Hi folks! On writing duties this year’s team include our three regular reviewers: Ramon Piña (The Flash), Mike Mazzacane (Arrow) and Elias Rosner (Supergirl). Together this trinity of writers talk about the final hour of ‘Elseworlds,’ wherein the Monitor was more like “Countdown’s,” Ollie gave a speech for the ages and the phrase we’ve been waiting for, for four years, is finally spoken.
Elias: I guess I have to eat my words now.
Mike: How so?
Elias: I was absolutely convinced it’d be “Final Crisis.” But I should have known, in my heart of hearts, that they were setting up “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”
Mike: I never really expected them to jump to that one, “COIE” is too popular and Berlanti and Co. are pretty open with going for the obvious thing.
Ramon: All our speculation from the last two episode was right, they confirmed what we were waiting for. Well… at least a Crisis
Elias: Now the real question is, will it be a mini or part of the main seasons?
Ramon: They put “Fall 2019,” not Winter… to me it seems like they will do “COIE” before the regular season of all shows.
Mike: As to the question of how they do this. Ideally, it would be a standalone mini, the original “COIE” was 12 issues. Assuming there are Arrow, Flash, Legends, Supergirl, Black Lightning, and Batwoman next fall, you could get two episodes each out of them in terms of slotting it into the schedule. That said, the biggest thing I run up against with “COIE” is the strain of conforming to TV with something like that. This was a darn good episode of Supergirl, emotionally, plot wise it was kinda meh macguffin chase.
Elias: Yeah. The choices the creators made to imbue each episode with the tone of their respective shows really shone tonight. Ollie giving those speeches was something I’ve been waiting to hear for seven bloody seasons.
The “Fall 2019” caught my eye too!
I think that was the best decision they could have made. This way the writers don’t have to interrupt the seasons for the event and they don’t have the looming spectre of “why weren’t there signs of this before?”
Mike: “COIE” needs to be like “Elseworlds” in that it had good emotional storytelling, the plot is eh plot, they’ll adapt things to make it work. I’m just reticent because COIE is kinda like Infinity War which for me is a slick well made movie that loses itself in the grandiosity of it all.
Ramon: Also, I feel like they will do changes to the slate; Oliver has some secret “sacrifice” in his deal with Monitor. Although the crossover was different with each show, we saw a cohesive structure overall, with the experience from four crossovers, they managed to do a nice “experiment” with this, for the coming Crisis.
Elias: I dunno if they’ll fold in “Black Lightning” but I feel that. I think they’ll anchor it in the emotional arcs of the DCWverse trinity and construct a plot around it. Hell, as we speculated last time, this would be the perfect time to do the “death of Barry Allen” and bring in Wally as mainstay flash.
Mike: Idk. I am not a good fantasy booker or imaginative fan type. I watch and write about what I’m given.
Elias: That’s fair. When do you all think Ollie’s deal with the Monitor is going to come into play?
Mike: I think the deal with the Monitor is letting the Anti-Monitor take his shot at things in the DCWverse. Or they “Final Crisis” Batman him away, him willing to kill Super Deegan (who really needed that mullet) was very “Final Crisis” to me.
Also, because you said that, my immediate question is: What is Keiynan Lonsdale’s contractual status and current schedule? (He appears to be appearing in a a movie called Weetzie Bat as “Duck” directed by Justin Kelly.)
Elias: Just read the description for that and it sounds interesting and if they’re hoping it’ll be a series of films, that would tie him up.
Ramon: Do you think he can handle the series as the main character?
Elias: I think he can. The rest of the team is solid as heck and Flash has always been a team show that revolves around an idea vs a team show that revolves around the conflict of the characters ala Legends.Continued below
Mike: Lonsdale is a good actor, but with Flash being the top rated series on the CW by several tenths of a point, I don’t see them messing with that property in a long term way. (I’m great at parties, I swear.)
Elias: Bah. They could do it.
Let Barry die/get trapped in the speed force you cowards!
No offence to Grant Gustin though. He’s great.
Ramon: Yes, they could, and it would be amazing. . .but I think the obvious will be either the end of Arrow or Amell stepping down, maybe his newfound sister could be the main.
You know, cuz of that deal with the Monitor.
Elias: Right! I forgot they’d introduced Emiko into Arrow.
But back to the crossover: what were some of your thoughts on this week’s Elseworld? Unlike the last two weeks, this was a full rewrite, complete with all the zany fun that comes with it.
It reminded me of the Legends episode a bit too, although not nearly as strange or funny.
Mike: Carlos Valdes getting to chew scenery as a baddie with Superman’s Worst Pal Jimmy Olsen was excellent. Kara and Alex’s relationship being a multiversal constant is classic Supergirl thinking and worked. “Elseworlds” was the best overall crossover they’ve done.
