Arrow: Elseworlds, Part 2
December 10, 2018 6:35 PM - Season 7, Episode 9 - Subscribe

With Oliver and Barry still stuck in each other's bodies, the two get a lead on John Deegan and head to Gotham City with Supergirl to figure out why their reality has changed. While there, they meet the mysterious Kate Kane, who provides them with information that leads the group to Arkham Asylum.
posted by oh yeah! (26 comments total)
I was looking forward to watching this primarily because of the introduction of Batwoman, but this episode excelled on so many levels.
- Barry and Oliver fighting each other (a callback to the first Arrow/Flash crossover)
- Arkham Asylum (with bonus Guggenheim as cell occupant?!)
- References to Bruce Wayne and Batman
- Supergirl and Batwoman having a major bonding moment
- 1990s Flash/Barry Allen aka John Wesley Shipp
posted by Roger Pittman at 6:49 PM on December 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Arrow has always been a bleaker, darker, grittier show than say, The Flash or Supergirl, as I understand it, so I was expecting this installment of the crossover to be darker. Especially with the visit to Gotham.

I really loved the introduction of Batwoman and Kara and Kate getting along, with Kara knowing she's Batwoman and, perhaps, in the shadow of her more famous cousin -- just like her. Some nice symmetry there.

Arkham was great -- saw the vials labelled CRANE and went "ohhhhh damn, that's some nasty Scarecrow stuff!"

Loved Kara referencing "Dr. Danvers" from the hospital. I felt that's clearly a shoutout to Alex, who's a medical doctor.

The names on the cells were great, I caught the Guggenheim easter egg, too!

I enjoyed that Caitlin and Cisco yelled at the Arrow guys for NOT reading Felicity in.

90s Flash was amaaaaazing.

Can't wait to see how reality has been rewritten again.

That said, I have some Questions about Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent and the various worlds.

In the second season of Supergirl, when James has started doing his Guardian thing, Kara is at the bar with the gang and is like "my cousin worked with a vigilante once". Clearly, this was a reference to Batman.

Tonight, Kara says flat-out that Clark and Bruce are friends. Frenemies.

If Bruce vanished from Earth One's Gotham City three years ago, does this mean he's on Earth Thirty-Eight? Or did Clark team up with him beforehand? And, if so, did Clark GO to Earth One? Where did they meet? HOW did they meet? When Kara and Barry meet in 1x17, he's explaining the multiverse to them. So wouldn't James (a good friend of Clark's) have known about the multiverse if Clark had previously been to another Earth?

I'm thinking too hard about it, I know.

Tonight was a little darker, but I enjoyed it. Really looking forward to the finale, although I wish we weren't almost done with crossover season. It's been great. :)
posted by juliebug at 8:45 PM on December 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

Yeah, Kara's references to her cousin knowing Kate's cousin like they're the same Bruce confused me too. Or do both worlds just happen to have an extremely similar Bruce Wayne/Batman?
posted by Pryde at 8:49 PM on December 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

After the first part, I was so excited for this second installment, but I feel so let down. There was so much passing of the idiot ball, and so many things that didn't make sense.

Dumb decision number one had to be not telling Felicity about the switch. All of the excuses didn't hold any water. They had a bad reaction when they told team Flash. Well, they already told Diggle and Curtis and nobody was tossed in jail, so all that was left was telling Felicity. Felicity and Oliver were having marital problems. Sure, but Felicity was searching for a solution to the red skies, and the odds were good the switch was somehow related to them. She should have had that information either to rule out possibilities or to incorporate the facts. Plus, Cisco pretty much lied to her. Iris had no idea about the switch. She didn't sense anything. She even sat down at the breakfast table with Oliver. It wasn't until Barry gave her the lightning rod speech that she really believed them. Iris had a lot more time with the Freaky Friday duo than Felicity did, there was really no comparison to make between how she reacted and how Felicity would have reacted, especially since the rest of Team Flash and Team Arrow believed what happened to Barry and Oliver and were there to support Felicity.

Speaking of Oliver and Felicity, Oliver seemed pretty careful about trying to avoid as much contact with Iris as possible, and Barry didn't do much more than hug Iris, even after they had their heart-to-heart, but Flash Oliver in for the full lip lock with Felicity. I'm not sure how Barry or Felicity are supposed to feel about that.

