Elseworlds: Why Is This Gotham Rooftop So Damned Weird?


Green Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl are drawn to Gotham City in The CW's "Elseworlds" to confront the reality-rewriting machinations of a mad scientist at Arkham Asylum. The three-night event pulls in Superman, as well as John Wesley Shipp's 1990s Flash, introduces Batwoman and Lois Lane to the Arrowverse, and sees Barry Allen and Oliver Queen swap bodies. There are numerous questions to be answered by the crossover, not the least of which is, what the hell is going on with Gotham's architecture?

Longtime fans of Batman, and Batwoman, are of course accustomed to the city's architectural quirks, from the outlandish outdoor signage of the 1950s comic books to the Gothic spires of Tim Burton's 1989 film. For 2005's Batman Begins, director Christopher Nolan drew upon Chicago, where "Elseworlds" producers returned for some of the crossover's Gotham scenes. However, a newly released photo for the big event leaves us wondering whether Dr. John Deegan (Jeremy Davies) and The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) aren't tampering merely with the fabric of reality but with the very bones of the city.

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The image depicts Stephen Amell as The Flash, Grant Gustin as Green Arrow and Melissa Benoist as Supergirl, gathered in front of the iconic Bat-Signal, which suggests this is the rooftop of the Gotham City Police Department. That all checks out, but what's going on around the device?

Elseworlds - Gotham City

One would expect the stray concrete blocks, and the saw horse, police tape and tarpaulin may indicate the Bat-Signal hasn't been used in a while. But what about the two gargoyles, on this side of the building's parapets? They're traditionally used to direct water away from the roof and the sides of a structure and, secondarily, for decoration; as we've seen time and again, they also provide an ideal perch for a brooding, costumed vigilante.

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However, these carved grotesques are misplaced, ruling out water conveyance, and far too small to be utilized by Batman or Batwoman. Besides, they're wrapped in concertina wire. The dramatic uplighting is nice, though -- but who's intended to see it? There's also the matter of that rogue balustrade in the background, which appears to have been taken from another building entirely.

One explanation is that Warner Bros. Television emptied out the odds and ends of the prop room for a crossover that will no doubt strain the production budget. But the far more intriguing theory is that whatever Deegan and The Monitor are up to did more than trigger a Freaky Friday situation between Barry Allen and Oliver Queen, and slaughter most of the assembled heroes of Earth-90. It's also warping the physical structures of Gotham, to the point the city itself could be destroyed.

Yeah, let's go with that.

"Elseworlds" will unfold over three nights on The CW, starting with a special episode of The Flash on Sunday Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and continuing Monday, Dec. 10, with Arrow, before concluding Tuesday, Dec. 11, with Supergirl.

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