I’ve got a bonus post for you this week about the Elseworlds crossover featuring Green Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl — the Trinity of the Arrowverse.
Having covered all the crossovers from Arrowverse the past few weeks, and with the latest installment another example of why the DC CW series have succeeded in ways the DC Cinematic Universe has not, I wanted to talk about the Elseworlds crossover, which featured some great character arcs and a lot of nods to DC Comics and comic book fans.
And I figured, why not let two sides of myself discuss what made this crossover great. Because I am both a writer/novelist (and thus have some understanding about how to write characters and storylines) and a comic book geek (and thus I can’t help but get giddy over everything), I figured I would let those sides talk about what did and didn’t work in this year’s crossover.
Okay, so debating myself may seem unusual, but since this is a solo website, I though this could be fun.
So how would the writer side of me and the geek side of me look at things? Let us begin.
Writer Me: We start off Night One with The Flash — or the 1990’s Flash played by John Wesley Shipp, to be more precise. They aired this teaser at the end of Arrow, Flash and Supergirl the week before, but it’s a scaled down version to remind us about what’s to come.
Geek Me: They gave John the 1990’s Flash costume! Such a great callback!
Writer Me: Confession time –haven’t watched the 1990’s version of The Flash. But it is up on DC Universe and I am a subscriber.
Geek Me: What are you waiting for? Get up to speed and go watch it!
Writer Me: In due time, yes, but let’s get to the crossover first.
All right, so now we switch to John Deegan, who is talking about how some people are born with special gifts, but why can’t everyone have them? We see a specific reference to The Flash here, so we know Flash is on Deegan’s mind. And he’s suggesting eugenics as a method for making this happen, which nobody buys into (for good reason, I would add).
So The Monitor meets up with him and says Deegan has a vision. He hands him a book that he can use to rewrite reality as he sees fit. Not sure why Monitor would choose this man for the job, but Monitor always works in mysterious ways.
Geek Me: Hey, The Monitor was dealing weapons to enemies of the Teen Titans in the comics. Turns out, he was testing them for a Crisis!
Writer Me: Monitor is an interesting character. He’s not necessarily evil but he has his own agenda. The only question is what his agenda happens to be.
And then we get to our episode and what do we have first?
Geek Me: Red skies! That always means a Crisis is about to happen!
Writer Me: And we have Oliver Queen waking up, only he hears… Iris West-Allen’s voice? Turns out he’s in Barry Allen’s loft and Iris thinks Oliver is really Barry.
Geek Me: The look on his face when Iris kisses him… he’s wondering what in the world just happened!
Writer Me: I will say that Stephen Amell is doing a great job with his acting here. He’s showing that humorous side of himself that we don’t get to see often in his portrayal of Oliver Queen. Everything about this works so well.
And I will add it’s something that shows the difference between writing somebody’s action and somebody acting them out. Writers have a different challenge in conveying a character’s emotions and reactions, but when actors take them on, there’s so much they can do, that writers should pay attention to how they act and figure out how to describe that in their narratives.
Geek Me: “Barry Allen, what have you done now?” Of course Oliver blames Barry for this!
Writer Me: Barry Allen has screwed up timelines before, though this may be more extreme.
And then we get to see Oliver trying his best to be The Flash, only he runs past Ivo Technologies (here we note the reference to Season Two Arrow in which Oliver Queen encountered Professor Ivo). Then he pulls out the “you have failed this city” line, which is so out of place here that I can’t help but chuckle. And then he tries to throw the lightning bolt like Barry does and… well, he gets pretty lucky, all things considered.
Geek Me: This is what you call “pulling a Homer.” Let’s remind everyone what that is.
Also, Cisco totally should have dropped that line somewhere.
Writer Me: So we go back to STAR Labs and everyone believes that Flash is acting strangely, while Oliver is the only one who realizes that he is living Barry’s life. Once again, Stephen Amell’s reactions are great. He makes you buy into the premise, thanks so much to his movements and facial expressions.
Meanwhile, we cut to Star City and Barry Allen is working out with John Diggle. I will say it’s kind of jarring at first, because Barry doesn’t wake up in Oliver’s bed or anything like that. He just suddenly finds himself sparring with Diggle and doesn’t realize what’s happening at first. And, as with Iris, Diggle is carrying on like nothing has changed.
Geek Me: Barry, at first, thinks it’s so cool that he gets to be the Green Arrow, but then is like “Oh, crap.” Never does ask himself if he messed up the timeline, though. But maybe he thinks Eobard Thawne did it? If not, he should have!
Writer Me: It’s not like Barry to blame anybody for anything, but yeah, he could have suspected Eobard. Also, we have to remember that Barry looks up to Oliver in some ways, so you can imagine a part of him wonders what it would be like to be the Green Arrow.
And this becomes evident when he accompanies Diggle on an ARGUS mission and he can’t figure out which arrow he’s supposed to use. Plus, Barry is too busy being in awe about what the trick arrows can do and puts himself in danger. But, like Oliver as The Flash, luck is on his side.
Geek Me: And then Oliver as The Flash shows up. Notice how, even when it’s Oliver as The Flash, he shows up just as Diggle and Green Arrow are in danger and gets them out of there. And Diggle still gets nauseous being pulled away at superspeed! Even Oliver as The Flash won’t give him a warning!
