‘Arrow’ 7×09 Review: Elseworlds, Part 2

No doubt my favorite thing about these annual crossovers are the interactions between all of these DC characters that typically don’t get a chance to interact. There’s such a great camaraderie and it adds some flavor to the episodes.

This whole notion of Oliver and Barry body swapping made for an intriguing storylines. While The Flash hour of the crossover dealt with introducing the body swap in a fun and hilarious way, the Arrow hour felt more meaningful in terms of story regarding the reasoning behind this Elseworlds and its implications.

I found some unexpected clarity and resolution in this crossover hour that I honestly didn’t think I’d get. Following Arrow’s midseason finale, Oliver and Felicity were in a rocky place as Felicity felt the weight of how she’s changed as a person and wondering if love was enough to keep her marriage together. Spoiler alert: It is.

Even during the body swap, Felicity recognized Oliver’s soul as he did something she’s done countless times for him. He reassured her that their love was enough to get them through anything. Through stupid decisions. Through selfishness. Through rough times. Through change and evolution. And that entire scene made this whole thing worth it.

Let’s discuss the Arrow hour of the crossover, including Oliver and Barry finding an understanding, Olicity resolution, the introduction of Kate Kane, and WTF is up with this universe trashing Oliver Queen?


A Mutual Respect

They say walking a mile in someone else’s shoes will give you perspective. It’ll give you understanding. When you think you know someone and what they’ve been through, you really don’t know until you get that perspective.

While this crossover has failed to give Oliver respect (more on that below), perspective is exactly what Oliver and Barry got with each other. I have to give the crossover credit for taking an opportunity to really utilize this whole body swapping thing. They could’ve just done it for the kicks and laughs. But somewhere between the laughs and weirdness, they took a moment to give each Oliver and Barry perspective.

Barry has always believed that Oliver has been violent and extreme in his approach. Oliver has believed that Barry was someone that got along without taking matters seriously. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Both Oliver and Barry have experienced their share of darkness (with Oliver notably having experienced just an unreal amount).

And after they were exposed to a hallucinogenic drug, they saw/heard/fought their worst demons. Oliver fought Reverse Flash as Thawne taunted Barry for being weak, for killing his mother. Barry fought Malcolm Merlyn, who taunted him Oliver for everything he’s lost and the darkness inside.

The experience opened both Oliver and Barry’s eyes in a way that reminded them to not assume you know who someone is or what they’re going through.


Change = Growth

When we hear the word “change,” often we can get afraid of what that word entails. A circumstance where what we’ve grown used to, what we know suddenly doesn’t resemble what it once did. There’s a fear in the unknown. But change isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I discussed in my previous Arrow review.

While there was so much focus on Oliver’s pain in prison, as there should be, it’d be easy to overlook the own turmoil Felicity faced. She had to readjust. She had to change who she was in order to survive. That was a lot of change that she was forced into in such a short span of time. And when Oliver was released from prison, Felicity began to truly acknowledge that change. She believed, she feared that she’d changed so much that perhaps she wasn’t the same person Oliver fell in love with. She believed that because she changed, because she hardened and lost some light, that their relationship couldn’t work.

Now, obviously she couldn’t have been more wrong. Oliver and Felicity have accepted every part of each other. The good, the bad, the ugly. But it’s their love, that true love, that makes everything else irrelevant.

When we find Felicity in this crossover, she’s continuing to stress about the turmoil in her relationship with Oliver. She can’t believe that she didn’t recognize that something was off with “Oliver,” she still harbored feelings of anger towards Oliver for how he left her and William to fend for themselves. All she wanted was the respect, the trust for Oliver to come to her and discuss this. Like the team they are.

As Felicity talked with Caitlin, we began to see that she was starting to worry if too much change would be too much for her relationship to handle. That maybe love wasn’t enough if it didn’t come with trust and respect. But Caitlin reminded her that “as long as there’s love, you can’t give up on it.”

Now, let’s talk about what Oliver said to Felicity because my poor heart is still convulsing.

“We’re going to be okay.”

“People change, Felicity. It means we’re growing.”

“One thing that will not change is how I feel about you.”

“Love is too small a word.”

“You will always be the love of my life.”

“People change. That never will.”

DEAR GOD SOMEONE SEDATE ME. I CANNOT BREATHE. MY POOR FANGIRL HEART IS HAVING PALPITATIONS.

