written by Kate Spencer
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
The Super Friends travel to a new city to set right what once went wrong and to drag Oliver Queen some more. Also, I finally get to see one of my favorite comic book heroes in live action, but you already knew that since you probably heard that eardrum-shattering fangirl squeal on Monday night. That was me. Sorry.
“Elseworlds Part 2” opens with A.R.G.U.S. agents getting completely wrecked by Deathstroke’s son. I’m told this is the Arrowverse version of Jericho, but he seems nothing like Jericho, so I guess Arrow is keeping its streak of least-faithfully-adapted characters going.
Barry, Kara, and Oliver save Diggle and then head back to…A.R.G.U.S. HQ? Wherever they go, they brief him and Curtis on the body-swap and then dodge telling Felicity about it because, as Barry and Oliver have learned time and time again, you should always keep secrets from your significant other and there will never ever be any consequences for that.
Yep. I’m just going to set this timer here…not for that; it’s for something else, I swear.
Oliver doesn’t want Barry to go to Gotham because Oliver Queen/Green Arrow is a known vigilante. Barry thinks that Gotham can handle Green Arrow if they can handle Batman. Oliver doesn’t think Batman exists and I love the look Kara gives him. Oliver seems to lose his cool, making me think maaaaybe he’s got some hangups about Batman existing or being compared to Batman. Especially when he yells “I’m the original vigilante, Barry!”
Oliver, in the first season of your show you – a rich guy who had been missing for years – returned to your home city to become a vigilante and catch crime bosses with the help of your friend in the district attorney’s office and ended up fighting a mysterious assassin dude whose plan involved eliminating crime and gentrifying a city through terrorism. You know, THE PLOT OF BATMAN BEGINS. Now if your argument was “I am Batman,” that might have held up.
Before I can drag Oliver any more, the Super Friends head to Gotham where Kara and Barry do the dragging for me. Ollie’s plan is to talk to Vesper Fairchild (whom he may or may not have slept with) to get help figuring out who their mystery men are. Barry finds the Bat-Signal on the roof of the building they’re on and takes this as proof he’s right about Batman existing. Meanwhile, Batwoman looks on from atop the Wayne Enterprises building.
I’m going to try to contain myself or I’ll be fangirling through the rest of this.
The next day, they get mugged immediately because, y’know, Gotham. When the muggers try to give them the patented Joe Chill welcome, Kara catches a bullet at superspeed so Oliver doesn’t get Thomas Wayne’d. Barry fights back, but that just draws the attention of the police, who recognize him as Green Arrow and arrest the trio. Nice, now squeaky-clean Kara Danvers has a rap sheet on an Earth where she doesn’t even have a Social Security number. Guess that’s what you get when you dance with the devil in the pale moonlight.
Cisco and Caitlin arrive to help Diggle, Felicity, and Curtis with the weird weather phenomenon that has now followed Barry and Oliver from Central City. They blab about the body-swap immediately and Felicity finds out that she was purposefully kept in the dark.
*stops timer* Under ten minutes real time, maybe twenty-four hours for them in the show. LIES. NEVER. WORK. Anyway, Team Science finds that the atmospheric anomalies are similar to dimensional breaches, so they get to work on that.
The Super Friends are bailed out and taken in a black SUV to Wayne Enterprises, which has definitely seen better days. According to Oliver, their mysterious benefactor can’t be Bruce Wayne because he left Gotham three years ago. The board of directors all took their golden parachutes and GTFO’d, leaving the building abandoned, trashed, and graffiti-covered. As it turns out, the person who posted their bail is a woman named Kate Kane, who wants Green Arrow out of Gotham City.
Y’all, I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.
Kate isn’t just putting them on a bus out of the city, though. She offers them her resources…well, the above-ground ones, at least. Kara asks about Bruce Wayne and Batman leaving at the same time. Kate says that Batman leaving took a toll on Bruce, but she doesn’t seem to know why he left either. I’m wondering if they’re doing a post-The Dark Knight Rises type of thing or a post-Knightfall thing. Barry hasn’t had much luck with Vesper because Oliver doesn’t have the best reputation with the ladies. Kate lets them use the building and offers facial recognition help from Wayne R&D. She also shares the wi-fi password, which is “Alfred”.
Cute reference, but someone could crack that password in under a minute.
Oliver swiped a hard drive from the police station while they were there, so they have that database to work from. They get a hit on the sketch Oliver made – a Doctor John Deegan – but they can’t find anything current on him.
Kara wanders downstairs to talk to Kate, apologizing for their polite interrogation earlier. Kate reveals that she’s Bruce Wayne’s cousin and she’s trying to turn Wayne Enterprises into a real estate development firm. Kara tells her that her cousin is friends with Bruce, so that likely confirms a Batman on Earth-38. She also comments on Kate’s tattoos which just makes Kate flirtatiously allude to tattoos she can’t see. Kara gets flustered and it’s adorable. She changes the subject by picking up a bust of Shakespeare. Careful, Kara. If you walk out with that you’re going to get bard from that office.
Kate has heard of John Deegan – he’s a doctor at Arkham Asylum. He had been suspected (but acquitted on a technicality) of human experimentation and torture and was fired, then suspended by the medical board for two years, so of course he got a job there because Arkham. Kara runs off to tell Barry and Oliver while Kate descends via elevator into a cave where her Batwoman suit awaits…and the intensity on her face does things to me.
The Geek Squad builds a thing on a roof to draw whatever is trying to get to their Earth through a breach. It’s a terrible plan, but they get a portal to open and see Ezra Miller on the other side telling them Lois Lane is the key–wait, wrong Flash. It’s actually the Flash of Earth-90, who tells them to “get the book”.