Writer Me: So Oliver gets with Barry and they determine that somehow their bodies have been swapped.
Geek Me: Freaky Friday reference! Quantum Leap reference!
Writer Me: Yes, but Barry isn’t that eager to resolve this situation, until Oliver tells him that he woke up in Barry’s bed in the morning. Barry’s stance immediately changing works so well here, because Barry considers Iris the most important person in his life and is loyal to his wife. So it stands to reason he couldn’t stand for anybody, even Oliver, to be sleeping with her.
Geek Me: And Barry is all “we gotta fix this right now!”
Writer Me: Of course, when they go back to STAR Labs, nobody believes them. So Barry tries to convince Oliver to convince Iris that’s something wrong, by channeling what Barry usually says to Iris, but it doesn’t work. And not surprising, because Oliver doesn’t really understand how to talk to Iris like Barry would. Though Oliver is surprised that he learns that Iris has been talking to Felicity and that Felicity is upset that Oliver went behind her back to make a deal with the FBI.
Geek Me: My favorite part of the conversation is when Iris reminds Oliver/Flash that he can’t get drunk and Oliver is all, “This day cannot get any worse.”
Writer Me: So Oliver/Flash passes out because Iris put nanites in his drink, while Ralph Dibny knocks out Barry/Arrow, and the two heroes are stuck in the containment cell at Star Labs until Team Flash figures out what to do next. Except that’s when Cisco and Caitlin observe the red skies and lightning that are all about and Cisco vibes The Monitor, meaning at least one member of Team Flash wonders if Barry and Oliver may be telling the truth.
Then we go back to the containment cell, where Oliver and Barry have to figure out how to escape. Oliver asks whether or not the cells have toilets.
Geek Me: And they do! One of the biggest Flash mysteries is solved!
Writer Me: So Oliver is dead serious about how Barry will need to dislocate his thumb to slip out of the handcuffs, so Barry can back up the pipes and short the wiring in the cell. Barry, of course, thinks Oliver is out of his mind, but gets angry and does it.
And then Barry tells Oliver that he needs to vibrate his molecules to phase both of them through the cell. Oliver, of course, can’t buy into this idea, but then he cracks up when he sees Barry’s disloacted thumb. At that same moment, Oliver vibrates his way out of the handcuffs. So, you see, when Barry gets angry, he can do the things Oliver can do, and when Oliver laughs, he can do the things Barry can do.
Geek Me: It was kind of funny to see Barry with his thumb hanging limp like that! Also, more of Happy Oliver, please!
Writer Me: So Barry and Oliver intend to go to Earth-38 to find Supergirl to see if she can help. Iris, however, has taken an inter-dimensional extrapolater and won’t let them go. But Barry convinces Iris that something is wrong by sharing a story than only the two of them would know. This works so well — in fact, part of me wonders why Barry didn’t consider that approach in the first place.
Geek Me: Because if he had, we’d never know about the toilets in the STAR Labs cells!
Writer Me: There is that. Anyway, they are off to Earth-38 and we get a nice little treat.
Geek Me: SOMEBODY SAAAAAAAAAVE MEEE!
Writer Me: That would be the theme to the Smallville TV series, which takes us right to Smallville and the Kent Farm. Who else would we find here but Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Kara Danvers.
And I’m already enjoying Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane. It took all of 30 seconds for me to buy into her in that role. That’s great acting and a sign of somebody who immediately gets the character.
Meanwhile, Clark and Kara have a heart to heart. Kara is disappointed that she won’t be working closely with her sister, now that she’s out of the DEO because she won’t reveal her secret identity to the President.
Geek Me: Kara is right, though… it is scarier to confront Cat Grant than the president!
Writer Me: Next thing you know, Lois is screaming and we discover that Oliver and Barry have breached to Earth-38 and go right into the barn. And it takes Kara to settle everybody down. When she introduces Barry and Oliver to her cousin, Barry is in awe, of course, but Oliver has a completely different approach.
Geek Me: Barry is asking Oliver, “Are you puffing out your chest?” And Oliver is all, “Yes.” Oliver wants to man up around the Man of Steel!
Also, Lois Lane is basically “hey, I’m standing right here, you could introduce me, too.”
Writer Me: Kara’s reaction to events is good. She’s clearly not expecting Barry and Oliver to have switched bodies, but she remains calm. Nice touch.
Then we’re back on Earth-1, where we find out that at android at Ivo Laboratories has been activated. Of course, that’s Amazo, which can study another person’s powers and abilities and replicate them. So now we have a situation back on Earth-1.
Geek Me: How did he get Red Tornado’s powers, anyway?
Writer Me: Actually, Amazo is using Killer Frost’s powers. I think the basic gist is that the android’s using those powers to control water vapor and glide through the air, as opposed to just making an ice slide.
Geek Me: Amazo totally should have made the ice slide! That’s always cool!
