“People change, Felicity. It means we’re growing. It means we’re evolving. Except for one thing, one thing that will not change. Is how I feel about you. Love is too small a word, and no matter who you are or what you become; no matter who I am or what I become…You will always be the love of my life. People change. That never will.
Following on the heels of the brilliant “Elseworlds” opening episode, Part 2 was always going to have a Herculean-like task to recapture the magic from its predecessor. Though it does an admirable job in maintaining some of the fire and charm of the crossover’s first hour, “Elseworlds, Part 2” does stumble. That in no way takes away from its fun and thrilling ride as the ‘not quite as good’ nature of it introduces some great story points that will undoubtedly expand the Arrowverse and, in the end, may be the most impactful of the three-episode crossover.
Picking things up in Star City, we find that the same red skies/lightning phenomenon that affected Central City has ported moved. In fact, it seems to be following Oliver and Barry, a testament that solidifies their body-switch being at the front and center of reality’s hiccup. Joined by Kara, Oliver and Barry head to Gotham City to track down John Deegan, the man responsible for this Freaky Friday/Quantum Leap predicament. The scant picture we get of Gotham matches what Gotham has always been; a desolate city, collapsing at its foundations as crime infests it like a cancer. They eventually meet Kate Kane, Bruce Wayne’s cousin and keeper of the Batwoman mantle. From their meet-and-greet with Kane, the super trio eventually track Deegan to Arkham Asylum. Infiltrating the Asylum, they scour the passages in search of the Book of Destiny while battling their own demons. Unfortunately, this is where “Elseworlds, Part 2” stumbles.
Unlike Part one’s cheesy yet comic book fun climax with AMAZO, the action taking place in Arkham is a bit too staged, a stiff choreography that has often been the bane of many Arrowverse fight scenes. Deegan himself, clearly not all there, is a caricature whose cheese as the antagonist falls right in line with what we’ve seen in Gotham, not quite the pseudo-serious nature of villains from the Arrowverse.
Another issue with this episode is that its very nature is exposition heavy; our protagonists figuring out what the heck is going on and the motivations behind the Monitor, first explained when Earth-90’s Barry Allen breaches through and further detailed by the Monitor himself. Though it bogs down the narrative, it’s a necessary inclusion to make sense of the crossover’s direction.
The negatives in “Elseworlds, Part Two” are not massive but enough to take it down a notch or so from Part One but, at the same time, both still present the magic that is Oliver and Barry’s chemistry. Similar to the ball Andy Serkis exuded in his Black Panther role, Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin radiate that same type of enjoyment in their scenes. When two characters are so different from one another but can find common ground, there can be magic between them. Add to that the fact they’ve switched personalities (not all the way, mind you) and the foundation is set for the feel-good fun neither The Flash or Arrow can wholly capture on its own. It doesn’t hurt that Melissa Benoit’s Kara adds to the dynamic as the sisterly mediator between the pair. If there was some way to get these three characters on the screen together more than once a year, us fans would be all the better for it. As it stands, “Elseworlds, Part Two” is a strong but flawed connecting tissue to what is—if the finale on Supergirl can deliver—the most fun we’ve had in the four years of crossover events.
Nock, Point, and Loose
- Just like the first “Elseworlds”, Part two is heavy on the Easter Egg goodness. Many of those surprises came in the Arkham scenes but there were also a few other goodies. John Wesley Shipp’s Flash remarking to the fact that John wasn’t wearing his ring was a pretty strong nod to the John Stewart Green Lantern character, the overt mention of the Crisis on Infinite Earths comic book story line (which could hint at the plot for next year’s crossover), Batwoman’s “World’s Finest” line, and many others.
- I’m a huge Ruby Rose fan and was excited at the news of her casting as Kate Kane/Batwoman. Her debut was a bit lukewarm for me. While I loved her Kate Kane persona (and a nice little flirty moment with Kara), her performance as Batwoman was a bit dry. The energy was missing in her line delivery and while this may have been a purposeful choice, it framed a kick-ass character as dull-ish. This may have been nerves or what not so I’m still looking forward to seeing more of her character on the small screen.
- I wasn’t a fan of the one-episode ret-con they did with the whole “Iris knew about Barry and Oliver” thing. That entire segment was nothing more than a contrived plot point to make Felicity question how much she knew Oliver. Yes, it worked out with Oliver offering a beautiful speech to her (highlighted above) but to act as if Iris realized Oliver wasn’t her Barry was pretty disingenuous.
- And who can forget that final shot of Barry and Oliver—now dubbed the Trigger Twins—running into the last thing the expected to see: a black suit Superman. “There’s no place you can run where I can’t find you,” he tells them. “It’s over.” Can we please have a Tyler Hoechlin-led Superman show already!?. Let’s hope that’s somewhere in the cards as they look to expand the Arrowverse.