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Legends of Tomorrow 3×08: Crisis on Earth X

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD FOR ALL OF THE “CRISIS ON EARTH X” CROSSOVER EPISODES 

Professor Martin Stein. We knew he was going to be written off somehow. The showrunners could have let him retire peacefully to be with his family, something they seemed to have been setting up for weeks. Instead, they went for shock value. Stein, a Legend and one half of Firestorm, was killed in the final episode of the big DC Universe crossover.

I had several problems with the way this was done. First, they teased the audience by having him appear to die in the third crossover episode, only to have him get back up in the fourth and then actually die after a tearful goodbye later on. Second, there’s the fact that Stein, one of the only Jewish characters in the Arrowverse, was killed by Nazis (I’ll let the readers parse the implications of that). And, third, oh yes, the Nazis. The “what if the Nazis had won the war” storyline is overdone and never as exciting as the creators seem to think it will be. I would be able to forgive the lack of original plot if only the crossover had succeeded in other ways. But it didn’t.

The crossover started out with a gathering of characters from each show. Most stars from Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow were kept out of the crossover until the final two episodes. That’s seriously unfortunate because the true value of the crossovers does not come from extreme epic battles showcasing all of the heroes’ fighting moves (though that’s a plus). It comes from interaction between characters that do not normally interact. Yet the crossover focused on the same relationships as the individual shows always do rather than branching out.

Rather than focusing on the humor and drama that can come from bringing characters from different shows together, a huge amount of time was spent on Oliver and Felicity’s “will they, won’t they” relationship, which most people got sick of 5 years ago. Their relationship issues even overshadowed Barry and Iris’s wedding (or lack there of). This failing is especially apparent in the first two episodes. The only major interactions between characters not from the same show were between Sara and Alex (mostly awkward) and Nazi!Oliver and Nazi!Kara (just disgusting).

In the third episode, six characters (Sara, Alex, Barry, Oliver, Jax, and Stein) were stranded in another universe, Earth X. This has a decent mix from the shows, but it’s still limited. And again, there was no substantial character interaction. We got to see the Earth X versions of Winn Schott and Leonard “Leo” Snart, as well as Snart’s boyfriend, Ray. Meanwhile on Earth 1, Kara was about to have her heart stolen, Felicity and Iris tried (and somewhat succeeded) to stop that from happening, and all of the remaining Arrow and Flash heroes were locked up.

The fourth episode finally incorporated the full casts of three shows (Supergirl being the exception). The Legends that hadn’t been involved before they showed up to save the day (and got the dramatic entrances that they so love). Everything, at that point, was looking up; it even looked like Stein might survive. But in the end, he didn’t. Jax, however, was the only character who seemed to care, though. Despite a rallying cry of “for the Professor” before the big battle, everyone seemed to forget about him and move on happily.

So how did it all end? A bit too easily. Nazi!Kara blew up, Oliver killed Nazi!Oliver, and Barry (being an idiot) let Eobard Thawne go. Barry and Iris as well as Oliver and Felicity got married. And what about the Legends? I’d like to know myself. The Earth X version of Leonard Snart is sticking around for a while, though he seems to have very different values from the Snart we know and love. However, I’m particularly interested in how Jax will go on without Stein, and what his new place will be with the team now that he’s no longer Firestorm. I guess we’ll find out next time.

Episode Pros:

  • Jax’s emotional response to Stein’s death (I cried)
  • Utilizing all four episodes for the crossover (unlike last year)
  • The group fight scenes
  • Snart’s return

Episode Cons:

  • Limited inter-show character interaction
  • Focus on Oliver and Felicity’s relationship
  • The Nazi plotline
  • The way Stein was written off
  • Limited use of the Supergirl cast and characters

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