The big CW Elseworlds crossover continues over on Arrow. The episodes debuts the new voiceover for the series, but it’s being done by Barry because of the body swap, which is a really nice little detail that they probably spent more than they needed to on. The actual episode starts with Diggle leading an ARGUS team against Deathstroke’s son, Joseph Wilson (Jericho in the comics). Curtis is nearby monitoring with high tech equipment and worrying about the red skies and weird lightning. Wilson pretty much takes them apart, but the day is saved when Supergirl, Flash, and Green Arrow turn up. Kara teases Diggle for not being happy to see them, and he counters that all three of them turning up at once means there’s a big problem, which is true enough.
Diggle and Curtis try and work out the complications of Barry and Oliver’s body swap, and Barry and Curtis continue the running joke about Freaky Friday versus Quantum Leap, which helps convince Curtis that Barry really isn’t Oliver. Felicity shows up and they end up not telling her what’s going on. Barry and Oliver continue to bicker, about things ranging from Batman being real and Oliver wandering around ARGUS unmasked, risking Barry’s secret ID.
Arriving in Gotham, Barry is clearly enjoying flying with Supergirl, while Oliver is still having issues with Barry’s speed. The others wonder how to find two people in a city of millions, but Oliver has a lead. He has a former relationship with Vesper Fairchild, a radio host in Gotham (and Batman supporting character in the comics). Kara comments on Oliver getting around back in the day, and Barry brings up the Sara/Laurel mess from around the start of the Arrow series. Apparently they’re on the roof of the Gotham PD, as they find the Bat Signal up here, which Oliver still refuses to take as proof that Batman is real. On the nearby roof of Wayne Enterprises, Batwoman watches the trio.
Now in civilian clothes (where did those and Kara’s glasses come from?), the three look for Vesper’s radio station. They see rich folks in an armored car, and then get hassled by a gang. Oliver tries to talk them down, Barry ends up attacking, while Kara does nothing aside from catching a bullet (literally). The GCPD roll up and arrest everyone, freaking out and calling for SWAT when they recognize Barry/Oliver. Felicity and Curtis work on their tracing project, joined by Caitlin and Cisco, who let the body swap slip since they didn’t know it was a secret. Felicity isn’t pleased.
Oliver is really polite to the guards, and finds out no help is coming from his phone call to Laurel back in Star City. Kara argues with the others over how they should have handled things back in the alley. They three of them being in the same cell is just another example of the Arrow writers not knowing a lot about how jails, prisons, and courts work. They get bailed out and halfway abducted by the man representing their savior, who turns out to be Kate Kane. Just before they meet her, they comment on Bruce Wayne having left Gotham years ago, and Batman dropping out of sight around the same time.
There’s a lot of babbling among the support characters, ranging from Felicity’s reactions to the swap news to more of the Freaky Friday/Quantum Leap joke to ideas about what to do with the red skies and weird lightning. Kate Kane doesn’t recognize the man in the sketch Oliver did of Cisco’s vision, and they compare notes on facial recognition ideas. Barry learns Oliver speed-stole some data from the GCPD and isn’t happy about it. Kara probes a bit at Batman’s biggest secret, and Kate talks about how bad Gotham got in the wake of the Dark Knight’s disappearance. In a nice nod to a great character from this city, Kate tells them the wireless password is Alfred. I wonder where he is in all this?
Caitlin goes to talk to Felicity, pointing out that Team Flash has a lot more experience with different or altered realities than Felicity does. Felicity goes into full fledged Arrow-drama mode about her relationship with Oliver, even after Caitlin shares Team Flash’s initial reaction to the two heroes’ claims. Oliver uses his pre-Felicity computer skills to finally get some information on Dr. John Deegan. No one is happy with what they learn about him, but they can’t get much information for the last five years on him. Kara talks about changing and doing an x-ray flyby of Gotham, and the others say Kate likely wouldn’t be happy about that. Kara doesn’t seem to care, but doesn’t go, instead having a talk with Kate. This largely seems to be set up for Batwoman’s forthcoming show, with the current state of affairs in Gotham and the reveal for those who didn’t know that Bruce Wayne and Kate Kane are cousins. After Kara leaves, Kate goes down to the chamber beneath the building to suit up as Batwoman.
Team Tech tries their gadget, and get a sort-of breech. Of course, Cisco could probably help with that using his powers, but for never-stated reasons, he’s back in ARGUS’ computer room instead of with the others. What they eventually get is the 90’s Flash, who Caitlin thinks is Jay Garrick, warning them about getting the book and fixing all this. The heroes are about to invade Arkham, where they’ve traced John Deegan to, when Cisco breeches over with Caitlin and Diggle to bring them the other Flash’s message.
