Elseworlds: 10 Things We Loved About The Arrowverse Crossover (And 10 Things We Didn't)

Everyone loves a fun body swap comedy -- it's the reason they keep making new versions of Freaky Friday. Things get even more ridiculous when you add superheroes to the mix. For its annual crossover, The CW's Arrowverse entered the genre with"Elseworlds". In the comics, “Elseworlds” is a title DC uses to tell stories of its heroes in other times and universes. The crossover featuring Supergirl, Arrow and The Flash revolves around Barry and Oliver waking up in each other’s lives and only Kara can see the difference. There are the usual body switching hijinks, but with greater stakes, since bad guys aren't going to stop attacking Star City and Central City just because its heroes are having a bit of a day.

Arrowverse fans look forward to these annual crossovers, because watching the heroes work together is when the shows feel most like comic books. Every year producers and casts claim that this year's entry is the biggest and most ambitious, and every year they're not wrong. This year, the crossover will finally include Superman in the action, while also introducing Batwoman and Gotham City to the franchise. Promotional photos and stars’ social media give viewers some idea what to expect, but there are still plenty of fun surprises and easter eggs to reveal. With so many familiar faces returning, new worlds to discover and the debut of the Bat-universe, there's a lot to unpack. With that in mind, here are the ten things we loved and ten things we hated about the Arrowverse crossover "Elseworlds".


Since the day The Flash introduced a multiverse into the franchise, fans have been waiting for the inevitable. We all knew it was only a matter of time before the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" event. Well it seems our wishes have been granted.

While being confronted by the heroes, The Monitor revealed that he is doing all this to test worlds, so he can find those ready for a bigger crisis. That information left fans wondering if that was a clue about next year’s crossover. Of course, producers aren’t giving anything away, however, Arrow showrunner Beth Schwartz told TV Line, “we already know a lot about what’s going on in next year’s crossover,” she said. If that’s not enough, the final logo card confirms it.


Now that we're seven seasons in, Oliver's dark motivations for becoming the Green Arrow are no secret. His quest to save his city has come at a very high and heartbreaking price. Felicity and Diggle are constantly lecturing him about giving in to the darkness inside him.

However, at this point in the universe, it's time to stop demonizing him for living a life full of hard choices. Iris makes a point of telling Barry not to give in to being Oliver Queen. Wow, that's very insulting to one of your closest friends and allies. It's true he can be an insufferable jerk, but he's still a hero, so maybe everyone could give him the benefit of the doubt.


One of the best parts about visiting other Earths is the chance to see familiar characters return. "Elseworlds" has given us the opportunity to see Malcolm Merlyn, Joe Wilson and Reverse-Flash again. Merlyn and Thawne returned while Oliver and Barry were infected with Scarecrow’s fear toxin, providing a glimpse into the burdens each of them carries.

In a new reality, the villains appeared alongside Ricardo Diaz as cops arresting the duo. Coupled with the devastating Earth-90 opening, these little touches of familiarity remind us that the characters we know are really just one choice away from being completely new.


With Legends of Tomorrow focusing on magic this season, we understand why our favorite time travelers couldn’t be involved in "Elseworlds". Not to mention, when the crossover airs, the Waverider crew is trying to fix the reality that Constantine broke.

Even if the whole cast couldn’t appear, we would of appreciated seeing Sara and Ray interact with their old friends. Of course, it was hilarious to see the Custodians of Chronology ignore Barry, Oliver and Kara’s calls and pass on the annual crossover. Legends of Tomorrow has a completely different vibe from the rest of the Arrowverse, so it makes sense that it wouldn’t necessarily work with the darker tone of the crossover. However, that knowledge doesn’t stop us from feeling like something is missing.


Anytime the franchise delves into the multiverse, we expect to see a few easter eggs. "Elseworlds" didn’t disappoint, opening on an Earth-90 battlefield full of fallen superheroes. Among those possibly lost in the fight were Earth-X’s Leo and Ray and, surprisingly, a Green Arrow whose costume looks like the one from Smallville.

When Earth-90 Barry Allen finally made it to Earth-1 he remarked that John wasn’t wearing his ring. There’s been a long held fan theory that John could be Green Lantern John Stewart on another Earth, so it was cool to see that acknowledged. What all this really tells us, is that all these Earths are more connected than we thought, setting up an even bigger story.


