The Flash’s ninth episode (“Elseworlds, Part 1”) was absolutely fantastic. I mean, the humor alone was worth the price of admission, even just for the pitfalls of the Freaky Friday Quantum Leap. Oliver waking up in Iris’s bed to Barry and Oliver learning to be each other—it was so much fun. I mean, the way that Stephen Amell reluctantly said that he was acting weird because he didn’t get enough sleep? Perfect. The way Grant Gustin gleefully did salmon ladders? Genius. The details for each character—personality traits etc—were fascinating. Oliver using his anger as fuel; Barry pushing everything aside to focus. It was fascinating to see each man try to be the other, acknowledging the difficulties therein. I mean, after Barry shot Oliver with arrows for kicks.
The setup was excellent, right down to Actual Barry having to convince Iris that he wasn’t Oliver Queen. I love, too, that the switch clued Oliver into Felicity’s experience and pain through Iris (Candice Patton, often the emotional focal point of the show; this episode was no exception). That was a small moment, but I suspect that it will have a powerful influence down the line. You know, when they’re not all busy saving the world. And I don’t mean from Amazo, a “T-3000 that kills for breakfast.”
So, the robot was a little Iron Man. That’s literally my only complaint. The entire plot line was worth it, if only to hear a) Oliver assume that Barry messed with the timeline (fair point) and b) we got to go back to Smallville. Sort of. I mean, mad props for getting the Smallville theme song AND farmhouse. That was freaking delightful. I also adored the fact that Kara (Melissa Benoist) went to lean on her cousin (Tyler Hoechlin): “I’ve never been challenged like that before … well, except Ms. Grant.” Snort. Like I said, the humor was on point. But I also appreciate the constant affirmations about the purity and goodness of love: “No, love is the most unselfish thing in the world. On any world.” Kara is right. Love, real love, isn’t selfish—even when the circumstances aren’t ideal. I think that was a sweet little moment.
Of course, heading to Kansas meant that we got to meet Lois. And Lois? Lois is amazing. A driven, smart badass—both career-wise and personality-wise. She’s clearly formidable (“If you don’t, I will, Smallville.” and “Deck him, Barry! What, he’s a jerk?”), and I appreciate her sparring with Clark, the affectionate tenacity between those two was exactly right. I sincerely hope we see more of Elizabeth Tulloch.
All in all, this episode more than met my expectations—and trust me, I was already excited. I can’t wait to see how things develop over the next few days. Hopefully, we get to see a bit more of John Wesley Shipp.