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There's no denying the fact that midseason Arrowverse finale crossover "Elseworlds" — and the announcement that the Arrowverse would tackle its very own "Crisis on Infinite Earths" in the future — has shaken The CW's superhero universe to its core. But there's still a whole lot of story left to tell until next year, as Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl are all returning for the second half of their respective seasons within the next week. So what will DC's mightiest heroes be dealing with when they come back from hiatus?
First up, a bit of housekeeping, as The CW has taken the break to shake up its schedule a bit. Arrow is on Mondays, The Flash is on Tuesdays, and Supergirl is still on Sundays, but Legends of Tomorrow is taking an extended hiatus for a few months to let Black Lightning (which, while being a CW super-show, isn't technically in the Arrowverse) wrap up its current season.
So, while we're all keeping an eye toward next fall's crossover, here's what Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl will be dealing with in the meantime.
THE FLASH (TUESDAY, JANUARY 15)
Team Flash understandably got a bit distracted trying to stop reality from being torn apart during "Elseworlds," but now the team has to turn its focus back on this season's big bad, Cicada.
The superpower-draining serial killer has proven to be a formidable foe for the team, and though Barry and the gang know his real identity, it hasn't gotten them any closer to actually catching him. If anything, Cicada is more dangerous than ever, now that Team Flash has gotten close enough to realize his crusade against meta-humans is all about getting revenge for his niece, who was critically injured during last season's finale.
There's also the lingering mystery that finally came to a head before all hell broke loose in "Elseworlds" — what exactly is Barry and Iris' future daughter Nora doing working with a seemingly-imprisoned, future version of Eobard Thawne (aka Barry's arch nemesis)? It was a jaw-dropping reveal, and look for that subplot to loom large over the back half of the season. Did Nora simply forge an unlikely friendship with Thawne in her quest to learn more about her father? Is she being manipulated by Thawne? Is she willingly working with Thawne for nefarious purposes? Expect those answers to hopefully come soon.
Then there's the translated quote from Nora's funky Speed Force notebook, deciphered by Sherloque: "The timeline is malleable." What does it mean? Team Flash is plenty busy taking on Cicada, but The Flash has planted more than a few mysteries outside the core clash to keep things interesting.
One other note to look out for: The continued semi-absence of Joe West, played by actor Jesse Martin. Martin is recovering from some back trouble, and took a hiatus from filming to heal. They've managed to simply write around his absence, so expect a bit more of that, though hopefully, he'll make it back soon rested and ready to help save the world.
SUPERGIRL (SUNDAY, JANUARY 20)
If any Supergirl fans sat out "Elseworlds," they missed some momentous developments in the world of Supergirl. For one thing, Superman has decided to take a break and head off-world with Lois Lane during her pregnancy.
That's right, Lois and Clark are having a baby. Superman doesn't usually play a big role in Supergirl, anyway, but sending him off-world makes it very clear Supergirl will be the only Kryptonian defending her world for the foreseeable future. There's also, looking a season or so ahead, the set-up for a real-life Superboy to be introduced and some major evolution to the role of Superman in that universe. Just, you know, geeky stuff — but probably nothing that will tangibly impact the next few months, aside from Supes' absence, obviously.
This season of Supergirl has delved into a fascinating story about racism, xenophobia, and immigration through the mirror of aliens trying to find a place in our world. If you've been sleeping on this season of Supergirl, it's worth a catch-up. It's seen the introduction of Sam Witwer's Ben Lockwood (aka Agent Liberty), who stoked that anger and helped inspire a right-wing movement to jump aliens on the street and attack them in their homes. Supergirl helped get Ben arrested, but it's clear the movement he helped inspire is stronger than ever. If anything, Supergirl may have simply turned Agent Liberty into a martyr.
There are also the new-ish additions to take into account. We only just learned that Nia is an alien with a generational gift to dream the future. Brainy has teased she might be important to the future, so look for more on that once the show is back. There's also the street-level freedom fighter Manchester, who is still working on his rocky road to redemption with the help of Martian Manhunter.
ARROW (MONDAY, JANUARY 21)
We may not see the fallout until next year, but "Elseworlds" saw Oliver Queen cut a mysterious deal with the Monitor off-screen to spare Flash and Supergirl from death. What did he bargain? Was it his own future, his own life? We still don't know, but it must've been big — and that question will likely hang over this show until "Crisis on Infinite Earths" in the fall. But still, it's something to keep on the radar. Who knows? Maybe Oliver will actually open up about his feelings and confide in Felicity about the whole ordeal. Just kidding, we all know that won't happen.
Arrow also had its own surprise reveal when it came to the New Green Arrow who has been cleaning up Star City while Oliver was in prison. As suspected, the person under the hood was a young woman — one pulled straight from the comics. Arrow is introducing Emiko Queen, Oliver's secret half-sister, into the fold. Considering the show just wrote off Oliver's other sister, Thea, it'll be interesting to see where the writers take Emiko. If nothing else, yay, Oliver finally has some extended family again.
There's also the major status quo change with Oliver operating in public as the Green Arrow now that his secret identity is public knowledge. We saw him teaming up with the Star City PD in the first half of the season, and it seems he could become a semi-sanctioned vigilante moving forward.
Then there's the fact that holdover big bad Ricardo Diaz is behind bars — but that doesn't mean his story is over. Diggle and Lyla are now poised to start working with Diaz to take down a major case they're working at Argus. So don't expect him to be leaving anytime soon.
Looking to the flash-forward story this season, future William and Roy are still looking into the apparent death of Felicity in the future. Is this a fake out? Is she really dead? Is this burned out future for Star City avoidable in any way? Only time will tell.