Monday, December 10, 2018

REVIEW: 'Arrow' - Oliver, Barry and Kara Travel to Gotham and Meet Batwoman in 'Elseworlds, Part 2'

The CW's Arrow - Episode 7.09 "Elseworlds, Part 2"

With Oliver and Barry still stuck in the other's bodies, the two get a lead on John Deegan and head to Gotham City with Supergirl to figure out why their reality has changed. While there, they meet the mysterious Kate Kane who provides them with information that leads the group to Arkham Asylum.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of The CW's Arrow.

"Elseworlds, Part 2" was directed by James Bamford with teleplay by Marc Guggenheim and story by Caroline Dries

Ruby Rose makes her debut as Kate Kane aka Batwoman here. It's a very impressive debut as well. When first teasing the crossover event this year, the creative team announced the introduction of Batwoman to the proceedings. Then, it was revealed that an entire series was being developed around her character. As such, there is so much importance to the expanded universe's introduction of Gotham here because it could lead to a further expansion of this reality. Sure, the audience may question just how many superhero shows are needed on The CW. Three of them are crossing over this week with Legends of Tomorrow and Black Lightning sitting things out. And yet, this hour does a solid job in introducing this new city and making the audience intrigued enough to know more. At times, it feels like it is throwing a lot at the viewer in the hopes that something will stick. It can be an information dump in order to properly set up a series that the creative team hopes will come to fruition next season. But it's also very amusing to see Barry, Oliver and Kara debating over whether Batman exists or not. It appears to only be a question on Earth-1. On Kara's Earth, Batman does exist and is a frenemy of Superman. That tracks given everything the audience knows about the DC mythology from the comic books. It also quickly establishes a bond between Kate and Kara because they both feel like they are living in the shadows of their more famous cousins. That makes it a little disappointing that Batwoman isn't introduced on Kara's Earth. Instead, she exists in the Earth that already features the Green Arrow and the Flash. Of course, that's fitting as well. Oliver prides himself on being the first vigilante to serve as a hero and protector of his city. If Batman were to exist, then that would challenge that title for him. As such, he rebukes the notion despite the mounting evidence. And then, Batwoman swoops in to save the day when the inmates from Arkham Asylum are set free to wreak havoc. It all still plays into the overall story of the crossover as well. The show probably wouldn't lose anything if it just dropped the Gotham story altogether. However, it's a fun detour that proves just how charming and capable this cast really is. Of course, there is also the reminder of just how repetitive things can get with these characters as well. It takes Oliver literally swapping bodies with Barry in order for him to realize that no matter how many things change his love for Felicity will always stay the same. The Arrow writers love putting the two of them through the ringer. They have never really had a moment of stability in their relationship. And yet, their latest disagreement seems to be put to rest here even though it's so annoying that Oliver's initial instinct is to lie to Felicity about what is currently going on. Moreover, the show seems to be setting up future crossover events as well. There had to be a reason why the Monitor was doing all of this. He claims to be testing worlds throughout the multiverse in order to see which one can prevail in a battle with a looming threat. That's an enticing tease that proves that the multiverse will continue to be in danger. It also proves that this creative team is operating with the confidence that all of these shows will be sticking around for at least another year. Right now though, it's just so much fun to see reality changed again with Barry and Oliver suddenly having no powers but remaining wanted fugitives. Plus, Superman returns and suddenly presents as an evil version of himself. Kara is nowhere to be seen though which is an awkward position considering this epic event will conclude on Supergirl. Hopefully, she will get some of the priority in this latest role reversal as well.