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Recap / Supergirl (2015) S4E9 "Elseworlds: Hour Three"

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This episode is the third part of the three-part Elseworlds Crossover event between The Flash (2014), Arrow, and Supergirl (2015). The episodes in chronological order are "Elseworlds: Hour One", "Elseworlds: Hour Two" and "Elseworlds: Hour Three".

"My name is Dr. John Deegan, and I'm from Gotham, a city in grave need of heroes. As doctor at Arkham Asylum, I did my part by protecting this city from the criminally insane. But the world didn't understand my methods. So I worked in secret, until one day a cosmic being recognized my potential and gave me the chance to be something greater. Someone greater. [voice changes] Now I am Superman!"
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Dr. John Deegan, Modified Opening Narration

Oliver and Barry are confronted by Deegan in his guise as black-clad Superman; he has used the Book of Destiny to not only make himself Superman but to rewrite the lives of everybody on Earth-1 so they can't seize the Book from him again. To escape, Oliver pulls a classic villain move of endangering civilians and forcing "Superman" to help them while he and Barry get away. Deegan returns to his base of operations at STAR Labs in a rage, but his underlings, Diggle and Caitlin, assure him the "Trigger Twins" will be caught. "Subject 1", a prisoner in the STAR Labs pipeline, starts making trouble, so Deegan goes to deal with them.

Subject 1 is revealed to be Kara, imprisoned because she's immune to the Book of Destiny's power to rewrite reality. Deegan admits he copied Supergirl's powers because she’s the most powerful of the heroes, but took Superman's face and name because there wasn't already a Superman on Earth-1. By coincidence, one of his underlings is Alex Danvers, and when Deegan realises Alex has a connection to Kara, he threatens to kill her if Kara makes trouble.

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Meanwhile, Oliver and Barry decide to find Cisco and use him to contact Clark on Earth-38, but first they’re confronted by the Monitor; he admires the pair’s resourcefulness and Oliver’s willingness to give his life, but warns that passing the test will mean “knowing your true selves”. Barry sees a pattern in how people’s realities have been rewritten, and he finds Cisco running a criminal organisation out of a seedy bar. Cisco is happy to have the “Trigger Twins” killed, but is convinced by Oliver that helping the pair will help him get rid of “Superman”.

To escape her cell, Kara convinces Alex of their connection on Earth-38, recounting details of Alex's childhood, her work and her coming out later in life, and promises that she can stop "Superman". Meanwhile, Oliver, Barry and Cisco interrupt Clark and Lois' BBQ date night at the Fortress of Solitude. Once Clark understands the situation, he returns with them to Earth-1 just as Deegan interrupts Kara and Alex's escape and tries to kill them. While Superman fights Deegan and Oliver draws off Diggle and Caitlin (despite his lack of fighting prowess in this reality), Kara, Barry and Alex track down the Book of Destiny in the time vault.

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Since Clark is the only one of the heroes who knows how to use the Book's power, Kara takes it to him, saving him from Deegan in the process. Clark restores Oliver and Barry to themselves and begins to set the rest of Earth-1 right when Deegan grabs Barry and threatens to kill him unless the heroes surrender the Book. Oliver, in turn, threatens to kill Deegan with a kryptonite arrow, but Barry urges him not to give in to his darkness, realising the Monitor's true test is whether the heroes of Earth-1 can overcome their weaknesses and be better. Oliver relents, allowing Deegan to seize the Book from Clark and escape.

As Deegan begins rewriting Earth-1 on an even bigger scale, Barry and Kara come up with a plan to super-speed in opposite directions around the planet, slowing time and giving Clark a chance to get back the Book. Clark warns that he saw a vision in the Book of Barry and Kara burning up to nothing and dying in the attempt, but they go anyway. Oliver demands an audience with the Monitor, something no one has done in any previous trial, and begs him to rewrite destiny: Barry and Kara are the good, inspiring heroes needed to survive the coming crisis, not a dark, angry vigilante like Oliver. The Monitor explains that something as complex as the universe requires balance, and asks Oliver how he proposes to save Barry and Kara while maintaining that balance.