Writer Me: But now we go back to Earth-38, where Oliver is having Barry shoot paint cans. Barry can’t understand the point of all this. So Barry suggests he’ll fire an arrow at Oliver and Oliver can catch it, to which Oliver immediately suspects the remote-controlled bows. Barry says he hasn’t done anything like that…
…and, of course, that’s exactly what happens in a callback to “Flash vs. Arrow.”
Geek Me: I laughed out loud! Barry got Oliver back four years later! And he gets a picture of the moment!
Writer Me: It was funny, but upon further viewings, we understand why Oliver wouldn’t find it funy– that he used the tactic to teach Barry a lesson about casing environments. And, if you will recall, in the “Flash vs. Arrow” plot, after Barry is hit by Rainbow Raider’s power, he let his anger get the best of him against Oliver, when he accused of Oliver of being jealous of Barry. Oliver doesn’t bring that up, but it’s a reminder that Barry didn’t exactly like what Oliver put him through.
But then Barry gets to teach Oliver a lesson, in which Oliver tries to take him down with superspeed and Barry easily dodges him. And it’s not simply because Barry in Oliver’s body has Oliver’s tactics, but because Barry has learned more about how to control his superspeed and how to anticipate what’s coming.
Geek Me: Also, Barry took down Angry Oliver!
Writer Me: Great point! We’ll get more into that in a bit.
Meanwhile, Kara and Clark are quietly observing, while Lois makes it’s no secret who she sides with.
Geek Me: Well, she’s right — Ollie is being a jerk! How can he drop that line about sappy motivational speeches?
Writer Me: I should mention that, in the comics, Lois Lane isn’t exactly a big fan of Batman, so that dynamic is playing out here, though for different reasons. Remember, in the Arrowverse, Oliver Queen is basically Bruce Wayne.
Back on Earth-1, Iris and Cisco both have reason to believe that Barry and Oliver were right, but they need them now because Amazo is causing chaos in Central City.
And, back at Earth-38, Barry and Oliver have a sitdown, where Oliver says that he channels his painful memories every time he uses his skills, while Barry thinks about all the great things in his life when he uses his powers. Which means, they each have to channel what the other does if they’re going to make things work. Kara is eavesdropping and tells them she was about to give them the same advice.
Geek Me: Superhearing! Also, Kara imitating Oliver is so funny! Oliver’s like “Maybe I should smile more?” and Kara’s all “Yeah, that would help.”
Also, Kara totally should have asked for five cents from both Oliver and Barry!
Writer Me: I hope everyone understands Geek Me’s reference, but if not, here you go.
Now Cisco pops up on Earth-38, says they believe Barry and Oliver and that they need help back on Earth-1. Of course, he’s never met Clark Kent before, and Clark simply drops the “a friend” line. And when the heroes return to Earth-1 — well, that’s what you call a great entrance.
Geek Me: Barry/Arrow is riding a motorcycle! I wonder where he got that!
Writer Me: So we go the “quick and to the point” route about how Superman, Supergirl, Barry/Arrow and Oliver/Flash are going to take down Amazo. This is where Barry’s knowledge of his powers comes in, that you can’t run at superspeed and phase through objects at the same time. The argument about Amazo getting the weaknesses along with the strengths of those he copies implies they’re going to use a Kryptonite arrow to inject the virus.
Geek Me: Nit picking here: Green Arrow isn’t a metahuman yet Amazo analyzes him like he is. Sure, him flashing the logos on his chest was cool, but that still doesn’t make any sense!
Writer Me: Clearly the writers just wanted the cool visual, but yes, Arrow isn’t a metahuman.
So it’s Oliver/Flash who lures Amazo back to where Supergirl and Superman can subdue him, and it takes all three to keep him place so Barry/Arrow can fire the kill shot — and he does it by sending the arrow into Amazo’s eye. If you think about it, that’s the weak point in any being, regardless of what other powers they have.
Geek Me: And Barry is all “Amazo, you have failed this city!” Though he doesn’t sound so intimidating — because he’s still Barry at heart!
Also, Stephen Amell did this:
Writer Me: That was definitely a nice touch, and another example of how acting can really bring out writing.
Geek Me: Back at STAR Labs, Cisco saying the one part of Amazo he’s keeping as a souvenir is totally a Young Justice reference!
Writer Me: It may very well be!
As for what happens at STAR Labs, I suspect the conversation Barry and Iris have will have implications down the road, especially now that we know that Eobard Thawne will play a crucial role in Season Five.
Though I will say I agree with IGN that the Sherloque Wells exchange with Superman doesn’t work. Seemed to be there only to give the two banter and for Sherloque to make a Superman joke.
Moving along, Oliver convinces Cisco to vibe and help them determine what is going on. They come upon The Monitor meeting John Deegan and Monitor can observe that Cisco is vibing. Oliver sees enough to know where they need to go, because Wayne Enterprises is in the background. And it’s off to Gotham City.
Geek Me: Batwoman! The iconic pose!
And then the introduction to the Arrow part has Barry Allen voicing everything! He’s even featured in the clips kissing Felicity!
Writer Me: Let’s not forget that Barry and Felicity had dated for a while — in fact, Oliver, at the time, seemed convinced the two were made for each other.
So we get into the episode, in which Diggle is tracking down Joe Wilson, who’s causing problems in Star City, all while the red skies are still about. Things don’t look good, when Supergirl, Flash and Arrow all intervene.
