Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 8 - Crisis On Earth-X, Part 1

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.




Plot

In need of a distraction after their recent heartbreaks, Kara and Alex journey to Earth One for the wedding of Barry Allen and Iris West. Unfortunately, the party is crashed by Nazis... including one masked woman who strangely seems to be a match for Kara in terms of powers!


Influences

General alternate reality tropes involving The Axis Powers winning World War II, Crisis On Infinite Earths (when we see Earth-X, the skies are red and there is a lighting storm, as in Crisis), Justice League of America #107 (Vol. 1) (basic plot, idea of Earth-X), the original Star Wars movies (general aesthetic of the rebel base on Earth-X),  The Flash #165 (Vol. 1) (Barry Allen's wedding is disrupted by a super-villain attack), Final Crisis (concept of Overgirl - the Nazi Supergirl), the movie Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (Felicity and Ollie both pay homage to the movie with the line "Nazis. I hate Nazis.") and the comics of Len Wein.


Goofs

Why does Overgirl kill the priest with her heat-vision blast when there's any number of heroes she should recognize that she could have taken out unawares in that moment?

Why didn't Ray Palmer make it to the wedding? Granting that he isn't as close to Barry as he is to Ollie, Ray did still help Barry with taking out The Reverse Flash and they've worked together before.


Performances

It's a brief moment, but the scene between Stein and Caitlin as they talk about Ronnie Raymond is a beautiful one and Victor Garber and Danielle Panabaker play it perfectly.

The chemistry between Caity Lotz and Chyler Leigh is immediate and wonderful. The moment as they look to each other as they are simultaneously ripping their skirts so they can fight more easily is a nice touch.

Another nice moment of silent acting - Stephen Amell's response as the priest talks about two people deserving to be happy as he looks to Emily Bett Rickards.

Dominic Purcell is a gift from the gods of comedy.


Artistry


The general look and tone of the music when we see the rebel base on Earth-X reminds you of Star Wars in all the right ways.

The sequence in which we see all of the main characters waking up on the morning of the wedding is a perfect harmony of direction, cinematography, acting and music.

The fight scene at the wedding is amazing on every level. It's hard to pick a high point, but Wally West's catching a bullet and then throwing it back into a Nazi's gun barrel, causing it to backfire is pretty awesome. Sara and Alex teaming up to fight Prometheus is a close second only because they should have beaten him a lot faster, good as they both are.


Super Trivia


As the episode opens, the skies over Earth-X are red and full of lightning. This is frequently the case whenever there is a multi-dimensional Crisis in the DC Comics Universe - a tradition going back to the first Crisis on Infinite Earths.

The DC Comics Multiverse has a tradition of alternate realities where the Nazis won World War II. The first was Earth-X (Two) - an alternate version of Earth-Quality, which housed the superheroes published by Quality Comics who were later bought by DC Comics. Justice League of America #107 (Vol. 1) (October 1973) introduced this Earth-X, when The Freedom Fighters - a team formed to fight the Nazis after they developed mind-control technology - summoned The Justice League from Earth One to help them.

Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, Earth-X was folded into the unified DC Universe. It was revived as Earth 10 in The New 52 reality.

On Earth 10, the rocket carrying the last son of Krypton to Earth landed in a Nazi-controlled Sudetenland. This child became Overman - Champion Of The Fourth Reich. He lead a team of Nazi metahumans, including Overgirl - a human girl who gained Overman's powers after being injected with Overman's genetic material. Overgirl was introduced during the Final Crisis storyline.

There was an Earth-X before the Earth-X which inspired the Earth-X of the DCTVU. This Earth-X, referred to as Earth-X (One), first appeared in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #93 (June 1966). On this world, Jimmy Olsen fought crime as the superhero Steelman, wearing a combination of Superman and Batman's costumes, after gaining powers on par with Superman.

The masked figure with the shield whom the Nazi archer fights in the opening scene is revealed to be the James Olsen of Earth-X, but his uniform is decorated with the American flag rather than the black armor The Guardian wears on Earth 38. This may be a nod to Captain America, who was also created by Guardian co-creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Both characters had no super-powers, carried an indestructible shield and didn't hesitate to punch Nazis.

Rather than the usual Supergirl logo, this episode opens with a special Crisis on Earth-X logo.

