The big CW DCTV crossover event is finally here, bringing The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow together for one big four-hour adventure. In this case, it’s the wedding of Barry (the Flash) Allen and Iris West and the Crisis on Earth-X. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on the first two chapters, the Supergirl and Arrow chapters of Crisis on Earth-X!
The Wedding of Barry and Iris
In the comics, the wedding of Barry Allen and Iris West occurred almost to the day, November 24th (according to DC Comics calendars of the 1970s at least), fifty-one years ago in Flash #165. It wouldn’t be until years later that I read that story myself, but in my own Flash reading experience (except for the old comics and reprints of my big brother’s) the Flash has always been married. Instinctually I knew that crew cut Barry was single and more conservative haircut Barry was married. Comics were simpler back then. Either way I wonder if the showrunners planned the wedding to be on the actual date in the comics.
Flash #165 was a weird comic, besides being a landmark wedding issue with the hero finally marrying the romantic interest. Not only had Barry not yet revealed to Iris that he was the Flash, but the Reverse-Flash had replaced Barry on the altar. In a twisted bit of revenge, and an even more twisted bit of obsession with Iris that thankfully the TV version of Eobard Thawne does not have, the villain and Iris were nearly married. Since Iris didn’t yet know Barry was the Flash, the Flash showing up at her wedding didn’t faze her in the least. Barry does reveal his identity to Iris on their wedding night however, unknowingly, as he talks in his sleep, perhaps the weirdest Barry-ism yet.
The Wedding List
Interesting side note, in attendance at the comic book wedding are the versions of Barry’s parents and Wally’s parents and Iris’ parents that were rewritten/retconned away, as well as characters like Dexter Myles (Flash Museum curator), Al Desmond (Mr. Element, Barry’s friend, and in the comics, the real Doctor Alchemy) and Daphne Dean (Barry’s childhood friend, now movie star), all who have yet to appear on television. Also missing are Barry’s superhero friends Green Lantern and Elongated Man, as well as any allies from the Justice League, but as we learn from the television version, it seems that incomplete wedding lists are well within Flash continuity.
While it can be noted that the casts of the four (currently, one could say seven counting Vixen, Constantine, and the upcoming Ray, with no word on whether Black Lightning will link up continuity-wise yet) CW DCTV shows are quite vast, so you cannot really include them all, but there are exclusions that are surprising. The not included list in this crossover includes Ralph Dibny, either version of Vixen, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Vibe (sidelined in the wedding combat), Gypsy and her father Breacher, Jesse Quick (although that might be uncomfortable for Wally), Julian Albert, Patty Spivot, the Atom, John Diggle, the rest of Team Arrow (while they do show up later, they were notably not invited to the wedding), Isis/Zari, Steel, Rip Hunter, Guardian, and the Martian Manhunter. Thea gets a pass as she just came out of a coma, and Mon-El and Saturn Girl get out on the Jesse pass, but seriously, did anyone go over this wedding list? It all gets much much worse when you consider that Heat Wave, who’s tried to kill the groom more than a few times, gets to attend, and these others don’t…
Getting the Count
As someone who has been married, I know full well the frustration of wedding lists, and even more on getting a count for the ceremony, and most importantly the reception. After a quick peek at red-skied (always a bad sign, a sign of Crisis) Earth-X, and an evil Green Arrow, whose name we later learn is Dark Arrow, killing that Earth’s Jimmy Olsen as Guardian, we see the various heroes we know trying to remember to get a count to Barry and Iris. We get brief cameos of King Shark fighting the Flash, Supergirl fighting a Dominator, and the Legends in the 12th century. Not to beat a dead horse, but if Supergirl can attend across dimensions, why can’t Gypsy? And why not free Jay Garrick from the Speed Force to help Barry celebrate the happiest day of his life (so far at least)?
Ah, the horrors of a shared universe, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Worth mentioning is the structure of this crossover event. While there are credits, there are not individual credit sequences from the individual shows. There are no Supergirl or Arrow openings to distinguish that they are in fact episodes of those shows as described in the TV grid schedule. I wonder how this will play in syndication? And there’s no doubt this will play havoc with DVRs. I also wonder about folks who only watch certain shows. I watch them all, but The Bride only watches Supergirl and The Flash, confusing for some I’m sure, especially if you set the DVR for only the shows one watches. At least the Supergirl series is actually part of the crossover this year as opposed to just starting the event at the end of the episode.
As the heroes gather for the rehearsal dinner (at Jitters? Did they run out of sets?) and the wedding ceremony itself, there is opportunity to catch up for those who don’t watch all of the shows, as well as interesting interaction between characters not normally together. Supergirl has to explain why her plus-one is her sister and not Mon-El, and of course the White Canary demonstrates her secret power of finding the only other lesbian in the room, and making that awkward. Oliver embarrasses himself by getting in the moment and asking Felicity to marry him, and she refuses. It is Ollicity, so there has to be some soap opera.
