This Week In DC TV: The “Elseworlds” Crossover Event

It’s that time of the year again: the Arrowverse crossover.  Each year it gets bigger and bigger!  The first crossover, “Flash vs. Arrow” event pitted Barry and Oliver facing off against each other.  The next crossover event “Heroes Join Forces” introducing us to Vandal Savage (remember him?) and helped set up the Legends of Tomorrow as well.  The following crossover, “Invasion!” had the key players of The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, and even Supergirl joining to face off against an alien invasion of the Dominators (real deep cut for DC fans).  Last year’s crossover the “Crisis on Earth-X” in which there was an earth where the Nazis won World War II, and heroes from the Arrowverse faced off against their Nazi Earth-X counterparts.

Each year, the crossover events were getting bigger and bigger.  So how would this year’s “Elseworlds” stack up?

It was very interesting taking the title “Elseworlds” for the crossover event.  Comic fans know that Elseworlds was a publication imprint for stories that exist outside of the DC canon.  It kinda functioned as a “What If” comic like “Batman: In Darkest Knight,” where Batman became Green Lantern, or “Daredevil/Batman: Eye for an Eye,” where Batman and his Marvel counterpart Daredevil and he team up to take on their different nemesis Two-Face and Mr. Hyde.  So perhaps this crossover even was going to be just a non-canon adventure that has nothing to do the current events going on in the Arrowverse?

Nope, Elseworlds just sounds like a cool name!

The crossover begins on The Flash on Earth-90 (the reality of the original The Flash TV show from the 1990s) with the OG Flash John Wesley Shipp (who regular guest stars on The Flash every season) playing his original role Barry Allen (instead of at Earth-1’s Henry Allen or Earth-3’s Jay Garrick) in the aftermath of some devastating battle.  As Earth-90s Flash comes to, he sees a mysterious figure tells him that he failed and then pulls out a giant book that starts glowing.  Ear-90 Flash then speeds away.  Later on, psychiatrist John Deegan (weird as always: Jeremy Davies) is giving a lecture on experimenting on patients to a group of reluctant peers.  The figure then comes and gives Dr. Deegan the book, which glows as he’s opening it.

The entire crossover consists of the concept of “something’s wrong with reality.”  And it quickly shows that by having Barry Allen and Oliver Queen have seemingly swapped identities and everyone they know thinks they are the opposite.  Oliver wakes up in bed with Iris with her thinking that he’s Barry Allen.  The same goes for Barry as he’s sparing with Diggle and then realizing that he’s being called Oliver and now has the fighting skill of the Green Arrow.  Realizing something is wrong (and they don’t want the other to end up sleeping with their wives), the two head to STAR Labs to see if they can get to the bottom of what’s going on.  The problem is, everyone thinks they are crazy and quickly knock them out.  Soon enough, they realize that there might be some truth and Iris lets them leave.  Barry thinks that this might be a multiverse problem.  To put that theory to the test, he and Oliver breach to Earth-38 to visit Kara.

When they arrive at Earth-38, they land in Smallville where Kara is spending time with her cousin Clark and Lois Lane when Barry and Oliver arrive.  Lucky for them, Kara recognizes them as who they really are, but they still have each other’s abilities.  While they have some downtime, they help train each other based on experience.  Barry finally gets his revenge on Oliver and shoots him in the back, a great callback to the first Crossover.

While everything seems to be fine on Earth-38, an android with the ability to copy metahuman powers on Earth-1 has escaped.  Cisco and Caitlin try and stop it with no success as it quickly copies their powers and defeats them.  Barry and Oliver are called back to Earth-1 to deal with the android Cisco named AMAZO (for Anti-Metahuman Adaptive Zootomic Organism).  Because it has the ability to replicate powers, this is going to need to be a team effort.  Oliver uses his new Speed Force powers in conjunction with Clark and Kara’s Kryptonian powers to subdue the android in a clever way.  This sets up for Barry to pull out his arrow and utter Oliver’s famous line “You Have Failed This City,” meaning that Barry/Oliver are starting to bleed into each other, even their personalities.  Needing to figure out what’s really going on, Cisco had Barry and Oliver vibe where they saw a vision of Deegan and the mysterious person, and they happen to be in Gotham City…

On Arrow, Barry, Oliver and Kara head to Gotham City (that’s a first of the Arrowverse).  The red lightning that was happening in Central City previously has followed them to Gotham.  Turns out the red lightning was Earth-90 Barry trying to breach through and warn them of everything.  While we are used to how Gotham City is on the show Gotham, the Arrowverse’s version is just a little different (still corrupt, just brighter).  Oliver doesn’t believe in Batman and considers him an urban legend.  It’s a little tongue-in-cheek that he is the only urban vigilante there is.  They quickly find out that Gotham City is a little rough on the edges as a group of people start a fight with them, only for all of them to quickly get arrested by the police.  They are bailed out by a mysterious benefactor, who then sends for a limo to pick them up.  The person is revealed to be Kate Kane (played by Ruby Rose), who DC fans know as Batwoman.  She knows Oliver Queen’s reputation as the Green Arrow and tells them to hurry up with their business in Gotham City as the city has enough problems and doesn’t need the Green Arrow making things worse.

