This Week In DC TV: Invasion!

Hey Folks!

It’s been hyped for weeks, if not a month: the 4-night crossover for the “Arrowverse” where the heroes from Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow would unite as one team “Avengers-style” in the face of an alien invasion.  I was actually more excited for this than I am the pretty much anything else super-hero related (except Captain America: Civil War).  The big question is, did it deliver the goods, or did it fail to meet expectations?

I’d say it delivered, but it’s not without faults.  The biggest glaring problem that many had if you checked your timelines the first night, was that this really was a 3-night crossover.  Supergirl pretty much operated as its own story and was completely independent of all the events that happened this week.  The only thing that tied Supergirl to the rest of the crossover, was that Barry and Cisco teleported to her earth at the last minute of the episode saying they needed her help.  Another thing that didn’t really work well was some characters skepticism/prejudice towards Kara, only for her to then come and save their butts and then they apologize to her.  Other than those two gripes, this was comic book excellence!!

For purposes of covering the crossover, I won’t get into the weeds for Supergirl as I said it was not a part of the crossover.  I’ll just say that the show tries to wrap up the Project Cadmus and the “J'onn J'onzz White Martian” arcs, which we’ll get to next week.  Also for this recap, I’m not going to review each episode on its own as it really was just 3 episodes rolled into one.  Each character from their perspective episodes had their own chance to shine as well.

Let’s take a look at Invasion!

The crossover truly kicks off on The Flash as a meteor crashes and Barry goes to investigate.  Of course, it’s not a meteor, it’s a spaceship.  After being knocked out by the spaceships’ s force field, he sees hordes of aliens escape from the ship and into Central City.  After speaking with Argus director Lyla Diggle, he learns that the aliens are called “The Dominators” and have been monitored since they visited the 1950s and are a force to be reckoned with.  Barry quickly realizes that this is something that he might not be able to take on by himself.  This isn’t just some simple metahuman villain that his teams ingenuity and his super speed, this is a horde of aliens that can impact the Earth on a global scale.  He needs more heroes.

Barry recruits not only Oliver, but also the Legends of Tomorrow, and he and Cisco travel to Earth-38 (we now have a universe number for where Kara is from) and assembles them “Avengers-style” (you will see some reference to The Avengers in this recap) to take on their global threat.  And where do they do it at????  The Freakin HALL OF JUSTICE!!  Turns out that an old STAR Labs hanger has an eerie similar look to the famed Justice League location.  As Barry is describing it to the team, he also reminds them that he owns STAR Labs as well.  We forget that Eobard Thawne/Harrison Well gifted Barry with ownership of STAR Labs in his confession video last season.  By the way, how does STAR Labs make any money?  Supergirl gets to meet all the heroes on Earth-1 which concludes with it being the “Best. Team-up. Ever!”  However, everything’s not all good with the team.

For one, Cisco is still not excited about being on Team Flash.  After all, the events of Flashpoint and Barry messing with the timeline ended with his brother being killed.  He’s been carrying that grudge for the last few episodes on The Flash, to the point where it’s wearing thin.  However, it’s not only Cisco now as more information comes to light.  We finally learn what “Old” Barry’s message from 2056 that has been teased on Legends of Tomorrow for a few episodes, and it didn’t exactly show that everyone should be confident in Barry’s leadership.  Old Barry told Rip Hunter (who the message was originally for) not to trust young Barry as he meddled with the timeline and as a result, Barry comes clean about Flashpoint to all of the heroes.  Diggle learns that he was supposed to have a daughter, which ended up being his son as a result of the “time ripples” from Flashpoint.  Of course during all this turmoil, the President of the United States is kidnapped by The Dominators, someone needs to rescue him.  However, with everyone at odds with Barry, Barry opts to remain behind.  The one person who has Barry’s back 100% is Oliver and they remain behind to give him a much-needed pep talk about Flashpoint and the fact that Barry’s not God but just a human being who made a bad choice.