Besides the girl talk and the boy talk, there is also the science talk. The scientist contingent work on the Firestorm separation problem from DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, together solving something they could not do individually. This brings to mind another peril of shared universes, couldn’t Team Flash and Team Arrow just pick up a phone and talk at any time? It makes one wonder why they don’t get together more often. They should have each other on speed dial – or maybe these heroes should join together as a team or league or something… Still, Jax as Spider-Man is just weird. Where did that come from?
Joe’s speech at the rehearsal dinner brought a tear to my eye, it was that good. It was a nice prelude to the actual wedding, thankfully held in a church and not a coffee shop. There’s a waitress who shows up to remind Barry to say “I do,” was she from the future maybe? Hopefully we’ll find out sooner rather than later. I loved that Barry asked Kara to sing “Running Home to You” at the wedding, the song he sang at the end of the Music Meister episode to propose to Iris. It seems to be a beautiful wedding until that part where the officiant (slyly played by Greatest America Hero William Katt) asks if anyone has any reason why these two not be wed (why do they ask that anyway?), and the Nazis show up.
The civilians are rushed to safety, hopefully before they witness any super-powered mayhem by the wedding party, and if they do, the Legends have that Men in Black device to erase their memories later conveniently to prevent any secret identity breaches, and again, shouldn’t this be shared technology in this shared universe? The heroes commence punching Nazis, and as Alex points out, it does feel just as good as punching Nazis should. Nice teamwork for people who don’t usually train together, but I will let that slide as this fight is very cool. It doesn’t get better than fighting Nazis in a church. We quickly learn that the main Nazis are evil doppelgangers of our heroes – the Dark Arrow, Overgirl, and the real time-jumping, dimension-hopping Reverse-Flash, with Tom Cavanaugh’s Harrison Wells under the mask. This is bad.
Tommy Merlin X
As the Arrow chapter of the event begins, the battle is over, and the good guys have taken a prisoner, Prometheus, or at least the Earth-X version of the super-villain. He was the big bad all through season five of Arrow, and cost Green Arrow incalculable grief and heartache. Under his mask however is a surprise, Tommy Merlin, Oliver’s best friend, Thea’s half-brother, Malcolm Merlin’s son, a dead man in this universe, someone who should have been Prometheus on this Earth, and played by Colin Donnell. The actor couldn’t get away from The Affair to be in the 100th episode of Arrow, but makes up for it here in just a few key moments.
Oliver has a rough scene facing Tommy alive here, showing more humanity in this crossover so far than any regular episode of his own show. Tommy turns on Oliver when he realizes how weak our Oliver is and takes the coward’s way out. Meanwhile the evil trinity argue amongst themselves, the otherworldly Reverse-Flash maybe not as favored as the other two Earth-X natives, who it’s revealed are a couple (in Supergirl’s own words, “ew, gross”) They’re looking for a prism, what it does, who knows at this point.
Harrison Wells, (our Wells) knows what’s going on, and knows Earth-X, a 53rd Earth so dangerous it’s hidden from the rest of the multiverse. The quick multiverse lesson comes before a good dose of soap, something Arrow always excels at, and does not disappoint this episode. Supergirl and her sister may have gotten very little play in her chapter but catch up, along with Ollicity not wanting to get married, there’s a lot of soap in the aftermath of Sara and Alex’s one night stand too. There’s not enough however to make it feel like fluff as it usually does, because there’s more super-powered action coming.
To take the prism, it’s the good leads versus the bad leads. The best part is when Green Arrow unleashes a kryptonite arrow on Overgirl. Why does he have a kryptonite arrow (let’s not even get into the continuity puzzle of how he got one)? Just in case an evil Supergirl ever showed up, of course. Oliver is sooo Batman. Later in another confrontation the big guns go after Overgirl, while Dark Arrow goes after Iris and Felicity. Thankfully Team Arrow shows up to save them, while the bad guys’ cavalry, Metallo, trashes our other flank. Are you guys flipping to another page of your scorecard yet?
The bottom line is that Overgirl is dying from overexposure to solar radiation and needs a new heart, and guess who is a perfect match? The bad guys’ plan finally revealed, they’re trying to save Overgirl, and domination of Earth-1 is just a bonus. As we close, Iris and Felicity are still hiding from the Nazis at S.T.A.R. Labs so all is not lost there, but as for the rest of the heroes, they are wearing what seem to be power-inhibitor collars and have been transported to Earth-X… a concentration camp on Earth-X. Surely it’s going to get worse before it gets better…
This wasn’t bad, not too much soap, lots of superhero action (possibly more than enough as it got boring quickly), truly evil villains, the joy of punching Nazis, and almost everyone getting a little bit of spotlight. I loved seeing Cavanaugh ham it up again as the Reverse-Flash, everything out of Heat Wave’s mouth was a delight, no matter how much he shouldn’t be there. I’m also looking forward to the conclusion with some of the heroes of Earth-X, especially the Red Tornado, Citizen Cold, and the Ray. Can’t wait!