When listing potential aliens who could be fighting Supergirl, Alex asks if it is a Czarnian. Lobo - the intergalactic bounty hunter and famous anti-hero character from DC Comics - is a Czarnian. Depending on the point in time, he may be the last of the Czarnians.

Winn says the alien might be a Hellgrammite. In The DCTVU, Hellgrammites are an arachnoid alien species capable of shape-shifting and shooting poisonous darts from their hands. In the original comics, Hellgrammite was a super-villain who was born after an entomologist was exposed to a mutagen that merged him with one of his specimens.

Kara says The Dominator she fought is "so last year".  Exactly one year earlier, Kara did help fight The Dominator invasion of Earth One, during the Invasion! crossover event.

Cisco refers to having built a "Conway-class nucleo-dynamic synthesizer." This may be a nod to Gerry Conway - the writer who co-created Firestorm.

Jax makes reference to the Marvel Comics hero Spider-Man, when Stein tells him that he developed a formula to give Jax super-powers based on the DNA of a certain breed of spider. This indicates, once again, that apparently Marvel Comics exist in The DCTVU.

Microhexura Montivaga - or the spruce-fir moss spider - is a real spider, located in the forests of the Appalachian mountains. It is also an endangered species.

There is a long tradition of superhero weddings never running smoothly. When Barry Allen and Iris West married in The Flash #165 (Vol. 1) (November 1966), Eobard Thawne - The Reverse Flash - kidnapped Barry Allen before the wedding and replaced him at the ceremony.

Barry makes reference to The Yalta Conference - the first meeting between American President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Russian Premier Joseph Stalin to discuss the rebuilding of Europe in the wake of World War II.


Technobabble


Harry and Cisco develop a fission decelerating serum to neutralize Firstorm's powers.

Cisco built a Conway-class nucleo-dynamic synthesizer to create the fission decelerating serum.

Wells says that Cisco's synthesizer couldn't splice a proton through a neutrino field.

Wells says that he has a million fields.

Cisco and Harry account for the destabilization of The Firestorm Matrix by tricking it with quark spheres. These can apparently be used to trick The Firestorm Matrix into thinking that Stein and Jax's genetic codes are connected when they aren't.

Stein develops a molecular resequencing smart virus with a non-normative reciprocal action. This should rewrite Jax's DNA and give him the powers of a Microhexura Montivaga - the spruce-fir moss spider.


Dialogue Triumphs


(Dark Arrow stands on the chest of the wounded Guardian.)
Earth-X Guardian: There are more like me. And one day, they will free this world.
Dark Arrow: That day may come, but you won't be here to see it. (pausing to look at The Guardian's armor) That flag died a long time ago.
Earth-X Guardian: Well, it still means something.
(The Dark Arrow draws an arrow and aims downward at The Guardian)
Dark Arrow: Yeah. It's a bulls-eye.
(The Dark Arrow releases the arrow, killing The Guardian.)

(Kara and Alex are unloading on each other regarding their recent relationship troubles.)
Alex: At least we have each other. (leans over to hug Kara) And misery loves company.
Kara: God, that's depressing.
Alex: Umm-hmm. Yep. And on that note, I'm going to have another drink.

Barry: You know, I've been in love with Iris since I was ten. How am I supposed to fit all that love into one vow? I've already written thirty-eight pages. Single-spaced.
Ollie: You could always speed-read it.
Barry: No. No one would understand me.

Barry: People like us are always going to be getting into trouble, right? Having someone we love by our side just makes getting out of that trouble that much easier. We have something to fight for. (sighs happily) I can have my happy ending, so can you. I promise.
Ollie: (smirking) I'm supposed to be the all-knowing mentor.
Barry: (smiling back) I have been known to catch up.

(Mick Rory is pigging out at the h'orderves table as Cisco walks up, bottle in hand.)
Cisco: I never pegged you as a wedding guy.
Rory: I never pass up a free buffet. Or an open bar.
(Rory takes the bottle from Cisco's hand and walks off, leaving a stunned Cisco behind him. As he moves on, he walks past Caitlin Snow and stops to look at her.)
Rory: Say... didn't I try to kidnap you once?
Caitlin: Yes. And I wouldn't try it again.

