The happiness and genuine, fan inspired delight of Part One could only last so long, and after the cliff hanger we were left with in part two, the last two chapters of the “Crisis On Earth X” left us with equally high and low moments. For the former, we had the return of Wentworth Miller and Citizen Cold – a hero on his planet and in love with The Ray (Russel Tovey), Iris and Barry’s eventual nuptials and, to a lesser extent, Oliver and Felicity’s. We even got some closure on the wonderful pairing of Alex and Sara who were the scene stealers of the first episode. But with it came some blunders mainly with the big bads. I understand the want to be timely and to have a baddie that is so obviously evil with a capital E that we won’t waste our time getting too invested in them in their brief appearances, but their was always going to be room for the dopplegangers to be evil enough on their own without making them actual Nazis. That plus the rather insensitive imagery (you know, just stick to what you know CW?) meant that the scenes that were supposed to be the most dire ended up clunky and ill thought out as we waited for the action to kick us back into high gear or for the fun character pairings to bring a little levity to the proceedings.
Here are the three best bits of the epic finale to the cross over event:
Iris and Barry continue to anchor the season and the Arrowverse
This week makes it twice now that the DCTV universe has attempted to equate any other pairing to the romantic stability of Barry and Iris who are, undoubtedly, the power couple of the “Arrow Verse”. The first was Mon-El and Supergirl in the musical crossover last season which was, at best, laughable, and this season it’s Felicity and Oliver who piggyback onto the Barry and Iris’s impromptu elopement with Diggle overseeing it. I understand that, technically, the former have been the longest running romantic relationship across the series but they’ve hit far bumpier paths and have never truly felt like an earned couple and, more often than not, more like a fan delivered one. On the other hand, we have Iris and Barry who from the very beginning have been destined to be together in a manner that we buy from the get go. One doesn’t make sense without the other.
So despite my inherent annoyance at the lesser couple trying to share the spotlight, Barry and Iris remained a beacon of hope throughout both episodes, both calm and collected and ready both apart and together to face whatever evil might befall them next. The best thing that the showrunners could do moving forwards is to not buy into the idea that stable couples make for boring ones. Both Iris and Barry have been far more interesting since they’ve been together and to split them up for any sort of dramatic tension would be a disservice both to the characters and the fans but to the writers themselves.
The distribution of storylines and character building
Listen, while all of the cross over events have been inherently fun, not all have functioned as pieces of the overall puzzle, something that’s thrown a wrench into the narrative build up. One character or another ends up sidelined or given a lesser part to play. However, this time around nearly every character (well, the ones we really like at least) were given moments to shine. Supergirl continued her plight in trying to see herself both as human and alien which sets her apart from those she protects. Oliver was the most loveable he’s been maybe even in his genuine confusion over why Felicity didn’t want to marry him and both Felicity and Iris were able to play heroes when they tried to rescue Kara.
Alex was given closure through Sara, Stein and Jax had one of the most powerful moments of the four episode even as Stein died, sparring Jax’s life and it was so effective in how it built the characters storyline in the episodes that even someone like myself who doesn’t watch Legends of Tomorrow on a weekly basis could be moved by it. Every character was catered too in terms of their fighting style and approach to a threat and every one was considered as actual team members, rather than background fodder. Characters such as Caitlin and Cisco who have been left behind in the action before were key elements in saving the day, both using their powers to dizzying effect.
Even Diggle, in just his one scene at the end of the fourth episode, was granted some much needed levity that David Ramsey clearly enjoyed. We’ve grown to care about these heroes and the last two episodes doubled down on the why’s and encouraged us to watch the shows that we may have lost interest in a while back.
It was a hell of a lot of fun
The biggest compliment I can give the installments (but really the cross over as a whole) is that it felt like it was plucked straight out of the animated series Justice League Unlimited. Seeing all of our heroes walking into battle to deck a nazi or two was incredibly joyful and roused up that feeling of childlike glee that accompanies seeing our favorite characters come to life. Unburdened by the need to tether anything one thing to reality, the show pulled out all of the stops and accomplishing something that few other television series have ever been able to manage. It felt special and new and it planted a giant grin on my face from beginning to end, and what else can I really ask for ?