The Flash S04E08 “Crisis on Earth-X Part 3”

The Flash S04E08 “Crisis on Earth-X Part 3”

0 comments 📅05 December 2017, 20:05

Wentworth Miller as Citizen Cold

Airing in the UK on Sky 1, new episodes every Tuesday
Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim (Story), Todd Helbing (Teleplay)
Director: Dermot Daniel Downs

Essential Plot Points:

  • On Earth X, the team establish their collars and manacles are designed to stop their powers. So, they have no abilities, no idea of how they got to Earth X, are imprisoned and have no way of getting out.
  • On Earth One, Cisco wakes up, face down in one of the containment cells. He and Wells instantly bicker.
  • Kara wakes up under the simulated red sun and is greeted by Thawne, back in ‘Wells” chair. He and Kara X gloat at her, explaining that the longer she’s under the ‘red sun’, the weaker she’ll get. Once she’s weak enough, they’ll remove her heart.
  • In the vents, Iris and Felicity hear it all. Iris has a plan. Get to the pipeline, free Cisco and have him turn the entire building off.

  • On Earth X, the prisoners are corralled as Captain Lance arrives. Earth X’s version of Quentin. He confronts Sarah, who explains she’s here because she likes both men and women. He tells her his daughter felt the same way and he killed her for it.
  • Lance lines the heroes, and another prisoner, up at the edge of an execution trench after stopping an escape attempt. He turns them around, prepares to execute them and…
  • Captain Cold arrives! And attacks the Nazis!
  • In the chaos, he takes the collar off the other prisoner, who is revealed to have light powers. They escape.

  • On Earth One, Kara and Kara X talk. Kara X thinks the best way to save the world is kill the weak. Kara thinks it’s to protect them. The two of them are the same person, from entirely different ends of the ethical spectrum.
  • On Earth One, Iris and Felicity KICK ASS. They take the pipeline but they can’t open it. Felicity sends an SOS to the Legends but they have no idea how long it’ll take. It’s up to them to save Kara.
  • On Earth X, the heroes are taken in by Leo and the mysterious hero. It turns out he’s from Earth 1 too. Even weirder, he works for Winn who leads the Resistance here. The good news is they’ve got a way home, a stable dimensional gateway. The bad news is, Winn wants to blow it up. Against orders, Alex goes to try and reason with him.
  • Winn has learned that the Nazis have a weapon that can affect other worlds. They must close the gateway in order to stop it. And he won’t take no for an answer.
  • Jax and Stein talk. Stein, being adorable, apologizes. He tells Jax he views him as a son and his optimism, his positivity, comes from knowing the younger man.
  • Alex is looking for a gun. She’s going alone. Sara finds her, talks her down. They bond over Alex’s terror of letting her sister down and Sara’s loss of her sister.
  • Ray and Leo talk. Leo wants to give them a shot. He kisses Ray and the pair agree to talk to Winn.
  • It works. The raid is on.
  • On Earth 1, Kara is completely drained. Surgery time. Kara tells Thawne her cousin will save her. He smiles, tells her he’s fought her cousin in the future and Thawne? Thawne is FASTER. He fires up the bone saw and…
  • Iris and Felicity turn the operating theater off.
  • Wells heads straight for the secret room, guessing that’s where they’re working from. He’s too late, they’ve already made it to the lab where they break Kara out. They almost make it outside when Metallo arrives, blasts Kara and captures them.
  • On Earth X, the heroes use Olly’s face, and how terrified everyone is of him, to get into the portal facility. Inside, Oliver bluffs his way in and is shown the Nazi’s dimension conquering weapon.
  • Their Waverider.
  • With no choice but to keep his cover, Olly sends it through.
  • Back on Earth One, Olly X and Thawne have a new problem. While everyone has been captured, Felicity has encrypted the power system. They can’t turn it back on, and if they can’t turn it back on? Then soon, Kara’s powers will be back.
  • On Earth X, Lance suspects something. He brings in a ‘present’ for Olly. It’s Earth X Felicity, referred to as a ‘jewess’ and found guilty of giving rations to children in the camps. He hands Olly a gun, and…Olly can’t go through with it. Lance just has time to gloat about it not being loaded before Olly takes a weapon off one of the guards and kills every Nazi in the room. He sends Felicity X away with a rifle and calls the others in.
  • Bad news? The controls have been damaged and they’ll need to fight their way through to manual controls.
    Worst news? Winn has changed his mind. A weapon has been sent to destroy the compound now. And that weapon is Earth X Red Tornado…
  • On Earth One, Wells is about to kill Felicity when Kara arrives, happy to sacrifice herself to save Felicity.
  • On Earth X, they’ve got ten minutes. Flash and Ray are on Tornado watch, Leo and OIlly have to get to the controls.
  • The team storm the gateway. Ray and Flash engage Red Tornado.
  • At the facility, Firestorm realizes they need to bring the power back online at the same time as triggering the portal. They split up, get the job done and Jax is immediately in big trouble.
  • Barry and Flash lose. Red Tornado is inbound. FAST.

  • Jax is pinned down. Stein sees a clear run for the switch, goes for it and…is hit. Jax screams in anguish as the old man collapses, stares at him and passes out.


It’s genuinely amazing just how much this story manages to give it’s immense cast to do. This episode breaks them down into three primary groups and then adds two or three new characters on top just for good measure.