(Alex is pounding down the scotch. She is joined by Sara Lance.)
Sara: Somebody who drinks like that is looking to make something go away.
Alex: Yeah, well.... (clears her throat)
(Sara throws back a shot of her own.)
Alex: And what are you looking to make go away?
Sara: Nothing. I just like the taste of scotch.
Alex: Fair enough. (smacks her lips thoughtfully) I just called off my engagement.
Sara: (nods in understanding) Hmm.
Alex: Yeah. So being here... really brings up a lot.
Sara: What, did you catch him cheating?
Alex: Uh-uh. "Her".
Sara: Hmm.
Alex: It wasn't anything like that. We just wanted different things. You know? Wish I'd realized that sooner. Had to make a break for it before later came around.
Sara: So, let me guess? Being at the rehearsal dinner for the world's most perfect couple is probably the last place that you want to be?
Alex: It stings a little, yeah.
(Sara raises a glass in toast.)
Sara: To making things go away.
(Alex clinks her glass against Sara's) 
Alex: And liking the taste of scotch.

Barry: What happened with Mon-El?
Kara: What didn't happen? (laughs bitterly) The end of the world...
Barry: Faced that three times.
Kara: Time-travel.
Barry: I've been there a lot.
Kara: He's married to someone else.
Barry: Oh. (pauses) That's...I've got nothing for that, I'm sorry.
Kara: I mean, it's my own fault. I keep forgetting that my life should only be about Supergirl. But then, you know, life keeps finding a way to remind me.
Barry: I finally got Oliver to admit it's okay to have love in his life. Now I've got to convince you too?
Kara: Barry, it's different for you guys. You're human.
Barry: And you're what? Other than an alien?  I mean... you know?
Kara: Alone.

(Stein walks in on Jax, who is still asleep on his couch. Stein looks discomforted - a look that does not go away as he hears a familiar voice.)
Rory (off-camera) Ah, Professor!
(Stein turns to see Mick Rory, wearing a robe, a spoon in one hand, a bowl of cereal in the other.)
Rory: Your daughter insisted I not walk around your house naked, so I borrowed one of your dresses! (he holds up his bowl) You're out of milk.
(Stein just stares ahead stunned, his brain apparently broken by the thought of Mick Rory walking around his house naked.)

Usher: Are you here for the bride or groom?
Rory: Well, considering I've tried to kill the groom a couple of times, it's probably best that I sit on the bride's side.

Dark Arrow: The Kryptonian was stronger than we anticipated.
Overgirl: Next time she won't be so lucky.
(A figure arrives in a burst of red lightning. He looks like The Reverse Flash, only his mouth is covered by black fabric.)
Dark Flash: What did you do?!
(The Dark Flash removes his mask. He looks like Harrison Wells.)
Dark Flash: What did you do?! You were supposed to wait until we were ready before you attacked!
(The Dark Arrow hits a button on his armor. His mask fades away to reveal the face of Oliver Queen.)
Dark Arrow: Opportunity knocked in the form of a wedding. We answered.
Dark Flash: (sarcastically) Opportunity knocked and you answered? Well, now, because of your recklessness, we have lost Prometheus!
Overgirl: (raising her hands and stepping between them) Boys, boys, boys! Don't fight. You need to save your power, your anger, for those heroes.
(Overgirl reaches up and touches her mask. It fades away to reveal the face of Kara Zor-El.) 
Overgirl: We will have another chance to achieve victory. And when we do, we will kill every last one of them.


Continuity

James Olsen is a vigilante on Earth-X, who fights with a shield. His armor resembles the costume of The Guardian on Earth 38, save that it is painted with an American flag rather than being solid black.

When we first see Barry Allen, he is fighting King Shark - a villain who has not been seen since F215.

Felicity makes reference to Damien Darhk - sorcerer and enemy of Team Arrow (Season Four) and The Legends (Season Two and Season Three).

The Legends are referred to as Robin Hood and his Merry Men as they attack a group of soldiers in medieval England. It is unclear if they were the actual inspiration for the legend or were just impersonating the real legendary outlaws. (It's worth noting that Sara Lance did become the inspiration for Sir Lancelot in L212.)

Supergirl fights a Dominator - the evil aliens who tried to invade Earth One in Invasion!

Winn makes a reference to Hellgrammites - an alien whom Kara fought in S102.