Geek Me: Diggle drops the “son of a bitch” line and Kara’s all, “Is that any way to greet your friends?” Because of course Kara would say that.
And poor John Diggle, just when he thinks he’s seen it all, can’t get his mind past this body swap thing. Meanwhile, it doesn’t take long for Curtis Holt to figure out something’s wrong, because only Barry would get the geek stuff!
Writer Me: And the decision is to not tell Felicity what’s going on, because Barry and Oliver went through things at STAR Labs already and don’t want to burden her with this knowledge. This, of course, is going to present a problem, because Felicity has gone through Oliver keeping secrets from her before.
Geek Me: You would think Felicity would figure it out, though. After all, Barry isn’t exactly pulling off how Oliver would talk about things. “Sad”? Really, Barry?
Writer Me: Then comes what might be the best part of the crossover yet, in which the Trinity is off to Gotham City, with Barry and Oliver debating about the existence of Batman. Barry is so hyped to meet Batman, while Oliver calls him an urban legend and takes pride in the idea that he is the “original vigilante.” Meanwhile, Barry bugs Oliver about keeping his cowl down and exposing his identity to everyone, even though it’s Oliver in Barry’s body.
And now I must complement Melissa Benoist, who does a fantastic job with her acting and facial expressions. Kara tries to step and be the moderator, but gives up on it here, wondering why Oliver and Barry must insist on such silly debates like this (watch the clip for about 30 seconds).
Geek Me: Her facial expressions are priceless! Hey, would it be dated to make a Mastercard joke here?
Writer Me: I would say yes.
Anyway, Kara decides to break up the Batman debate by speeding off with Barry/Arrow, and Oliver/Flash is forced to play catch-up.
Geek Me: Poor Oliver. Even with superspeed, he falls behind both Kara and Barry. Also, Barry thinks Kara flying him is so cool!
Writer Me: Now that our three heroes are in Gotham, Kara learns more from Barry about Oliver’s life as a playboy. We even get the reference to how Oliver cheated on his girlfriend by sleeping with her sister. Only Barry never mentions that he’s talking about Laurel and Sara Lance. I can only imagine what Kara would be thinking if she found out that’s who they were.
Geek Me: They totally need to bring that up in the next crossover!
Writer Me: Meanwhile, we see that Batwoman is aware of the presence of the Trinity and I can only imagine she’s suspicious.
So the Trinity is wandering Gotham City in the daytime (only in the guise of their secret identities) and they find out just how much things have fallen apart in Gotham. When criminals confront them in broad daylight, Oliver tries to defuse the situation (though with little success) so Barry takes it upon himself to do what he believes Oliver would do, and that’s go straight to the punching. And that works out about as well in Gotham as you would expect. Because, you see, everyone knows Oliver is the Green Arrow.
Geek Me: The corner of Nolan and Burton! I wonder if we’ll get a West and Ward reference next!
Writer Me: Back in Star City, we get the ramifications of Felicity not being brought into the loop about the body swap, but she just goes about her business — for the time being, at least. But we do learn that the red skies and lightning seem to be following Oliver and Barry.
And back to Gotham we go and the Trinity is in jail for the night.
Geek Me: We’ve seen Oliver and Barry in jail or prison before, but Kara? That’s just… wrong.
Writer Me: So we have Kara intervening in the latest Oliver-Barry debate. But this time, she’s right — neither of them had the right idea and she had one. It was good to bring this up, because Kara tends to play second fiddle when she’s around Barry and Oliver, and if this is going to be a real team-up, the other two will need to let her handle a situation from time to time.
Somebody has posted bail for our heroes, and while Barry wonders if it’s Bruce Wayne, Oliver reminds him that Bruce left Gotham City three years ago and nobody has seen him since. And it turns out, it’s Kate Kane, who is there at Wayne Enterprises. Her mindset is simple: Oliver Queen in Gotham City is attracting too much attention, so she wants them out, but lets them stick around until they find what they are looking for.
Geek Me: And the WiFi password is Alfred! I cannot get enough of these Easter eggs!
Writer Me: We’ve been poking fun at Oliver a lot throughout the crossover, but now Oliver gets to have a little fun, after he reveals he used his superspeed to steal a data file from Gotham PD. But as Oliver says, it was Flash who did it, so Barry takes exception and Kara can’t help but grin. Sure, there’s a lot of laughs to be had at Arrow’s expense, but it was about time to get a laugh at Flash’s expense.
Geek Me: Flash has stolen stuff before! He took Captain Singh’s Big Belly Burger during the “Flash Vs. Arrow” episode!
Writer Me: And that was Barry’s boss, too. So Barry can’t say he hasn’t been sneaky with his powers like that before.
But we’re back at ARGUS, where Caitlin sits down with Felicity to explain why Barry and Oliver didn’t loop Felicity in. It was good to bring up that Team Flash locked the heroes in the pipeline, though I think she should have brought up that Iris didn’t believe them. And you could figure that Iris was the one who suggested they should do that, because it might have given Felicity a little more perspective.