Outside of the excuse of having a crossover, it's hard to see what Kara was doing here. When Barry and Oliver were arguing about how they were going to break into Arkham, she suggested some old fashioned snooping. Why couldn't she just execute the original plan of superspeeding in and doing a covert search. Sure, she's not as fast as Barry, but she's plenty fast enough. There really wasn't any need (except for plot reasons to put everybody at the scene of the latest Arkham breakout) for Caitlin and Kara to pull the fake patient ruse or for John and Oliver to go in under the pretext of some official type of investigation.

I'm still not sure why Nora Fries(?) (if that's who she was supposed to be, why was she in Arkham in the first place) was able to knock out Killer Frost with that cold blast. Surely Killer Frost is stronger than that and should have been able to absorb the shot without even breaking a sweat. I guess it was just an excuse to finally give Supergirl something to do, but that seemed kind of weak.

I'm also not sure why the Monitor would have given the book back to Deegan if he failed to demonstrate suitable vision or imagination in the first place. Heck they were in Gotham with Arkham inmates running all over the place. I can think of a long list of them that would have been able to do more with the book than Deegan.

I don't know how the Psycho Pirate was able to so easily lay his hands on his mask. Wouldn't the police have impounded that in the GCPD lockup? Or at the very least, if the psychologist and psychiatrists decided it needed to be on-hand to help with the patient's recovery, wouldn't it be under lock and key somewhere deep in the bowels of the asylum?

I'm also not sure how much sense it made to have Oliver face Thawne and Barry face Merlyn. If Barry and Oliver retained their memories and their personalities and are still themselves, even in this altered reality, then Crane's fear gas should have caused them to see the people they truly fear, so for Barry that should have been Thawne and for Oliver it should have been Merlyn (assuming he actually fears him and they're not more frenemies at this point). Again for plot reasons it makes sense to have them face off against each other's villains, but the internal logic behind the decision is on shaky ground even if Barry accepts he's Green Arrow and Oliver accepts he's the Flash. The taunting about their dead parents was just too personal.

It's not that the fan in me didn't appreciate some of the lighter stuff--Oliver saying Batman is just a myth and believing that he's the original vigilante, John Wesley Shipp's Flash alluding to Diggle being Green Lantern Jon Stewart, the fact that Barry was put out when everybody jumped at John Wesley Shipp's orders, the Shakespeare bust from the 1966 Batman TV show, Alfred being the (very bad) WiFi password, Kara laughing at Oliver's very promiscuous past, Laurel leaving Oliver and company to spend the night in jail, etc.--I did. It's just that this time it didn't feel like the plot and the story were working to help the viewers suspend their doubts or concerns and carry them along for the ride, unlike the first episode that did a much better job of balancing the story with the fanservice elements.

I'm sure this means absolutely nothing, but in the first part we got two characters, Kara and Lois wearing neckerchiefs. At the very end of this episode we got two characters, Barry and Oliver wearing (matching) neckerchiefs. I have to wonder why this has suddenly become the hot fashion trend in the Arrowverse.

I'm not sure if I have any strong feelings about Batwoman one way or the other. Kate seemed like she was shoehorned into this just for the sake of introducing her, and she wasn't really an integral part of the plot. I know she was able to bond with Kara (although how she figured out who Kara is, especially since Kara doesn't seem to have an Earth-1 counterpart, I have no clue) but I'm not really left with a burning need to see her in her own show. (Of course, if it does come to air, I'm pretty much guaranteed to watch it and give it a chance, just like the rest of the Arrowverse).

Let's hope they can pick things up in the final part, although I fear that may be too big of an ask, given they have to conclude the story and prevent the Crisis.
posted by sardonyx at 8:52 PM on December 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

I assumed that there was a Batman/Bruce Wayne on Earth-38, so the idea of a Kate Kane Batwoman didn't really surprise Kara (and probably caused all sorts of amusement when Oliver was griping about Batman not being real.) At least that's the way I'm trying to reconcile the "Cousin Clark is buddies with an unnamed dark Gotham vigilante" comments from previous Supergirl episodes. As mentioned above, however, I have no idea why Kate seems familiar with Kara's alter ego, unless she's been jumping between universes herself, which really feels like too much of a stretch for the character.
posted by sardonyx at 9:01 PM on December 10, 2018

I mean, Kara's disguise is a pair of glasses.

