We did it! We made it through another crossover! And even though, as always, Supergirl felt sidelined, even in her own episode, I think this was my favorite crossover yet. So let’s dive into it, because there was a lot to unpack.
Previously on the SuperFlarrow Crossover Event called Elseworlds, Oliver and Barry switched bodies but no one else on Earth-1 could tell so they went to Earth-38 to get Supergirl’s help. An all-powerful being called The Monitor gave a not-so-powerful human named Deegan a book that could rewrite reality to test out to see if this universe was ready to face something bad that’s coming. Oliver, Barry, and Kara enlisted the help of Batwoman, but the Monitor just hit the reset button as soon as they reached the big boss level. Rude.
Just like Barry took over Oliver’s opening credits, Deegan took over Supergirl’s, telling his own origin story, about how he was working in Arkham until he was given the power to do whatever he wanted. And now he’s the Superman in all black Oliver and Barry ran into at the end of the last episode.
And so there we pick up, with Dark Superman facing off against the adorably named Trigger Twins in their cute little matching cravats. I kept wanting them to burst into Greased Lightning or something. I was a big fan of their outfits. ANYWAY, they figure out that Dark Superman is actually Deegan and tell him that he can dress like a hero but he can’t fake being a hero. Deegan is determined though, so Oliver gives him his chance by knocking over a tower, forcing Deegan to choose between saving the children or stopping Barry and Oliver. He decides to play the part so Oliver and Barry book it. (Barry adorably hates being bad; it gives him a tummy ache.)
Dark Superman goes back to Star Labs, which is now more like SuperLabs, and has Diggle and The Meta Formerly Known As Killer Frost in tactical gear, applauding their leader.
An agent comes in to tell them of a disturbance in the cells, and Frost says it’s Subject 1, who has been fussy all morning, but Dark Superman says he’ll handle it. Subject 1 turns out to be Kara, who can tell from the look on Deegan’s face it’s not her cousin, even though they technically have the same face.
Kara asks him why he’s playing Superman and he says that in the first go-round he wanted to be The Flash, but then he saw her in action and knew she was the superior hero. She challenges him then, wanting to know why he choose Superman’s face, not her own. “Too afraid to be a woman?” she asks him, and it’s a miracle it didn’t shatter his male ego and save the day right then and there.
He ignores her question though and points out that she technically doesn’t exist on this Earth. So there’s no one to stop him from being a hero. Kara gets fired up but all of a sudden her ears are ringing, and it’s because Agent Alex Danvers is there bringing the pain.
Alex threatens her and talks to her like she’s a stranger, or worse, an enemy, and Kara looks back at her like Alex just threatened to kill her pet bunny.
Deegan sees this exchange and realizes Kara must know Alex on her Earth; he didn’t even plan that one. But he uses it to his advantage, saying that Kara better behave or he’ll kill Alex.
Oliver and Barry decide they need to go find Cisco so he can breach them to Earth-38 so they can get the real Superman and sort all this out. But on their way to find Cisco, they get scooped up by The Monitor. Oliver demands he tell them what the heck is going on, and The Monitor reads him as willing (though not eager) to die. Which is intriguing to him. He says that survival will be found if they can know their true selves, which is exactly the kind of riddle-tastic bullshit I expected him to say.
So Barry and Oliver restart their mission to find Cisco, and since everything in this reality is flipped on its head, Cisco is probably one of the bad guys, too. So they head to a baddie bar and find Gary bartending. Because of course he is. And even though he’s technically a bad guy, he’s still Gary at his core, nerding out about seeing his favorite criminals. (Even calls them Legends. Ba dum kss.)
Gary leads the boys back to Cisco aka The Boss, who is counting money and looking more serious than our Cisco ever dares.
At SuperLabs, Kara calls out to Alex and tries to reason with her. Alex says she’s heard about horrible, evil things Kara has done, but Kara promises that isn’t true, that none of this is real. But Alex won’t listen.
At the Bad Bar, Oliver and Barry fight Cisco’s henchpeople, lead by James Olsen. Who I’m pretty sure called himself, “Superman’s Worst Pal” and honestly if I’m wrong don’t correct me because I got a good hearty chuckle out of it.
