DCTV Crossover Roundtable: Nazis, Really?

This evening, the annual Arrow-verse crossover commences. The four shows involved, Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, are combining across two back-to-back nights this year, to create a more seamless, cohesive television event (one would assume). Among the action and romance, this year’s crossover promises something new: Nazis. Here, we discuss our thoughts on the DCTV crossover, the inclusion of Nazis, and what that means for our viewing choices.

So, the trailer’s out. Do you plan on watching all or part of the crossover? What do you usually do with these events?

Mer: I generally have watched the crossover in the past. Funnily enough, I’ve found that the content I watch Arrow for, generally Felicity-centric (with a healthy dose of Olicity) gets solid screen-time and decently fleshed out stories on these crossover events. But this year, I won’t be watching. I have two main reasons why:

  1. Nazis
  2. They still haven’t fired Andrew Kreisberg, despite at least 19 staffers and former staffers accusing him of sexual misconduct.

That’s it. That’s my argument. And it’s unfortunate because otherwise, I actually think the crossover looks pretty good!

Shana: In the past, I’ve watched only the parts of the crossover that I would normally watch. So, basically, I’d skip Legends of Tomorrow and (last season only) Arrow but watch the other parts. Then, for whatever background I needed going into the following episodes of the shows I actually cared about, I’d read recaps, catch Youtube clips, and/or just pay extra special attention to the “previously on.”

This season, though? I just can’t do it. Nazis, really?

Lyra: Honestly, I’ll probably watch all of the crossover. I watch Supergirl regularly but haven’t watched The Flash regularly in a season, but that’s what Google is for. And honestly, if I’m going to rag on something, I might as well watch it and have all the proper ammunition to call the writers out on their stupid when they mess up with this Nazi storyline because…it’s The CW.

Lizzie: I have to write a review for at least one part of the episode, so I guess I’m watching at least that? SO. EXCITED. </sarcasm>. I’ve usually watched the crossovers, even if last year’s was hideous and my general interest in DCTV has markedly declined, but…yeah, nazis. NAZIS.

Luci: I usually watch it because even though the crossover is generally a mess, it’s an opportunity to get all these cool characters together and have interactions with people they usually don’t hang out with on a regular basis. I could definitely do without the Nazi storyline — because, really, wtf? — but there are other aspects, character-wise, that I’m excited to see. So will I watch it? Yes. Will I like it? Eh, that is still up in the air.

Iris and Barry are finally getting married. What, if anything, excites you about that part of the story?

Mer: I stopped watching The Flash a couple seasons ago, save for the random episode where Felicity showed up and the crossovers. So really, this does nothing for me. I do like Iris, and I love Candice Patton, so I guess in that sense I’m happy?

Shana: I wish to God Westallen had ever, for even a second, worked for me. It seems like the only way for a female character to get real screen time in Kreisberg’s misogynistic world (by the way, why does he still have a job?) is for her to be the main love interest, so obviously, I want to support this relationship in any way possible, if only to see Candice Patton actually get to do something.

So, I guess from that standpoint, seeing actual women in actual scenes excites me?

…which is awful because I hate it when female characters only exist to be the wives, or girlfriends or whatever, but that’s all we have here. So, yay?

Other than that, television weddings generally tend to have a formulaic impact on other relationships. So, just like I’m out here praying to the tv gods that a Suits wedding for Mike Ross and Rachel Zane leads to Darvey developments, I’m interested to see where some of the other Arrow-verse ships wind up as a result of attending the Westallen wedding — even if it only means pointless, yet fangirl-significant, gazes are all we get.

Lyra: I’m excited for Iris’ dress? I know that sounds like my “girl” side is coming out and all I care about is the wedding. But it’s not that. I never really cared for Westallen or Barry. I always cared for Iris. Do I think she could do better? Hell yeah. But I’ll deal, have Iris’ back, and swoon at the sight of her in that beautiful dress because she still looks kickass in it.

Lizzie: I’m probably the most excited out of this group. I’ve had, since the beginning, a soft spot for Barry that disappeared when he was an idiot, then sorta returned this year, and a soft spot for Iris, what she is in the comics and what Candice Patton has done with her.

So, honestly, even though I’m liking Barry more this year, I’m here for Iris. For HER happily ever after. She’s always believed that’s Barry, and if that’s what she believes, then I hope Barry can be that. She deserves so much more than the writers have given her, and I hope this is not just another thing the writers have done to sort of make her more into the stereotypical love interest, but the first step in a journey that puts Barry and Iris as equals, facing what comes at them together.

Luci: I’ll be honest, I have never been a Westallen shipper, so this is not a huge thing for me. Even though I have complained a lot over the years that Grant Gustin and Candice Patton have no chemistry as each other’s love interest, they have kind of grown on me this past season — maybe because the show is a lot better now than the trainwreck that was last season. I like Barry and I like Iris, so if that’s what makes them happy, then so be it.

Plus, this wedding is getting the entire superhero gang together, and I am so here for this.

As some folks have mentioned, the Big Bad, to steal some Buffy lingo, is going to be…Nazis. What do you think of that choice? We all want to punch some Nazis, right? Why not have some superheroes hop on over to Earth-X and do it?

