The Flash: “Crisis on Earth-X: Part 3” Review

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By: Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)

The Flash led the second night of the DC crossover event on CW this week. “Crisis on Earth-X: Part 3” kicked off with all the heroes finding themselves in predicaments. Did they face their troubles and vanquish the villains or get into a bigger mess? We’ve got a review of this week’s episode of The Flash right here for you!

This week, The Flash opened with some of Earth-1’s heroes dropped off in a Nazi concentration camp in an unfamiliar universe. Not only was the team thrown into the darkness of a down-trodden planet, but other expected characters were presented in unexpected ways. Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) came to the rescue as the team faced a deadly firing squad (with dignity) that was led by an evil Nazi version of Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne). Snart was part of the resistance, not because of his roguish ways and theft, but because he loved the “wrong person,” in the eyes of the Earth-X Fatherland. Meanwhile, the resistance was actually led by a much more serious version of Winn (Jeremy Jordan), lacking all the humor his Earth-1 counterpart has typically embraced. While serious and a leader, contrasting with his Earth-1 self, Winn was still on the side of goodness. The Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) doppelganger was a pajama-clad prisoner with much the same heart as her Earth-1 counterpart, like Winn becoming one of the few characters to be consistent across the multiverse. However, in general, it would seem that “Crisis on Earth-X: Part 3” strove to take the familiar characters and twist them into something uncomfortable and strange.

Meanwhile, some of the heroes from the various shows actually didn’t do a whole lot this week. With so many characters within the Arrowverse making their way onto the screen, this week’s episode of The Flash seemed focused on giving some of the supporting characters an opportunity to shine and steal the limelight. It wasn’t until the very end of the episode that the titular heroes took action, after a plethora of planning and attempted subterfuge. The planning was an undertaking that seemed to fall to Oliver (Stephen Amell), a common trait between him and his Earth-X doppelganger (as well as leading in the political sphere). Sara (Caity Lotz) showed empathy and leadership in the face of hopelessness and fear, providing emotional support at the very least. It’s a little unclear what part Barry (Grant Gustin) played in the whole planning process, only jumping in to use his speed in the final scuffle of the episode alongside classic hero, The Ray (Russell Tovey).

In all honesty, Barry’s lack of initiative and contribution during the episode this week was unfortunate. Clearly, the four shows worked in conjunction this week to tell a standalone crossover story, blending characters and uniting them in a single plotline. However, pushing the character whose name heads the episode to the background feels a bit alienating for the die-hard Scarlet Speedster fans. Could he at least have been giving some more lines or something more productive to do, in the effort to get back to Earth-1 and kick some Nazi butt in the process?

Leaving the action until the very end of the episode was a smart move to guarantee audiences tuning in for the follow-up episode of the crossover event, but the lack of action leading up to the cliffhanger ending was a bit disappointing. The episode was playing the long crossover war game, but may have lost the battle if evaluated as a standalone episode. With the greatest heroes of one Earth and the mightiest villains of another Earth facing off against each other, more fighting and destruction would have been entertaining. However, the episode was an excellent textbook example of rising action, leading toward a climax to follow in the last episode of the crossover event on Legends of Tomorrow.

Some other passing thoughts while watching this week’s episode of The Flash: Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) bouncing the ball in his cell was a fantastic throwback to The Great Escape, where many heroes were caught in a Nazi prisoner camp. Crossing timelines and a multiverse has been very confusing when it comes to Thawne, so it’s not surprising that he made his way back – but what’s the explanation this time? Why didn’t the Earth-X Oliver and Kara just get some kryptonite to cut into Earth-1 Kara, instead of the whole mess of taking over another planet? Also, Metallo and Red Tornado were pretty cool nods to previous seasons of Supergirl and The Flash.

Overall, the episode was a fantastic lead-up to the finale of the crossover event to follow, even with some of its small action and character flaws. Although more time with the main characters might have been fun to watch, this week’s episode of The Flash was a solid piece of the crossover puzzle and a joy to watch!

What did you think of “Crisis on Earth-X: Part 3?” Worth the watch?


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