Clark confronts Deegan, who summons A.M.A.Z.O. as backup, but help arrives from Earth-38: Brainiac 5, the Martian Manhunter, and Lois wielding a Kryptonian hammer. Even their power combined isn't enough, but just as Barry and Kara succeed at slowing time and are on the verge of death, Oliver appears with an arrow he received from the Monitor. He successfully destroys the Book of Destiny, restoring Earth-1 to normal, and transfers Barry and Kara's injuries to Deegan, reducing him to a burned, withered and barely-alive husk. With the threat neutralised, the Earth-38ers return home.

In Smallville, Clark and Lois finally get the chance to tell Kara the big news: they’re pregnant. They plan to relocate to Argo so that Lois can have the baby safely, and Clark is retiring as Superman for a while — but he's not worried, knowing that Supergirl, who Clark honestly believes is the better hero of the two, will still be around to protect the Earth. Later, Clark bungles a romantic BBQ dinner at the Fortress of Solitude because he’s so nervous about what he plans to do next: ask Lois to marry him.

Back on Earth-1, Oliver and Barry go for their traditional post-crossover beer and talk about what the experience taught them about themselves and each other. Barry knows that Oliver convinced the Monitor to intervene; Oliver downplays it, but later he makes a sombre toast about "appreciating what you have while you still have it." They're interrupted by a call from Kate Kane, letting them know that Deegan, now locked up in Arkham Asylum, has made a new friend: a psycho in a gold mask, babbling that "Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And the universe will never be the same..."