So. ;)

But seriously, and I'd need to rewatch to confirm, I feel like her bringing up the cousin thing is what clued her in, because she'd talked to Kara about Bruce being her cousin, no?
posted by juliebug at 9:06 PM on December 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I have to say seeing Diaz in this episode was such a disappointment. Here, I thought we'd be getting a break from that D-list villain. Yeah, I'm sure he was around during filming and was an easy get, but couldn't they have just left him out?
posted by sardonyx at 9:10 PM on December 10, 2018

I'm sure that's it, juliebug. I think it probably made sense to me when I was watching it, but the minute I started ranting about what bugged me, I got carried away with my criticism and failed to properly think about or reflect upon what I saw. The perils of quick keyboard critiques, I guess. ;-D
posted by sardonyx at 9:13 PM on December 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm also not sure how much sense it made to have Oliver face Thawne and Barry face Merlyn.

Good point, and also it would have made a lot more sense for Barry/Green Arrow's hallucination to be a speedster, and vice versa for Oliver/Flash to be fighting someone with ninja abilities since they were fighting each other.
posted by Pryde at 9:18 PM on December 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, I know what I forgot to add in my first comment. I was disappointed we didn't get to hear Amell do the opening for the Flash, especially since we got to have Gustin give the Arrow opening. Yes, I know it would have been a spoiler to the episode, but I think pretty much everybody watching these shows knew this was coming up and they could have risked it.
posted by sardonyx at 9:22 PM on December 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm going to have to rewatch this tonight before Part 3 to get the whole picture because my CW affiliate had their commercials mistimed and kept overwriting the show with local commercials meant to be inserted into the national feed. When the actual time slot for those commercials came around, there was just a minute or two of dead air. So I missed some key exposition about what happened to Bruce Wayne and whatever Cisco and the others were doing on the roof with that machine they built among other things.

What I did see and could piece together was electric though! Loved the Scarecrow fear toxin making an appearance. For all of the trappings of Gotham City, I felt like we were teased more than we saw stuff of note. Why was Nora Fries behaving so out of character from her traditional role? Was that explained while I was watching a commercial? I also liked that when the doors to the Arkham cells opened, all kinds of random crazy mooks right out of the Arkham Asylum video game came pouring out. One of the promos for this episode overlayed a distinct Joker laugh over a clip from this sequence that was absent in the episode itself.
posted by Servo5678 at 4:58 AM on December 11, 2018

Loved the "corner of Burton and Nolan" shout out.

Nora Fries was played by Stephen Amell's wife, Cassandra Jean Amell.
posted by plastic_animals at 6:42 AM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just realized that adding Nora Fries ups our total Noras count again. Now we have:
  • Nora Allen
  • Nora West-Allen
  • Nora Darhk
  • Nora Fries
"Nora" isn't, like, a title or rank, right? Like Darth Vader? Is there a Nora Vader? At this rate, there will be.
posted by Servo5678 at 9:25 AM on December 11, 2018 [7 favorites]

ok I'm just now watching but I had to skip all the comments to make this hilarious insight: with the captions on, when Oliver is off screen and he's telling Barry to stand down, the caption was "Oliver: Oliver, stand down", and I cracked up
posted by numaner at 3:27 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Well that was a fun episode of Arrow for once! And I do really like that in these crossovers the episode's main show still gets to progress its story line. The moment with real-Oliver and Felicity was nice, they're one of my favorite things about this show.
posted by numaner at 4:28 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Now that I guess we're probably not going to be seeing Oliver as The Flash anymore in Part 3, I gotta say -- I loved how goofy Amell looked in the Flash costume. Like, something about the difference in his and Gustin's body type, not being clean-shaven, just gave his whole look a wonderfully cartoonish wrongness.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:36 PM on December 11, 2018 [5 favorites]

yes! they really designed it for Grant Gustin's body type. it looked so silly on Amell. but i think being bright red it's harder to pull off. the darkness of the Arrow suit looked fine on Gustin too.
posted by numaner at 4:39 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think some of the criticisms of the episode is just beanplating. Oliver lies all the time, and team Flash did take team Arrow to task for not cluing in Felicity, and she herself said that doing so as a reaction to team Flash throwing them in the pipeline jail is just another excuse. And they quickly resolved it, just as Barry advised, instead of dragging it out. That's a pretty good pace for an Arrow drama.

