Arrow recap: The 5 best moments from Elseworlds Part 2

Arrow -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- Acquired via CW TV PR
Arrow -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- Acquired via CW TV PR /

The second Arrow centric episode of the Elseworlds crossover forced Oliver and Barry to confront the horrors of Gotham City. And the Monitor finally explained his actions.

Because of the embrace of superhero absurdity, the Arrowverse crossovers have been an annual delight. And though “Elseworlds” is very different from “Invasion” and “Crisis on Earth-X,” it’s still highly enjoyable. In fact, this year’s crossover improves on the last two in one significant way; it’s advanced the ongoing narratives of each participating show.

In last night’s Flash-based installment, Barry (Grant Gustin) learned Green Arrow style ruthlessness can be useful in taking down a much more powerful foe. And in this episode, Oliver (Stephen Amell) had an epiphany about his relationship with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards).

For those who missed last night’s episode of The Flash, here’s the pertinent information from “Elseworlds Part 1”:

  • A cosmic being called the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) gave a demented psychiatrist named Dr. John Deegan (Jeremey Davis) the power to reshape reality.
  • For reasons unknown, Deegan swapped Barry (Grant Gustin) and Oliver’s lives.
  • Barry and Oliver tried to convince Team Flash of their situation but they were incredulous, despite the insane circumstances of their regular lives.
  • The pair journeyed to Earth-37 to enlist Kara’s (Melissa Benoist) help and learned that the reality wrapping effects didn’t extend past Earth-1.
  • With Kara and Superman’s (Tyler Hoechlin) help, Oliver and Barry got Team Flash onside. Then they worked together to defeat a powerful robot called Amazo.
  • Barry began taking on Oliver’s personality traits, which unnerved Iris (Candice Patton).
  • Thanks to one of Cisco’s visions, Barry and Oliver learned Deegan was in Gotham City.
  • No one thought to contact the Legends of Tomorrow even though fixing fractures in reality is their whole deal.

5. “If you’re visiting Gotham to compare grappling hooks with Batman, you’re out of luck”

One of the big selling points of this year’s Arrowverse crossover was the introduction of a new superhero, Kate Kane/Batwoman (Ruby Rose). And for my money, she’s a solid addition to the Arrowverse. Upon arriving in Gotham, Barry Oliver and Kara were arrested for getting into with a street gang.

Kate, who is the cousin of the mysteriously vanished Bruce Wayne, bailed the trio out and warmed them to not start anything in her city. When they inevitably did, she suited up and stopped them from killing each other inside Arkham Asylum (more on that later).

Arrow — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR
Arrow — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR /

In both her civilian and costumed personas, Kate was pretty great. Rose conveyed the arrogance, coldness and supreme competence that define the character in the comics. And  her intelligence by instantly getting that Kara is Supergirl. While she seems of the piece with other Arrowverse heroes, she’s also very different. Whereas Supergirl, Green Arrow and Flash defend their cities, Batwoman works to keep her’s from falling into total chaos. As such, she’s a much harder-edged and practical crime-fighter than her contemporaries.

Based on this appearance in all the mysteries teased about the Arrowverse version of Gotham City, I really hope that proposed the Batwoman spinoff goes into production.

4. “Finally, the inmates are running the asylum”

So, the reason Batwoman needed to save Green Arrow and Flash is that they were doused with the Scarecrow’s fear gas inside Arkham Asylum. The duo, Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), Diggle (David Ramsey)   and Supergirl went there because as a mad scientist, Deegan was of course employed by fiction’s worst mental institution. Upon being confronted, Deegan bolted and freed the Asylum’s inmates. This led to a riot and while trying to quell it, Oliver threw a lightning bolt that broke several vials of powerful, fear-inducing hallucinogen.

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Green Arrow and Flash having a classic superhero fistfight would have been cool enough on its own. But, the moment was made even better by the visions Oliver and Barry experienced while under the influence. Barry was mocked by Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) while Oliver was taunted by Eobard Thawne (Tom Cavanagh).