Mer: Well, this is where things get tricky. And I have multiple thoughts on this. Maybe they aren’t all…correct? Or maybe there are valid counter-arguments to all of them. I’m sure there are. But as the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors and someone who grew up with the shadow of the Holocaust looming in all corners of my life, my response to this is equally emotional and intellectual.

For one thing, our heroes play our heroes…but they ALSO play the Nazis. That’s right! Nazis will be wearing the faces of the superheroes we have come to love, respect, and rely on to save the day. For the target demographic of these shows, that seems problematic at best. I have no problem with punching Nazis, but I do have a problem with my heroes BEING Nazis.

Furthermore, the Holocaust, and relatedly Nazism, aren’t the type of thing you throw in for shock value entertainment. This is subject matter that is highly sensitive, and this deserves respectful, thoughtful treatment. To just throw Nazis into the mix for one crossover event, with no background or follow up, is irresponsible.

To add to this — and I think this is actually the most important — because of ratings and censorship, an accurate portrayal of the atrocities of the Holocaust will never, ever be shown on The CW at 8 and 9pm. And to show a whitewashed, glossed over, less atrocious, inaccurate version of events is not only insensitive and disrespectful, it’s highly irresponsible. Any viewer (and there are MANY) who doesn’t have deep knowledge of the Holocaust will walk away with an extremely skewed idea of what happened and the severity (or lack thereof). This is absolutely on the showrunners and the network. They are, in effect, snubbing the memories and histories of victims and survivors in this way.

To that end, in the trailer, there was a brief shot of what looked like a concentration camp. Holocaust survivors, of whom I know (or knew, z”l) MANY, have repeatedly stated that most portrayals of the camps and the victims in mass media are gross misrepresentations that humiliate and even traumatize them. This imagery is disrespectful at best, and very harmful at worst.

Finally, the trailer implied that Felicity, one of the sole (known) Jewish characters, would have a big role in this Nazi storyline. While I understand that, for many people, this is cause for celebration…I feel differently. Felicity, it seems, is only Jewish when Arrow does a holiday episode, or once every couple of years for a Jewish mom joke. Now, don’t get me wrong: Her religion doesn’t need to be flaunted daily. At all. But if you’re going to use her religion in this Nazi hellscape as an important plot-point, well then, it does need more than a passing mention every once in a while.

Shana: This whole thing is wildly inappropriate. Unlike Mer, I’m not related — that I know of — to any Holocaust victims or survivors. On the other hand, I am Jewish, I do work for a synagogue — in the South, no less, not terribly far from where a KKK march to celebrate a certain election was held last year and, honestly, not the longest drive in the world from Charlottesville. I live on edge, every day, in a way that I had never believed possible in America before the last year or two.

And I do have my own personal connection to the Holocaust: I share a particular survivor’s story in the hopes that his voice will not be lost when he dies and that we’ll learn something from his suffering and that of others. (Spoiler alert: Recent events say we haven’t learned shit.)

So, fictional accounts of anything Nazi-related are problematic for me. There are so many people out there, denying that any of this ever happened, that I feel like adding fuel to that particular raging hellfire by creating fictional stories — all while so many true ones are being lost as survivors become older and pass on — is just too much. When a story is done well, I, personally, still have trouble wanting to watch or read it…But at least I understand the purpose.

I mean, punch all the Nazis. Period. And enjoy it while you’re at it.

But — BUT! — we’ve already proven that these writers have absolutely zero respect for sensitive subject matter. Remember when Arrow’s villain, Damien Darhk, created a gas chamber? And the characters dragged into it were…the token Jew, who barely ever gets to be Jewish except for a throwaway line here or there, and a person of color? Not to mention, all of this aired in the middle of Chanukah? Amazingly tone deaf.

Then, there’s the promo: The “I hate Nazis” line is, I guess, supposed to be a light moment with the way it’s deadpanned? Wtf?

More importantly, though, the heils, the giant swastika, and just…even the concentration camp uniforms…are just too much for me. I can’t do it. I couldn’t even finish watching the promo video because I felt physically ill; and unlike, say, Schindler’s List, nothing DCTV ever does will be valuable enough to warrant spending hours feeling that ill.

Even if the story were done well, which I have zero faith that it will be, it’s too much. Give me Captain America punching a dude in Nazi attire, sure. Give me this much over-the-top symbolism with both victims and perpetrators? Nope.

It’s kind of how, despite knowing that Frank Spotnitz is a total genius, I just can’t bring myself to watch Man In The High Castle. Except the DCTV crossover isn’t like that at all: Because Frank knows how to respectfully tell a good story…and these folks don’t.

And don’t even get me started on having to see Earth-X versions of actual heroes being turned into Nazis. America has enough Nazis and enough neighbors who have turned out to be trash right now; we didn’t need our fictional heroes going there, too.

Lyra: Nazis seem like the lazy way out for writers to shock us with an alternate world. “Oh, do we want to freak people out with the worst of the worst?” “I know what, Jim. What if we do Nazis!” “Brilliant idea, Bob.”

