This Legends of Tomorrow episode review contains spoilers for the entire Crisis on Earth X crossover. You should watch all four parts before you read this. They’re all really good.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Episode 8
Since these crossovers have become an annual affair, the bar gets raised for each episode. They’re measured against not only prior episodes of their own series, but against prior crossovers as well. So let’s get right to the point.
This was the best episode of Legends of Tomorrowyet, in the best DC TV crossover to date.
Some of this is a quirk of the schedule: as the last episode in the crossover, it’s where most of the payoff for the prior three hours of television came. This got the big fun climactic fight where everyone powered up and the camera just kept spinning to different heroes. This also got the emotional payoffs to stories that have been building – the victory, the wedding(s), the death. But the death is why this isn’t just a good episode of the crossover, it’s a great Legends ep too.
I’ll confess that I didn’t see Victor Garber going out like that. We’ve known he was leaving for a little while now, but I fully expected them to let him go off and be a zayde for a little while and pop back in when the gang needed something transmuted. Instead, they killed him, and they gave him a hell of an episode to leave on. First, he’s mortally wounded trying to help the Earth-1 heroes (and Alex) escape Earth-X. Then he gets to say goodbye to Jax, in what was the most emotional scene of the series yet. This is not a show prone to nuance, but I feel like Garber and Franz Drameh did a wonderful job of selling it without blubbering or going too over the top. The sorrow was believably real, and I certainly felt it at Stately Dandy Manor.
Speaking of wonderful jobs, we should send some love to the effects team for this crossover. It was a week full of great shots and amazing fights, from the wedding in Supergirlto the first Nazi throwdown in Arrowto the Red Tornado fight in Flash. But the last fight, where the camera just kept swirling from beat to beat, from Sara beating the pants off of a horde of Nazis, to Flash and Thawne, to the two Olivers on the car, to the Supergirls and the Waverider dogfight, everything looked fantastic.
There’s been a lot of talk about normalizing Nazis lately, and definitely some deserved consternation about the show’s use of Nazi imagery. The big takeaway from the real-world ball dropping by The Paper of Record on this subject is that the most effective way to address them is by making sure that their victims are centered. That was certainly the case here.
Look at the focal characters, the framing of the entire event: we focused on a lesbian and a bi woman, two gay men, and the black adopted son of a Jewish man who all got together for an interracial wedding. This crossover didn’t shy away from showing the swastikas or the concentration camps of the Nazi Earth, and neither did they shy away from the imagery of the Nazis’ victims: the pink triangle on The Ray’s concentration camp outfit, the Stars of David on Felicity’s or on Martin’s casket, or the multiple, casual instances of affection between Snart and Ray. Legendshas, going back to some of its earliest episodes, not been afraid to run right into issues of racism, sexism and homophobia that came up in the context of their time travelling. I was glad to see that same willingness to go right at the reprehensible Nazi ideology.
Last year’s Legends of Tomorrow crossover episode closed out Invasion, and was an amazing episode of DC TV, but it was a bad episode of Legends because the story was all about Ollie and Barry. This year’s was an objectively wonderful hour of DC television, but it also moved the season’s story along for Legends in a meaningful way, and provided significant character development for Jax and Sara. It gave Franz Drameh and Victor Garber a chance to stretch their acting wings, and it closed out a timely, wall-to-wall entertaining four hours of television.
“Barry, I need a hug.” Jesus Christ, I love Wentworth Miller.
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-Next week! Fallout and the midseason finale!