Felicity, of course, isn’t entirely convinced, but Caitlin reminds Felicity that Oliver does love her and to not give up on it. That works so well, becuase Caitlin lost the love of her life but still tries to be strong.
And then Felicity realizes that the red skies and lightning are somebody trying to breach through to Earth-1. We don’t find out right away who it is, though, because it’s back to Gotham City, where the Trinity has identified John Deegan and Kara goes off to locate him.
This sets up a conversation between Kara and Kate Kane. It’s a good way to work in the backstory about Kate and what happened with Bruce, plus Kara wonders if Bruce couldn’t keep his private life separate from the public eye — which ties right in with Kara’s debate about secret identities.
Geek Me: They are so going to have Supergirl and Batwoman team up down the road and it is going to rock!
Writer Me: Yes, you would expect that will be coming, especially if they can get the green light for the proposed Batwoman series. Speaking of which, I agree with what most people have said about Ruby Rose: Though she doesn’t have all the acting down pat, her on-screen presence makes this work. If they do get the series approved, I’m optimistic that Rose will improve over time.
Back in Star City, Felicity, Caitlin, Curtis, Diggle and Cisco are able to find out who is trying to breach through, and it’s Earth-90 Flash.
Geek Me: John Wesley Shipp sighting!
Writer Me: This, in a way, resembles The Flash in Crisis on Infinite Earths, in which he appears before Batman briefly to ask for help.
They hear Flash mention about getting the book to fix things. So they head to Gotham City to tell the others.
Geek Me: And our heroes have learned from Kate that John Deegan is at Arkham Asylum. And Kara gets to come up with the plan! Let’s break in, she says! And it works! And look at all the Batman villains locked up in Arkham! Even Marc Guggenheim is here!
Writer Me: This all leads to Oliver and Diggle confronting Deegan, who was apparently trying to get the powers of The Flash for himself but it didn’t work. He releases the Arkham inmates to buy himself time to escape.
Geek Me: And Oliver/Flash speeds off to get Barry/Arrow into his costume! That is so cool!
Writer Me: We drop in cameos from Psycho Pirate and Nora Fries — though I’m not sure the confrontation between Nora and Killer Frost works that well. But this all builds to Batwoman coming onto the scene, because it’s clear our Trinity doesn’t really have this situation under control.
Geek Me: We get a Batarang move and IT WAS AWESOME!
Writer Me: And it’s a good thing Batwoman has intervened, too, because Oliver still doesn’t have the hang of how to throw a lightning bolt and unleashes a hallucinogenic drug (has to be Scarecrow’s fear toxin) and now Barry/Arrow sees Malcolm Merlyn and Oliver/Flash sees Eobard Thawne — or more precisely, Thawne posing as Harrison Wells.
Geek Me: John Barrowman and Tom Cavanaugh weren’t even in the opening credits and here they are! What a surprise!
Writer Me: Unless you saw promotional images and teasers, which both showed them, though we saw Barrowman as a police officer, not as Malcolm Merlyn.
Anyway, even though Barry and Oliver have only swapped bodies, they apparently have access to each other’s memories — or perhaps the reality switch means it affected their past lives, too, so that’s why they’d see the other’s adversary? Either way, I get those who don’t buy the premise, but I understand why it was done, as we’ll learn later.
Geek Me: Here’s Batwoman! All she has to do is jump between them, take them both down and they snap out of it! Because Batwoman is… Batwoman!
Writer Me: Geek Me has to get a variation of a Young Justice line in there… and a line I’m sure has been used other times, too.
Anyway, Kara has been able to track down Deegan and get the book from him, so everyone can get out of Arkham Asylum and Gotham City.
Geek Me: Batwoman should have made Barry happy by just driving everyone out of town in the Batmobile!
Writer Me: Does she even have access to it? Also, remember she thinks Barry is Oliver Queen, so that would seem like an odd request from the Green Arrow.
But it is good to get some parting words between Kara and Batwoman and get the “World’s Finest” reference in there. Though if you remember, “World’s Finest” was the title of the Supergirl Season 1 episode in which she teamed up with Flash for the first time.
Geek Me: So the first-ever Supergirl-Batwoman would be “World’s Finest, Part Two”? Or maybe “World’s Finer than Finest”?
Writer Me: The latter doesn’t roll off the tongue that well. But there are other titles from Superman-Batman pairings that they could refer when the eventual Supergirl-Batwoman team-up takes place.
So we’re back at ARGUS, where Barry and Oliver have learned more about each other and what makes them tick. It’s good to see that Barry has a better understanding of what drives Oliver and why he does the things he does. And the same with Oliver recognizing that Barry has dealt with a lot of tragedy, too, and doesn’t have it that easy.
Barry is also wise to advise Oliver to talk to Felicity now. And when Oliver does, he says he’s channeling Barry, but it’s really the side of Oliver that he doesn’t show often. But it was the right thing for him to say, because it does reassure Felicity that, despite all that’s changed with them, he still loves her.
And the moment then gets interrupted by Earth-90 Flash. Not surprising that they’d at first think it’s Jay Garrick, then Barry would ask if it’s his father.
Geek Me: “Hello, John. You’re not wearing your ring.” YES! There is a John Diggle out there in the Green Lantern Corps!
