The Flash season 5 episode 9, “Elseworlds, Part 1” aired on December 9, 2018 as part of the 2018 CW Arrowverse crossover event
“It’s more of a quantum thing,” Barry explains. Because while Freaky Friday is the best pop culture reference for what’s happening, it is not a perfect analogy. Regardless, “Elseworlds” is already looking to be the most fun Arrowverse crossover event to date. It is more character-driven than function- (“Legends”) or plot-driven (“Invasion” and “Crisis on Earth X”). I see potential.
The book of everything
Again, we see John Wesley Shipp’s Earth 90 Flash (90’s Flash, geddit?) and the Monitor. The Monitor says the fallen heroes “did this to [them]selves.” He opens the thick book and light beams out of the pages, making this mysterious volume the most blatantly tropey representation of the magical book trope.
On Earth 1, psychiatrist John Deegan talks about genetic-engineering superpowers to treat mental patients. No one takes him seriously. The Monitor appears to hand him the book so Deegan can “reshape the world.”
A weird situation
Oliver wakes up in Barry and Iris’ loft. He soon finds Iris and everyone at Star Labs believe he is Barry. Also, he has Barry’s speed.
Meanwhile, Barry comes to in the middle of sparring with Diggle, who thinks he is Oliver.
The two men are soon thrown into their new roles as various robberies occur. They figure out how to use each other’s abilities/skills, but are still less adept. Oliver throws an out of control lightning bolt that unknowingly activates a robot, and Barry has trouble picking out different types of arrows.
Oliver runs to Star City to grab Barry and Diggle from their robbery. Diggle throws up, throwing us back to last year’s crossover. Barry gives Oliver the thumbs up for his “nice outfit.”
Barry gets protective
Barry is more stoked about being Oliver than vice versa, until he realizes what this implies about Oliver and Iris. It’s hilarious to watch as his expression immediately changes from jovial to murderous.
Stephen Amell plays Oliver’s confusion and discomfort in any interaction with Iris to comedic perfectly. Grant Gustin superbly switches between jealousy and heartbreak as Barry watches the two.
“Don’t touch her,” Barry warns Oliver.
Team Flash are hesitant to believe the two men. Barry says they just need to convince Iris. He coaches Oliver on how to talk to Iris.
“Tell her she’s your lightning rod.” “(laughs) I’m not saying that.” “It works every time!”
Unbeknownst to them, Team Flash have other plans. They knock out Barry and Ollie and lock them in the pipeline. Barry suggests other Earths may not be affected, so they should find Kara. The men manage to break out, but Iris is one step ahead and withholds the breaching device.
Barry delivers a heartfelt speech. He drops the lightning rod line, and what do you know, it does work! She hands over the device.
Elsewhere, Cisco has a vision of the Monitor. “Who the frack is that?”
With a little help from my Superfriends
Cut to Earth 38 as the Smallville theme song plays. Don’t those shots of the Kent Farm look familiar?
Barry and Oliver give Lois Lane a scare when they breach in unannounced. She threatens them with a hammer. “We come in peace!” Barry yells. Kara gets everyone introduced.
Oliver and Barry train each other with their powers. In a sequence heralding the very first Flash/Arrow crossover, Barry tricks Oliver and shoots him in the back with hidden crossbows.
This rubs Oliver the wrong way and he blows up on Barry. Later, he admits that Barry’s lightheartedness put him off, as his drive to be the Green Arrow stems from anger. Barry cites the opposite – being the Flash is a release from the pain. They decide they need to be emulate each other to master each other’s abilities.
Cisco breaches in for help. The robot, dubbed “Amazo,” is rampaging Earth 1 Central City and can copy metahumans’ powers.
Despite the quartet’s best efforts, Amazo gets a read on Kara, Clark, Oliver, and Barry. Behind the comms, Team Flash figure they could utilize the heroes’ weaknesses to contain Amazo, and program a virus to shut it down. Barry corrects that they have to “send it to hell” instead of just shut it down, which concerns Iris.
Cisco and Caitlin work in record time to create the virus. Kara and Clark pin down Amazo as Oliver distracts it with a speed chase. Then, Oliver prevents the robot from phasing out of the Kryptonians’ grip by counter-phasing it. Cisco delivers the virus to Barry, who fires it off as he growls Oliver’s “You have failed this city.”
On to Gotham!
Iris voices her concerns after the battle. She doesn’t want him to become too much like Oliver when he comes out of all of this. Barry promises to come back to her – as himself.
As an unabashed Westallen shipper, I’m glad they managed to tie their relationship into this year’s story, given how they were shunted almost as soon as their wedding was cut short in the last crossover.
Cisco shares his vibe of the Monitor with Barry and Oliver. This time, the Monitor is aware they can see him and basically tell them to give up. Oliver notices the Wayne Tower (!!!) in the background, and announces a trip to Gotham is in order.
As the episode ends, we see Batwoman watching over the city from a clock tower.
Other notable moments:
- Oliver: You have failed this city.
- Cisco, thinking Oliver is Barry: Pretty sure that’s not your line.
- Team Flash following Oliver into The Hallway
- Barry’s “I’m Oliver Queen! :D” to finding out he is Oliver
- “I’m the Green Arrow…oh crap.” – Barry
- “I forget, do I need help putting this on?” – Barry, when thrown the Arrow suit
- “Barry, did you time travel again?”
- “Why are we in your secret prison?” – Oliver to Barry, waking up in the pipeline
- “You skipped the part where you explain how we escape.” – Oliver when Barry decides to find Kara
- “DECK HIM, BARRY! What? He [Oliver] was a jerk.” – Lois
- Oliver calling out Barry’s need to have pep talks from Iris – A+
(But the best line goes to Ralph’s “Oh man, it’s not even Tuesday.”)
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(featured image: the CW)