first_imgStay on target As far as this season’s story is concerned, The Flash had its midseason finale last week. We still got a new episode this week. Well, three actually even if two technically belonged to other shows. The CW decided to close out the fall season this year with the big annual crossover event. This is the third one in a row, and the network has consistently knocked it out of the park with these. There was one big question going into this year’s Elseworlds, though. How were they going to top Crisis on Earth X?The first crossover, with the Dominator invasion, was fun and felt like a big deal due to it being the first time we saw Team Flash, Team Arrow, Supergirl and the Legends of Tomorrow on screen together at once. Then, last year’s Crisis completely blew that first one away. Not only was the entire gang back together, it featured inter-dimensional Nazis ruining Barry and Iris’ wedding, evil versions of each hero, the return of Captain Cold and the introduction of The Ray. Plus, after we had all just been royally let down by the Justice League movie, Crisis on Earth X showed us what a DC superhero crossover story should look like. How was Elseworlds ever going to be better than that? Well, it did the smart thing and didn’t try.Jeremy Davies as John Deegan and LaMonica Garrett as The Monitor (Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW)Elseworlds told its own story. It was a noticeable smaller story too, crossing over only three shows instead of four. With the Legends getting up to their own ridiculous antics, there were only four or five superheroes onscreen at once. To be fair, two of them had a pretty big impact. The first was the return of Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman, who continues to be an ideal embodiment of the character. The second was the newly introduced Batwoman, who the showrunners hope will get her own CW show in the future. That, plus this being the first time we see Gotham City in the Arrowverse, makes Elseworlds still feel special despite not being quite as Bombastic or Arrowverse-encompassing as last year’s crossover.The trouble all starts when a mysterious inter-dimensional being gives an insane doctor the power to reshape the universe as he sees fit. Something goes wrong though, and Barry and Oliver end up switching lives. They’re the only ones who realize something’s out of place though, which leads to a ton of great comedy as they try to get used to each other’s abilities. (Barry does exactly what we would all do if we woke up with the abilities of Green Arrow: Ladder pull-ups.) The problem is nobody else believes them. In fact, the rest of Team Flash lock them both up, thinking they’re crazy. The only one they can think of who will believe them is Supergirl, since her Earth wasn’t affected. So that gets all three of our heroes in one place. And her cousin Clark tags along too, because why not?Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl, Carlos Valdes as Cisco/Vibe, Stephen Amell as Oliver/Arrow, Grant Gustin as Barry/The Flash, Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane and Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent (Photo Credit: Shane Harvey/The CW)Even with the body-swapping and guests from another universe, the episode of The Flash, which aired Sunday, still felt like a villain-of-the-week episode. With the team slowly figuring out why Barry and Oliver swapped places, they have to take on a more pressing threat: An android who can copy superpowers, accidentally awoken by Oliver trying to use Flash lightning. It’s a much bigger villain of the week than normal, and is a fitting send off before the holiday break. After it copies everyone’s powers, including Superman’s, it takes the entire team to take the thing down. It’s a huge, exciting fight scene and The CW certainly didn’t skimp on the special effects budget here.We still don’t get into the real meat of the crossover until Arrow on Monday night, though. That’s when Cisco vibes the scene of the doctor receiving the universe-altering book from a strange man. It’s not enough to tell them exactly what’s going on, but they know where it happened. The gang is going to Gotham City. Gotham, at this point, is run down and almost entirely run by criminals. Even Batman (and coincidentally enough, Bruce Wayne), has abandoned the place. Not only does this give us a mostly satisfying explanation as to why nobody in the Arrowverse has mentioned Gotham before, it also lets the show introduce its newest superhero. When Oliver, Barry and Kara get locked up for tangling with some criminals, a mysterious benefactor bails them out. That’s where they meet Kate Kane, a.k.a. Batwoman.Pictured: Ruby Rose as Kate Kane/Batwoman (Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/The CW)She is fantastic in this episode. I don’t know if the execs at the CW loved her as much as I did, but I hope so. If this is a test run for a new Batwoman TV series, I desperately want to see it. I’m only sad we only get to see her for this one episode. She doesn’t stick around for the entire crossover. She