Barry, of all people, expresses doubts, maybe letting the Oliver persona seep into his brain more as time passes. They bluff their way in, signing in Killer Frost as a patient in Arkham. The jaded nurse just says “We have a couple like that in here.” All hell breaks loose when Diggle and Oliver, who I guess forgets he has speed, confront Deegan, but let the scientist slip away and trigger the Big Red Button, which in this case opens all the cells. Among the names shown on the way in were Cobblepot (Penguin), Isely (Poison Ivy), Karlo (the first Clayface), Nygma (the Riddler) and Guggenheim (a DC staff writer). None of those big names show up during the ensuing melee, although Psycho Pirate makes a brief appearance. Psycho Pirate was a minor villain with emotion manipulating powers until the Crisis on Infinite Earths, when he became a major tool of the evil Anti-Monitor, and after was one of the few beings who remembered what happened during the Crisis.
The alarms sound and all the cells open, leading to a lot of fighting. Diggle actually gets a nice action sequence here, showing he’s quite skilled on his own. One of the most amusing little bits in the fight is Killer Frost versus Nora Fries, wife of Batman foe Mr. Freeze, played by Cassandra Amell, wife of Green Arrow/Oliver Queen portrayer Stephen Amell. The scene doesn’t make a lot of sense, why Killer Frost was affected by a cold weapon at all, but it was a nice nod. Psycho Pirate escapes after Barry gets hit from behind and Cisco manages to get hit by a van. Batwoman shows up to help out, and Deegan somehow gets away from Supergirl, although she gets the book back.
Oliver and Barry end up fighting each other when they get accidentally dosed by Scarecrow’s fear toxin after Oliver screws up with Barry’s speed lightning again. They weirdly see the other person’s villains during the fight, and even more weirdly get snapped out of it when Batwoman knocks them both around. You’d think, since Barry can’t get drunk, his powers would have helped Oliver recover the same way. The heroes link up, Batwoman urges them to get of town, Barry makes a fan boy request, and Supergirl and Batwoman get a friendly scene and a reference to the long-running Super/Bat team up, World’s Finest.
Back at ARGUS, Felicity rallies the geek squad to try and figure out how to open the big book. Oliver and Barry compare notes on their experiences and get a greater understanding of each other. At Barry’s urging, Oliver goes to talk to Felicity and try and smooth things over. A breech opens and the 90’s Flash comes in. After a passing reference to John apparently being a Green Lantern on other worlds, 90’s Flash fills the heroes in on what’s going on with the Monitor supposedly preparing worlds for a coming great disaster.
Cisco tells everyone the Monitor has turned up on the streets, and Supergirl, Green Arrow, and two Flashes go to confront him. The Monitor is impressed with 90’s Flash making it this far, and then flicks a finger and sends him somewhere else, making that a disappointingly short cameo. Supergirl rushes him but also gets sent back, this time to next to her friends. The Monitor steals the book away from Felicity’s squad and returns it to Deegan, who uses it once more. Barry and Oliver find themselves with reality reset one again, now with them as the modern villain equivalents of the Trigger Twins, minor DC characters. They have a brief confrontation with a familiar face, get away, and get confronted by a dark version of a hero we saw earlier in this story. It doesn’t look good for Barry and Oliver as the episode ends
What I liked: I always enjoy seeing these big stories with the characters interacting. I love that the original tv Flash was included at all. The hint that Diggle is a GL somewhere else makes me wonder if there’s a “Stewart” name somewhere in his family tree. The Arkham scene was great, and I liked the Psycho Pirate cameo. Ruby Rose was a great Kate Kane/Batwoman. Mrs. Amell as Nora Fries was an amusing inclusion. Diggle versus the inmates let us see what Diggle can do, which was great. All the passing references to the Gotham villains, and the Alfred mention, were nicely done.
What I didn’t: I get it, you have to make time judgements in a big story. Even so, I wish the 90’s Flash has gotten more to do than just be a talking head/info dump. Not only did the Legends sit out this year’s crossover, but so far at least, so have Rene, Dinah, and Laurel. I’m not clear why Killer Frost was bothered at all by Freeze’s cold gun. Or why Nora was in Arkham at all. I don’t get what happened with Kara’s “I’m going to go do a flyby… or just talk to Kate instead” bit.
Despite my few quibbles, I really enjoyed this. I do love these crossovers. I’ll give this a high 3.5 out of 5.