  • 11th-Hour Ranger: In the final battle, Superman receives unexpected aid when Lois breaches in with J'onn and Brainiac 5.
  • Absentee Actor:
    • Nia & Lena are absent.
    • Much like the two previous episodes had done with the guest characters, the supporting casts of Arrow & The Flash (2014) are stripped back to just Oliver, Diggle, Barry, Cisco & Caitlin - despite the bulk of the episode being set in Central City.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Given the timing of Oliver's toast and the last scene of Psycho Pirate, it's implied what Oliver's deal with the Monitor resulted in the Crisis happening early.
  • A God Am I: Deegan has gone off the deep end by turning himself into Superman, and in the climax declares himself Master of the World as he frantically tries to rewrite reality again.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Absolutely everything about the plan to have Kara and Barry fly/run around the world fast enough to slow it down. The stated speed is "just above Mach 7," which is certainly not fast enough to slow down the rotation of the planet, it's supposedly fast enough to tear both Kara and Barry apart even though they've been shown moving faster than that multiple times without much trouble, if it was enough to slow down the rotation of the Earth there would be no way for it to get back up to speed again, slowing down the rotation of the Earth wouldn't slow down time, and if it did slow down time, all the heroes would be affected too, meaning it wouldn't actually solve anything. The only reason that the plan works is because Oliver is still able to move at normal speed; presumably this had something to do with his deal with the Monitor, but that wasn't part of the original plan.
  • Batman Gambit: Realizing that Deegan wants to maintain his facade as Superman, Oliver imposes a Sadistic Choice on him so he and Barry can escape.
  • Beam-O-War: Between Kara's and Deegan's heat vision.
  • Beard of Evil: Earth-1 James has a goatee in the altered reality.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Superman arrives in the nick of time to stop Deegan from using his heat vision on Kara and Alex.
    • Lois gets J'onn and Brainy to help them fight against Deegan.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Deegan is defeated, the Book of Destiny is destroyed and Earth-1 is spared from the Monitor's judgement. But the other worlds who failed the Monitor's test are still in their ravaged state. Plus Oliver had to make some deal with the Monitor to spare Barry and Kara, and there is something much more horrible coming for the multiverse that will have far more severe consequences.
    • Plus, it's implied that the reason why the Crisis is happening in 2019, when it should be happening in 2024, is because of the end result of Oliver's deal with the Monitor.
  • The Bus Came Back: Deegan uses the book to have the Ivo A.M.A.Z.O. android confront Superman.
  • But Now I Must Go: Clark and Lois are expecting a baby, so they decide to leave for Argo for her delivery and a little more vacation, believing Kara is more than capable of defending Earth.
  • Call-Back: Deegan making himself Superman via the Book of Destiny is eerily reminiscent of what Eobard Thawne and the Legion of Doom did with the Spear of Destiny last year, down to having the heroes as his adoring minions and having S.T.A.R. Labs as his personal base. One of the buildings that are changing through his reality warping also briefly looks like a building from Earth-X, complete with the SS runes.
  • The Cameo: Gary Green as a bartender in the Bad-Guy Bar. Hilariously, he's still a geek.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Psycho Pirate, from a glorified cameo in Hour Two to babbling about "things to come" at the end of Hour Three. Which isn't a surprise considering the Pirate's prominent role in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Deegan takes a page out of Oliver's book and throws a helicopter during the fight with Clark, forcing the latter to catch it and lose the advantage.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Mr. Ramon takes multiple attempts to get Barry and Oliver to Earth-38, just like Cisco did in "Medusa".
    • As Deegan is screwing with reality, he briefly turns S.T.A.R. Labs into its Earth-X counterpart.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Deegan's blanket reality rewrite resulted in Earth-1 Alex Danvers helping guard Supergirl. Deegan had no idea of their connection, and laughs at the random twist of fate that brought them together.
  • Crapsack World: This new reality has Deegan as a Knight Templar version of Superman running things, Barry and Oliver are the Trigger Twins, and Kara is trapped in the Pipeline by a harder, more militaristic version of Alex. Cisco is a crime boss, squandering his powers on petty theft — a'la a Flash Rogue.
  • Deal with the Devil: Oliver made some kind of deal with the Monitor. What exactly that was isn't revealed.
  • De-Power: The Monitor gives Oliver a special arrow which removes the Book of Destiny's powers, resetting reality back to normal in the process.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: When Barry and Oliver first meet with the Monitor, Oliver angrily tells him that if they're supposed to save the world to stop wasting their time and let them get on with it.
  • Didn't See That Coming: The Book of Destiny only works on the version of Earth it's currently on. Deegan not only can't affect Earth-38, the book can't even give him knowledge of Earth-38 beyond events that happened to visitors from it on Earth-1. He's genuinely surprised to learn that Kara is familiar with Alex.
  • The Don: Cisco (or rather Mr. Ramon) is a crime lord in the altered reality.
  • The Dragon:
    • James Olsen is Cisco's right-hand man in the altered reality.
    • With Deegan busy rewriting reality, he summons A.M.A.Z.O. to keep Superman at bay.
  • The Dreaded: Barry and Oliver, aka the Trigger Twins, are pretty feared by the common criminals.
  • Drop the Hammer: Lois brings the Solar Hammer from the Fortress of Solitude, which creates blinding light when it strikes something, using it to blind Deegan so he'll drop the Book of Destiny.
  • Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: Exploited by Deegan during his fight with Superman; he attacks an helicopter so Clark pauses the battle to save it, giving Deegan the upper hand when he attacks while Clark is distracted.