Ramon: Yeah, Carlos Valdes doing something different was as great as you can expect from him, he stole every scene he had.
I’m really happy with ‘Elseworlds.’ It was fun, faithful to every series’ spirit and well planned.
I was a little disappointed at first, you know, because of the lack of Batwoman or Flash from Earth-90, but I understand their choices.
Elias: I agree. It was cohesive in a way that the others didn’t quite get and while the Monitor stuff was underwhelming, that was pretext and set-up for next year. That said, I still think Supergirl was underutilized throughout and even in the episode dedicated to her, Ollie & Barry were centered more often.
I’m still bitter about those, Ramon.
They teased the heck out of both of them as integral parts of the Crisis and we got zilch from Earth-90 Flash and just barely enough from Batwoman.
The actors getting to play modified versions of themselves are the best. Ollie having compassion without it having to be qualified, Cisco being an inter-dimensional mob boss, Jimmy being hired muscle and dropping that wonderful line you cited, Mike. It all worked and clicked in a way I didn’t think it would. I do wish we had gotten more of this episode’s antics in the others.
Chris is also going to be very happy to know that they brought Gary into this new world and he’s just as goofy as always.
Ramon: Oh yeah, the only thing we can really be mad at is that this was a crossover made for Amell, Gustin and even Hoechlin (whom, by the way, channeled an awesome villain.)
Even though this episode felt like a Supergirl episode, they made practically zero mentions of the stories developed in this season so far.
Wikipedia said “the third episode will feature the Legends in some way. . .” Well, it had Gary and I’m fine with that.
Elias: It was enough considering I didn’t expect anyone from the team to show up.
Mike: Getting to see Hoechlin actually act was nice for a change. He really is good. Everyone go see Everybody Wants Some!!
They should kill Superman in “COIE;” he’s not a character he’s an extended set of Donner and meta-Superman signifiers made flesh.
Elias: That’s fair to say, considering we’ve gotten so little of him but I’d be sad to see Hoechlin go in a more permanent way.
Mike: This is the perfect way for the DCWverse to handle Superman too, imo.
Elias: How so?
Mike: Because he’s an S-tier character that Supergirl has to acknowledge but they can’t let that override the fact that this is about Supergirl. So, treating the character as a sorta default inherently good, by wrapping him in Donner Superman, works to narrate what is a guest spot, though major one.
Ramon: Yeah, Superman is part of DC’s trinity, but he is not the main character of the show, it makes sense that they make especially big events or situations in order to fully feature him without overshadowing Kara.Continued below
Elias: Which is tough to do because, as you said Mike, he’s too perfect.
Mike: He’s going to be a dad now, that means he’s totally going to die according to the rules of TV.
HAHAHA you are right!
Elias: Yup. Although it won’t happen for a while. First, we gotta have them call in all happy from Argo and then we can get Kara & Lois dealing with John Kent. I also got a lot of Donner & Snyder Superman vibes from this episode in ways I hoped I never would.
Mike: He also semi-announced his retirement and turned in a badge! Y’all I’m ready to take the prop bet that they kill Superman.
Elias: Will you place money on that? Say…3 lexo-dollars?
Mike: Lexo-dollars, how is that not a cryptocurrency by this point?
Elias: Luthor’s too busy being in jail or fighting the Joker.
Mike: But his nephew Lenny Luthor ain’t that busy I bet!
Ramon: Oh! We are making bets now? My bet is that Oliver dies.
Elias: I stand by Flash kicking it and Supergirl holding Superman in the iconic pose.
But we should probably get back the crossover at hand before speculating about the next one.
Ramon: Oh yeah, our work.
Mike: I think it’d be proper comic reader of us to be side tracked by the teased thing and not consider what we have.
Elias: Too true. Too true.
So, let’s get into the plot because that was the weakest aspect of this week. I never said this but you were right about Deegan being the “Death and Return of Superman” Superman.
Mike: I know I called the plot a “meh” macguffin chase earlier, but as a structuring element and means to get at the emotional beats of the episode. I think it was good and did the job. For me “bad plot” is the structuring of the story makes no emotional (or logical sense.)
Elias: So “Crisis on Earth X.”
Mike: Pretty much.
Ramon: They needed three things:
Close the conflict with the Monitor and set up COIE? Done
Defeat Deegan? Done
Have an emotional moment between Kara and Alex? Done (edited)
So, using a MacGuffin chase, although an easy solution, it was a good choice, that way they were able to focus on those three things.
Elias: The hunt for the book wasn’t so much my problem, it was more the lack of stakes that its presence engendered. Deegan’s presence was so minimal and his use of the book so infrequent that, while it helped keep each episode self-contained, never got us to the same point of worry that the cold opening of the first part led us to believe.
This whole episode, while fun and emotionally fulfilling, furthering the character’s arcs and setting them on, hopefully, new courses, never quite established why Deegan made the choices he did nor why he was much of a threat.