As soon as Barry and Oliver get together and figure out something crazy is happening, they head to STAR Labs. You would think with everything they’ve been through, a body switch would be easy to believe. Unfortunately, it takes Team Flash a little time to come around.

While this leads to some great Barry/Oliver scenes, it just felt weird that they didn’t ask a few more questions before throwing them in Barry’s secret prison. The power of Barry and Iris’ love eventually convinces her. Though, as sweet as that scene was, we’ve seen it several times already. They’ve dealt with time travel, metahumans and nazi doppelgangers, but body switching was just a bridge too far.


A major sticking point for crossovers big and small is that they sometimes don’t follow the story continuity of the different series. This is understandable considering how often we hear what an undertaking these events are. As enjoyable as "Crisis on Earth-X" was, other than losing Martin Stein, the battle with evil doppelgangers had no lasting effects on the universe.

When we join everyone in "Elseworlds", they’re still reeling from recent events. Barry is surprised at Oliver’s post prison body, Oliver has no idea who Cicada is and Kara talks to Clark about leaving the DEO. It’s great to see that their lives weren’t put on hold just to service the crossover.


Supergirl stringer Earth-90 Stargirl

To set up how dangerous The Monitor truly is, "Elseworlds" began by revealing a destroyed Earth-90 and the end of a battle that has claimed several heroes. While we can’t say with certainty exactly who these characters are and what Earth they originally hail from, it’s possible they include Stargirl, Huntress, Firestorm, the Captain Cold from the 1990 The Flash series, Earth-X’s Leo and Ray, Hawkman and Hawkgirl and Smallville’s Green Arrow.

Obviously, this opening is used to establish the immediate danger our heroes are in, but that didn’t make it any easier to see some of DC's best heroes lost to a pointless fight. There’s still hope this could all be reversed, but The Monitor doesn’t seem like the benevolent type.


Since Barry debuted on Arrow, then became his own hero on The Flash, it’s been fun to watch the evolution of their friendship. They started out with Oliver as the grizzled mentor and Barry as the eager rookie, but now they’re clearly equals.

The scenes of them teaching one another how to use their abilities really highlighted the chemistry between Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin. Watching them inhabit the other hero’s life, while maintaining their original character was not only hilarious, it showed their commitment to the universe. Though their approach to fighting crime is completely opposite, they also understand each other in way, the rest of their friends can’t.


Supervillains usually follow one of two paths. They either have a tragic backstory very similar to the hero’s, or they’re insecure about being inferior to the hero. John Deegan is obviously in the second category.

Once he gains access to The Monitor’s book, he accidentally rewrites Barry and Oliver’s lives because he wanted to be great and things went sideways. Even as evil Superman, he came across as insecure and pathetic. He could be interesting as a villain of the week, but not as one of the major enemies of the crossover. The always fun to watch Jeremy Davies was wasted with this character.


Since its debut, Supergirl has hinted that Smallville plays a tiny role in its world. From a teenage Kara gushing over Clark's friend Chloe to Erica Durance being cast as Kara's mother, Smallville is definitely a part of Supergirl's story. There are some fans who believe Smallville takes place on one of the franchise's 53 Earths.

As The WB's most successful and longest running superhero series, Smallville is the reason there is an Arrowverse, so it was great to not only see Clark, Lois and Kara on the original Kent farm, but to have the theme lead into the scene brought everything full circle. We know we're not the only ones who geeked out when Remy Zero's "Save Me" played.


Based on photos and trailers, we thought John Wesley Shipp’s 1990 Barry Allen would play a bigger role in the crossover. Unfortunately, it seems his character was only there to inform everyone about the book and then The Monitor transported him to parts unknown.

As Barry’s father and later as his mentor Jay Garrick, Shipp has been an integral part of Barry learning to become the superhero he was meant to be. We couldn’t wait to see him bring that same compassionate wisdom as he returned to his first go round as The Flash. We only hope that he survives this battle and comes back to help with the bigger looming threat.


After years of Arrow using Batman’s origin, the Arrowverse has finally been given the go ahead to introduce Gotham City into the franchise, and they went all in. To give it a different feel from the other shows, the Gotham portions were shot in Chicago. Instead of the usual wealthy business center, what we got was a rundown, dilapidated place, where no one is safe to walk the streets.

