Legends of Tomorrow: “Crisis on Earth-X: Part 4” Review

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By: Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)

The four-part DC crossover event on the CW Network came a close this week with the Legends of Tomorrow wrapping up the team-up event of 2017. Justice League? Bah! Who cares? “Crisis on Earth-X: Part 4” was the thrilling end to the wild ride of multiverses clashing.

After chunks of various teams from the four CW shows have made their way to the screen, everyone finally came together in one place to whoop some Nazi booty in this week’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow. Placing all the characters on the brightly-lit Waverider was a wonderful choice of assembly location. In their digital interaction with the evil Oliver, the whole crew gathered in a picture perfect pose on the steps of the deck, and it felt like an illustration straight from the comic books. Heading off the ship to meet their enemies face-to-face presented another gorgeous opportunity to place the characters as if they were in a comic book panel – and it was epic! The artistry and homage to comic book storytelling were extremely clear in “Crisis on Earth-X: Part 4,” giving us stunning shots of the heroes and their adventures!

On the topic of visuals, the special effects for the episode were of surprisingly high quality – with the exception of the flying Kryptonians. With so many characters running around on screen, a degradation of CGI quality wouldn’t have been surprising, but we were lucky to see that the quality did not decline! The flying Kryptonian women were the only unfortunate exception, with some unrealistic floating hair and unnatural flight movements that lacked the same polished look that their superhero counterparts were privileged to have. However, the special effects team should be commended for their solid work with all the other characters on screen, as they all worked together or had their opportunities for individual moments to shine!

An epic fight sequence between the team and a horde of nasty Nazis was beautifully shot and choreographed, ultimately providing each character their moment in the sun, while still managing to capture the scope of the overall battle. Speaking of focusing on individual characters, Legends of Tomorrow remedied something that I felt to be lacking on the previous episodes of the crossover event: the title characters were rarely afforded any special treatment to distinguish whether an episode was focused on their show or the other shows on the network. It may have created a cohesive story, but titular characters should never be put in a corner. (Patrick Swayze said so!) That being said, with this week’s Legends of Tomorrow episode of the crossover, the Legends definitely had their big entrance and all the Earth-1 characters made their way to the Waverider, a Legends set. It wasn’t overplayed, but the small effort of moving the characters and giving a pro-wrestler style entrance to the titular characters set the episode apart as belonging to the Legends.

In true Legends of Tomorrow fashion, the final episode of the crossover had some smiles and laughs. Putting geeks on a time traveling space-craft was an easy way to inspire their amusing nerdiness to emerge. The brains of the bunch had the most fun, with Cisco (Carlos Valdes) channeling all the shows’ fans by saying, “I just love a pop culture reference in a moment of crisis!” Yes, Cisco. We all do!

Despite the fun and joy that came with the entrance of the hilarious nerds of the DC television universe on CW, “Crisis on Earth-X: Part 4” also had some heart-wrenching moments to juxtapose the happiness. Beginning the episode with a pool of blood spreading beneath Professor Stein (Victor Garber) was a sure giveaway that he wouldn’t live to see the end of the episode. (A good team-up only makes it into the record books if someone dies, right?) Legends of Tomorrow has been playing up a Stein exit for some time, but the exit he made was far more dramatic and impactful than a simple split and retirement. When Jax (Franz Drameh) agreed to let Stein go, it was a punch to the gut. You would be hard-pressed to find another good-bye performance comparable to the intimate separation of Stein and his young friend. With a touching funeral, the performances of the cast were so incredible, it almost felt as if it was a cast farewell to Victor Garber more than any character mourning. Authentic and natural character loss contributes something wonderful to the story, especially when it contrasts with the rest of the episode’s prevailing themes or atmosphere. The death of Stein was well-timed and executed (ha! Gallows humor!) with excellence!

Passing thoughts: What is everyone on Earth-1 thinking as Nazi invade? Anyone else thinking about Killer Frost making snow bridges being an awful lot like The Incredibles? Are we going to find out how the Nazis of Earth-X will fare with a strong resistance and the loss of their Kryptonian, Speedster, and Fuhrer? What’s Thawne’s deal now? Why did a very sensitive Captain Cold decide to stay on Earth-1 without his beloved?

The entire crossover event was exciting to watch and entertaining as all get-out, but I will have to admit that the this week’s Legends of Tomorrow episode was definitely the best episode of the bunch. The episode breezed by, wrapping up before I had time to process that an entire hour had passed. A fabulous conclusion to a colossally successful crossover event, Legends of Tomorrow hit the bullseye with “Crisis on Earth-X: Part 4.”

What did you think of the final episode of the major crossover event on the CW this week?


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