Elseworlds, “Part 2″ (Arrow, Season 7, Episode 9)
Part 2 of the Elseworlds crossover reflected a mood befitting of the series that hosted it, but it didn’t drift so far from Part 1 that it felt like we were watching a completely different show. This episode was packed to the gills with heroes, a greatest hits of Batman’s rogues gallery. Here’s everything you need to know about the middle chapter of Elseworlds:
What’s the scoop: After an opening narrated by Barry (including a makeout with Felicity), Diggle and his ARGUS agents square off against the son of Slade Wilson. The young Deathstroke gets the upper hand before Kara, Barry and Oliver show up to stop him. Diggle curses his luck because whenever those three team up, something really terrible must be happening. The trio goes to Gotham City to search for the guys that Oliver drew, and where Batman is missing (or a myth). Some misadventures lead them to jail, and then to the doorstep of the former Wayne Enterprises, where Bruce Wayne’s cousin, Kate Kane is trying to rebuild Gotham in more ways than one. The trail to Deegan leads to Arkham Asylum, where Deegan is on staff. The 90s Flash appears before Team Sidekick and fills them in about the Book of Destiny. Caitlin, Cisco and Diggle join the Big Three and the search for Deegan is on.
Sex and the Olicity: We weren’t too busy to get some relationship time in this episode. Oliver goes with his default setting of keeping important secrets from Felicity; this time he tries to keep her in the dark about the body swap thing. Cisco and Caitlin almost immediately let that cat out of the bag, which torques Olicity’s already strained relationship. But, after a patented Barry pep-talk, Ollie has a chat with Felicity, telling her that their recent issues were a sign they were both growing as people and she will always be the love of his life, no matter if she’s tech geek or a mama bear. And . . . there was much kissing. So relax, there’s no need to sweat about the good ship Olicity during the midseason hiatus.
What about the action: We got to see the much-hyped Batwoman in action and despite the reservations of many, Ruby Rose pulled it off. We really didn’t see enough from her yet to know if she can headline a series, but perhaps we’ll get more in Part 3. Diggle got a centerpiece fight against a never-ending mob of Arkham patients, but that has been nothing new for Arrow and this season’s regular prison fights. No, the real fun happened when Ollie and Barry got a snoot full of Scarecrow gas and started hallucinating. Barry (who is still the Green Arrow, remember) saw and battled Malcom Merlyn, while Ollie (as the Flash) saw Reverse Flash. In fact, they were battling each other in a three separate fights at once, that deftly switched from what the characters were seeing to what reality was. It was one of the best fight scenes of the season from any DC show.
- This episode really tested our pause buttons and our knowledge of DC Comics. Arkham Asylum is always a great way to pack in all the villain references, and the writing staff worked overtime to get as many in as possible. The following list is just of the ones I caught, and there were probably others that were too obscure for me: Pam Isley (Poison Ivy), Basil Karlo (Clayface), Edward Nygma (Riddler), Bane’s mask, Oswald Cobblepot (Penguin), Victor Fries’ gun (Mr. Freeze), Nora Fries, Jonathan Crane’s (Scarecrow) fear toxin, and Marc Guggenheim, former showrunner on Arrow. The guy in the gold mask may have been Psycho Pirate, but don’t hold me to that one.
- No list of Batman references is complete without a nod to the Adam West TV show, so props to the props department for that Shakespeare bust in Kate’s office.
- The 90s Flash is truly The Flash from the 90s TV show. He’s another Barry Allen, who I think believes Diggle is John Stewart, a Green Lantern of some renown.
- The Freaky Friday vs. Quantum Leap discussion sounds like the kind of pop culture debate I’ve engaged in about a million times before.
- Who knew Ollie was so insecure to go along with his many other character flaws? How else would you explain why he was so adamant that Batman was a myth, which would make Green Arrow the true OG dark vigilante hero of Earth 1.
- Kara was getting kind of flirty during her good-bye with Kate/Batwoman. Talking about her tattoos everywhere, and stuff.
- I’m not sure which I enjoy more: when the main three heroes team up, or when their posse of nerds team up (“I have been summoned!”).
- I’m almost positive I’ve heard the happier moments in the Berlanti-verse referred to as “sunshine and rainbows” on a geeky TV podcast that ran until this past fall.
What’s next: After our heroes made some headway, The Monitor showed up said he was testing Earths for a coming crisis (hint, hint), and promptly reset the game board, admonishing Deegan for his lack of vision but still giving him another chance with the book. Barry and Ollie are suddenly the Trigger Twins, outlaws being hunted by the Central City PD, which is apparently staffed by villains, since Deathstroke, Ricardo Diaz and Malcom Merlyn were the responding officers. They escape and are eventually cornered by a black-clad Superman, who we are guessing isn’t all about truth, justice and the American way.
Last impressions: The tone may have been different, but it didn’t make the second part of this trilogy any less entertaining. There was enough Batwoman to leave us wanting more. The action was crisp and of course, the chemistry of the combined casts was as crackling as always. The only letdown may have been The Monitor’s exposition dump, and resetting of the board. However, when you have an interdimensional immortal with a book that alters reality, those cheats might not really be cheats after all. It was impressive that with all they squeezed into this episode, they still managed to get some Arrow character work in through Ollie sharing his feelings with Felicity, and smoothing over their marital rough patch. If the final chapter delivers in a similar vein as the first two, then this crossover may even surpass last year’s Crisis on Earth X.