The Arrowverse “Elseworlds” crossover starts Sunday on the CW, so Supergirl, The Flash, and Arrow all wrapped up their storylines to prepare for the event. Meanwhile, the Legends of Tomorrow battle fate, love, and a killer doll in New Orleans past and present; while Black Lightningworks to reunite their family while a new foe named Cutter is on Khalil and Jennifer’s trail.
But almost none of that matters. Our three crossover series each ended the same way with the same clip: Earth-90 is in apocalyptic ruins. Dead superhero corpses and armor are strewn across a burning battlefield. John Wesley Shipp as their universe’s The Flash crawls towards a locked tome, as The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) tells him they failed, and that they did this to themselves. The Flash runs– presumably to get help from the heroes we know from our universes. We’ll see how it unfolds starting Sunday evening at 8/7 pm.
Supergirl – ‘Bunker Hill’
This week’s episode was directed by Kevin Smith (yes, that Kevin Smith) and wraps up our season’s storyline with even more questions, the way a good mid-season finale ought to. Manchester Black confronts Benjamin Lockwood (Sam Witwer) in his home, knowing he killed Fiona as Agent Liberty. Meanwhile, when Nia has a dream about Agent Liberty, Kara and Brainy work to help her focus her emerging powers to help track him down. They end up in a three-way standoff between Manchester, Supergirl, and Agent Liberty in an Nth metal refinery, and after some spectacular heroics Manchester and Lockwood are arrested.
Why it matters: Supergirl may have won the battle but lost the war. As Lockwood is being taken to jail, he screams at the camera that he has been unmasked, but they still don’t know who Supergirl is. A throng outside the jail chants “Liberty! Liberty! Liberty!” and the newspapers call Lockwood a “human rights activist.” The president demands Supergirl reveal her secret identity if she wants to continue working at the DEO, and she refuses. So while Lockwood may be in jail, Supergirl will have to continue to fight bigotry and hate in the rest of the season.
If you’d like a deeper dive, check out our more in-depth recap here.
Legends of Tomorrow – ‘Hell No, Dolly!?!’
What a fun, beautiful, creepy, and moving episode. There’s a lot going on here, and I highly recommend you check out our longer recap here to get all the details. Or, just watch it. This has been my favorite episode this season, for a lot of reasons. The chief among them is that it finally centers around John Constantine (Matt Ryan).
The Legends travel back in time to New Orleans in the 1850s to find a serial killer, who it turns out is a talking doll! While on the trail, they get help from Marie Leveau, a voodoo priestess, who recognizes the medallion around Constantine’s neck as belonging to her. He explains it was a gift from one of her offspring far in the future. We see flashbacks (flashforwards?) of John meeting a bartender named Desmond, and the two of them having a passionate affair. It ends tragically, with Desmond being dragged to hell to prevent harm to John, so after the murderous doll is dispatched early in the episode, John steals the jumpship and tries to go back to New Orleans to prevent the two of them from ever meeting or getting together. Eventually he’s successful, and the episode ends with a giant ripple reverberating across time and everything pausing. Nice cliffhanger, especially as the Legends back on the Waverider find themselves fighting the spirit of the evil doll who has now possessed the puppet of Dr. Stein.
Also good? A strange c-storyline where Mona falls in love with a Konane creature and goes all Shape of Water. Speaking of movie references, Ray Palmer grows a truly terrible mustache, which just has to be a Superman with a mustache reference, right?
Why it matters: The cliffhanger is huge. Constantine has possibly apocalypticly smashed time. Now it makes sense why they won’t be involved in Elsworld– they have their own mess to clean up. And while the stakes are universe-shattering, they’re also heart-breakingly personal. Constantine is so pained by what he has to do, and Matt Ryan’s acting chops are on full display. It’s also important because of the way the show presents Constantine’s bisexuality — an issue that had largely been pasted over in previous shows. It’s just so. . . normal. Which is what makes it amazing, and also groundbreaking. A million bravos to Legends of Tomorrow for this episode.