We already know that Nazis are the worst of the worst and that they did horrible and disgusting things in the name of a ridiculous ideology. Maybe we can go for something a little more original, people. Something different that touches people’s hearts but doesn’t shove them back into the worst memories of their ACTUAL FAMILIES. I would forgive them if they actually were going to handle this with respect, but we all know it’s all for shock value. Simple.

Lizzie: Look: One could say I have no emotional attachment to this. Except I’m a person who knows history and has a heart, so of course I have an emotional attachment to this, even if it’s not personal. And though I think someone in my position should really step back and let people like Mer and Shana have their say, I think it’s important that we realize it’s not only people who are part of the Jewish community that can point to it and say: hey, romanticizing Nazis is WRONG.

The Arrow-verse is really, REALLY not the place to deal with this sort of storyline, not just because it runs the risk of dehumanizing Nazis in a way that makes us forget that, more often than not, the people committing atrocities were regular people who went about their regular lives, but because it also could easily turn into this thing where “oh, look, the Nazis are defeated thanks to a bow and arrow and a really fast man,” which minimizes the pain so many people went through.

So, yeah. Not a fan. Not a fan at all. I’m not saying these stories should never be told. We certainly shouldn’t forget them, but we shouldn’t trivialize them either. And I have no faith that these writers can actually do this justice. None, whatsoever.

Luci: I second everything Lizzie said. While I have no personal attachment to this, I am still a human being with a beating heart who knows history and knows how horrible even the idea of romanticizing Nazism really is. Having a superhero show — that doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to dealing with the hard stuff — handle a Nazi storyline is a big no-no in my book.

I am not quite sure what they could possibly be thinking when this storyline was approved — especially given the world’s current political climate and everything else my fellow writers have already mentioned — but the only thing that comes to mind was that they wanted to shock people. And I kind of understand the theory behind it — as in, what’s the worst possible version of the world that we could use to create Earth-X — but I don’t understand their final choice to go with Nazis.

Even if you’re opposed to the Nazi plot, is there anything that you feel can still make this crossover a success? What do you think could be some highlights if that piece were removed?

Mer: As I mentioned, aside from this (like, if the Bad Guys were Earth-X Argus or some random paramilitary group intent on destroying shit), the crossover looks like a lot of fun! It’s got action, it’s got romance, it’s got fun team ups we don’t see often. Take out the Nazi piece (and F*&%$ING FIRE KREISBERG), and I do think this crossover event would be a huge success.

Shana: Here’s a crazy idea: Stop trying to be so big and “epic,” stop taking yourselves seriously, and go back to making DCTV fun. Remember when Arrow didn’t remotely take itself seriously and featured a lot of Oliver Queen doing shirtless training? Go back to that. Let Felicity be hilariously awkward, while also kicking major science ass. Remember when The Flash and Supergirl had their first crossover, and Barry and Kara were the cutest little puppies of all time? Or when Arrow and The Flash crossed over with Felicity and Barry being undeniably dorky together?

Do those things.

Let everyone enjoy the wedding, schmooze with their other-show counterparts, and take down a corny metahuman or two. Like, I hate Grodd and the shark whatshisnamethingger, but bring them back. That’d be better than Nazis.

…I can’t believe I just said that. So, I guess the answer is: Without the Nazi content, as long as what’s left is the type of entertainment that made these shows enjoyable in the first place, I’ll have fun checking out tumblr gifs.

Maybe. If I feel like it.

Lyra: Strong team dynamics and a united front against the worst of humanity is this crossover’s only saving grace. Show me Barry and Kara being goobers together. Show me Alex and Sara sharing drinks and maybe flirting a little. (I like women — deal with it.) Show me ships where they have each other’s backs, and THE GIRLS DON’T NEED TO BE RESCUED BY THEIR LEATHER-CLAD PARTNERS.

*deep breath*

Again, I like women and know they have it in them to not fall into damsel in distress situations over and over.

Lizzie: I agree that, Nazis aside, this could be a fun idea. I agree that the CW needs to fire Kreisberg yesterday, (and that, until they do, I’m not watching live, tweeting with their hashtag or helping their ratings in any way), but I think that if this were focused on the couples, if they gave us badass female interactions, this crossover would probably be some good fun. (Not that they’re great at doing that).


Luci: Oh, yeah. The Nazi storyline is my only big issue with this year’s crossover. You take that away and things look pretty awesome. As I mentioned earlier, the reason I love crossovers is because it allows for characters that don’t usually interact on a regular basis to be able kick some serious ass together. Give me Felicity and Cisco being awesome tech nerds; give me Kara and Barry being adorable dorky puppies together; Oliver and Barry being buddies; and I’m especially excited about Sara and Alex this year, because I can see that ship coming from a mile away and I am so ready for it.

Give us that and delete this Nazi storyline nonsense, and I’m pretty sure we’d have an awesome crossover in our hands.

The DCTV crossover, “Crisis on Earth-X,” starts with Supergirl on Monday, November 27 at 8/7c on The CW…and carries right through all your favorite Arrow-verse series. 

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