Barry asks Oliver if he's thought about proposing to Felicity. Oliver says, "Again?", making reference to the fact that he already got engaged to Felicity once back in A409. Felicity broke the engagement in A415 after learning that Oliver promised the mother of his child that he would hide the existence of his son, William, from everyone, even his fiancee.

Harry and Cisco are able to devise a cure that will safely remove The Firestorm Matrix from both Professor Stein and Jefferson Jackson - a problem the two have been trying to solve for several months. Reference is made to Stein consulting with Sir Issac Newton, Madame Curie and Galileo in L307 and their conclusion that there was no way to dismantle The Firestorm Matrix without depowering both Jax and Stein. (Harry refers to Newton, Cure and Galileo as hacks).

Reference is also made to Jax and Stein switching bodies in L306.

It is clear that Jax is less than thrilled about the prospect of The Firestorm Matrix being broken up.

Stein makes reference to the last wedding he attended with Caitlin - her own in F123 - which Stein conducted.

Stein says that once he retires from the crew of The Waverider, he intends to be a better husband, work with his daughter on a project and spend as much time as possible with his grandson, telling him stories of his adventures and eventually teaching him chess.

Stein is seen working on a project in secret in STAR Labs. It is later revealed to be a formula that would give Jax new super-powers. Specifically, the power to stick to anything.

The reception dinner for Barry and Iris' wedding is held at C.C. Jitters - the coffee shop where Team Flash frequently hangs out.

Mick Rory refers to the events of F110, where he and Leonard Snart kidnapped Caitlin Snow.

Kara tells Barry about the events of Season Two of Supergirl (i.e. Mon-El being poisoned and forced to leave Earth) and S307, where she learned that Mon-El traveled forward in time, spent seven years in the future and got married.

Barry asks Kara to sing at his wedding, referring to the events of F317 as he talks about their last team-up and the unexpected talent she showed.

Sara and Alex are seen making out in the hall during Joe's speech.

Felicity Smoak's middle name is Megan.

Oliver asks Felicity to marry him. She says no.

Kara apparently levitates in her sleep sometimes.

Sara and Alex spent the night together. Apparently they had sex two or three times. Alex was too drunk to remember the precise details.

Rory is sat next to Captain David Singh - Barry's boss at the CCPD. Rory apparently recognizes him and district attorney Cecilia Horton, though they do not seem to recognize Rory.

One of the waiters offers Barry some water and says that she's very excited to be at the wedding. She seems to know Barry from somewhere but he doesn't recognize her. She tells him to be sure to say "I do."

Instead of The Bridal March, Iris walks down the aisle as Kara sings "Running Home To You" - the song Barry sang to Iris in F317.

Cisco is Barry's Best Man. Oliver makes up the rest of The Groom's party. Caitlin is Iris' Maid of Honor. Felicity makes up the rest of The Bride's party.

Iris and Barry are almost married in a Catholic ceremony.

Cisco falls into a coma after getting a concussion during the fight at the wedding.

Caitlin changes into her Killer Frost costume and tells Professor Stein about how the Killer Frost persona takes over whenever Caitlin gets angry or scared now.

The Legends use their mind-erasing technology to erase all memory of the Nazi attack from the minds of Iris and Barry's wedding guests.

The sword-wielding member of the Nazi strike-team is revealed to be the Earth-X version of Prometheus.


Location

Earth-X.
Earth One - Central City
Earth One - Star City
Earth One - England - 1183 AD
Earth 38 - National City


The Fridge Factor

Was it really necessary to have both Iris and Felicity pestering their respective significant others about wedding details while they're in the middle of a superhero fight? Do we have to play out that sexist old trope? Twice, even?

Harry and Cisco don't give Caitlin credit for her work on the cure for Firestorm.

While the connection between their actresses is wonderful, one still has to wonder about the show encouraging the promiscuous bisexual/lesbian stereotype in having Sara and Alex falling into each others arms while drunk at Barry and Iris's reception.


The Bottom Line

It says a lot that the wedding of Barry Allen and Iris West seems oddly free of Iris West yet this doesn't seem to be a major problem. The episode does a good job of balancing the subplots introduced from the other series while largely keeping the focus on Alex and Kara. The new villains from Earth-X are introduced well in the final scene, though their identities are hardly a surprise and their motivations are still a mystery. Then again, they're Nazis - it doesn't have to be that complicated.

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