Before James can kill Barry and Oliver, Barry uses his knowledge of Cisco’s brother to get him to at least hear them out. They think he’ll like their plan: to get rid of Superman. But they need Cisco’s breaches (which he has thus far only been using to rob banks) to do it.
Back at SuperLabs, Frost tries to get Alex to go home early, kick back, relax, maybe go on a date. Frost asks her if she has any boyfriends, and an eavesdropping Kara is confused. Alex says she doesn’t have a boyfriend, just went on one bad date or two with a guy from another department. Frost tells Alex to let loose and is maybe almost sort of flirting with her? But also that’s sort of Frost’s whole ~thing.
She warns Alex about letting her heart turn to ice, but Alex would really rather work. Frost shrugs and leaves her to it, and Alex watches her leave in what could be a, “Wow she almost found out my secret,” way or a, “Damn I wish I had been brave enough to use that opening to ask her out” look. Either way, we have a very unhappy Alex on our hands.
Oliver, Barry, and Cisco breach to Earth-38 and find themselves in the Fortress of Solitude, where I guess Superman and Lois Lane hang out sometimes. Anyway, Lois knows Superman has got to go, so go he does.
Back in the SuperLab cell, Kara tries to talk to Alex but Alex zaps her again.
But this time she’s stopped when Kara starts speaking in another language. Kara tells her it’s a phrase Alex Danvers taught to her in her reality, a phrase that means “pinky swear” that Alex taught her the first night they went flying together.
Kara tells this Alex that her Alex is similar to her in some ways, drawn to service, for example. But that her Alex is in charge. She’s a leader. Kara says that her Alex won’t just follow orders if she knows they’re wrong, she’ll “give them hell” and do what she believes is right. Her Alex doesn’t have powers, but she’s a hero with a big-ass heart. She has a found family, and she doesn’t have to hide who she is.
Alex is quiet now, looking at this stranger who is telling her things about herself she wishes she could see, too. Kara looks Alex in the eyes and says confidently that her Alex wants a wife and kids, and is optimistic that she’ll find them. It’s not an if, but a when.
Alex is a little floored by this but tries not to look too shaken. But Chyler plays the subtlety so well. Her eyes never leave Kara but there’s this intake of breath and you can feel it knocking one of her walls clean over. Being able to talk about it in the third person helps too, this is some other Alex she’s talking about, she says that Kara’s Alex sounds pretty awesome, and I think we can all agree she is.
Kara says that she might not be Alex’s sister in this reality, but she can tell that there’s still all the best parts of Alex in her. And it’s true; Alex was always Alex. Kara didn’t change her, not at her core. But when Kara came into her life, she gave her a fierce maternal instinct and sense of responsibility that might have taken longer to develop otherwise. Watching Kara come into her own as Supergirl (and helping her do so) gave Alex stepping stones to do the same. Having Kara there to test coming out on, even if it didn’t go the way she hoped the first time, having Kara there to hold her when she got her heart broken for the first time, having Kara at the dinner table when she wanted to come out to her mother. These were all factors in Alex becoming the Alex we know and love today. Maybe she would have gotten there eventually on her own, but why risk it with a Kara-less existence?
Alex asks Kara if she’ll really stop Dark Superman if she lets her out, and Kara pinky swears. So Alex agrees.
They start to make their escape, but before they can get too far, they’re stopped by Dark Superman and his crew. Frost snarks at Alex in a way that sort of implies she thinks she broke Kara out of her cell to take her on a date? It’s a little unclear but it’s Frost snark so I’ll take it.
Kara starts to cover for her, saying she tricked her, that it was her idea, but Alex steps in and says, firmly, “She’s my sister.”
When the boys get back from Star Labs with Superman in tow, they’re just about finishing telling him that they have no idea where Kara is when who do they run into but Kara. And also Alex. And everyone they’re facing. Fighting ensues! The Supermen fly off together, Cisco breaches back to safety, Oliver draggs Diggle and Frost into an elevator to fight them, leaving Barry alone with Kara and Alex.