Ramon: While I can agree, someone could argue that this was only the Monitor playing with his new toys, Deegan becomes less important and less dangerous with that focus.
Mike: The superhero “stakes” of it all wasn’t there but those things are illusions (it’s literally a book that will rewrite reality.) The Olicity drama, West-Allen and relationship stuff is what pulled me through this.
I do wish we got more Deegan, but him being introduced as a eugenicist and Superman’s comments about power worked well enough for me.
Elias: Oh yeah, by no means was this a deal-breaker but it was something that made me wonder why he wasn’t made more central to the whole crossover, instead of getting A.M.A.Z.O in part one and then only showing up near the middle to end of part 2.
Ramon: He was wasted, but, I’m happy with the end result: stronger relationships between the main characters and the rest of the cast.
And he will definitely appear in Crisis, so, at least he will have a second chance to be a better villain.
Elias: And he’s gone full Doctor Destiny, tying him further into his appearance in “Sandman. . .” which I just realized is why he was the guy the writers picked to receive the book.Continued below
Ramon: They really made their homework! Nicely done Guggenheim.
Mike: It’s a funny thing, good storytelling, when done right, it lets you get away with murder. This is an episode that is built around CGI bonanza, shots of Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist running in place with wind blowing on them. They reused shots! While not “cheap,” the DCWverse understands how to work on a B-movie kinda budget. And yet it got me and I was actually just a bit worried they might killa Flash or Supergirl (and bring them back real quick.) Compare that to something like Suicide Squad or MoS and it’s just crazy what they get away with.
Elias: That so true! I noticed the CGI in the air-fight but it was shot in a way that I didn’t care.
This was really noticeable in the transition between season 1 and 2 of Supergirl, wherein CBS really didn’t know how best to show Supergirl flying or fighting in a way that looked natural despite a higher budget while the CW knows all the work arounds so that the scenes feel more real, or at least have enough emotional weight that we can forgive the rubbery look.
Like, that whole fight WAS the fight from Man of Steel, right down to the neck thing but it felt more solid, more meaningful and more important than any fight did in that movie.
Mike: There’s a lot of reason why the Metropolis Attack didn’t go over well, but at the heart of it is David Goyer’s terrible script not selling us on Cavill’s Supes. Meanwhile, BerlantiProds vaguely gestures at Donner Superman and mass unconscious understanding of Supers, with a sound story structure, and it plays like gangbusters.
Elias: Yup. And that’s why I don’t watch Krypton.
Ramon: There’s something magic in seeing Superman fight with an evil version of himself, or Gustin and Benoist doing “wind-faces” to a camera, even when we might not totally buy those scenes for not having movie-budget effects, we feel like there are stakes, the Arrowverse manages to make the audience bond with their characters.
We might have awesome scenes of dinosaurs and lava in Jurassic World, but it simply does not feel like the emotions we had watching Jurassic Park, that supposedly outdated CGI looks better than the modern iteration because we cared about both the humans and the dinosaurs.
Mike: Do you want to save out there hopes for “COIE” at the end?
Elias: Let’s do stray thoughts and then our COIE hopes.
Unless you have some other questions to float to us because we’ve touched on most of the big things for me.
Mike: Not really except, what was the hammer Lois used?
Ramon: I don’t know but she looked so badass.
Elias: For a sec, I thought it was a negative zone projector but then it was used as an actual hammer.
Anti-Zod and the Hammer of Doom.
But yeah, I don’t know enough Superman lore to know what it was.
I’m so glad they brought Brainy in, even though it was just for a small scene.
Mike: Brainy just having an awesome DBZ fight off screen.
Elias: He even got to have a meta-comment that fit right into the main dialogue.
Ramon: He appeared for like, what? 60 seconds? And I laughed at all his quirkiness and meta dialogue.
Elias: There abouts. But I’ll take what I can get in an already full crossover.
Ramon: I also loved the double Easter Egg of stopping time like Donner’s Superman, and Barry and Kara at risk of dying, just like in the comic book “Crisis.”
Elias: That got my eyes rolling so hard.
It was great but Supergirl already did this once before, if memory serves.
Mike: What was everyone’s fave moment or sequence in Elseworlds overall?
Elias: Hmmm, I’d have to go with all the ribbing Barry gave Ollie.
Mike: I’d go with the Scarecrow fueled doppelganger fight between Barry and Ollie.
Ramon: To me, something that we complained about on Sunday, in the Arrow episode Barry did the introduction, and in this episode, it was Deegan. I’m a sucker for altered intros.
Elias: I almost forgot! The whole exchange between Supergirl and Deegan-Superman, wherein she questions his choice of Super, was a solid moment and got me to write the back half of the Nolan Batman quote in my notes.Continued below
Altered intros are always a ton of fun.