Writer Me: Only one would assume Diggle’s doppleganger has the last name of Stewart.
But it’s Earth-90 Flash who informs everyone about Mar Novu, the man who calls himself The Monitor, and how he’s been testing worlds for a crisis he believes is coming. Now we start to see Monitor’s agenda take shape. Going back to what I discussed earlier about Monitor’s agenda, he’s aiding the villains, but for the apparent reason of testing the heroes for their preparedness. One could guess his motivations here are similar.
Speaking of Monitor, Cisco just spotted him in Central City, so off everyone goes to confornt him.
Geek Me: Cisco’s reaction to John Welsey Shipp Flash is like a five-second thing, but it still freaking works!
Aw man… John Wesley Shipp Flash didn’t last long. We want more JWS Flash!
Writer Me: Yeah, it’s disappointing that he didn’t get to stick around for long, but something tells me he’ll be back down the road.
And part of me does question why The Monitor doesn’t just send Supergirl back to Earth-38. I can only guess that he figures she should stick around because she’s been involved in this as much as the Earth-1 heroes have.
So the Book of Destiny vanishes and Monitor reappears before Deegan with it, telling him to think big this time around. Which leads to reality being re-written a LOT, with Oliver and Barry transformed into criminals known as the Trigger Twins, and Malcolm Merlyn, Joe Wilson and Ricardo Diaz transformed into police officers. And even in this reality, Diaz has a grudge against Oliver.
Oliver and Barry get away, but neither one has superspeed and…
Geek Me: Black Suit Superman! YES!
Writer Me: But as we get into the Supergirl episode, it turns out it’s John Deegan rewriting reality so he comes Superman himself, just in a black costume.
Geek Me: And Deegan does his own intro to the episode! It totally works, too!
Writer Me: It is a nice touch! And I have to say that Tyler Hochelin is having the time of his life with this evil version of Superman.
Geek Me: Dare I say Hochelin might be the best Superman since Christopher Reeve?
Writer Me: There’s a great argument for that! And Reeve got to play an evil version of Superman, too, in Superman III. Perhaps a comparison is in order, but that’s a topic for another day.
So Oliver and Barry figure the way to get out of this jam is for Oliver to loosen building supports and force Deegan Superman to act like a hero and save the people. It’s a clever way for Oliver and Barry to get out of that situation, because if Deegan wants to be a hero, he’s got to act like one, doesn’t he?
Geek Me: Poor Barry can’t bring himself to do bad things, even though that’s how he is in this reality. Meanwhile, Oliver has no problem with it. Maybe Lois is right… Oliver is a jerk!
Writer Me: Next, we find out that Deegan has turned STAR Labs into what’s essentially a personal shrine to himself.
Geek Me: Diggle’s been turned into one of Black Suit Superman’s servants. Poor Diggle can’t catch a break.
Writer Me: And we learn that Supergirl has been imprisoned at STAR Labs. She’s referred to as Subject One — that’s a reference to the Flashpoint comic line, in which Superman’s rocket crashed in Metropolis and he was held captive by the government from the time he was an infant and subjected to experiments. Granted, Supergirl isn’t being subject to that, but she isn’t in a good situation.
And Deegan explains that he only has knowledge of Superman and Supergirl based on what he observed on Earth One, confirming they have no doppelgangers here, at least not any who made it Earth. Then we find out the person who is responsible for keeping Kara confined is… Alex Danvers? Kara recognizes her and Deegan remarks that rewritten destiny has a way of playing jokes.
Geek Me: But now we know Alex Danvers exists on Earth One! I wonder what she was doing on this Earth before Deegan rewrote everything.
Writer Me: Wouldn’t surprise me if she became a doctor. If you’ll recall, Earth-38 Danvers mentioned to Kara that her original career goal was to become a doctor, before she opted to join the DEO to keep an eye on her sister.
Barry and Oliver, meanwhile, have to figure out what to do next, and Barry suggests they need to breach to Earth-38 to get the real Superman. Instead, Barry and Oliver make their way into an apartment building and encounter The Monitor. And they are apparently between universes or something like that. For those who are confused, look up The Monitor in the comics.
Anyway, Monitor admits he’s impressed with how resilient the two are and says there is, indeed, a major threat coming and the mutliverse needs heroes who are strong enough to face it. But he sends Oliver and Barry away, who now head off to find Cisco.
Cisco still has his powers, but now he’s a mob leader and Earth-One James Olson — Jimmy in this case — is his righthand man.
Geek Me: Hey, Gary made an appearance! Legends of Tomorrow cameos, represent!
Writer Me: And Gary is still Gary, regardless of the reality. Legends of Tomorrow fans know what I’m talking about.
I will admit that I’m surprised Barry doesn’t recognize James Olson — the two have met before. At any rate, Barry and Oliver’s attempts to sell Cisco on a conversation go nowhere, until Barry mentions Dante, then Oliver then mentions gettng rid of Superman.
Back at STAR Labs, Kara is trying to get through to Alex, who happens to be so immersed in her career, she doesn’t believe she has time for anything else.
And then it’s Earth-38, where Superman and Lois Lane are at the Fortress of Solitude, when Oliver, Barry and Mob Leader Cisco show up.
