In ‘The Flash’ recap for the first part of the ‘Elseworlds’ crossover, Barry and Oliver are swapped into each other’s bodies and they are forced to travel to Earth-38 for help….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The latest ‘Arrow-verse’ crossover has officially kicked off — this time in three parts stretching across ‘The Flash’, ‘Arrow’ and ‘Supergirl’ with the theme titled ‘Elseworlds’.
While the real plot of the crossover hasn’t exactly been revealed, what we know for certain is this — there’s a universe crossing alien named the Monitor, who appears to go from world to world creating chaos but for what reason we’re not exactly sure. After obliterating Earth-90 (where we find the 1990’s version of the Flash), the Monitor travels to Earth-1 where he meets a wild-eyed psychiatrist named John Deegan.
Deegan’s theories are so crazy that his fellow colleagues walk out of his lectures as he suggests the only way to make humans feel as adequate as their meta-human counterparts is to give them powers. After his colleagues abandon him, Deegan is approached by the Monitor and given a giant book — called the Book of Destiny — and he’s encouraged to rewrite this world in whatever way he chooses.
Perhaps the Monitor subscribes to chaos theory and he just wants to see what happens when the entire world is turned on its head. Then again, he could just be a malevolent being who thrives on the destruction of other worlds.
Whatever the reason, Deegan now has control of the Book of Destiny and he decides to rewrite the world he way he wants to see it and that’s where our story begins this week.
The crossovers in the ‘Arrow-verse’ are always some of the best episodes of the season, especially when there’s a strong storyline to serve as the backbone between the series. It’s also going to be fun to watch how the shows treat the crossover his season with only three series involved — ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ didn’t play a part this time around.
If there’s one very minor criticism about the crossover it’s that the three separate shows don’t really lead into these big events but rather they just sort of fall backwards into them. On ‘The Flash’, the team had just managed to figure out the identity of the big bad this season named Cicada and gone to battle with him one episode ago. Suddenly that’s just put to the backburner and the team turns its attention to the new problem plaguing the world instead.
Again, it’s a minor quibble but it would be a little more fun to see the three (or potentially four) shows at least begin teasing these crossovers in prior episodes so when the big event finally happens, it feels like a massive payoff for what’s been teased all season long. Instead, these crossover episodes are a ton of fun but lately they’ve just been shoehorned into the season for the shows involved.
Something to think about going forward as the crossovers could get even more ambitious in future years with rumors of a ‘Batwoman’ show possibly in the works at the CW as a result of this particular major event series.
With that said, let’s get to our recap of ‘The Flash’ titled ‘Elseworlds Part 1’…
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
It’s morning time in Central City and Oliver Queen wakes up in a bed that he doesn’t recognize with a sweet voice calling to him from the kitchen to say that breakfast is ready. When Oliver makes his way out of the bedroom, he’s greeted by a kiss from Iris and judging by the photos in the apartment, he figures out that he’s become Barry Allen.
In fact, everybody from Iris to Cisco to Caitlin is calling him Barry — and Oliver is appropriately freaked out.
He does enjoy the super speed that comes along with being Barry Allen, however, and soon enough he’s called into action as the Flash to stop a robbery happening at IVO Labs across town. Oliver gets the job done but not without using a little more force than the team is used to seeing but that’s mostly because he has no clue what he’s doing right now.
Meanwhile back in Star City, the real Barry Allen is in the middle of a sparring session with John Diggle, who believes he’s throwing punches with Oliver Queen. Barry holds his own and gets the better of Diggle in the training session and soon figures out that he’s not in Central City anymore.
Much like his counterpart, Barry is forced to take on the costume of his old pal Oliver Queen as he becomes the Green Arrow to take down some thugs in Star City.
Finally, Oliver arrives in Star City with his super speed to ask Barry what the hell is going on? How did they end up in each other’s bodies but more importantly why doesn’t anyone know who they really are?
They decided to return to Central City to ask for help from Team Flash because if anybody could figure this one out it’s the people who jump from universe to universe and crossover dimensions on a regular basis.
Sadly, Team Flash is just as confused by the revelation that Barry and Oliver have swapped lives yet no one believes it’s actually happened. In fact, Team Flash is so concerned that this might be some kind of elaborate rouse that they knock out the pair of heroes and lock them in the pipeline for safe keeping until they can figure out what’s going on.
Imprisoned with no easy way to escape, Barry and Oliver are forced to look for alternative plans to convince their friends that they’ve been body swapped. That’s when Barry comes up with the idea to travel to Earth-38 and visit his old friend Kara Danvers to see if she has a better recollection about who they really are.