Arrow – ‘Unmasked’
Oliver is getting used to being out of prison, when the new Green Arrow begins targeting the rich and powerful of Star City. When Oliver starts helping the SCPD investigate, his questions start to hit too close for comfort for Max Fuller (the actual culprit behind the attacks) who orders a hit on Oliver and Felicity in their home. During the fight with the intruder, Felicity pulls a gun and shoots their assailant, causing her and Oliver to have a stark discussion about the changes she had to go through while he was in prison. To bring Fuller in, Oliver takes up his bow and leads an SCPD strike team to Fuller’s club to minimize civilian casualties. This is, of course, endlessly annoying to the new mayor. Meanwhile, Delilah and Diggle research a painting that is at the center of cash transactions to the Longbow Hunters, leading them back to. . . Ricardo Diaz. In the future, William and Dinah continue their investigation, which leads them to a woman named Blackstar.
Why it matters: During Season 1 of Arrow, I summed up the show by saying that the acting and story could be a little weak, but the guy playing Oliver could be counted on every episode to engage in some crazy exercise training routine and hunt down baddies. This episode opens with our new (female) Green Arrow (Sea Shimooka) doing an ridiculously amazing gymnastics routine on the rings. This is the Arrow I love, away from the teenage melodrama. And then the episode ends with her talking to the gravestone of Robert Queen, calling him her father. *Darth Vader voice* “Sooooo. . . Oliver has a sister.” The rest of the season should be fun.
The Flash – ‘What’s Past is Prologue’
Uh-oh. . . Barry is gonna mess with the timeline. But this time, he’ll have his daughter Nora with him, as they try to assemble a tool that will allow them to defeat Cicada and keep him from draining their, or other metas’, powers with his dagger. To do this, Barry will have to confront some people and memories he would rather not, including getting help from Harry Wells/actually Reverse Flash Eobard Thawne. Barry wants to shield Nora from these events, and especially his hate for Reverse Flash, but it actually helps them bond closer together. Oh, and before they go to collect these items in time, Ralph starts playing Huey Lewis and the News’s “Back in Time.” Nice. It’s the perfect mix of jokey self-aware kitsch that makes The Flash work. Oh, and there’s a final brawl with Cicada. While it mostly ends in a draw and Cicada escaping, the team learns that Killer Frost is immune to his dagger and its power-dampening.
Why it matters: Everything important happens after the climax. Nora travels back to the night her grandmother is murdered, when Barry shows up. Apparently, this is where speedsters in their family go to think? They race back to the present, where Sherloque has borrowed Nora’s diary and begun decoding it. He asks her what language she’s writing in and we learn it’s a time language that can be sent regardless of if the timeline is changed. As she walks away, diary in hand, we see Sherloque’s computer has deciphered the message “The Timeline is Malleable.” Oh boy. We then see Nora send the message into the future through Gideon. . . to whom? When Nora wants to add a personal message, she says she’s going to deliver it in person, when she zooms to 2049 and a prison to talk to. . . Harry Wells/Eobard Thawne. What the what?
Regardless, we know that Elseworlds is going to have all sorts of fun with the timeline and inter-dimensional travel, so we’ll have to wait to solve those particular cliffhanger mysteries until next year.
Black Lightning – “The Book of Rebellion: Chapter One: Exodus”
That title should be ominous, as both rebellion and exodus largely relate to Jennifer and Khalil’s attempts to run away from Freeland. They end up holing up at Khalil’s aunt’s house, when Jennifer gives Khalil a haircut, finding a strange bump in his neck. Turns out, Tobias implanted a tracker, and he gives the location to a new hired assassin named Cutter. When she finds them, they fight long enough to get Black Lightning and Thunder’s attention, who show up to help. While they’re busy fighting, Khalil and Jennifer end up escaping, and she uses her powers to short out the tracker so Tobias can’t keep following them.
Why it matters: A very shrewd Tobias has now begun to piece together something very important– Black Lightning sure seems to care a lot about these Pierce girls. Hmmmmmm. . . will he put 2 and 2 together? (Assuredly yes). Also, it’s great to see the family dynamic really strain here. Jefferson Pierce is our hero, but everyone also rightfully blames him for being too controlling and pushing his daughters away. When Anissa tells him he pushed Jennifer away the same way he pushed her away, it hurts more than any wound he’s gotten on the show. The Pierce family needs some serious counseling.
Next week’s episode ‘The Gift of the Magi’ sounds like it should be holiday themed, and of course this is not in any way involved with Elsewords. Good thing. They’ve got too much drama to deal with over here anyway.
And that’s it for this week! We’ll see you here all weekend long with Elseworlds coverage and the last week of new episodes for our favorite shows.