, but I’m pretty sure Firestorm flying between the two consoles sequentially would’ve been faster than Jax and Stein walking to them separately. It was too important a moment for it to be the dumbest decision in this crossover…up to that point. Barry certainly makes a choice that surpasses it in stupidity during the finale.

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