This is a cool moment for two reasons. One, it showed the different but similar ways in which Green Arrow and Flash are haunted by their pasts. And two, it brought back to the show’s best villains without the need for convoluted explanations for their appearances.

3. “So, why didn’t you tell Felicity?”

Before heading to Gotham City to apprehend Deegan, Barry, Oliver and Kara went to Star City to see if Team Arrow could fix their Freaky Friday/Quantum Leap problem. Because of his recently strained relationship with Felicity, Oliver asked the team not to tell his wife about the life swap. The ruse immediately fell apart when Cisco (Carlos Valdes) arrived to provide additional tech support. After retrieving the book that empowered Deegan, Oliver apologized and told Felicity how much she meant to him.

Although Stephen Amell sold the hell out of his apology speech, I can’t imagine this is the end of Oliver and Felicity’s issues. Despite what Oliver said, the biggest issue in his marriage is not that he and Felicity are changing. It’s that he keeps secrets from her and acts unilaterally. That kind of behavior broke Team Arrow apart last season and it may end Oliver’s marriage this season.

Hopefully, Oliver will relearn the importance of trusting others before it’s too late. Also, the Arroverse producers deserve credit for making the Arrow section of the crossover not feel like a wholesale departure from the rest of Season 7.

Arrow — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR
Arrow — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — Acquired via CW TV PR /

2. “A Crisis is coming”

Since the Monitor first appeared in last week’s “Elseworlds” teaser, his agenda has been a mystery. But in this episode, Mar Novu revealed all. The reason he laid waste to Earth-90 and gave a lunatic like Deegan the ability to reshape reality is that he is testing the heroes of the multiverse. As the Flash of Earth-90 (John Wesley Shipp) explained, he believes that someone with immense power is coming to destroy every reality and that someone has the capacity to mash entire worlds together with ease. The reveal that the godlike Monitor has been acting out of fear was an effectively chilling moment.

While the Arrowverse generally doesn’t adapt DC Comics storylines directly, but that doesn’t appear to the case here. In the lead up to a seminal crossover called Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Monitor did exactly what he did in “Elseworlds.” And as it turned out he was right to do it; the threat he was preparing for was a Thanos-level threat. If the producers of the Arrowverse do adapt Crisis, which has been subtly hinted at for years now, it would be legitimately amazing. And for at least two prominent CW heroes, utterly tragic.

1. “How far do you think the changes when this time?”

After securing the powerful Book of Destiny at A.R.G.US., Green Arrow, Flash, Flash of Earth-90 and Supergirl confronted Mar Novu. However, instead of talking him out of his monstrous training exercise, the heroes were soundly defeated. Kara and ‘90s Flash were transported to parts unknown. And Barry and Oliver were stripped of their abilities and introduced to a new reality, seemingly based on Earth-38, where they are a pair of bank robbers called the Trigger Twins. The pair was also introduced to the new reality’s protector; a darkly dressed and decidedly ominous Superman.

As cliffhangers go, this episode featured a really good one. Without their powers, it’s hard to imagine how Barry and Oliver will be up to stand up to Superman. And given that she wasn’t with her friends, I’m assuming Deegan did something terrible to Kara, presumably connected with Clark’s goth makeover. And even if all three heroes are able to unite and incapacitate Deegan, what’s to stop the Monitor from resetting the scenario again?

dark. Next. Interview: LaMonica Garrett talks becoming The Monitor for CW’s Elseworlds

Big, seemingly impossible to resolve the dilemmas are why I love the Arrowverse’s crossovers. They capture the ecstatic elan of the franchise’s comic book origins perfectly. And though this year’s crossover is smaller in scope than in previous years, it’s still done a number of difficult things very well. It’s given the heroes a threat so big none of them can handle individually; it’s conveyed an epic tone on a broadcast TV budget and it’s told compelling individual stories within each installment. As such, I can’t wait to see how things wrap up tomorrow.

Did you enjoy the second part of this year’s Arrowverse crossover?

“Elseworlds” concludes tomorrow at 8 p.m. ET with a new episode of Supergirl.

Arrow will return to The CW on Monday, January 21, 2019 at 8 pm.