The Super Friends coordinate with the Geek Squad and we then see Kara wheeling Caitlin into Arkham for treatment. The admitting nurse doesn’t bother to check the credentials of the “Doctor Danvers” Kara mentions, or check Kara herself, or even run background on Caitlin…because Arkham.
Oliver and Diggle get in with their respective IDs and we’re treated to a cell block I have to keep pausing on to see the names: Cobblepot (Penguin), Isley (Poison Ivy), Karlo (Clayface), Nigma (Riddler), and Guggenheim (as in Marc, one of the episode’s writers and former Arrow showrunner). They find Deegan in his office/lab/whatever, where the good doctor reveals that he was trying to become the Flash but got the reality-warping thing wrong. He refuses to fix things and then pushes a button to unlock every cell…a button that’s on the desk in his office and not in some kind of security room. Because Arkham.
Diggle and Oliver deal with the inmates. Unfortunately Gotham has most of the Batman villains tied up, so no cameos, but we do get a random Psycho-Pirate. Caitlin runs into Nora Fries, who’s looking for her husband’s old gear in the “supervillain gear storage room”. That should really be locked and not opened by the same release as the “open all cells” button. But, y’know, Arkham. Nora needs cryogenic containment and hers shut down because the cells opened because…look, Arkham is a shit facility; that’s the joke. Caitlin gets sprayed with compressed nitrogen and Killer Frost ain’t happy about that.
Deegan pulls the book out of its hiding place. Kara takes him out and manages to get the book, but loses Deegan. Barry stops the inmates who managed to flee outside. He’s knocked down by Psycho-Pirate, who tries to escape in a van with a buddy, but Batwoman lands on the van and deals with the two and another inmate. She tells them they should have listened to Kate Kane and gotten out of Gotham.
Barry and Oliver come to Killer Frost’s rescue when Nora blasts her with Mr. Freeze’s cold gun. Normally that wouldn’t bother Killer Frost, but it’s not the temperature that takes her out, it’s the force of the blast which sends her crashing across the room. Oliver tries to stop Nora with a lightning bolt but he hits a box of chemicals marked “J. Crane” instead. Oh, this is going to suck. Oliver hallucinates Barry as Reverse-Flash, and Barry sees Oliver as Malcolm Merlyn. Batwoman arrives and kicks some sense into both of them.
Outside, the heroes begin to depart with their new book. Batwoman is eager to see them leave. Barry asks if he can ride in the Batmobile because of course he does. Batwoman repeats herself – get out of Gotham. Kara stays behind for a little chat with Batwoman/Kate. They both let on that they know who the other is (Kara using x-ray vision to see through the mask and admire Kate’s tattoos…oh my). Kara says it’s too bad she’s leaving because the two would make a good team. “World’s finest,” Kate replies.
Someone better be writing that crossover.
Barry and Oliver have the “wow, you have a fucked-up life” conversation they have every crossover. Oliver tells Felicity that despite their marital problems, they’re going to be okay. They’re interrupted by Earth-90 Flash, who is also Barry Allen and not Henry or Jay. He notes that John isn’t wearing his ring, which I take to mean that John Diggle is a Green Lantern on Earth-90. He brings a dire warning about Mar Novu, the Monitor. On cue, the Monitor appears on the TV. The four supers go to confront him.
The Monitor tells them he’s preparing them for the arrival of someone else, someone who will cause a crisis. He sends Earth-90 Flash somewhere else (maybe home?) and steals back the magic again and telling him to think bigger this time.
Reality is rewritten again. Kara is gone, and Barry and Oliver are now the Trigger Twins and wanted by the police. Speaking of the police, they arrive to arrest the pair, and the cops are Malcolm Merlyn, Joe Wilson/Jericho from earlier, and Ricardo Diaz. Barry and Oliver escape but they’re caught again by Superman wearing a black suit.
When the crossover was first announced, Batwoman and Gotham were billed like they were the main attractions but it looks like this episode was it for that, so I’m a little disappointed. It also feels like this is all just setup for another crossover next year or further down the line that finally deals with the Crisis. So overall, this wasn’t what I was expecting.
I’ve been worried about how they would write Batwoman, as well as Ruby Rose’s portrayal, but what we got of her makes me hopeful for a Batwoman series. The setup of a Gotham City without Batman or Bruce Wayne is interesting, and I like the idea of Kate working out of the old Wayne Enterprises building. Ruby Rose is a convincing Kate Kane and I want to see where she goes with the character in making it her own. Overall, I’m happy with how they handled Batwoman in this episode, and the harshest criticism I can level is “I want more.”
As for the episode itself, while I liked the character interactions and the plot, it did feel like a step down from Part 1. I had this problem with the “Invasion” crossover from two years ago when the invasion plot ground to a halt for Arrow’s 100th episode. I feel like apart from the ending, things were on a much more terrestrial scale. It’s not that the episode was boring (it wasn’t), it was just easy to forget there was a multiverse-level issue going on. I liked the change of pace from superpowered robots and universe-destroying threats, but it doesn’t mesh well with the overall threat level of the crossover. Maybe separate crossovers, one dealing with the Monitor and one set in Gotham and Arkham, would have worked better.
All of the little Batman easter eggs were geek candy: the villain names on the cells; “Alfred”; the Bat-Signal; and when the trio are getting arrested early in the episode, a police officer gives his location as “the corner of Nolan and Burton.” I also enjoyed the numerous references to Quantum Leap.
Where is all of this going? Will Deegan and the Monitor be stopped? Will Oliver and Barry regain their true lives? Am I just trying to come up with a clever ending to this recap? Find out in “Elseworlds Part 3”, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!
Arrow airs Mondays on the CW at 8 ET/7 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.