THE FLASH 5.09 Review “Elseworlds, Part 1”
This post contains spoilers for the "Elseworlds" Crossover.
Check out last week's review of The Flash here.
The best thing about superhero team-ups is the opportunity to celebrate the differences that make each hero, well, super. Zack Snyder’s films are a perfect representation of what happens when you make vastly different heroes tonally the same, while DCTV is out here highlighting those differences as a plot point. DCTV is also just switching its lineup about all willy-nilly, but what better opportunity than Elseworlds? Besides, starting an episode off with Oliver Queen in Iris West-Allen’s bed wouldn’t have made a whole lot of sense if it were a Supergirl episode kicking things off.
These crossover events have become a highlight of my year, and “Elseworlds Part 1” is a perfect representation as to why. They’re like the Justice League we wished we would have gotten, all in a three-to-four-hour format spanning across several days. This opening episode takes a look at how different heroes are motivated by different emotions, and how being a “hero” can mean deeply different things from city to city. Not into all that mushy superhero psychology stuff? That’s cool. They brought in A.M.A.Z.O for you to freak out over, too!
After Barry and Oliver meet up and have a very quick “yes, hello, what the hell?” moment together, they work on getting Team Flash to realize that Oliver is not Barry and vice versa. When that doesn’t go to plan, the two decide to go to Earth 36 to see if their little Freaky Friday (or Quantum Leap) moment extends across worlds. But Iris is still there to stop them. There are countless bits in the first thirty minutes of the episode where Barry and Oliver are hilariously trying to suss out how to be one another. When they’re first trying to convince the team, Barry tells Ollie to tell Iris that she’s his lightning rod, because it always works. Thankfully, Barry realizes that it never would have worked had Oliver done it in the first place, and takes matters into his own hands. Barry and Iris always find each other, and Elseworlds is no different. Once the two of them get a chance to really chat, Iris lets them go to find Kara.
How’re you doing, Smallville fans? Are your hearts still intact? For those of you who have been with the BMD fam for a while, don’t worry. I absolutely let Meredith know that Part One was a must-see. From the farm, to the theme, to the ladder, things kick off on the Kent farm with all the nostalgia. Meeting Lois was everything we’ve waited for, and she had all of the moxie you’d expect. She’s also fiercely team Barry Allen, and there’s just something so right about that.
There are a whole lot of hijinks on the Kent farm. Barry finally gets Oliver back for shooting him all those years ago, and there are emotions to reconcile with while in Smallville. Oliver tries to rile Barry up because he needs to learn how to fight as the Green Arrow, but all he manages to do is piss himself off. Ollie believes that the Green Arrow’s strength comes from all of his darkness which, to an extent, may be true. But Barry does all the things he can with a smile on his face, and Oliver’s not ready for that. Their realizations that each of them get their power from deeply different emotional sources is cut short by Cisco dropping by to let them know that there’s a killer robot tearing apart Central City. You know, the usual.
Green Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Superman all make their way to Earth 1 to take on A.M.A.Z.O. Taking the two most powerful heroes across the multiverse and putting them up against a power stealing robot seems like a terrible idea, but what the hell do I know? Since Doctor Destiny will be the crossover’s big bad, A.M.A.Z.O is unfortunately shoehorned into villain of the week status. All the same, it was cool to see him make an appearance, and even cooler to see Oliver Queen smile in the middle of a fight. Or, you know, at all.
Not everyone’s filled with warm fuzzies over the robot’s defeat. While Oliver smiled amidst the fight, Barry got a lot darker than we’re used to seeing. He might be Oliver Queen in her eyes, but after their talk, Iris knows her husband is in there even if she’s not used to the face. When she says that Oliver Queen isn’t her type, she’s not just being superficial. Barry’s light in the face of constant darkness is what made Iris fall in love with him, and seeing the darkness he tapped into made her worry that she’d lose him for real in whatever weird universe they’ve found themselves in.
While Barry keeps tapping into the darkness to be the Green Arrow, Oliver will have to find something to run to. Considering the mention early on in Part One, hopefully while running to Felicity he finds some time to apologize for the fact that he abandoned her and perhaps stop blaming his adversaries for her newfound darkness. But first, we have to go to Gotham City!
Seven years. Seven years of the Arrowverse and we’re finally stepping foot in Gotham. I might be disappointed that we won't be meeting Oracle (despite her being acknowledged by name in Arrow), but damn am I ever excited to see Gotham (and Batwoman!). Be glad this is a review and not a podcast, because no one wants to hear me recreate the squealing sound I made when that music kicked in.
We’re a third of the way through Elseworlds, and Part One brought a really solid offering. A few of the older crossover events have struggled with their second entries, but here’s hoping things remain as solid as they were for The Flash when we take things over to Gotham (and likely Star City) on Arrow. If you had thoughts on the first chapter, shout ‘em out in the comments!