And hilariously, Alex immediately attacks Barry. Barry’s not even mad about it, calling her a “badass in every reality” before Kara calls her off. Once she’s convinced Barry is a good guy, Alex leads them to Dark Superman’s Fortress of Solitude which is what we know as the Time Vault. They find the book in there, and Kara tries to open it so she can fix reality.
But unfortunately, she can’t do it and it looks a little like it’s trying to suck her brain out. They think it might be because she’s still weak from the power dampeners in her cell.
Alex says they can’t stay or they’ll get caught, so Kara decides to take the book to her cousin for help. When Superman gets the book, he opens it, and at first it seems like he’s fixing reality, but then Dark Superman grabs Barry and threatens to kill him if Superman doesn’t stop. Oliver appears, equipped with his Green Arrow suit, a kryptonite arrow notched and ready.
But Barry doesn’t want that. He doesn’t want another death on Oliver’s conscience, not because of him. He calls to Oliver, telling him that he doesn’t have to channel his darkness, that he can be better. So Oliver puts the kryptonite arrow down.
Unfortunately, this means Dark Superman has an opening to grab the book and fly away.
Alex has more questions about this whole rewriting reality stuff, and Kara does her best to explain. But she reassures Alex that no matter what, deep down, she’s still Alex. Alex recognizes that it must be this open-hearted but strong, bold but kind woman who helped this other version of herself. She says, “Your sister is a very lucky woman,” and Kara responds that she’s a lucky sister. The Danvers sisters will save us all.
Alex, in her Alexy way, knows Kara will save the world, and Kara flies off to do just that.
Deegan is working hard to change reality again, and Barry says that if he and Supergirl go around the earth enough times they can slow down time. Superman says he saw in the book that they’ll burn up and die if they do this, but Barry and Kara have to try because of who they are as people. So they zip off together.
Oliver smashes his way back to The Monitor and yells at him to cut this shit out. The Monitor thinks it’s funny that Oliver is barking orders at a godlike being but Oliver is determined. He says the Monitor told them they had to know who they were, and he does. He’s full of darkness. But you know what else he knows? Barry and Kara aren’t. That’s right, Oliver “Oliver First” Queen is actually defending and complimenting other people. Calling them good, calling them better. It’s truly a groundbreaking achievement. He says Barry and Kara inspire hope, and that they’re the best of us and that they can’t die. The Monitor is impressed. But he demands balance.
Back in the chaos, Deegan is still holding the book when the real Superman comes to fight him. Things are looking bleak when all of a sudden, Lois Lane shows up to save the day. With a cosmic anvil hammer.
Also with Brainy and J’onn in tow.
Lois uses the hammer to get the book away from Deegan, and he retaliates, sending her flying through the air. Luckily, just then is when Kara and Barry successfully slow down time, despite the fact that their precious lil faces are burning up.
During this period of slowness, Oliver shoots the book with an arrow, and Superman catches Lois Lane, just like he always does.
Supergirl and Flash stop burning up, the book looks burnt to a crisp, and Deegan is starting to look like his comic book alter ego, Doctor Destiny, with a mummified looking face.
Kara and Barry return to their friends and Oliver is pleased. Goodness prevailed.
The team heads back to Star Labs and Kara and Barry mock Oliver for smiling, not knowing the sweet, gentle things he said about them. Cisco opens a breach and sends the folks from Earth-28 home, and Kara says, “Peace out,” which makes me laugh because usually aliens are saying “We come in peace.”
Back on Earth 38, Smallville, Kara is saying goodbye to Clark as she gets ready to head back to National City. Clark tells her that regardless of what happens with the DEO, she’s still a hero, and Alex will always, always have her back. He reminds her that she’s so much stronger than him, and not in an accusatory way. He’s proud of his little older cousin, and he knows that the world is in good hands as long as she’s in its skies looking out for it.
Which is why he feels okay with his decision, and finishes telling her that news he was going to tell her back in Part 1 of this crossover.
Lois and Clark are having a baby!
And since it’s going to be a half-Kryptonian baby, they decided it’s best to go to Argo so the yellow sun doesn’t cause the fetus to claw its own way out of Lois’s stomach like a whole different type of Alien. They’ll live on Argo indefinitely, but like he said, Earth-38 is in good hands.