Ramon: Oh yeah! There’s a lot of mirroring between Deegan and. . .ahem. . .certain powerful persons: misogyny, pro-eugenics and racism, and the constant need for affirmation from his lackeys.
Elias: Petulant man-child was the note I wrote when he first cornered Ollie & Barry, the Trigger Twins.
Ramon: That’s exactly right.
Elias: Again, Hoechlin is way too underutilized and I kind of wish they’d find a way to remove his powers so we could get Clark & Lois all the time.
But, now that we’ve gotten the thoughts out of the way, we should return to the final, final scene of the episode and speculations for COIE.
I’m glad they used Batwoman to bridge the gap, promising, hopefully, a return of her in the crossover, even if her show never comes to fruition. (I know nothing of the news on other CW shows.)
Mike: With how CW programs, I think it’s a 90% deal their pilot gets picked up.
Ramon: Has he powers in Argo? Maybe that Metropolis retooling can work nicely there.
Mike:Here is my crazy hope. COIE is all about fusing worlds right, or I guess technically that was more an Infinite Crisis. Either way what if the DCWverse thinks bigger like the Monitor wanted and takes in the Spartacus series, which aired on Starz original in the US. The DCWverse owes a lot to Spartacus as plenty of their major villains and guest spots like Mannu Bennet, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Liam McIntyre, Nick E. Tarabay, a couple of writers and directors and others were all a part of that awesome bloody show. They do the full LOST and have these actors have little cut ins where they remember Spartacus. Everyone should watch Spartacus it’s amazing, the first half of the first season until ep “The Thing in the Pitt” is among the worst television I have ever watched. After that it turns around and becomes one of my all time fav TV shows.
Elias: Wow, you’re really going hard for Spartacus.
He doesn’t have powers on Argo but we all know the show won’t cut back to him there unless there’s a really good reason.
Ramon: Hahaha, I’m just hoping for. . .easier things, a cool Batwoman series, Batman finally making his grand debut in the Arrowverse, and “COIE” being a great miniseries.
Elias: Same on the last.
I kind of hope we never get Batman or, if we do, it’s the one who’s hung up the cape and is more mentor than anything else. Batwoman should take the spotlight and if we do have that, please, please CW, let her series be very gay and filled to the brim with the weird and the supernatural and also have her be audibly Jewish. Legends freed the magical creatures. We know magic exists in this universe cause of Dahrrk and Constantine.
Basically, I want the Constantine show to return but with Batwoman instead.
Ramon: Why not both? Damn, I still miss Constantine.
Mike: Batwoman has to be the ultra queer magic detective show.
Ramon: You are right, an old Batman could be great.
Elias: Do you all think they’ll tease COIE in the background of any of the shows in the new year? I hold out hope they will but I highly doubt it.
Mike: I’m not sure, they tend to rightly operate in the MCU style of continuity so a few lil stingers would make sense.
Elias: I say this because we don’t need it to be something the requires watching of all the series to understand it. Just casual mentions of strange goings-on that don’t get resolved until the crossover.
Ramon: I think they will, mainly Arrow with that whole deal thing and Team Flash with some kind of scientific preparation.
Elias: Felicity is gonna be so pissed.
Mike: Just another example of Love without that respect and trust. You don’t make deals with multiversal beings without your SO knowing about it.
Elias: Ollie’s got a long way to go before he’s fixed himself. He’s starting though.
Ramon: We all hope that he ends up happy and fulfilled.
Elias: Hahaha. That’s never gonna happen if the writer’s room has anything to say about it.Continued below
Mike: Just in time to finally die, because that’s how TV works.
Ramon: Brace yourselves folks! Crisis on Infinite Earths is coming!
Mike: While it might have run into the limits of broadcast television at times, “Elseworlds” was an all around excellent crossover event and the best of them so far.
Ramon: Yes, I was the best so far. Funny, meaningful and a great set up for the future of the Arrowverse.
Elias: John Wesley Shipp was wasted and I will not forgive them for stringing us along like that.
However, this was the strongest of the crossovers so far, despite the focus on Ollie & Barry over Kara, Ollie, and Barry, and by far the most cohesive one.
Ramon: Only thing we can do is hope for his return in Crisis.
Elias: 100% on that.
Mike: JWS is the famous face you sacrifice to show how the baddie has power and show the “stakes”
Elias: Bah, they did that fine with him wasting an entire Earth.
If his presence weren’t all over the teasers and the trailers, I would have been less bitter about him being teleported to wherever.
Ramon: They owe us more John Wesley Shipp.
Mike: This was fun.
Ramon: Yeah guys, we had three awesome conversations these days!
Elias: Yup! And depending on how this shakes out, we’ll be back again in the fall for “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”
Ramon: Well, see you then folks!