To escape, Barry is forced to use his skills as Oliver to dislocate his own thumb to get out of a set of handcuffs so he can short out some wires in a hidden toilet to turn off the power dampeners in the cell. Oliver then has to use his powers as the Flash to phase them through the walls so they can get out of the prison cell.
To get to Earth-38, Barry and Oliver will need the extrapolator but Iris is the one holding onto it and they have to convince her to let them use it. Barry talks to his wife and tries to convince her that he’s the one she’s really in love with — and despite this twisted reality Iris believes him so she hands over the extrapolator. Barry and Oliver jump through the portal and make their way to Earth-38
Perhaps the best part of the entire crossover came during the next part of the episode when we pick up on Earth-38 at the Kent farm — with the theme song to ‘Smallville’ playing!!!
There we find Clark and Lois Lane playing host to his cousin Kara, who is visiting from National City after the latest episode of ‘Supergirl’ saw the President of the United States demand she reveal her real identity and when she refused, she was booted from her job at the DEO. Kara went to the Kent farm to recoup while Clark and Louis are just back from Argo City where they visited the last remnants of Krypton.
When Barry and Oliver arrive from Earth-1, they find Kara who recognizes them immediately and at least for the time being they’ve found a friend who believes they’ve been swapped into each other’s bodies.
Still, they are stuck searching for answers before returning to Earth-1 because nobody else buys their story.
While on Earth-38, Barry and Oliver train with each other — a callback to the first season of ‘The Flash’ — so they can help learn their powers as Arrow and the Flash. Unfortunately, Oliver ends up pissed off after Barry springs a trap on him — the same one he laid back when they first trained together — but he’s not laughing like his friend from Central City.
That’s when Barry and Oliver realize the only way to harness their abilities are to behave like each other. For Oliver to become the Flash, he needs to channel the joy and happiness that he feels when teamed up with his friends while Barry has to tap into his darkness and anger to truly aim straight as the Green Arrow.
Back on Earth-1, an evil robot named AMAZO has been powered on after the battle at IVO Labs (thanks to an accidental lightning strike from Oliver when he was trying to figure out his powers as the Flash). The robot has been built to adapt and take on the powers of whatever metahuman its facing and after dispatching both Cisco and Killer Frost, the rest of Team Flash is stuck looking for an alternate plan.
At STAR Labs, Cisco is trying to figure out a plan when he accidentally vibes the Monitor for a split second and sees him talking to John Deegan. Cisco has no idea what this means but he’s sure it has something to do with this weird body swap talk that Barry and Oliver were talking about before they were locked up and later escaped.
Cisco then travels to Earth-38 to find Barry and Oliver and tell them that he believes their story but he needs them back home to help stop this killer robot before it gets any more powerful than it already is. Clark, Lois and Kara decide to tag along — and they all return to Earth-1 to do battle with AMAZO.
Road Trip to Gotham
Back in Central City, the Flash, Green Arrow, Supergirl and Superman team up for an all out battle against AMAZO. The robot nearly gets the better of them as it continues to adapt and evolve while adding each of their powers during the fight.
Finally, it’s down to Oliver and Barry playing towards their instincts as the Flash and Green Arrow, who devise a plan to take down the killer robot. With one final arrow strike that downloads a virus into AMAZO, the robot is brought down and destroyed just like Barry wanted.
The team returns to STAR Labs with Clark and Lois deciding to return to Earth-38 just in case this same phenomenon lands there looking to start trouble. Meanwhile, Iris pulls Barry aside after hearing him talk about sending the robot straight to hell and she realizes that to become the Green Arrow, he’s being forced to take on some of Oliver’s less admirable qualities.
She begs Barry to fix the universe but during his time playing the Green Arrow that he doesn’t allow too much of Oliver Queen to seep into his personality. Oliver has been haunted by his darkness for years and it’s nearly destroyed every relationship he’s had with friends, family and the people he loves. Iris never wants Barry to become that same kind of person, no matter how much he has to pretend to be Oliver to strike back as Green Arrow.
Finally, the team joins Cisco on a vibe after he tells them about his strange experience in the lab earlier. All three of them vibe back to that same moment with the Monitor handing over the Book of Destiny to John Deegan.
Interesting enough, the Monitor can actually see them during the vibe session but the team escapes with some answers about where to go next.
Oliver scribbles a photo of what he saw during the vibe including one key building in the background of that meeting between the Monitor and John Deegan. It’s Wayne Enterprises, which means John Deegan is in Gotham City.
Oliver and Barry mount up for a road trip because on the next episode of ‘Arrow’ on Monday night, they are traveling to the home of the Dark Knight.
‘Arrow’ will be the next part of the ‘Elseworlds’ crossover on Monday night and we will return with another recap following that episode!