It’s time for the annual DCTV crossover event! Dayna is handling this part and George will return later to continue the final few episodes of Season Three. Let’s recap this week’s The Flash.
My intro for this episode is just this, with no context:
Welcome to “Elseworlds”.
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
We’re diving right into the deep end of the pool in Part 1 of this year’s Arrowverse crossover. A psychologist gives a crackpot speech about turning people into superheroes via eugenics, he gets walked out on, and then the Monitor shows up and hands him a book with the power to rewrite reality as he sees fit. If you’ve been a hardcore DC fan for years, you saw the Monitor and went “OH SHIT.” If you aren’t, you probably reacted with “what the shit?!” Either way, you still get immediately hit with the next scenes of Oliver Queen waking up with the Flash’s powers and everyone around him convinced that he’s Barry Allen.
Over in Star City, Barry is thrust into the middle of training with John Diggle and realizes he’s suddenly Oliver Queen. We don’t really get an explanation of how Barry and Oliver have one another’s abilities – Barry is especially tickled to be incredibly athletic – but I’ll assume that will be explained later on in the crossover.
After a lengthy amount of time spent trying to convince Team Flash that reality has gone wonky, Barry and Oliver decide to check with Kara on Earth-38 to see if it’s only Earth-1 that’s been affected. Fortunately, Kara recognizes them and introduces them to her cousin Clark. Yes, Tyler Hoechlin is back as Superman, and he is an absolute treat as ever. Joining Clark is the one and only Lois Lane, played here by Elizabeth Tulloch. Tulloch plays a great Lois, one who lives and breathes journalism and shows a lot of heart alongside her tough exterior. While Hoechlin echoes Christopher Reeve’s performance, Tulloch similarly channels Margot Kidder in her Lois, but with hints of Erica Durance and Noel Neill. Considering she had to establish her Lois in just a few minutes, I think she did a wonderful job and I hope to see more.
While there’s no lack of superheroics in this episode as Clark and Kara join Barry and Oliver back on Earth-1 to fight Amazo, a robot who can duplicate everyone’s superpowers, “Elseworlds Part 1” is more of a character study on Barry and Oliver than anything else. We really dig into the differences between the two, notably how Ollie’s fuel is anger while Barry’s is love. But we also see hints of each in the other. Barry is not all sweetness and light, and Oliver does comprehend love, if not open affection. As they’re forced into one another’s lives, we see them slowly adapt to the other’s way of thinking, which I hope will strengthen them later against the threat the Monitor poses.
The Flash crew clearly had a blast creating this episode, from meta-references to it not even being a Tuesday (the show switched time slots with Supergirl for this week only) all the way to Blake Neely tinkering with the score. You can read our own K. O’Shea’s reactions to the latter here on their Twitter. Callbacks to earlier seasons are even present, with Barry finally getting his vengeance on Ollie for a nasty arrow trick in Season One.
While this does run the risk of becoming “References: The Episode”, it is a sheer delight for those of us who are unabashed DC nerds. On top of all the other praise I have, this is probably the funniest crossover yet. We have Oliver Queen reacting to the physical affection culture of Team Flash, Barry Allen growling out “You have failed this city!”, and the best possible shout-out to fans of Smallville. I, for one, am hyped for the rest of the crossover.
Next up: Kate Spencer reviews Part 2 on Arrow because she threatened to hunt me down and murder me if I let anyone else take on Batwoman’s debut.
The Flash airs Tuesday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Dayna can be found on Twitter @queenanthai.