The Elseworlds event continues on Arrow. In a lot of ways, the second part of the crossover serves as a backdoor pilot for next year’s upcoming new DC Arrowverse spinoff. No matter, it works well enough and even makes me want to watch that show.
Barry Allen and Oliver Queen are still stuck in each other’s lives with each other’s powers. The gag goes so far as to allow Grant Gustin to deliver the Arrow opening credits voiceover. The strange red skies and lightning storm that recently appeared over Central City have made their way to Star City.
An A.R.G.U.S. team led by John Diggle confront villain Deathstroke Jr. and get their asses handed to them until Barry, Oliver, and Supergirl appear and save Diggle. He brings them back to Team Arrow headquarters, and Barry (as Oliver) calls Oliver’s wife Felicity to help figure out the connection between the lightning and the mysterious unnamed villain that Cisco vibed. He’s unaware that Felicity and Oliver’s marriage has been strained recently. Oliver asks Barry not to tell Felicity about their body-swapping problem, fearing that it will just make the situation even more awkward.
While discussing their plans to go to Gotham City, Oliver insists that Batman is just an urban legend concocted by the Gotham P.D. to scare criminals. Barry thinks he’s crazy. Supergirl flies Barry to Gotham while Oliver uses his new speed to run there. Oliver suggests that they reach out to an ex-girlfriend of his, a radio host named Vesper Fairchild. Barry tries, but nothing comes of this.
It’s pretty obvious right away that Gotham is a cesspool of crime and corruption with few redeeming qualities. Almost as soon as they enter town, the trio are confronted by a group of muggers who think they’re innocent tourists. Obviously, the tables get turned pretty quickly. However, cops arrive and immediately identify Barry as the feared vigilante Oliver Queen. Trying not to escalate the situation, Barry, Oliver, and Kara allow themselves to be arrested.
Oliver and company don’t spend too much time in jail before they’re bailed out by a mysterious benefactor. A driver drops them off at Wayne Tower, former residence of Bruce Wayne, who they learn left town three years ago without explanation. Funnily, that’s about the same time Batman disappeared. Weird…
The building has been vandalized and is in pretty sorry shape. Inside, they meet the tough, tattooed Kate Kane (Ruby Rose from John Wick: Chapter 2). She tells them that she’s Bruce Wayne’s cousin and is in the process of renovating the building. In the interest of letting them do their business so they can get out of town quickly, she offers to let them work on the building roof, which doesn’t seem like the most convenient office space but does have Wi-Fi. Oliver reveals that he stole a police computer on the way out of the station, and uses it to identify the other man from Cisco’s vision as Dr. John Deegan (Jeremy Davies), currently a doctor at Arkham Asylum.
Cisco and Caitlin arrive in Star City offering to help Felicity, and Cisco lets slip that Barry and Oliver switched lives. Felicity has determined that the red skies and weird storm are a breach to another dimension. The three of them whip up a device called a Quantum Flux Anchor, described as a magnet for whomever is trying to come through the breach. When they turn it on, the Jay Garrick Flash appears in a swirling cloud. He tells them to get the book, and then disappears.
Cisco opens a breach so that he, Caitlin, and Diggle can portal over to catch up with Barry and crew at Arkham Asylum. In order to sneak into the place, Caitlin plays a deranged patient being committed. There doesn’t seem to be much need for this, as the rest of them basically just walk in unimpeded. Oliver and Diggle snoop around until they find Deegan in his office. He knows Oliver instantly, and babbles something about how, “Changing reality itself has got a bit of a learning curve.” It seems that he wanted to become the Flash, but messed it up and accidentally caused Barry and Oliver to become each other instead.
Deegan runs, opening all the asylum cells to create a distraction. The inmates riot and stage a mass prison break. Oliver, Diggle, and Caitlin (as Killer Frost) try to get the loonies back into their cells.
A crazy guy in a mask hits Cisco with a van, but quickly gets captured by a Caped Crusader with long red hair, who’s awfully handy with a batarang. In awe, Cisco asks, “Who is this badass?” She looks and acts a lot like Batman, except that she’s a girl. You might call her Batgi… no… Batwoman!
Killer Frost faces off against a nutty woman wielding Victor’s Fries’ freeze ray gun. You’d think that wouldn’t hurt her, but it somehow knocks her out. She wakes up a moment later as Caitlin again.
Deegan makes his way to the basement and retrieves the magic book, but Supergirl takes it from him. Deegan gets away, however.
Oliver still hasn’t quite gotten the hang of Barry’s powers, and accidentally sets off canisters of Scarecrow’s fear toxin. This causes him to see Barry as Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh), and Barry to see him as Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman). Overcome by these delusions, the two fight each other until Batwoman swoops in and knocks them both down.
Once the majority of prisoners have been returned to their cells, the team thank Batwoman for her help. With the benefit of x-ray vision, Supergirl can easily see that she’s Kate Kane under the costume, but agrees to keep her secret.
Returning to Team Arrow HQ in Star City, Supergirl hands the book over to Felicity, hoping that she can crack its “cryptographic and metaphysical lock,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. I’m sure it’ll be easy. In the meantime, Oliver takes Barry’s advice and patches things up with Felicity.
Suddenly, another breach opens and Jay Garrick comes all the way through… except that, he claims he’s not Jay Garrick. He says he’s Barry Allen, a different Barry Allen, from Earth-90. (Hey, didn’t the old Flash TV show premiere in 1990? Pretty clever, writers.) This Barry tells them that the big alien dude is called The Monitor, and he’s been traveling through the multiverse testing Earths, leaving devastation in his wake.
Just at that moment, the Monitor appears on the news, making a scene on a city street. Oliver, Supergirl, and the two Barrys race over to confront him. He isn’t too impressed with any of them and makes Barry from Earth-90 vanish in a puff of smoke. He warns the three heroes remaining that someone even more dangerous is coming, and he’s been searching the multiverse for champions powerful enough to stop whomever it is. He hasn’t found any he likes yet, certainly not them.
The Monitor magically steals his book away from Felicity before she can open it and gives it back to John Deegan, telling him to, “Do better, think bigger.” Deegan opens the book two rewrite reality again. This time, Barry and Oliver find themselves wearing matching leather jackets, their powers seemingly gone. A newspaper headline identifies them as outlaws called the Trigger Twins. Before they even know what’s happening, Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) flies in, wearing a new black costume, and announces that he’s come to put an end to their villainous ways. Uh oh. What wackiness has that crazy book wrought this time?
I’m all in on Ruby Rose as Batwoman and am looking forward to that show, set to premiere in 2019. This episode goes to great lengths to set that up. Although it looks, perhaps unavoidably, a lot like Fox’s Gotham (which will wrap up its own run shortly), putting a female spin on the story should help to set it apart.
As for the Flash/Arrow/Supergirl crossover, part 2 acquits itself well in those parts too. The character work is great, everyone seems to be having fun, and the story and action are solid enough to hold the whole thing together. Let’s see if it can stick the landing in the finale.