Legends Of Tomorrow Crisis On Earth-X, Part 4 Review
Legends of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 8: Crisis on Earth-X, Part 4 is a hectic finale to the Arrowverse’s latest crossover that leaves the Legends feeling like supporting characters in their own segment of it.
It’s impossible to discuss the episode or the larger multi-show story arc it’s a part of without discussing the Nazis who serve as the crossover’s main antagonists. While some have heaped praise on Crisis for tackling such a “timely” issue, others have criticized what they see as a trivialization of some of history’s greatest villains, to say nothing of the destruction and death they wrought. The truth of the matter is that any possible social commentary to be discerned from the plot and its villains is lost amidst competing storylines and generous doses of Nazi punching (which, while perhaps cathartic for the #Resistance-minded amongst us, doesn’t tell us any anything meaningful about fascism and it’s practicioners).
Sure, we get Arrow guest Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) defiantly declaring that her parents didn’t make it through the Holocaust only for her to live in a world ruled by Nazis and the evil Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Oliver (Stephen Amell) doppelgängers sprinkling gratuitous German phrases like “Fuhrer” in their speech. However, it all feels more tacked on and kitschy than thought-provoking, and it reminds us that we are watching a show based on comic books rather than some hard-hitting critique of totalitarianism. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t do the questionable notion that fascism can be fought with prime time TV programming any favors.
Moving on to other, more weighty matters, the episode has the dubious honor of killing off yet another of its regulars. This time around, it’s Stein (Victor Garber), who takes his own life as a helpless Jax (Franz Drameh) watches, tears trickling down his eyes as he begs him not to. As heavy as you’d expect a moment like this to feel, it feels surprisingly stark and empty, with Stein’s suicide registering as a blip on our emotional radar. In fact, the sequence that immediately follows and captures the various reactions of the other characters to his death is more powerful. Somehow, the sight of Ray (Brandon Routh) silently eyeing a picture of him and Stein together is more moving than the sight of the latter actually dying. Perhaps if Stein’s death had occurred earlier, say, at the end of Crisis on Earth-X Part 3, rather than in the middle of the crossover’s finale it would have been more effective, but between the big showdown and the marriage of two of the episode’s guest couples, it’s like it was an almost an afterthought.
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