TV Review: Supergirl: 'Elseworlds, Part 3'

"So this is kinda becoming an annual thing, huh?" - Supergirl
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A trio of Sentries are teaming back up to take on DC TV's three-part "Elseworlds" crossover event.  See their coverage of Part 1 and Part 2.

Gordon S. Miller

In a fun twist, the episode begins not with Kara's usual introduction to viewers, but that of John Deegan who reveals he is now Superman.  Why he has a black and white uniform over the traditional colors is never expalined but was  probably to identify between the two

SuperDeegan (Tyler Hoechlin) confronts the powerless Barry (Grant Gustin) and Oliver (Stephen Amell), but they escape him.  Members of Team Arrow and Flash work for SuperDeegan at S.T.A.R. Labs and Kara (Melissa Benoist) is locked up in the Pipeline, a prison from The Flash that houses the super-powered.  I am unaware who other the Supergirl characters are and the status of thier relationships, so I was little behind as Kara connected with her adoptive sister Alex Danvers in spite of the altered reality.

Barry and Oliver venture to Earth-38 seeking help from Superman (Tyler Hoechlin).  He and SuperDeegan battle and the two take turns having the Book of Destiny under their control.  When Superman has it, all he has to do is open the Book in order for it to set the world back to its default setting, such as returning Barry and Oliver's powers and minds back to their bodies.  However, when SuperDeegan gets the Book back and starts rewriting reality, he leaves our heroes at full strength, a really poor decision by him and the episode's writers.  

In an effort to stop SuperDeegan, Barry/The Flash and Kara/Supergirl plan to travel the globe in opposite directions at Mach 7, which will somehow slow down time.  Superman saw in the Book that they will die trying this, but they go anyway because they are selfless heroes. Oliver has his own plan. He confronts the Monitor in an attempt to save Barry and Kara.  The Monitor offers to change their destinies but needs to make another in order to keep the balance.  This seems odd because what kind of balance is required in the universe when he has been giving the Book to multiple people in the Multiverse so they can distort reality?  Oliver doesn't ask my question, but instead makes some off-screen deal.

During the epilogue, Lois and Clark reveal her pregnancy to Kara and plan to have the baby on Argo and stay there.  Superman is going to stop being a hero because of how much he now has to lose.  Rather selfish and un-Superman-like as is pre-martial sex.  The episode ends with a tease of the next crossover, "Crisis of Infinite Earths Coming Fall 2019," and I do hope Black Lightning takes part.

This season's crossover had its usual fun moments of superhero action and character interaction, including moments where they learn from each other, that made it a pleasant watch for fans.  Unfortunately, it once again felt too rushed because of how many characters there are to deal with.  They might want to consider doing two weeks of episodes instead of one, and also spending more time working on the story.  Far too often, it was the writers not Deegan who were disappointingly forcing characters' destinies, which is why "Elseworlds" might be unsatisfying for those who are using it as an entry point to the Arrowverse.  While I enjoyed the non-Flash characters, I still won't be watching Supergirl or Arrow.

Shawn Bourdo

The conclusion to the Arrowverse crossover also brings the first half of this season to an end for the three core series.  And more than the previous crossover events, this "Elseworlds" story has tied together the different shows more than ever.  The episode shines when the three main characters are sharing conversation - not story exposition - just plain everyday conversation.  Heroes understand heroes.

As this crossover ends and teases some bigger stories for 2019, let's share a few thoughts on the conclusion to "Elseworlds."

I'm even more convinced that these crossovers shouldn't be named after the show titles.  The Supergirl cast is hardly represented here and other than Brainiac-5, they are just props at best.  The real stars are the heroes and they are rightly the focus of the episodes.

Tyler Hoechlin is a good actor for Superman.  He doesn't fit thematically in the pantheon of heroes that appear in the weekly shows but as long as he's willing to accept a supporting role, I appreciate his appearances.  We don't see Supergirl in comparison to other similarly powered heroes often.  At best, we get Martian Manhunter who has a very different set of skills.  This was a refreshing Superman who rightly pointed out that Supergirl is a stronger and improved version of himself in many ways.

After the build-up over the past two episodes, I was disappointed that John Wesley Shipp's Barry Allen/Flash was so sparely used.  The past versions of the Flash make him unique compared to the other two heroes.  That's part of the problem of throwing in all kinds of heroes and different versions of heroes into a story is that it's hard to given everyone the correct amount of screen time.

Ultimately, the answer to their question was that it wasn't either Freaky Friday or Quantum Leap.  Although on the surface the first episode played out as more of a Leap episode, this was more a blend of the types of stories you see weekly in The Flash and Supergirl.  The "Elseworlds" moniker means something more self contained in the comic world.  This is definitely in continuity for Arrow and to a lesser extent for The Flash.  Oliver is at an important point in Arrow as he goes public after a jail sentence.  But he's also questioning the role of the superhero and if it is worth losing his family and friends to pursue it.  The ending of this case points to a dark future for Oliver and should propel the rest of his season.

If some good is to come of this (other than more Batwoman!), it's hopefully more casual crossovers with the main three characters.  I don't always want to wait for a once-a-year type of crossover like this.  I want the characters to find themselves helping each other out or even just hanging out more often.  It's a shame that Legends didn't get an appearance other than the awesome Gary cameo.  It's the best show going on the CW and those characters would adapt to this Universe well.

That was a fun ride.  Thanks to everyone involved and see you for "Crisis".

Todd Karella

So this year’s crossover event is now officially over and it’s time to finish up discussion on the final episode. Overall, it felt like the final episode was rushed. Everything kept happening too quickly, and Barry and Oliver found there way out of their situation way too easily. I wish they would have spread it out over another night, which would have given it more closure. Different characters kept popping up on screen for a brief moment, which felt like they needed to fulfill something in their contract as opposed to having any real contribution towards the story. And then when things did slow down, it happened when the book was opened and reality was being rewritten, giving both sides opportunities to swipe it from one another.

But even though the plot was pretty weak and full of holes, the best moments (besides watching Superman beat up Superman) every time had to do with the interaction of the characters with one another. Barry and Oliver’s discussion about what it means to be a superhero¸ Kara convincing Alex that they really are sisters, Clark and Lois’ relationship, and Clark willingly handing off the superhero mantle to Kara are the moments that connect the entire story. And maybe the writers did that intentionally because as Oliver said the real test wasn’t to see how strong they were, but how good. So maybe the potholes really didn’t matter. At least that’s how I like to think about it. They had to use their brains instead of their powers. Oliver learned to appreciate what he has and to lighten up a little. Barry learned to be a little tougher. Kara gained some more confidence and leadership.

It will be interesting to see how these events and what everyone has learned from it will affect their individual shows. I’m hoping that it will make positive changes, although I think Oliver may pay some price for the deal he made with the Monitor. And as I mentioned in the previous episode review, nothing was completely resolved as they announced that next year’s crossover will be Crisis on Infinite Earths and will continue the story. From what I’ve read from online chatter, that event may bring all the various DC shows permanently together on the same Earth. It should be interesting, and I am looking forward to watching and reviewing once again.

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