The final entry of this season’s Arrowverse crossover, “Elseworlds,” ends as it began: With moments big and small that reward viewers who’ve come to love these characters as they fight and joke and go about the business of saving the world yet again.
So. Episode 2 ended with the Monitor urging Dr. Deegan to think big, and he did, all right. He thought super big. That’s right, your friendly neighborhood Arkham Asylum doctor has turned himself into a black-clad Superman, whose lair is Star Labs, now bearing his logo.
The imposter swoops down to deliver justice to the Trigger Twins, a.k.a. the powerless, ability-less Oliver and Barry. Super-dick argues that destiny brought him the book, causing Barry to argue that you don’t become a hero because of circumstances, but in spite of them.
Then Oliver brandishes a gun, not to take a shot at their bulletproof adversary, but to fire it at a teetering crane nearby, knocking it toward a group of children on the ground and forcing the imposter to swoop down and save them.
As the Trigger Twins flee, Barry battles nausea because “Being bad makes me feel bad, man!” Oliver takes control and suggests they find Cisco so he can breach them to Earth-38 to collect the real Superman.
Super-dick has his hands full throwing a tantrum in front of his henchpeople, including Diggle and Killer Frost, in his lair. (If we were in a different universe, I’d say “Deegan smash.”) Then he storms off to taunt his new prisoner: Kara, who’s in a power-dampening cell in the pipeline.
He was impressed with what he saw in the book about her and Clark’s powers, but she’s unimpressed that he adopted every aspect of her abilities except for one thing: “Too afraid to be a woman?” Look, if you had the chance to make yourself look like Tyler Hoechlin, you’d totally do it, and don’t try to convince me otherwise.
When Kara tries to punch through the cell, alt-Alex arrives with long, braided hair and a zapper that causes Kara pain. Realizing that Kara knows Alex, even if she’s different in this timeline, Super-dick threatens to kill Alex if Kara doesn’t behave.
Meanwhile, Oliver and Barry’s search for Cisco takes them to a door that opens into the cosmos, where the Monitor congratulates them on outwitting a superman. “It’s just one word, ‘Superman,’” Barry hero-splains.
The Monitor is intrigued that Oliver looks at his hubris and anger and calls them strength, to say nothing of his willingness to die, which is not the pep talk Barry was looking for. Then they’re shunted back to Earth, where they stroll into a hive of scum and villainy looking for Cisco. Gary the bartender (Gary! Hi!!) is geeked to meet his heroes in crime and then corrects himself: “Well, not heroes. Legends.” Yes! Thank you for this, the smallest of crossovers with my favorite Arrowverse show!
They find crime boss Cisco counting money in a throne-chair, and he orders his enforcer Jimmy Olsen to take care of this problem. “They don’t call me Superman’s worst pal for nothing,” Jimmy says before beating down the Trigger Twins. Barry halts their execution when he tells Cisco that he knew his brother Dante, so Cisco’s willing to listen to their plan to get rid of Super-dick, which involves teaching him to vibe to other Earths and not just into bank vaults.
It takes 17 tries, but they eventually make it to Lois and Clark’s Earth-38 Arctic hideaway, where Clark’s pleased to learn that Barry and Oliver are Barry and Oliver again, although he incorrectly guesses that Cisco is now Kara. Ha! They explain the plan to steal the book and rewrite reality again through sheer force of will, and Lois and Clark immediately agree that Superman needs to join the fight.
Kara’s trying to get back in the game, too. She fails at convincing Alex that they’re sisters on another Earth and then eavesdrops as Killer Frost asks about Alex’s boyfriend troubles and urges Alex to take some time off for a change.
When Alex catches Kara trying to freeze-breath her way out of the cell, she brings the pain again, and Kara gasps out a phrase in Japanese. On her Earth, Alex spent a summer in Japan when she was 6 and learned how to say “pinky swear” from a girl in the village. This Alex says she was 7, but the experience was otherwise the same.
Kara says her Alex is in charge of a facility like this, but she’s the leader and she doesn’t follow orders she knows are wrong. She also doesn’t hide who she is: “She wants a wife. And kids. She’s optimistic that she can have it all.”
Kara says that the Alex she sees in front of her is the same brand of hero and pinky swears that she’ll stop the imposter if Alex lets her out. Their whole dynamic is best summed up when Alex says, “Your sister is a very lucky woman,” and Kara replies, “I’m a lucky sister.”
Alas, Super-dick catches the pair mid-escape and is about to eye-laser them both when Cisco opens a breach between them.
“Nice suit,” the real Superman says, then flies at his doppelgänger for a mid-air fight that finds them crashing into a building, leveling a row of filing cabinets and prompting an onlooker to gasp, “Bizarro!”
At Super-dick’s lair, Oliver and Diggle fight, while Barry, Alex, and Kara locate the book in the Time Vault. When Kara tries to open it, she finds that she’s too weak from the pipeline to manage it, so she flies it to Superman. (Next page: A Super romantic ending)
Clark opens the book, and the energy that flows out returns Kara, Barry, and Oliver to their suits and their powers. Unfortunately, Super-dick’s able to grab Barry by the neck and threatens to kill him if Superman doesn’t stop.