Meanwhile, all the other heroes go to rescue the President and face The Dominators.  However, they are not at all successful.  The President is killed by the aliens and then The Dominators unleash some sort of “pulse bomb “that incapacitates them (including Supergirl).  In the aftermath, they are all under the control of The Dominators and become unofficial bad guys.  As Barry and Oliver see the heroes now mind controlled and causing mayhem, it’s up to the two of them to save the day Civil War-style.  They have to not only defend themselves from their brainwashed friends, but they also have to pull their punches.  How do you do that to Supergirl?  Oliver and Barry develop a “divide and conquer” strategy as Barry takes on the more super powered heroes (Atom, Supergirl, and Firestorm) as Oliver would then fight against the rest.  It all gets resolved to Barry fooling Supergirl into attacking one of his “speed mirages” and she crashes into the device which was mind controlling, therefore, freeing them.  However, The Dominators go into their next phase of their plan as they kidnap Oliver, Thea, Sara, and Ray Palmer.

The kidnapped heroes end up on a spaceship where they are in a dream reality.  Very reminiscent of the Supergirl episode “For the Girl Who Has Everything” from last season, it’s a “dream” reality meant to distract those in it by giving them everything they want.  Oliver is to marry Laurel (who’s still alive), he and Thea have their parents, Diggle is the Green Arrow, Sara has her sister Laurel as well, and Ray is married to Felicity.  They have a reality where everything is perfect.  Slowly but surely, they each begin to question their reality as everything is a little “too perfect.”  They all eventually accept that what is going on isn’t real life, except Thea who just wants her parents back after missing them for so long.  Eventually, she accepts this as well as they find a way to escape the reality, only to realize they are on a space ship and have to fight their way to an escape pod (how did they know how to fly it?).  They ended up being chased by other ships only to be rescued by The Wave Rider and the other Legends.  After all, this was Arrow’s 100th episode and brought back many people from the past including Oliver’s parents, Malcolm Merlyn, Deathstroke, and Tommy to pay homage to them.

The conclusion of the four-night crossover happened during Legends of Tomorrow as the heroes now have to figure out how to stop The Dominators.  Since they know that The Dominators visited Earth last in the 1950s, why not take a time machine and go investigate them there?  When they arrive (trying to not interfere with history), they don’t stop The Dominator’s slaughter of Army soldiers and find a lone Dominator and try to kidnap them.  However, it turns out that there are some “Men In Black” in the 1950s that incapacitate them and locks them up.  After breaking out, they try to do the humanitarian thing and help the lone Dominator escape, where we learn a little bit more about the effects of time travel.

That one act of “compassion” also lead The Dominators to try and invade Earth.  Cisco, who has been angry with Barry most of this season for Flashpoint realizes he created his own flashpoint and it’s partially responsible for the invasion.  This helps him gain a new understanding for Barry and the mistakes of traveling in time trying to do good, and it ends up having devastating consequences.  Another time travel related incident is related to Stein.  Because he had multiple interactions with his younger self on past episodes of Legends of Tomorrow, he has influenced his own past.  Yelling at his younger self to pay more attention to his wife and resulted with him having a daughter he didn’t know he had.  He is the cause of a time aberration.  However, this is one he doesn’t want to reverse as his daughter is brilliant, just like him, and he realizes that he loves her.

There was also another reason for their invasion…. It’s all about Barry and Flashpoint.  The Dominators know the threat of metahumans, but they realize that The Flash is a significant threat.  Not only does he have a strong connection with the Speed Force, but he has the ability to rewrite time all by his lonesome and that’s dangerous.  The Dominators give an ultimatum, delivery Barry Allen, or they will unleashed a metahuman bomb (which will by default kill millions of non-metahumans).  Barry is ready to give himself over as a sacrifice, but that’s a non-starter as the heroes decide that instead of turning on Barry, they will support him and take on The Dominators as a united front.  In the battle sequence, we are treated to a heroes montage very reminiscent of the Avengers films as they all take on The Dominators.

Comic book nerds everywhere rejoiced and this scene was pure magic!

I the aftermath, the heroes saved the day and part ways.  Cisco and Barry and back to being buddies.  Cisco gives Kara a device that will allow them to be able to stay in contact, so rest assured, there will be another crossover episode.  This crossover was a success.  My only fear is now they will have to do bigger and better for next year’s crossover (and there will be one next year).  The only way to top The Dominators would be to adapt the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline, or somehow build a way to blend the DC movies (DCEU) will the TV shows (I know, wishful thinking).  Overall, this was awesome and can’t wait until the next big crossover.  There is supposed to be a musical crossover coming next spring, so we can see everyone flexing their vocal chords.

Great Crossover!