Batwoman has finally arrived!
The second hour of the crossover introduced Ruby Rose’s caped crusader when Barry, Oliver, and Kara traveled to Gotham City looking for the man responsible for rewriting reality. I don’t know about you, but I’ve waited a long time to meet the Arrowverse’s version of Batwoman, and at least based on my first viewing, the show didn’t disappoint. I mean, did you ever expect to see Barry, Oliver, and Kara argue about whether or not Batman was real? Or to see Supergirl and Batwoman bond? However, the best part is that Batwoman wasn’t all this episode had to offer.
“Elseworlds, Part 2′ also featured Barry and Oliver getting a taste of what it’s like to fight each other’s archenemies after they get doused with fear toxin; Killer Frost vs. Nora Fries; the Barry Allen from Earth-90 (John Wesley Shipp) breaching into Earth-1 to warn them of a coming crisis; Oliver and Felicity making up; a face-off against the Monitor; and another change to reality that turned Barry and Oliver into criminals, and Merlyn, Lil Slade, and Ricardo Diaz into cops.
I continue to be pleasantly surprised by this year’s crossover. It’s doing a pretty good job of handling a ton of mythology without getting bogged down. Look at tonight’s episode of Arrow, which not only introduced Batwoman and Gotham City into the Arrowverse but featured an Easter-egg heavy appearance from ‘90s Flash and more Monitor drama while still finding time to land intimate moments between characters. Amidst all of the comic book shenanigans, “Elseworlds, Part 2” never loses sight of what’s important — the character relationships — and that’s more than a good thing.
Arrow begins with the crossover’s best gag so far: Grant Gustin narrating and appearing in the show’s classic opening. Watching Gustin do everything we would normally see Stephen Amell do was hilarious because it’s just so ridiculous, but that’s what this crossover is, really. It’s taking the most absurd premise — a body swap! — and spinning it into comedic gold.
Once the opening is done, it doesn’t take too long for the action to jump to Gotham City. Before heading to Batman’s hometown, however, the Trinity makes a pit stop in Star City and asks Team Arrow to figure out what’s going on with the red skies and the lightning (Spoiler alert: It’s ‘90s Flash, a.k.a. John Wesley Shipp) without telling Felicity about the body swap (which is a great idea, said the liar) while they’re gone.
Traveling to Gotham, of course, means the Batman must come up. While Barry and Kara believe he’s real, Oliver doesn’t because he insists that he was the first vigilante, which is the most of Oliver thing in the world. When they arrive in Batman’s hometown, they happen upon the Bat-Signal, although Oliver still isn’t convinced. What I loved about this entire sequence — from the Batman discussion to Barry telling Kara about the time Oliver slept with his girlfriend’s sister — is how it was opportunity to really see these three heroes bounce off of each other, which is pretty hilarious to watch, and briefly gave the crossover a bit of hangout vibe. Actually, “Elseworlds” is doing a pretty good job of seamlessly moving through various tones, especially here.
Speaking of Gotham: It’s worth taking time to talk about the Arrowverse’s version of Gotham City. Based on this first episode, I like it. First, I think production made the right call to actually shoot some of the Gotham scenes in Chicago, which has a more gothic look than Vancouver and makes Gotham standout from the rest of the cities in the Arrowverse. The few shots of Chicago really give the city a weight and character that, say, Star City doesn’t have. Furthermore, the episode does a really good job of showing just why Oliver refers to Gotham as a dead city: the three heroes get mugged in broad daylight, a clear sign that any sense of order has gone out the window (As EW revealed, Batman has been gone for three years). Unfortunately, Barry, channeling his inner Oliver, tries to fight his way out of the situation, which attracts Gotham City Police’s attention because he’s the Green Arrow. So, to jail the three capes go!
Thankfully, Kate Kane, a.k.a. Batwoman, is fully aware of Oliver Queen’s presence in her city and bails him and his friends out of jail and has them brought to Wayne Enterprises so that she can tell them to get out of Gotham because it has enough trouble. Ruby Rose’s first scene with Amell, Gustin, and Melissa Benoist was pretty good. As Kate Kane, she’s confident and no-nonsense, and definitely seemed to hold her own against the three of them and in the one-on-one scene she shared with Benoist, a highlight of the episode. Barry and Oliver are getting tons of bonding moments together, so it was nice to see Kate and Kara connect over trying to come out of the shadow of their slightly more famous cousins. Also, I loved that they bypassed the whole secret identity thing in one episode, which is a very Supergirl-like thing to do.
Next: Enter Batwoman