Geek Me: Ha ha, Superman thinks Cisco swapped bodies with Kara! Also, Cisco, don’t play with the Phantom Zone projector!
Writer Me: So Oliver and Barry convince Superman to come back to Earth One. And when we go back there, Kara breaks through to Earth-One Alex by relating a story Earth-38 Alex shared with her. I will say that, while I understand what the writers were trying to accomplish here, I don’t think it worked as well as the conversations Barry and Oliver had with the people they were closest to, because… well, this is Earth-One Alex. I know the logistics of getting Chyler Leigh to appear on more episodes of the crossover would have been difficult, but this exchange doesn’t work as well. Really, it’s saved by the chemistry Leigh and Benoist have.
But Earth-One Alex is convinced to let Kara go (it’s at least clear that Alex doesn’t care for Deegan Superman), only Deegan Superman shows up — then Oliver, Barry, Cisco and the real Superman crash the scene.
Geek Me: And now it’s a Superman vs. Superman showdown! This crossover rocks!
Writer Me: Tyler Hochelin makes it all believable.
Geek Me: And somebody thinks Earth-38 Superman is Bizarro!
Writer Me: The joke is cute, but somehow, it doesn’t work that well, because how would Deegan know anything about Bizarro if he doesn’t know everything about Superman?
Back at STAR Labs, Barry thinks Alex knows who he really is, but this Alex would only think of Barry as a Trigger Twin. But Kara stops her and they’re off to the Fortress of Solitude — or in this case, what happens to be the time vault — so they can retrieve the Book of Destiny.
Kara gets the book to Superman, who gets Kara, Oliver and Barry back into their hero selves, until Deegan Superman shows up and threatens to snap Barry’s neck. Oliver has a kryptonite arrow ready, but Barry convinces him not to give into the darkness, believing that’s how The Monitor is testing him. Oliver lowers his bow, then Deegan Superman steals the Book of Destiny and flies off.
Not sure why they gathered everybody in STAR Labs again, but Barry thinks they can slow down the Earth’s rotation if he and Kara race around the world in opposite directions. I get the nod to the Richard Donner Superman movie, but I also get that plan wouldn’t actually slow down time. Really, it seems to be worked in there for what Superman reveals — that Flash and Supergirl will die if they do this, and that’s a direct nod to Crisis on Infinite Earths. Barry and Kara race off, not worried about sacrificing themselves, but Oliver tells Superman to get the book and he’ll figure somethng out.
Geek One: At last, we get a Brainiac 5 and a Martian Manhunter appearance! And Lois with a giant hammer!
Writer Me: Elizabeth Tulloch tweeted that this referred to an object from All-Star Superman.
Brainiac 5 goes into battle with Amazo (who Deegan Superman brought back) and that makes sense, because Brainaic 5’s speciality is his intellect, which isn’t something Amazo can really duplicate. J’onn J’onzz doesn’t get to do much, though.
Instead, it’s Oliver who demands a meeting with The Monitor, something Monitor observes nobody has ever dared to do. Oliver’s complaint: Barry and Kara dying would take away the two heroes who inspire hope because they are the best of humanity, and it would be a mistake to lose them for the crisis Monitor says is coming. Monitor replies there must be a tradeoff and we don’t get to find out because…
…we get everything happening in slow motion, with Barry and Kara on the verge of dying and Lois Lane in danger with time slowing down and Superman unable to react…
…until Oliver shows up and fires a blue-tipped arrow that burns the Book of Destiny and takes down Deegan Superman, thus reality is turned back to how it should be. Barry and Kara are saved and Superman saves Lois.
Geek Me: “Told you you’d catch me.” Tulloch is so, so good as Lois!
And Brainiac 5 makes quick work of Amazo! He’s not just a 12th-level intellect, he’s a badass 12th-level intellect!
Writer Me: She seems to bring bits of what Margot Kidder, Erica Durrance and Dana Delaney brought to that role and came up with her own take. It definitely works and is a welcome addition to the Arrowverse.
And so, we are back at STAR Labs and it’s time for Team Supergirl to head back to Earth-38.
Geek Me: “So this is becoming kind of an annual thing?” YES!
Also, Oliver is smiling!
Writer Me: Back on Earth-38, Clark tells Kara that Alex will always have her back, even if Kara won’t be working for the DEO, and he feels comfortable leaving Earth for a while and Kara being its sole protector. And it turns out Lois is pregnant and, on this Earth, she needs to get to Argo City before the baby starts kicking. So this sets up Superman being written out for a few months and everyone can stop asking why he doesn’t come along to help out Supergirl every time there’s a major problem on Earth.
And I will step aside for a moment to say that everyone who wonders why Superman isn’t there for every major disaster needs to remember that he’s not supposed to be bailing out Supergirl every single time. They don’t have Superman show up for every major disaster in the Supergirl comics and, believe me, there have been plenty of them. I get that fans want to see more of Superman, but can we please let Kara show she can stand on her own two feet and she doesn’t need Clark looking over her shoulder.
Geek Me: I know Clark would be the first person to say that!
Writer Me: And I agree!
