Thoughts & Essays

Elseworlds, Part Two

I’m actually gonna start with Legends of Tomorrow, which wasn’t involved in the big crossover this year, but their mid-season finale did give a shout out to the crossover, and it was also banana-pants crazy awesome.

Legends of Tomorrow is the best show. It’s just the best. It’s nuts, it’s hilarious, it’s got heart. If you’re not watching it, you’re doing television wrong.

Last night’s mid-season finale centered around Constantine, Zari, and Charlie’s attempt to fix the wildly hot mess Constantine and Charlie made of the timeline while trying to fix Constantine’s lovelife mistakes. It involved an homage to 70’s and 80’s action shows, puppets, Garima, and just wild, wild amounts of insane hilarity.

It also involved both Charlie and Constantine, our two team outcasts, learning lessons about what having a team actually means, which was pretty cool.

The entire episode is like the Legends of Tomorrow writers’ room read the Elseworlds scripts and said, “Aw, you guys think you can write goofy fun with heart? That’s adorable. Buckle up, Tinkerbell.”

Okay, on to Elseworlds.

When we last left our intrepid adventurers they’d determined that Gotham was their next stop in their hunt for the mystery villain that switched Ollie’s and Barry’s lives around.

First stop is a trip to Argus to catch up with the rest of the Geek Squad and Diggle. I guess Oliver works at Argus now, or something? I confess, I’m not caught up on this season of Arrow, because this whole prison plot has just been incredibly tedious.

This was mainly a pit stop to loop in the rest of the Arrow team, but there were some cute moments – Barry’s concern over Oliver and Felicity’s relationship, which is apparently on the rocks yet again (“Do you want me to talk to her?” asks Barry and Oliver rolls his eyes like Yes Barry, we all know you’re better at relationships, thanks.)

The best part of this scene is Barry and Oliver arguing over whether or not Batman is real, with Barry insisting he is and Oliver insisting he’s an urban legend the cops made up to scare criminals and that he, Oliver, is the original vigilante.

I love how insecure Oliver is over all this superhero stuff. He’s bad at being the Flash, he’s intimidated by Superman, he’s grumpy about Batman, it’s hilarious. Especially considering that Oliver is the badass in the CW superhero universe, to the point where you get the Green Arrow as run-in backup on other supershows, complete with his own musical sting and everything.

But that’s all okay, because now we’re off to Gotham and another chapter in the Everyone Roasts Oliver book. Seriously, Ollie’s been getting raked over the coals. I’m okay with it, too, because Ollie’s been kind of a dick lately. He could use a wake-up call.

This chapter includes Barry gleefully calling Ollie out over cheating on Laurel with Sarah way back in season one of Arrow, and both Kara and Barry snickering over Ollie not being able to remember if he slept with someone or not.

Anyway, there’s stuff, the gang is briefly arrested, there’s snark all around, and finally we get to Batwoman. This episode is sort of a back-door pilot for a Batwoman show, so the whole thing sort of feels wedged together to that purpose. Which is unfortunate, because we’re trying to do a lot in this episode, which means that there isn’t enough time for plot and Batwoman kind of gets shorted.

There’s an interlude with Kate Kane, who is apparently Bruce Wayne’s cousin? Is that a thing in the comics or is that just for the show? I don’t remember. I feel like that’s not in the comics.

People were hella mad about Ruby Rose playing Batwoman for some reason, which I don’t get, because she did just fine. (Her bat-voice could use a little work.) Her Kate Kane was a hoot, also. She flirts briefly at Kara and Kara gets all awkward and embarrassed, but it looks like later on they have a little bonding moment, so there’s a friendship to look forward to.

Also, we get confirmation that there’s definitely a Bruce Wayne and Batman over on Earth 38 and he and Superman are “frenemies.” Heh.

There’s a hellacious throwdown in Arkham Asylum, where Flash, Supergirl, Green Arrow, Killer Frost, Batwoman and Diggle all take on a horde of Asylum mooks, including Nora Fries, apparently? Which was weird? What happened to Victor, and why isn’t Nora cryogenically frozen? I assume there’ll be answers to that if the Batwoman show comes to fruition.

Barry and Oliver get fear-gassed, too, and end up fighting each other, with Barry thinking he’s fighting Malcom Merlyn (I threw my hands up and yelled “YAY!” when Barrowman showed up) and Oliver fighting Wellsobard. Both Merlyn and Wellsobard talk, just, all the shit to Barry and Oliver, which leads to them having a nice moment of understanding what they’ve each been through in their lives, later on.

But it was weird? I mean, sure, the universe thinks Barry is Oliver and Oliver is Barry, but they don’t, and the fear gas works on their minds, so why on Earth would Barry hallucinate Merlyn? Does he even know who Merlyn is? Same for Oliver hallucinating Reverse Flash.

I mean, character growth, it helped the story, yaddayaddayadda. I get it. Just, it didn’t seem like it should work that way?

Whatever, it was fun. And the team met Dr. Deegan and stole his big fancy magic book from him.

Anyway, they head back to Star City, where Earth 90’s Flash, also a Barry Allen but played by John Wesley Ship, shows up to warn everyone about the Monitor. Which is what all the red skies and lightning was about, apparently. That was this particular Flash trying to breach over with a warning.

And then we meet the Monitor! Who babbles some cryptic nonsense about upcoming crises and how he’s trying to find champions to meet the challenge, and promptly steals the magic book back to give back to Deegan.

And Deegan uses it to make a hot mess of everything, turning Barry and Oliver into the Trigger Twins and throwing a black-suited Superman at them.

Woof. There was a lot going on in this episode. As fun as it was to get Batwoman, I think the actual plotting suffered for trying to get her in there. It just made things really complicated. Shoot, we didn’t even get into the relationship BS with Felicity that happened this episode.

Overall this was a fun episode, with just hordes of Easter eggs tossed in and a plenitude of snappy lines, but the complicated plot kind of took a bit away from the episode.

Line of the Night Award

This one was an easy win. Line of the Night goes to Barry for his “I would never compare myself to a total badass like Batman,” line to Kate Kane, and the great big asshole grin he gave to Ollie after saying it.

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