Now, the crossover event hasn’t been perfect to this point, but this moment made this whole thing worth everything. Stephen Amell teased that the resolution to this Olicity tension would be resolved fairly quickly, and we saw that in this crossover hour.

While it’s usually been Felicity that’s had to bring Oliver back, now it was Oliver’s turn to be that anchor for Felicity. He reassured her that change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He reminded her that they’re growing and that they’ll continue to grow. He stared into her soul and told her that “love is too small a word” to describe how he feels about her and that she will always be “the love of my life” and that “people change. That never will.”

I love that this show is acknowledging that change isn’t a bad thing. That it’s actually an opportunity to allow these characters to grow in their lives as individuals and as a couple. It was refreshing to get to see a married couple work through their issues in a way where they’re both allowed to feel and allowed to express themselves, because that hasn’t always been true for these two on Arrow. It feels like there’s more of a balance now.


A Spinoff in the Making

“Kane. Kate Kane.”

All it took were those words, and I was a goner. I want the Batwoman spinoff. I need the Batwoman spinoff.

The trio of Oliver, Barry, and Kara made their way to Gotham City, where after some hilarious debating about the existence of Batman, was introduced with ties to Batman and Bruce Wayne in Kate Kane. We got a glimpse of how dark things had gotten for Gotham, which included Oliver, Barry, and Kara being held at gunpoint. Oliver and Barry embraced their inner alternate selves, as Oliver tried to talk the guys down (which didn’t work) and Barry nearly shot one of the robbers in front of Gotham PD, and the trio wound up in prison.

It wasn’t long before a mystery person bailed them out and had a car waiting. It took them to a Wayne Enterprise building, where they met Kate Kane, Bruce Wayne’s cousin. She helped lead them to Arkham Asylum, where they found Deegan, and managed to get the “book” before everything went to shit.

Honestly, I was expecting Batwoman to have a bigger role in this part of the crossover. But perhaps it was best as a way to introduce Batwoman to the universe and set up a potential pilot. There’s already so much potential with this character. Ruby Rose possesses this natural charisma that instantaneously made her character compelling. There’s also the promise of Kate’s relationship with Kara, as we saw the brewings of friendship between the two cousins of some prominent “supers.” Give us some “world’s finest,” won’t ya?


Can We Stop Disrespecting Oliver Queen?

Okay, so I’m officially agitated with this universe’s repeated disrespect towards Oliver Queen. Hell, it’s bad enough when they were taking digs at him behind his back, but this crossover has had characters say it to his face.

Why would anyone want to be like Oliver Queen? Where to start?

  • How about the fact that Oliver is a hero that has been through the darkest of times and has still managed to save his soul while saving his city?
  • He’s sacrificed his happiness and well-being too many times to count.
  • He’s been through literal hell.
  • He’s disrespected and underappreciated as a hero and yet he continues to save the city without a thought.
  • He will defend and protect those he loves without hesitation and with the passion and dedication of a thousand lives.
  • He was thrown in prison for protecting his city.
  • He’s had “friends” betray him and yet he takes the higher road.

I could go on. Now, Oliver Queen is not perfect. (Who would want to watch a show about that?) But he’s proven in these past seven seasons that he’s always willing to work to become better. He has his moments, and he still has more growing to do as a person, but Oliver isn’t someone that’s going to not put the effort in.

Is Oliver selfish at times? Of course. Does Oliver make stupid decisions? Duh. But let’s not get all high and mighty and pretend like other heroes, like Barry and Kara, are perfect. They’re not. (And don’t get me started on Barry of seasons’ past.)
After the first hour of this crossover (The Flash hour) really laid it on Oliver, I thought that the Arrow hour would no better. But, nope. Once again there was Oliver trashing, including bringing up his past that hasn’t been a part of him for more than a decade. And all at the expense for a laugh for Barry and Kara and the audience. Ha, ha, ha, let’s laugh at the person Oliver used to be before he grew into the hero he is now, ha, ha, ha.

The Elseworlds crossover concludes with Supergirl.

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment | Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes | Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters | Co-executive Editor for Fangirlish | Contributor for Bears Wire at USA Today SMG | Producer/Co-Host of Buffone 55 for Bears Barroom Radio Network | Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.