Earth One folks first. Felicity and Iris have both, in the past, been written as the weak links of their respective shows. Felicity got past this pretty quickly, and has been the de factor Oracle to Olly’s de facto Batman for a while now. Iris however, suffered badly in the first couple of seasons from damsel syndrome. Whether it was Joe or Barry treating her like it was still 1974 or Iris being written as a bratty, immature drag on the ticket, she’s consistently been the least interesting on the show. And that’s no reflection on Candice Patton either, she’s done brilliant work with what was, at first, bad material.

Thankfully though, Crisis on Earth-X has taken Iris’ constant growth as a character over the last couple of years and accelerated it. Here, she and Felicity are vital parts of the team, thinking and fighting smart and almost rescuing Kara. There’s no sense of different tiers of competency here either; the three women are very much in it together and work brilliantly as a team. They also give the Earth One plot a welcome sense of urgency and danger, greatly helped by Tom Cavanagh’s brilliant work as Thawne. It could so easily be scenery chewing but instead this is measured, furious evil and it’s all the more chilling for that.

The Earth-X plot builds on this idea in a couple of very subtle ways. The Earth X versions of Winn and Quentin Lance are particularly interesting. One is a fiercely competent, focused soldier who has sacrificed everything to reach that level. The other is a man who murdered his own daughter to ‘save his race’. Both of them view themselves as heroes of their own story. One of them is right, and it’s notable that Winn, clearly haunted by his choices, carries the weight of command far more heavily. Together, these two provide dark mirrors to their existing selves; Lance’s relentless duty and loyalty to his family curdled into something monstrous, Winn’s brilliance and lack of focus hardened by tragedy and death. In both cases, they make Earth X feel real and dangerous and they’re helped immensely by Russell Tovey as Ray Terrill.

Introduced here, and scheduled to appear in an animated series, Ray isn’t given much to do but he doesn’t really need it. Tovey’s slightly put up, world weary delivery tells you everything you need to know about the price of being a hero in this world. His romance with Citizen Cold (Welcome back, Wentworth!) is a lovely counterpoint to that too and the fact two gay actors get to play a heroic couple in a series this mainstream is one of those pieces of good news you didn’t know you needed until you got it.

That price is paid dearly towards the end of the episode. After another impressive action sequence and Olly cleverly using the duplicate principle (And Lance  seeing through it), Stein is gunned down. It’s a moment straight out of Rogue One, and a thousand war movies. It’s also the moment the show really pushes its luck. Nothing about this is surprising but everything about is meaningful. Victor Garber sells the mortality, and courage, of Stein completely and Franz Drameh’s emotional honesty is painfully open and compelling. A Legend is lost and this is going to HURT. But the sheer quality of this cast, and the writing behind them, will carry the shows through.

Complex, action packed and emotional this is a great chapter in what’s looking like a high water mark of a crossover. Well done all round.

The Good:

  • Wells bouncing a ball against his cell is a great little callback to The Great Escape.
  • The distended, off KEY version of ‘Edelweiss’ that plays over Captain Lance’s first scene is genuinely frightening.
  • Melissa Benoist debating the responsibilities of superpowers with herself is great.
  • Iris and Felicity’s gun high five is ADORABLE
  • Russlell Tovey as Ray Terrill is fantastic. His combination of softly spoken and world weary puts him pretty solidly halfway between Olly and Barry.
  • LEO! Happy positive Leonard Snart is amazing!
  • Caity Lotz and Chyler Leigh carry the episode on their backs and do so effortlessly.
  • Barry’s super fast recon.
  • The fact the dimensional gateway has a single big switch as it’s manual control is BRILLIANT.

  • The Felicity X scene. It would have been all too easy to let the show do ‘evil space nazis’ in a knockabout way. Instead, this grounds it, reminds us and Olly what the stakes are and shows just how evil Lance and his world can be.

The Bad

  • Lance forgets the punishment collars awfully fast doesn’t he?
  • Given how great Ray’s costume is in the comics, it’s a shame how ropey it looks in the flesh.
  • Pretty much the second Stein and Jax have their talk, you know one of them is doomed.

And the Random:

  • Ray Terrill, first introduced back in 1992, is one of those characters that’s always been waiting for his moment. The son of a golden age hero, Ray’s light-based powers have made him an essential part of multiple incarnations of the JLA. His Rebirth special is a pretty good place to start reading up on him and is on Comixology now as well as in all good comic stores. If you want to go a little old school, the Christopher Priest scripted The Ray is one of our all time favorites.
  • Dermot Daniel Downs has directed  for all four Arrowverse shows as well as Gotham.
  • Todd Helbing is executive producer of The Flash and has written for the show on numerous occasions. He’s also worked on Black Sails, Mortal Kombat: Legacy and many more.

Best Lines:

  • ‘Lead the way, McClane.’
    ‘Please, we’re everything they want to be. Blonde, white, aryan perfection.’
  • ‘Why do you care if I take your heart? You’re not using it.’
    ‘At least I have one.’
  • ‘So that’s that? We let these poor, strangely dressed individuals lose their only way home?’
  • ‘Alright, fingerless gloves.’
  • ‘You know I can’t say no when you look at me like that.’
    ‘That’s why I look at you like that.’
  • ‘Come with me if you want to live.’
  • ‘I thought it might be fun if we put on our costumes.’


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