  • Equivalent Exchange: When Oliver appeals to the Monitor to change Kara and Barry's fates, he explains that changing their sacrifice would require another to balance it out. We're not told what it is, though Oliver's comments at the end suggest he gave up something big to get it.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Tyler Hoechlin obviously had a blast playing an evil version of himself.
  • Evil Is Petty: Deegan acts extremely petty as Evil Superman.
  • Fanboy: Gary geeks out at the sight of the Trigger Twins (Barry and Oliver).
  • Facial Horror: Deegan's face looks...not so healthy after the book is destroyed.
  • Forgot About His Powers: When Deegan grabs Barry in a choke-hold and threatens to break his neck, Barry could have easily phased out of his grasp. The fight with AMAZO showed that Barry's phasing power works just fine against Superman.
  • Foreshadowing: In retrospect this episode has become one for the second half of Supergirl season four: Earth-1 Alex's personality in this reality, partially caused by not being raised alongside an alien sister, is very similar to what happens to the Alex we know when all memory of Kara's identity as Supergirl must be erased from her mind.
  • Gender Bender: Deegan is technically not Superman, he is a male version of Supergirl based off of AMAZO's copy of her powers. He had to do it in such a roundabout way because the Book of Destiny only contains information on things from Earth-1. Kara mocks him for being too scared to just go all the way and become her.
  • Guile Hero: Oliver fires at a crane to swing into the direction of the civilians to distract Deegan, so they can get away.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Alex frees Kara after hearing her You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kara and Barry using their speed to slow down time kills them...at least until Oliver finds another way.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Kara is locked up for unspecified crimes in the altered reality.
  • He's Back: Once Superman opens the Book, Barry and Oliver have their proper roles restored.
  • History Repeats: Oliver once again secretly cuts a deal with an authority figure to ensure the safety of his comrades; while the exact details this time are kept under wraps, it's implied to again be a form of Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: As Superman is fixing reality, Deegan grabs Barry and threatens to snap his neck unless Superman stops. Oliver threatens to kill Deegan first, but Barry talks him down and Deegan eventually decides to drop Barry and use a Shockwave Clap to get the book out of Superman's hands.
  • Immune to Fate: Supergirl, due to not being from Earth-1, cannot be directly affected by the Book of Destiny. Deegan was only able to stick her in a power-dampening cell in the Pipeline, rather than depowering her outright like with Barry and Oliver.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Alex Danvers and Jimmy Olsen do exist on Earth-1. Furthermore, Alex's life — sans Kara — seems to have played out almost exactly the same, present occupation notwithstanding, other than still being in the closet.
  • It's All About Me: It's pretty clear that Deegan doesn't want to be a hero to save the people, he does it for the fame and adoration. Even his own subordinates can see it.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: When Deegan learns of Kara's familiarity with Alex, he threatens to kill Alex if Kara steps out of line.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • As Deegan is trying to rewrite reality, he briefly slaps the Elseworlds logo on S.T.A.R. Labs.
    • Kara notes how her teaming up with Barry and Oliver is slowly becoming an annual thing. Barry, sick of the yearly insanity, hopes not.
    • Barry figures that the one being tested by the Monitor is actually Oliver. In a way because the whole universe started with him.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Since Clark sat out the events of Hour Two, when Barry, Oliver and Mr. Ramon come to him to Earth-38 for help again, he was glad that Barry and Oliver got their bodies back only to assume that Kara was the one who got her body switched with Mr. Ramon this time. They quickly clear things up.
  • Looks Like Orlok: Deegan gets an unpleasant makeover when Oliver depowers the Book of Destiny, restoring him to his normal form but with chalky white skin covered in lines.
  • Loophole Abuse: How Deegan is able to turn himself into Superman; since there's no Superman on Earth-1, he was free to make himself the part, without reality rebelling like it did when he tried to make himself the Flash.
  • Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex: The complications of this trope are why Lois and Clark plan to go back to Argo while Lois is pregnant. Given the timing, being on Argo the first time is probably how this situation came about.
  • More Expendable Than You: Oliver is willing to cut a deal with the Monitor because he believes Kara and Barry are the true heroes the multiverse needs.
  • Mirror Match: Superman vs Deegan-as-Superman.
  • Mundane Utility: Clark casually tosses a hay bale offscreen with his strength, and pulls the coal-into-diamond trick that multiple versions of him have in the past. Lois also points out he could have cooked the steaks he was making with his heat vision instead of a grill, but Clark may have done that on purpose so he would have a source of coal to crush.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The hammer used by Lois is the Solar Hammer from All-Star Superman.
    • Superman continues the El family tradition of politely asking a similarly-powered bad guy to step outside for their brawl.
    • This wouldn't be the first version of Clark to crush coal into a diamond.
    • Clark foresaw Kara and Barry dying in their actions to run around the world in opposite directions; Kara and Barry are among the more well-known casualties of Crisis on Infinite Earths, which this crossover is building towards.
    • Deegan-as-Superman having a bit of Dissonant Serenity (only because he keeps his anger bottled up) is a bit reminiscent of a certain Justice Lord.
    • Another nod to the cartoon seems to be Deegan's fate as an unresponsive vegetable. All that's missing from this version are insane ramblings.