In fact, Lois interjects, it might even be safer because women are statistically better in a crisis than men. Which I guess is a fact that the writers learned at the end of this crossover script.
Also, are we getting an Argo spinoff with this Superman and this Lois Lane? Because we spent a lot of time in the Fortress of Solitude with just the two of them and Clark proposed and it was all sweet and cute but they already established they were leaving, so unless they’re planning on a spinoff, I’m not sure what the point of this was exactly. But it’s cute! It’s cute. I like Lois Lane. And wouldn’t mind seeing her be an investigative reporter on another planet.
Back on Earth-1, Central City, Oliver and Barry bond about how much they’ve learned by stepping into each other’s costumes. Oliver calls Barry a good man, and that he’s inspired to be better, and honestly if this is a turning point in Arrow, it could really do that show a lot of favors.
Their bro sesh is interrupted by a phone call: it’s Batwoman! She’s mad.
Deegan is in Arkham but the guy in the gold mask has been whispering through the cell walls, and those two together will surely end in chaos. Which I guess we’ll see on her potential new series.
The very last shot of this crossover event is a title screen that says something (I imagine another crossover?) called Crisis on Infinite Earths, coming our way in Fall 2019.
Overall I thought this crossover was very fun. Introducing a new problem for the crossover and having it more evenly span all three shows felt more successful and seamless this time around. Of course I’ll always want more women than they feature, but as much as I could have gone without two Supermen, I do like this actor who plays Clark on Supergirl so it didn’t end up being as obnoxious as it could have been. I loved the alternate realities and the heartfelt Kara/Alex moments, and I’m continually proud of them for exceeding my low, low bar and talking about queer stuff even on these crossovers when people who only watch Arrow or The Flash might not be expecting it. And I liked Batwoman a helluvalot more than I thought I would.
So now we rest our weary heads for a little over a month, and we’ll return with what will hopefully be an Alex-filled back half of Supergirl Season Four.
Crisis on Infinite Earths is one of the biggest and bestselling comics crossovers of all time — basically, a writer got sick of the whole multiverse thing and wrote a twelve-episode series (with tie-ins in other comics) in which a villain starts destroying worlds, killing literally hundreds of characters (including Supergirl and Barry Allen) and creating a single earth at the end. It was basically a full-scale reboot of the DC universe. I can’t see them killing Kara or Barry in the Arrowverse, but we could end up with some exciting results like Supergirl’s earth being combined with the main one.
My thoughts exactly. I too am hoping that they smoosh Barry and Kara’s worlds together into one yummy world. That way we can get more guest appearances and cameos and maybe mini crossovers.
My guess is that given Oliver’s death wish, the Monitor asking for balance, and the constant refrain of “rewriting destiny”, Oliver is going sacrifice himself so that everyone else can live. It would be a fitting end to Arrow IMO and maybe the only way to prevent Barry’s future disappearance.
Am I the only one who found Alt-Alex’s side ponytail distracting?!
I had to rewatch the first scene between her and Kara a couple of times because I kept wondering “why” they gave her that hairstyle. I’m assuming they were trying to make her look “straight”, but it made me think of the only time I went to the women’s music festival because I swear the side ponytail was the official hairstyle of every white queer woman there.
I hoped when the universe rebooted alt-Alex would not have that side ponytail…but nope it was still there.
I have been thinking about the hair and wonder if it wasn’t to show how conflicted this Alex is. It is an almost hairstyle that looks like it doesn’t know what it wants to be but is extreme enough to say I am trying to be something.
Well, this crossover had some fun highlights, but overall I was a little disappointed. It felt like it wasn’t actually about anything. Space guy shows up and says you must prepare for… something? It felt more like a setup for next year’s crossover than it was its own event.
And yes, Jimmy definitely said he was Superman’s Worst Pal and it was my favorite moment in the episode. That and Barry exasperatedly saying, “I just came from there!” when he finds out he has to go back to the Fortress of Solitude.
Does anyone else feel like these crossovers would work better if they were just their own limited series or just like full-length TV movies instead of Flash episode/Arrow episode/Supergirl episode? The structure of these always seems imbalanced. And it’s weird to watch each character’s supporting cast come and go.