They find out that Deegan is a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum.  Off they head to the notorious prison to see if they can find him and retrieve the book from Deegan.  At Arkham, we are treated to a smorgasbord of Batman Easter Eggs.  Deegan escapes and lets the prisoners loose.  We get to see Nora Fries (the wife of Batman supervillain Mr. Freeze), who uses her husband’s equipment to have a “cold off” battle against Caitlin.  While trying to fight off against the escaped inmates, Barry and Oliver are exposed to Jonathan Crane’s (Batman villain Scarecrow) fear gas, and they end up seemingly fighting Eobard Thawne and Malcolm Merlyn (great cameos by Tom Cavanagh and John Barrowman), but in reality, were fighting each other.  Although they don’t manage to kill each other, but seeing the other’s fear, it gives them a perspective on each other.  They manage to find Deegan’s book and begin to study it are ARGUS.

There, they run into Earth-90’s Flash, who tells them about the man behind the curtain.  The mysterious character is known as “The Monitor” and he is a dangerous person threating all of reality.  They then head off to face against The Monitor, who then tells them that he is doing all this.  He is doing all this in order to “test” each world for an upcoming crisis.  They each try and face off against The Monitor, but he’s way too powerful and continues to teleport them out of harm’s way.  The Monitor then leaves and takes the book with him.  He gives it back to Deegan and tells him that he’s thinking too small and to “think bigger.”  Deegan then opens the book, and reality is rewritten once again.  Barry and Oliver wake up without their abilities and see a news headline describing the two of them as the “Trigger Twins” (another great DC reference), two wanted criminals.  Just then they are chased down, by a black-suited Superman!

On Supergirl, it’s revealed that Deegan has rewritten reality to that he himself is Superman.  Wanting to be the hero of his own story, he changed himself into the most powerful hero there is.  As he is about to capture Barry and Oliver, Barry appeals to him wanting to be a hero and then forces him to become one.  They shoot a crane, making it seemingly fall on a crowd of spectators.  “Superman” then goes to save everyone so Barry and Oliver can escape.  While on the run, they come in contact with The Monitor, who now shows that he’s not really a bad guy, and warns them that they only way they will survive is if they being their true selves.

Barry and Oliver realize that this reality is upside down, make a correct guess that Cisco is not going to be the friendly member of Team Flash is normally is.  Instead, they find out that he’s a criminal kingpin.  They head to a bar in search of him.  One of his goons turns out to be James Olson and the bartender is none other than Gary from Legends of Tomorrow.  Cisco at first, has no time for them and orders James to kill them.  It’s only when Barry mentions his brother, Cisco realizes that something’s going on.  He uses his Breach powers to head to Earth-38 and tells Clark about Earth-1 and that they can’t find Kara.  Kara meanwhile, has been hidden in STAR Labs’ prison under guard of an Earth-1 new version of her sister Alex, just to taunt her even more.

They breach back from Earth-38 to confront Deegan.  Kara manages to tell Alex about the Alex that she knows from her reality, which generates some sympathy and Alex helps her escape.  Clark then confronts Deegan in a Man Of Steel style fight (minus the destruction), while Barry and Kara once again went searching for the book.  While it was supposed to be in the “Fortress of Solitude,” it was really in the STAR Labs time vault, which in a sense if The Flash’s Fortress of Solitude.  Neither Kara or Barry are able to rewrite reality and realize that Clark would be able to do it.  Just as Clark tries to do it, Deegan attacks and gets the book again.  As he is reading it, reality gets rewritten over and over again.  In order to buy Clark some time, Barry and Kara (who got their powers back) decide to “slow time down” by running/flying around the world as fast as they can.  Clark saw in the book that they would die if they did this, so he jumps in to try and stop Deegan.  Meanwhile, Oliver confronts The Monitor and argues with him that he wasn’t testing earths but instead who had the fortitude to survive the upcoming crisis.  Oliver pleads with The Monitor to spare the two of them, but The Monitor states that something must be done for “balance.”  Deegan unleashes AMAZO as well, but Brainiac, J’onn, and even Lois Lane join the fight.  Oliver shows up in time to shoot a specialized arrow at Deegan, which resets reality back to where it was.

In the aftermath, it looks like reality has been corrected and all is well.  However, Kate Kane contacts the team telling them that Deegan is now a patient at Arkham Asylum and he has made a new friend.  While we don’t see who it us under the mask, DC fans know it’s Psycho-Pirate.  But the more important thing is what he says: “worlds will live, worlds will die and the universe will never be the same.”  We are then treated to a graphic that says the 2019 crossover event will be “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” which is a major event in DC comics.  DC has always labeled events “Pre-Crisis” and “Post-Crisis” and the DC universe fundamentally changed, including the changing of the multiverse.  Don’t be surprised that next year we will see all the characters (even from Black Lightning) all fighting the Anti-Monitor, the villain that The Monitor was teasing during Elseworlds, and we may even see the multiverse streamlined into just one earth in the aftermath.  Don’t be surprised if we see either solo series for Batwoman or Superman, as they both did a great job!  Either way, this was a great crossover!