helps the heroes find who their looking for, swings in to deal with the ensuing mess at Arkham Asylum. When they catch up to the doctor, who’s working at Arkham, he creates a distraction by letting all the inmates out of their cells. This is where it becomes obvious that the Arrowverse shows don’t have permission to use any Batman villains, and it’s super awkward. They’re just fighting a bunch of no-name inmates who are either vaguely similar to Batman villains or just use their stuff. A woman gets a hold of Victor Fries’ gun, for example. Barry and Oliver get exposed to Scarecrow–I MEAN HALLUCINOGENIC NEUROTOXIN, and have to fight each other’s worst fears. Each episode of this crossover has a giant setpiece fight scene, and I’m so happy. The CW really went all out here, and it’s only made better when Batwoman shows up and starts throwing batarangs around. God, I wish we got more of her.It’s weird to call a big three-night crossover event like this set-up, but that’s exactly what it was. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Elseworlds was still a visually spectacular, fun crossover that told a good story on its own, but it was also looking ahead. It was setting up for an even bigger crossover set for next fall. One that will probably mean big changes for the entire Arrowverse. Those changes are coming no matter what. In its seventh season, Arrow is getting pretty old for a superhero show. It’s current season is fantastic, but it’s probably time to call it quits soon. And The Flash probably won’t be too far behind. And what better way to send off the show that started this whole thing than with a Crisis?Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl (Photo Credit: The CW)See, the man that keeps giving the mad doctor the book is known as the Monitor. He’s been systematically screwing up universes to find one that could withstand an upcoming calamity. Or rather, a Crisis. One that will bring all the universes together, killing some of them. That story will be instantly familiar to any DC Comics fan. Yes, this year’s crossover event is setting the Arrowverse up for its take on Crisis on Infinite Earths. In the third episode, The Monitor gives the doctor back the book yet again. This time, he makes himself into Superman, and takes away Barry and Oliver’s powers altogether. He can’t affect Supergirl, since she’s not from this Earth, so he locks her up in S.T.A.R. Labs instead. All three of these episodes had fun, kinetic and absolutely enormous battle scenes, but they really saved the best for last. We have everyone teaming up to fight an evil superman with the power to rewrite reality.It’s a spectacular display of each character’s superpowers, with Supergirl and The Flash running around the Earth in opposite directions so they can slow down time. That’s comic book physics at its absolute finest. The interesting thing, and what I’m positive is setting up for the end of Arrow, is how Oliver made sure this universe passed the Monitor’s test. He and Barry figure out that Monitor isn’t looking for the strongest world. He’s testing how good each one is. While Supergirl, The Flash and Superman are fighting the doctor, he asks the Monitor to spare their lives. He’s forced to offer up something in return, but we’re never told what. Oliver also goes through some real character growth in these three episodes. He becomes a better, more trusting and patient person. He works things out with Felicity, with whom he’s spent this season estranged. That’s a pretty clear sign they’re about to start wrapping this character up.LaMonica Garrett as The Monitor (Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW)We’re told at the end, as the doctor makes friends with Psycho Pirate, that Crisis on Infinite Earths is coming in the fall of 2019. We don’t have exact dates, but that timing makes it sound like the Arrowverse is going to clear some room. They keep introducing new superhero shows, and eventually some will have to end. Arrow would be in its eighth season next year. If Oliver offered his life for Barry’s and Kara’s, next fall’s big crossover would be a fitting finale for that show. And since, in the comics, Crisis on Infinite Earths merged the DC multiverse into one, it’s not hard to see that happening here. It would mean a huge restructuring of the Arrowverse, which is exactly what it needs if it’s going to fit in Batwoman and who knows what other superheroes.Elseworlds may not have been quite as big as the last two crossovers, but it was fun, action-packed, funny and had a major effect on the Arrowverse as a whole. I’m genuinely more excited to see where these shows go after watching it. Even if much of it was setting up for a much bigger crossover, you really couldn’t ask for more from an event like this.The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.Previously on The Flash:The Flash: Season 5, Episode 8 RecapThe Flash: Season 5, Episode 7 RecapThe Flash: Season 5, Episode 6 Recap Top Movies and TV Panels to Keep on Your Radar for SDCC 2019’The Flash’ Season 5 Finale Recap: 2 Big Bads and 1 Pre-Crisis last_img read more