My only concern would be that Supergirl may be sidelined even more than she already is, but if they did it right, it could mean they could focus on each main character equally throughout.
Supergirl got sidelined ON HER OWN SHOW. Shame.
The crossover was good but Crisis on Earth-X was better. Speaking of Earth-X – wasn’t Alex good there too? I guess it doesn’t matter what Earth or universe it is – Alex will always be pure and good…even if they insist on fitting her with truly terrible wigs.
I think I’d like to see mini crossovers in the future. I mean a Supergirl and LoT crossover would be AWESOME as would another Flash/Supergirl crossover especially if Kara and Barry get to be all goofy and sunshine-y together.
I wanted Agent Frost, and I ALMOST got it. Caitlin was being a caring “friend” for Alex in what I choose to believe was a way to try and sound her out.
I was holding my breath about Ruby Rose being able to pull off Batwoman. She was pretty good as brooding Batwoman and flirting Kate Kane. We’ll see about being able to handle more challenging material…
Thanks for the flurry of recaps! This crossover highlighted some of the elements I love most in each show–the bond between the Danvers Sisters, Barry Allen being adorable in every situation and outfit, strong women with great witty comebacks–and also reminded me of why I am more invested in some story lines and decisions than others. For example, I lost my patience for Oliver Queen’s All-Consuming Darkness Vibe a long while ago. I am actually kinda excited for the Batwoman series, and am optimistic about Ruby Rose, but I do hope it leaves room for warmth and humor amidst the Gotham grit.
P.S. agreed on the more Killer Frost, I want her to be here and queer and maybe share her lipstick collection with me!
The hammer is her … …wait.
“… it’s a miracle it didn’t shatter his male ego and save the day right then and there.”
Taunting or giving a monologue gives a villain’s ego temporary immunity to Fragile Masculinity. It’s right there in the rule book, in the same section on how heroes get a buff if they make an entrance on a dramatic one liner.
Speaking of masculinity, Tyler Hoechlin’s take on Superman is a pure nugget of Wholesome Masculinity, one of the few examples I know of in the wild. I for one am glad for it.
Although it was fun seeing him camp it up as evil Superman.
The scene where Kara gives her monologue to Alex is so beautiful. The soft piano accompaniment, the choral rendition of Supergirl’s theme, and the blocking and lighting is perfect. As Kara draws Alex in with her words, Alex steps forward, out of the shadow, and into cold blue and white light. And then, at the end, when she turns and walks away and stops in the warm light. Another nice use of lighting as metaphor, in my opinion.
“Oliver Queen, death is your gift…”
I could not get over Alex’s unflattering, “I’m totally straight!” wig. But I agree that it seemed like Killer Frost was flirting Alex in that way two queer women do when they’re not sure if the other person is also queer.
I still think Crisis on Earth-X is my favorite but I’m a sucker for a body swap plot. It was really nice to see Grant Gustin get to flex his comedic muscles after so much grimdark on The Flash.
Hugely excited for Crisis on Infinite Earths. They’ve been hinting at it since season 1 of The Flash and the fact that they’re announcing it so early means they’re planning something big.
Okay but Kara just went back to Earth 38 without even looking around for Alt-Alex? Maybe Alt-Alex could really use a hug.
This crossover just didn’t stick the landing for me. It felt disjointed. While I thought the Superman v Dark Superman acting was awesome, and Lois and Clark/Superman cuddly kittens cute, I felt the Monitor storyline was mostly pointless.
I say ‘mostly’, because I am assuming it was primarily setting up Batwoman. Did the Monitor just nope out after the book was fried? I was not impressed with Ruby Rose, so I won’t be watching Batwoman to find out. I wanted to love her, but it just didn’t happen. That Hot Topic wig (insert eye roll).
Earth 1 Alex? I didn’t see her disappear during the reality reset. Deegan would not have known about her having never heard of Supergirl, so where’d she come from and where’d she go? #DanverFrost
Finally, the Supergirl writers need to get over making groups of people of color the villains. Cisco, Jimmy, etal recalled the bad optics of last season. Yes, I know that is not always the case, and yes I know we were playing the evil twin game, but I did not need to see that particular cliché played out at the rogue bar.