He and Kara have a laser-eye off that ends with her on the ground (presumably still because of that pesky pipeline dampener?), and when Oliver notches a Kryptonite arrow into his bow, Barry begs him to refrain from channeling his darkness, which might allow him to pass the Monitor’s test. Oliver stands down, Super-dick escapes with the book, and we watch his HQ shuffle through various logos as he tinkers with reality: Earth X’s Nazi SS, the Star Labs symbol, the Super-S.
To stop him, Barry suggests that he and Kara race around the globe in opposite directions so their centrifugal force will slow time. Clark, though, got a look into the book and announces, “You both die.” But Kara and Barry are undeterred and set out.
Oliver tells Clark to go after the book while he seeks out the Monitor. Oliver says that his darkness isn’t what the Monitor needs; it’s Kara and Barry, who are full of hope and inspiration. “They are the best of us.” But the Monitor says that if he rewrites their destiny, he’d need to maintain the balance. So what does Oliver, the first person in a multitude to confront him, suggest?
Back on Earth, Barry and Kara are starting to burn under the strain of their speed as Super-dick conjures Asimo. Then more friends show up to fight: Brainy’s excited to battle the enormous robot with the powers of Superman (Get him, weirdo!), while J’onn protects the civilians, of course. Lois is also there, wielding the not-Thor’s hammer that we saw in the Fortress of Solitude earlier. But Super-dick turns the book on her as time slows down and Lois is blasted into the air while Clark is immobilized.
Then Oliver arrives, this time with a blue-glowing arrow that he shoots into the book. It turns Super-dick back into Dr. Deegan, who withers into a zombie/mummy, and the book pages become charred. Clark catches Lois, Brainy defeats Asimo by removing the motherboard, and Barry and Kara are winded but alive. Oliver had faith that they’d dig deep and run faster, even with their lives on the line.
With things back to normal, Kara wonders if this team-up is becoming an annual thing, to which Barry replies, “God I hope not.” (Oh, but we’re so grateful!) Cisco breaches his favorite Kryptonian and her people back to Earth-38.
On the Kent farm, Clark assures Kara that she doesn’t need the DEO to keep saving the world, and he’s reminded of how much stronger she is every time they’re together. Then he adorably hems and haws, and Lois tells him to be direct: They’re having a baby!
Yep, Clark’s hanging up his cape and is headed to Argo, where Lois will have a safer pregnancy “The world doesn’t need to have Superman if it has Supergirl,” he says. Plus, Lois cites a Harvard study that finds women are better than men under competitive pressure: “We’re apt to ask questions before punching.” Hear, hear!
Then we cut to the Fortress of Solitude, where Lois is chilling in a caftan reading one of Kara’s Aliens of National City articles while Clark works the grill. He burns the food and is bummed because he wanted that night, and every night with Lois, to be special.
Before you know it, he’s reached into the grill and squeezed a charcoal briquette into a perfectly cut diamond that fits nicely into a gold setting he just happened to have on hand. Then he gets down on one knee but only gets out, “Lois Lane” before she squeals in delight and kisses him. He’s pleased that his directness worked, and I am pleased with how dynamite these two were together. Thank you for bringing us such an outstanding version of Lois and Clark, show!
On Earth-1, Oliver and Barry are kicking back with a drink. While Oliver’s glad to feel the effects of alcohol again, he’ll miss the clarity he felt when he ran so quickly that everything else stood still. “Flashtime,” Barry says, then thanks him for convincing the Monitor to change their destinies.
Yeaaahhh, raise your hand if you think the Monitor did that out of the goodness of his heart and didn’t extract anything from Oliver in exchange. Our suspicions are all but confirmed when Oliver toasts to appreciating what you have, however long you might have it. Listen, I watch Supernatural, which means I know just how serious those kinds of deals can get. What exactly did Oliver agree to??
Whatever it was, Oliver thinks he’ll become a better man someday thanks to Barry, although he refuses Barry’s suggestion that they hug it out. “Twice, you’ve made me hug you. No,” he says.
Then Oliver gets a call from Batwoman, who says that Deegan made a friend. Cut to Arkham Asylum, where a masked man in the cell next to Deegan intones: “Everything is as it should be. The stage is set. Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And the universe will never be the same.”
And we close with the words “Coming Fall 2019: Crisis on Infinite Earths.” But … but … I want it nowwwww!
Snaps of the cape
- Barry has the best description of Alex: “Badass in every reality, got it.
- Gotta love evil Cisco pocketing food from the grill in the Earth-38 Fortress of Solitude. Hope it tasted … super.
- If you’re playing along at home, the man in the mask was Psycho-Pirate, who can inject emotions into people and who’s heavily involved in the Crisis storyline. His cover identity is Roger Hayden, who was quoted in the newspaper in the Flash episode “Nora,” saying essentially what he was saying in the cell. Rest assured that we haven’t seen the last of him.
- Speaking of seeing things again, why no, this isn’t the first time Superman has created a diamond.
- For real, though, what did Oliver give up to the Monitor?
- So, friends, where did this year’s crossover rank in the history of Arrowverse team-ups? For me, it was a welcome lightness after last year’s excellent but extremely dark outing. More body swaps, fewer Nazis, that’s my motto. Were you pleased as well? Hit the comments and let me know!