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FilmEra on the Arrowverse: Week Nine & “Elseworlds”

Supergirl

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David Ajala & Sam Witwer in Supergirl, “Bunker Hill”

“Bunker Hill,” the most recent episode of Supergirl ahead of the “Elseworlds” crossover, saw the show wrap up the two key plot points it had been building up for the first part of this season. It featured Manchester Black and Ben Lockwood (aka Agent Liberty) coming to blows in a big way, with Black breaking into Lockwood’s home and threatening his family. This made for some very compelling scenes from the two actors and a thrilling climax at the end where Supergirl was finally able to come and save the day. So, for now, Manchester and Lockwood are both behind bars, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Lockwood returns later in the season given his resolution at the end. As for Supergirl, she finds herself in a sticky situation going into the winter break. The President of the United States (in her world) has demanded that she reveal her identity following the movement started by Agent Liberty. Kara refused, setting up what should be an interesting dynamic when the show returns next month. Nothing in the crossover worked towards advancing the plot of Supergirl, as the only arc for its characters featured Kara convincing Alex from a different reality of their sisterly bond and the beautiful person she can be.

Arrow

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Stephen Amell & Emily Bett Rickards in Arrow, “Unmasked”

Considering this was the show’s final episode entering the crossover and winter break, it was oddly subdued. We see Oliver adjusting to life outside of prison, and him and Felicity come to blows over her new hardened demeanor after she guns down an intruder in their home. The moment is bled for drama, as Oliver states he fell in love with the old Felicity and not the dark woman she’s becoming. Of course, this appears to have been resolved in the crossover, as Caitlin talks her into not wasting time and working things out. As for other points of interest in the episode, Dinah has declared the Green Arrow as a working employee of the police department to quell the heat that Mayor Pollard was putting on the two of them. I am sure that this will provide much of the drama for the show when it returns. Finally, at episode’s end, Lyla and Diggle visit Diaz’s cell to ask for his help, along with a revelation that the female Green Arrow who has been lurking around visits Robert Queen’s grave and refers to him as “father,” making her Oliver’s sister. Who knows where this is going and how the flash forwards will tie into the present. The show appears to once again be getting too convoluted and that is when it struggles. It works best when it plays on the basics. Hopefully in the second half of the season we can at least get a few of those episodes.

Legends of Tomorrow

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Jes Macallan & Dominic Purcell in Legends of Tomorrow, “Hell No, Dolly!”

Legends of Tomorrow did not participate in the crossover this year, but it did feature a two-episode story, something the show rarely does. The story revolved around a plot point that I didn’t care for, one involving Constantine and his lover in New Orleans. Essentially the stability of reality revolved around their relationship, a boyfriend of his of which we had no connection with before so it fell pretty flat for me on an emotional level. Fortunately, much of the surrounding proceedings of the episodes were typical, balls-to-the-wall Legends fun. Especially in the latest episode, they played a lot with different iterations of the Legends in alternate realities, spoofing the likes of The A-Team with the “Custodians of Chronology” and Charlie’s Angels with the “Sirens of Space-Time.” Both of these got their own intro themes and they were hilarious. The show even managed to make light of them not participating in the crossover with the following dialogue from the team:

Nate: “Gideon, any messages while we were gone?”
Gideon: “You missed calls from Barry Allen, Oliver Queen, and Kara Zor-El.”
Ray: “Sounds like the annual crossover.”
Nate: “Yeah, that’s gonna be a hard pass.”

I love small moments like this from the team with their snappy dialogue. Legends is the only show with one more episode to air this coming week before their winter break, so it remains to be seen how things will be left with our favorite crew of misfits heading into their hiatus.

The Flash

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Chris Klein in The Flash, “What’s Past Is Prologue”

In the 100th episode of The Flash, the show brought back some familiar faces as Barry and Nora traveled back in time to right some wrongs in an attempt to counteract Cicada’s power. With this, we got to see the likes of Zoom, Savitar, and Tom Cavanaugh’s version of Reverse Flash. Cavanaugh’s portrayal of Thawne was fantastic and the highlight of the episode, bringing us back to the show’s most impactful story ever from season one. He is such a great actor and his menacing presence as Dr. Welles is sorely missed. For this episode he really sold the bit, and it was genuinely terrifying seeing Barry have to reckon with him again. In the end, Barry and Nora returned to present day to settle the score with Cicada. Unfortunately, he escapes, leaving the door open for his return at some point in the future. The episode ends on a cliffhanger with Nora appearing to be working with Thawne in the future. This is a ridiculous notion that we will have to see played out when the show returns next month. However, if it means that we get to see more of Cavanaugh as Eobard Thawne, it might still be a win.

Elseworlds

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Grant Gustin, Stephen Amell, & Mehcad Brooks in Supergirl, “Elseworlds, Part 3”

And now we arrive at “Elseworlds,” the third crossover event from The CW, featuring three episodes, one from each of The Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl. Each of the three episodes was centered in that respective show’s universe, more or less. Starting with The Flash, Oliver and Barry were brought together because they woke up to realize they had swapped bodies and identities, making the joke they had been “Freaky Friday’d.” Nobody at STAR Labs believes them, so they seek out the help of Kara on her Earth, who is able to discern their identities. With her, they land on Clark’s farm with him and Lois Lane. Naturally, the four heroes teamed up and headed into the next episode.

In the second episode, part of Arrow‘s universe, the group of heroes heads to Gotham City in an attempt to track down The Monitor. It was here that we got our first appearance of Ruby Rose’s Batwoman. I loved the costume and the way they built her character up. They also make mention of Batman, who is an urban legend in this world and hasn’t been seen in years. Still, the episode featured the team going into Arkham Asylum and working with Batwoman, making this my favorite of the crossover. I sincerely hope this isn’t the last we will see of her character. It has been rumored she will get her own show, but even if that didn’t happen, I would love to see her on the Legends!

Finally, the crossover ended with its Supergirl episode, which unfortunately I found to easily be the weakest of the three. Much of the amateur and cringe-worthy fight choreography and CG that plagues that show seeped its way into their episode of the crossover, along with their uninspiring emotional moments. It was cool to briefly see Martian Manhunter join the fight so we got to see a team of Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Superman, and Martian Manhunter, but it was so brief as to be pretty meaningless. The battle between Superman and Bizarro was pretty cool, making this feel like a true live-action version of the old Justice League cartoon. In the end, balance was restored to reality, Kara returned to her Earth with everyone from her show, and Oliver and Barry are back to being their old selves. Overall this wasn’t my favorite crossover, but I thought it was still great, highlighted by the use of Batwoman and Superman. At the end of the episode they announced the official title for next year’s crossover, the long-teased “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” which really should be the most epic scale for a crossover yet, being based off the twelve-issue comic series that ran in the mid-80s. Let the hype ensue!

Only Legends of Tomorrow will air next week for its mid-season finale, before joining the other three shows on their winter break.

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