Put all your regular storylines on hold, superfriends. It’s time for the season’s big DC crossover event on The CW. Spanning four shows over two nights, ‘Crisis on Earth-X’ kicked off on Monday with an episode of ‘Supergirl’ that largely sidelines its title character to focus mostly on ‘The Flash’. I’m fine with this, personally.
Part 1 actually rolls two ratings stunts into one. It’s both a multi-show crossover and a very special wedding episode. After many delays and complications, Barry Allen and Iris West are finally getting married, and all their friends are invited. Oliver Queen and his gal-pal Felicity Smoak will be there, as will half of the Legends of Tomorrow team. Barry even crossed universes to deliver an invitation to Kara Danvers, presuming that she’d bring her boyfriend Mon-El with her. What he didn’t realize is that Mon-El recently traveled to the future and back and got married to somebody else. As such, Kara brings her sister Alex, who’s also mopey with relationship woes, having recently broken up with her own fiancée.
A lot of inter-personal stuff happens that really requires you to be up to speed on all four shows. Cisco and Harry develop a serum that will “cure” Firestorm and allow Prof. Stein and Jax to live separate lives. Stein is eager to retire from superheroing and spend time with his new grandchild, but Jax is depressed by the situation. Alex gets sloppy drunk at the wedding reception (which is being held at the Jitters coffee shop, either because Barry is a huge cheapskate or the shows’ production staffs didn’t want to build a new set) and has a one night stand with Sara Lance. Oliver proposes to Felicity and she turns him down because she likes their relationship the way it is.
Before the wedding starts, Barry is weirded out by a nervous waitress (what’s a waitress doing at the church anyway?) who’s a little too eager to be there and acts like a Barry Allen fangirl, as if she knows he’s the Flash and is excited to witness history happening. Something makes me think she’s from the future, but this is not revisited in either Parts 1 or 2.
Almost three quarters of the episode go by before we get to the big action. Just as Barry and Iris are about to say their vows, their priest is zapped into oblivion by evil Nazis from another dimension! Although masked, the Nazi leaders are clearly alternate versions of Oliver Queen and Supergirl. (This is meant to be a big revelation at the end of the episode, but it’s perfectly obvious from their first appearances.) The Nazis invade the church, causing much chaos and super-fighting to break out. The two Ollies fight each other, as do the two Supergirls. It’s kind of amusing to watch Kara flying around and doing battle in a fancy dress.
When good Supergirl injures bad Supergirl, bad Ollie stops to save her and calls for a Nazi retreat. In all the pandemonium, Cisco is knocked unconscious and will be out of commission for at least the first half of the four-part crossover. One Nazi is captured and imprisoned in the Pipeline at S.T.A.R. Labs.
When the Nazi leaders regroup and unmask, we learn that… Gasp! Shock! Horror!… they’re evil doppelgangers of Oliver Queen and Supergirl, which we knew all along. They’re joined by a speedster in the yellow Reverse-Flash costume, who reveals himself to be Dr. Wells under the mask.
Get ready for Part 2!
Despite some dodgy CGI (especially in the prologue on the Nazi Earth) and a prolonged delay before the action starts, Part 1 is a very fun episode. It has a light, zippy vibe, lots of humor, interesting character building, and (when it finally comes) some very well-staged multi-character battle choreography. Unlike previous crossovers, it puts characters from all four of the shows to good use.
These crossovers are always contrived ratings stunts, but this one seems more ambitious and better put-together than previous efforts. At least so far, anyway. Let’s see how well the other three parts fare.
Next: ‘Crisis on Earth-X, Part 2‘