REVIEW: Arrow, S7 Ep09 – Elseworlds, Part 2

After Sunday’s special presentation of The Flash, Arrow continues the current “Elseworlds” crossover and brings Diggle, Curtis, and Felicity along for the ride. “Elseworlds, Part 2” keeps the fun trend established in part 1 going and supplies a bit more detail explaining The Monitor’s motivations. Where this episode excels is without a doubt the highly anticipated introduction of Batwoman into the Arrowverse. While Gotham City has been mentioned in the past, more so since it was initially announced that Batwoman would make her debut this season, this week’s episode gave us our first look at Earth-1’s version of the infamous city as Ollie, Barry, and Kara make their way there in search of the mad scientist John Deegan.

Welcome to Gotham City

Despite the huge selling point that is Batwoman’s debut, this week’s episode does attempt to weave in subplots from what’s currently going in Arrow‘s seventh season. As usual Ollie and Felicity’s relationship is on the fritz, and the current body swap situation between Ollie and Barry shines a little light on this predicament. With everything going on with Olicity currently, both Barry and Ollie find it wise not to let Felicity know about their situation, despite telling both Diggle and Curtis. When the truth does come out, thanks to Team Arrow and Team Flash not being able to keep a secret, Felicity uses the information to question her relationship’s strength. If Iris was eventually able to see the Barry she’s supposed to know, wouldn’t Felicity be able to do the same with Ollie? Despite this insecurity Olicity does pass the test by the episode’s end, as Felicity is finally able to see and accept that Ollie is who he says he is. The dialogue between them eventually suggests that despite their problems, Olicity will continue to strive.

While seeing Ollie’s and Felicity’s relationship flourish is all well and good, we all know why we’re really watching this episode: Batwoman. And I’ll say her introduction does not disappoint. Before we get into her, though, let’s talk about Gotham City. Seeing the Arrowverse trinity essentially in Batman’s playground was a sight to behold. From the graffiti-riddled city streets to the back alley thugs and insane Arkham Asylum inmates, Earth-1’s version of Gotham City is on point, without being too over the top as it is in another series. “Elseworlds, Part 2” establishes this Gotham City as a city almost without hope, as both Batman and Bruce Wayne have left it behind three years ago.

While a specific reason is not given, with Batman out of the picture, we are able to focus completely on Kate Kane, a.k.a. Batwoman. Unsurprisingly, Kate is revealed to be Bruce Wayne’s cousin. This is an element that was introduced very late in Batwoman’s comic book history, revealed during the latter half of DC Comics’ The New 52 Batwoman series. In the Arrowverse, it seems Kate is keeping the Bat-mantle alive following her cousin’s disappearance while simultaneously being left in charge of Wayne’s endeavors. The episode establishes Wayne Enterprises as not being in the best standings, and even Wayne Tower is not looking up to standards. Kate proves herself a force to be reckoned with following a breakout in Arkham Asylum; a result of Deegan’s escape. While it would have been nice to see a bit more of her fighting criminals both alone and alongside the other heroes, her introduction served as a perfect tease. We now know what to look forward to when her own CW series becomes a reality, and yes, we need the Arrowverse’s Worlds’ Finest, Batwoman and Supergirl, to team-up more often.

Introducing Ruby Rose as Batwoman

This episode is just ridiculously fun, especially for longtime Batman/Batwoman fans. Arkham Asylum is filled with plenty of Easter eggs, from Batman villains’ names printed on doors to actual items like Bane’s mask, Mr. Freeze’s cold gun, and Scarecrow’s fear toxin.

The fear toxin itself plays well into the actual story of the episode as both Ollie and Barry come in contact with it, leading to them seeing each other’s fears. Ollie (as Barry) sees Reverse-Flash and Barry (as Ollie) sees Malcolm Merlyn. While Ollie seeing Reverse-Flash makes sense, Merlyn doesn’t make much sense as someone for Barry to see. Ollie’s initial fear of Merlyn from season one should be long gone considering how many times the two have become allies since.

While the meat of this episode serves as a way of introducing the Arrowverse audience to Batwoman and yet another version of Gotham City, it does eventually redirect itself back to the plot of “Elseworlds” as Ollie, Barry, and Kara come face to face with The Monitor. Both The Monitor and Earth-90 Barry Allen (John Wesley Shipp), who could have used more screen-time before disappearing again, go a bit into the Book of Destiny and how The Monitor is testing Earth-1 in preparation for a “crisis.” Though why exactly John Deegan’s imagination is being utilized is never quite explained.

While part 2 of “Elseworlds” lacks a clear reasoning behind its madness, the situation our heroes are placed in does allow for an extremely fun and entertaining crossover. It’s too bad it concludes in part 3. The story may have benefited from a fourth part, fleshing out the situation and The Monitor a bit more, but we’ll see what happens in Tuesday’s episode of Supergirl. In the meantime, we have plenty of DC Easter Eggs and potential reveals to look back on. John Diggle as the Green Lantern of Earth-90? Yes, please.