    • Mr. Ramon refers to Deegan as Superdick.
  • The Nth Doctor: When Deegan transforms into Evil Superman, his character is played by Superman's actor in duo roles until he reverts to normal.
  • Noodle Incident: Mr. Ramon doesn't want Olsen to take care of the Trigger Twins inside his bar because of what happened the last time they were dealing with some previous stragglers.
  • Oh, Crap!: Deegan when Superman appears before him at S.T.A.R. Labs.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Oliver takes out Diggle and Killer Frost offscreen in an elevator once he is restored to his normal self.
    • Brainy takes down the A.M.A.Z.O. android offscreen and by himself, somehow ripping out its motherboard even though it has Superman's powers.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Kara is one for Deegan, as she comes from a different Earth and he can't find any information about her in the book.
  • Passing the Torch: Lois and Clark leave for Argo City again, and Clark is more than content to leave the safety of the Earth to Kara.
  • Pet the Dog: Either that or Pragmatic Villainy, but Deegan does save a bunch of civilians instead of going after Oliver and Barry.
  • Physical God: When the Monitor refers to himself as a god, he responds to Oliver's objection by noting that's just the closest definition to what he really is.
  • Pregnant Badass: Lois is not shy to jump into battle herself, despite being some months pregnant.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: None of Deegan's minions seem to be malicious of any sort. In fact, some of them question him behind his back for acting so entitled.
  • Put on a Bus: Superman and Lois leave for Argo City again at the end of the episode.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Bitsie Tulloch's pregnancy, late in her second trimester at time of filming, is written in for Lois.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Oliver's plan to save Kara and Barry involves demanding an audience from the most powerful being in the multiverse. The Monitor lampshades this, but the fact that he's even talking to Oliver means it worked.
  • The Reveal:
    • The Black Superman is John Deegan.
    • At the very end...oh, wait, that's PSYCHO PIRATE!
  • Sadistic Choice: In a case of a hero doing this, Oliver knocks over a crane and dares Deegan to either apprehend him and Barry, or stop the crane from crushing the people. Not wanting to give up his role as Superman, Deegan catches it, allowing Oliver and Barry to escape. Afterwards, Oliver points out he observed the crane would have fallen on an empty lot when Barry is put off by him endangering innocent lives.
  • Screw Destiny: Oliver encourages Clark not to believe the vision, in which Kara and Barry dies saving the Earth. Surely enough, they survive.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Mr. Ramon breaches to safety as soon as he's brought back Barry, Oliver, and Superman.
  • Secret Test of Character: The Monitor's been searching for heroes who aren't merely strong, but good. Oliver standing up to him to beg for Kara and Barry's life is what he's been searching for.
  • Seen It All: Superman has experience with reality warping books enough to know how to use one based on Barry and Oliver's description. He's the one they give it to restore things when they get it away from Deegan.
  • Sequel Hook: The episodes with a teaser for next year's Crisis Crossover: an adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths!
  • Shout-Out: Kara and Barry speeding around the Earth's axis to halt it looks extremely similar to Superman's time reverse in Superman: The Movie.
  • Sigil Spam: Deegan has slapped Superman's S-shield everywhere on S.T.A.R. Labs and the uniforms worn by his subordinates.
  • Spanner in the Works: Because he got to keep his powers in the altered reality, Cisco was able to dismantle Deegan's reign of terror by allowing Barry and Oliver to go to Earth-38 and recruit Superman.
  • Special Edition Title: John Deegan is the narrator of this episode's intro.
  • Stealth Insult: When Oliver drops the tower as a threat to the children, Barry says Deegen can choose to catch them, or save the children. When Oliver tells him, "It's your choice,Superman!," with the emphasis you can hear him saying "@$$hole!"
  • Time Stands Still: Kara and Barry speed around the Earth in opposite directions to slow its rotation and thus time along with it.
  • Transparent Closet: It's pretty clear that this version of Alex is also a lesbian, she just doesn't seem to realize it yet. Kara points her in the right direction.
  • The Un-Reveal: The Monitor insists that something has to be exchanged in order to save Barry and Kara, but it's not revealed what deal Oliver made to make this happen. Oliver's comment at the end strongly implies a Heroic Sacrifice on his part, but that's about it.
  • Villainous Friendship: Alex and Killer Frost seem to be quite close.
  • Wham Line: Oliver gets a call from Batwoman. Deegan's been sent to Arkham and he's apparently made a friend.
    Psycho Pirate: Don't worry, Doctor. Everything is as it should be. The stage is set. Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And the universe will never be the same.
  • Wham Shot: The Psycho Pirate is revealed to be much important than he lets on.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Earth-90 Flash doesn't show up from wherever the Monitor teleported him in the prior episode.
    • Earth-1 Alex disappears from the story after Superman starts fixing reality. What her real life on Earth-1 is like was never revealed.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: It's needless to say that Mach 7 isn't nearly enough to stop the Earth from rotating. Aside from that, both Barry and Kara are capable of far greater speeds.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
    • Kara uses this in conjunction with what she knows of Alex's life to convince her to rebel against Superman.
    • Barry talks down Oliver from killing Deegan on the grounds that he doesn't have to be ruled by his darkness. Barry also surmises that the Monitor is testing them for their ability to be good, rather than being able to win.

"Don't worry, Doctor. Everything is as it should be. The stage is set. Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And the universe will never be the same."
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