TV Review: The Flash: 'Elseworlds, Part 1'

While the large overarching plot was only touched upon at the beginning and end of the episode, it came across as a self-contained story that just loosely connected the shows over the next three nights. - Todd Karella
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A trio of Sentries are teaming back up to take on DC TV's three-part "Elseworlds" crossover event.

Shawn Bourdo

The idea of an Elseworld story in the DC Comic Universe is that you don't have to be aware of current continuity as much as you only need to know the basic constructs of the characters.  That is not necessarily the case with this fifth annual Arrowverse crossover.  While not all of the shows are represented in this mashup, let's review where they stand.

Arrow - Tired of telling Team Arrow stories with flashback side stories, the show is trying to be part of the Netflix Marvel Universe with meaningless flash forward side stories.

The Flash - Realizing that previous season time-traveling stories left viewers confused about the past, the team brought in Flash's daughter from the future to try to fix what they ruined last season.

Supergirl - With the writers reading both The New York Times and Astro City over the break, the team is trying to make a point about the current political situation while telling it from the point of view of the Average Citizen.

Black Lightning - The best soundtrack award in a TV show for 2018 goes to this series that tells some kind of superhero family story mixed with Daredevil in order to get to the next music video. It does not take part in the crossover.

Legends of Tomorow - The best show of the bunch was also spared this crossover.  It's too bad because the addition of Constantine has turned this into the craziest and most humorous superhero show on TV.

Gordon S. Miller

As seen at the end of the last episode of each of the three series taking part in ths year's crossover, Jay Garrick as the Flash of Earth-3 runs from a powerful costumed character on Earth-90.  That character shows up on Earth-1 and gives a book to psychologist Dr. John Deegan (Jeremy Davies) that gives him untold power to reshape the world as he sees fit.  One part of that reshaping is Oliver (Green Arrow) and Barry Allen (The Flash) switching minds.  They tell Team Flash, who doubts them, which is so hard to believe it's ridiculous considering all the timeline hopping/altering and previous crossover adventures, but somehow this is the scenario they doubt.  It doesn't even occur to anyone to have Cisco "vibe" them.

Barry and Oliver escape to Kara's (Supergirl) Earth-38.  Not being a Supergirl watcher, this is the first time I've seen Clark Kent (Superman) and Lois Lane so I have no idea what they are talking about regarding a visit Krypton.  (Did viewers get to see it?  Or did it happen offscreen?)  While they are gone, A.M.A.Z.O., a robot that can adapt powers, is on the loose on Earth-1. The four heroes unite to tackle and defeat it in a matter of minutes.  But Barry and Oliver still aren't in the right bodies, but they have a clue that leads them to Gotham in Part 2. 

If one isn't already watching at least one of the three series, this is certainly not a gateway episode.  But fans should have fun seeing the heroes come together and interact again, especially Barry and Oliver trying to navigate their "new" powers and each other.  It could have used some info on who the Flash/Garrick encountered, and some suggestion on what Deegan is up to even though I know that's already coming, and just skipped A.M.A.Z.O.   

Shawn Bourdo

It's nice to see Jeremy Davies getting work.   I don't buy him as a villain, but he invokes memories of both Lost and Saving Private Ryan immediately.

The initial Freaky Friday aspect of Barry and Oliver waking in different bodies covers just about every trope we'd expect.  The testing of powers, the getting people to believe that they've changed bodies, and the getting mad at the person in the body they traded with all were covered in the first thirty minutes.  While good for a couple laughs, it was really only the recall to one of the first crossovers when Oliver shot Barry with the arrows in the back that I actually got a true laugh out of the circumstances.

I was more than a little uncomfortable with A.M.A.Z.O. that all of us, including the viewers were going to be sued by the Terminator franchise.

The arrival to the Supergirl Earth was the best part of the episode.  The Smallville recall is a nice bonus for older fans.  And while Barry and Oliver have a nice chemistry - as we've seen in previous seasons, it's when you bring in Supergirl that all three really shine.  The addition of the smart yet nerdy Supergirl tends to offset the harsh dichotomy of the Arrow and Flash characters.

Superman's appearance in the Arrowverse is nice but ultimately feels a little overkill.  A.M.A.Z.O. is defeated relatively easy compared to the build up and in the end the whole episode feels like an introduction mostly to get us to Gotham.  And really on a fifth time around the block we could have shorthanded those interactions into less than thirty minutes and made the battle a little more difficult.

Gotham carries with it the promise of Batgirl - stay tuned.

Todd Karella

I watch all the Arrowverse shows on the WB and every year I look forward to their major crossover event that involves several of the shows teaming up over multiple nights. Comic book fans will recognize who the mysterious character is that gives the mystical book to Dr. John Deegan, but for the average watcher it really doesn’t make a lot of sense. Obviously, he’s the individual about to cause some problems for our heroes, but there’s two more episodes to come in this story, so we’ll have to learn the method behind his madness later on.

There wasn’t a big storyline running through this first episode, but that didn’t matter because it contained a lot of heart. It was the interaction between the characters that made it worthwhile. The relationship between Barry and Oliver was hugely important to both characters. Oliver is having to learn to be a little less dark and Barry learns to suck it up and be a little tougher. The best scene was when Barry tells Oliver to run at him as fast as he can and he will try to hit him with an arrow. It’s a complete mirror image of the scene when Oliver had to train Barry to be a superhero and was satisfying for viewers to see Oliver get a little of his just desserts after all these seasons. We all love the Green Arrow, but he needs to get the attitude smacked out of him once in a while.

While the large overarching plot was only touched upon at the beginning and end of the episode, it came across as a self-contained story that just loosely connected the shows over the next three nights. It felt like the writers were just trying to throw in as much as possible to titillate the fans. And even though I knew that’s what they were doing, I have to admit that I geeked out over every minute of it. Finally getting to see Superman kicking some ass just put it over the top for me. Tomorrow night, they are heading to Gotham where they are going to meet Batwoman (Ruby Rose), who is a character nobody has seen before and will be an interesting addition to the Arrowverse. And I will definitely be watching.

Our reviews of "Elseworlds, Part 2" and "Part 3"

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