But because we have Clark and Lois, we need to get the marriage proposal at the Fortress of Solitude. And, thus, that storyline is complete.
Geek Me: Better make Kara the maid of honor! And James Olson for best man!
Writer Me: And we’ve got business to finish up on Earth One, as Barry suspects that Oliver made a deal with The Monitor and Oliver simply says that destiny may have changed. He doesn’t want a hug, but he will propose a toast to appreciate everything you have for as long as you have it.
And that seems ominous in a way, because we get a call from Batwoman, who says John Deegan has found himself a friend. That brings us to a second Psycho Pirate cameo and then we get this…
Geek Me: THEY’RE GONNA DO IT! THEY’RE TOTALLY GONNA DO IT!
Writer Me: And for those who say it’s coming years earlier than that headline in the time vault at STAR Labs, remember that DC has had multiple Crises involving just about every hero, so who knows. This may not be the Crisis in which Barry disappears, it could be later.
Geek Me: But what does it mean for Oliver? Does it have something to do with the deal with The Monitor?
Writer Me: Could very well be. Now, let’s visit what many people seem to be guessing, that it means Oliver Queen will sacrifice himself in the next crossover.
Arrow has been on the air for more seasons than the creative team expected. If you’ll recall, they had planned on a five-season arc, but things took off more than anyone could have imagined. But Arrow had an uneven effort in its sixth season and, while its seventh season has been better, it’s getting harder to find more story arcs for Oliver and company. So it may make sense to write Oliver Queen out and either let Batwoman replace Arrow or have somebody else take the lead in Arrow — maybe that’s the plan for Emiko Queen.
Geek Me: But if Batwoman replaces Arrow, what do we call this? The Flashverse? The Superverse?
Writer Me: We could have that debate, but let’s set that aside and consider what it means if it’s Oliver’s destiny is to die so that the Crisis can be averted.
I would hope the creative team explores the relationship between Oliver and Kara more. I get why they spend a lot of time with Oliver and Barry, but with Kara forming the current Trinity, I think Kara needs to know more about Oliver beyond him trying to be the “original vigilante.” Barry has learned plenty about Oliver to know why he acts the way he does, but Kara doesn’t know enough about that. I think there’s a lot of material that can be examined there.
At the same time, Oliver doesn’t know much about Kara’s backstory — like Barry, Kara hasn’t had a life in which everything was, as Oliver puts it, “sunshine and rainbows.” She’s experienced tragedy and difficult choices, too. Once again, there’s plenty of material to explore.
Geek Me: So what does it mean for Barry? He has to play second fiddle? Come on!
Writer Me: Of course not! Because you know the Legends of Tomorrow will be involved in the next crossover. They have to be because Crisis on Infinite Earths is so significant. And we haven’t seen a lot of interaction between Barry and Sara Lance, who are two heroes with a mix of light and darkness… though Sara arguably leans more toward Oliver on that scale and Barry leans more toward Kara. But, again, there’s plenty of material to examine there. As an aside, they both have plenty of history with Oliver, though I wouldn’t go deeply into that. Just let their personalities bounce off one another and what they’ve learned from their experiences.
Geek Me: Like talking about time travel! Also, Barry should totally carry Sara at superspeed!
Writer Me: I’m betting both will happen.
There’s also the question of whether or not they’ll add Black Lightning into the mix. I know Sami Akil has said the show’s creative team hasn’t ruled out crossing over with Arrowverse shows at some point (as of now, it’s not part of the Arrowverse). It would be nice to see it, but keep three things in mind.
One, it’s going to be difficult to work in Black Lightning crossing over to an Arrowverse show, or an Arrowverse character crossing over to Black Lightning, before next year’s main crossover. I’m not sure it having Black Lightning first meeting other Arrowverse characters on the main crossover is the best way to work it.
Two, Black Lightning doesn’t follow the “villain of the week” trope and works more like a televised novel, with plot lines that aren’t the main arc being resolved over multiple weeks, rather than in a single episode. It’s different from the other shows, which tend to resolve minor plots within an episode. So you have to figure out how to work the crossover without disrupting the way Black Lightning’s writers tell their stories.
Third, you don’t want Jefferson Pierce and everyone else lost in the shuffle, especialy when there’s been some good character development on the show. That goes back to my first point — if Black Lightning’s first time crossing over is the main crossover, you risk that the show’s characters get pushed to the side.
In other words, if you bring Black Lightning and company into the fold, you need to do a proper job of working them in. Don’t have them show up just to show up.
Geek Me: My heart tells me that I want to see Black Lightning and his family team up with all these other heroes, but… yeah, Writer Me has a point.
Writer Me: I don’t want to sound like that Black Lightning and company shouldn’t show up at all. But if you’re going to do it, you don’t want them to be there for the sake of them teaming up with everyone. I know some people have had issues with how Supergirl gets worked in at times, so you don’t want the same thing happening to Black Lightning.
Geek Me: Still, fall 2019 can’t get here fast enough!
Writer Me: On this, I agree with Geek Me. They have a tall task before them, but they’ve done some great things with most of these crossovers, so I trust they’ll find a way to pull it off.
I hope you enjoyed this debate between two sides of me. Feel free to add your own comments or share this if you were entertained.