The Arkham stuff was kind of a mess, but really anytime they team up things get messy, especially now with Oliver not able to hand the Flash's power. I think it's plausible that while Supergirl could speed around, she's not as great at speed surveillance as Barry, especially with phasing power, and even though they did fail at it, they were trying not to tip off Deegan.

Killer Frost can resist ice blasts, but I think they still knock her back, like her father's did when they fought. She probably also didn't know what that gun could do. And Nora Fries, from what I remember from the cartoons, was basically moved to Arkham to be monitored after Mr. Freeze was captured. I'm fine with them using that plot.

The only part I'm iffy about was who they faced during their hallucinations, but I'm guessing they're using the in-universe excuse that while Oliver's and Barry's psyches are intact, this universe still operates with the basis that they are switched, body and mind, with their appropriate life histories. It's like even their essences are switched, but their consciousness didn't. It's super hand-wavy but I can sorta buy it. But most of the reasons I watch the show is for great character moments anyway rather than any real logic, so I liked that it led to that talk between Barry and Oliver later.

I think my biggest gripe was what Barry touched on, was that Oliver is walking around Argus with the mask off in the Flash suit. Even if people don't know they're switched they're still seeing The Flash with Barry Allen's face on. But since the world is getting reset all over again it's a moot point.

I'm also wondering how they're going to pack all this in just with one episode of Supergirl to go. Are we going to see the Dark Monitor? Are they secretly stretching this crossover out (probably not)? I guess we'll see!
posted by numaner at 4:57 PM on December 11, 2018

Crap, I have to watch Supergirl?
posted by runcibleshaw at 6:11 PM on December 11, 2018

Crap, I have to watch Supergirl?

Supergirl has been pretty great this season! And despite a couple of nitpicks, I really enjoyed all three parts of this crossover.
posted by Pryde at 6:53 PM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Numaner, are you posting the part 3 thread tonight, or should I?
posted by oh yeah! at 7:03 PM on December 11, 2018

"An immortal Egyptian, aliens, parallel Earth Nazis, I have no idea why I'm even surprised at this point."

"Things are fraught between us. Which is...sad." (Oliver rolls his eyes really hard.) I guess that explains why Barry didn't wake up with Felicity.

Oliver doesn't believe in Batman?!?

Barry outs Oliver cheating LOL.

"Ok, that was a disturbingly coincidental entrance."

"It's not every day that you find our your ex is your husband and vice versa."

"You stole data from the police?" "The Flash did it." "It's not funny." "I'm still not laughing."

"She gets cold and freezes stuff" is common at Arkham Asylum.

"Hey, would hitching a ride in the Batmobile be out of the question?"

"Everybody likes you...." Awww.

I am convinced that Kara is bisexual. First she has whopping chemistry with Lena Luthor and now she's got some with Batwoman and is checking all her tattoos. Damn, girl. I wonder if DC would let this Kara be officially bi, though.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:04 PM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

Numaner, are you posting the part 3 thread tonight, or should I?

oops, just saw this, but you already did! I just now saw Supergirl ^_^;
posted by numaner at 2:40 PM on December 12, 2018

"It's not every day that you find our your ex is your husband and vice versa."

I actually forgot for a sec that Felicity and Barry had a thing!
posted by numaner at 2:43 PM on December 12, 2018

although how she figured out who Kara is, especially since Kara doesn't seem to have an Earth-1 counterpart, I have no clue

She was monitoring the trinity's "private" discussion on the roof from her computer, during which Kara mentioned that the only way Kate could stop her was if she had kryptonite.
posted by solotoro at 1:32 PM on June 23, 2019

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