In addition to the look of the city, the team’s trip to Arkham wielded the inclusion of several notable villains. There was also Oliver’s insistence that Batman is a myth, and he’s the original vigilante. Everything about this Gotham worked. It was simultaneously a new version of the city and authentic to the Arrowverse.


One of the few negatives that consistently shows up in these crossovers are the plot bending ways the writers use to get every character in on the action. It was cool of producers to include a new character like Nia, but what basically amounted to a cameo felt unnecessary.

This also applies to all the jokes about them teaming up being an annual thing. Once is funny, two or three times is repetitive and akin to explaining the joke. Honestly, all of these moments took us out of the story of what was an otherwise fantastic event. We appreciate the meta humor, but next time use smaller doses.


From the moment we heard the Arrowverse was introducing Kate Kane/Batwoman during the crossover, we were geeking out anticipating the Bat universe finally joining the franchise. “Elseworlds Part 2” saw Barry, Oliver and Kara head to Gotham City to find answers.

We got to know Ruby Rose’s Kate before seeing Batwoman in action and that made us instantly invested in her as the city’s savior. She and Kara bonded over having heroic cousins whose shadow they must step out of. If producers are smart, we will see more of this friendship as Kate makes a name for herself. Come on, they even called themselves “World’s Finest.” If this appearance was meant to create interest in a possible Batwoman series, mission accomplished.


The Arrowverse has always had a villain problem. Compared with the number of episodes the four shows have produced, we've gotten a small amount of really good bad guys. Despite fan expectations, it appears The Monitor will also become victim to this phenomenon. He says he’s preparing these worlds for a bigger crisis and a more dangerous enemy.

Here’s the thing, travelling the multiverse, destroying worlds to help stop a huge threat is a horrible plan. Even when his plan sort of fails the first time around, he just tries again. He says these are all tests, but they’re sort of impossible to pass. For an all-powerful, all-knowing entity, he’s remarkably short sighted.


Look, we know this is somewhat of a moot point since Batman is still off limits to the Arrowverse. Obviously, we love Batman -- he's the rock of the DC Universe. However, he has a tendency to overshadow all the heroes in the story whenever he’s around. Plus, if we’re being honest, Oliver has been playing the role of Batman since day one.

We’re actually very excited to see some Gotham mythology that doesn’t depend on the experiences of the Dark Knight. It may be considered comic book blasphemy, but right now, we want to get to know Kate Kane and Bruce can stay gone for awhile.


The Monitor started all this craziness because he was looking for heroes strong enough to fight the coming crisis. Unfortunately, all the madness led up to Barry and Kara having to slow down time, an act that would have destroyed them both.

Unwilling to accept his friends’ sacrifice, Oliver confronted The Monitor and told him that he was not the hero they needed for the future battle, but the goodness of Barry and Kara was what the multiverse really deserved. Though we didn’t see it, it’s heavily implied that Oliver traded himself to save them. So, he made another life altering sacrifice without consulting anyone else? How many times do we have to watch this story before Oliver learns these decisions never work out?


Over the years, there have been several stories contemplating what would happen if Superman used his powers for evil. "Elseworlds" took that a step further by having Deegan write himself into destiny as a darker Superman. Of course, even with powers he was still a weak little man.

Tyler Hoechlin’s portrayal of this twisted version of his alter ego was chilling. He was Superman, but not quite. When the real Man of Steel showed up he was even more impressive, as Hoechlin delivered distinctly different performances for Deegan as Superman, Clark as Superman and Clark Kent in the same episode. It was a real showcase for the actor.


Since he first appeared in season two, fans have only gotten to see Kara’s cousin Superman a handful of times. Considering it’s her show, that’s completely understandable. However, it’s always nice to see Kara and Clark explore their familial bond. Though they’re cousins, they’re more like brother and sister.

This time around, we didn’t just get to see Clark, he brought Lois Lane with him. The couple has just returned from Argo City, and it turns out they’re expecting, so they have to go back to Argo, where Lois will have the baby. This means they’re leaving Earth for an indefinite amount of time. We’re thrilled for their happiness, but sad to lose the characters from the Arrowverse for awhile.

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