Well folks, here we are with our wall to wall coverage of “Invasion,” the ‘Aliens Vs. Superheroes’ crossover on the CW. Aside from the tagline being silly (because, you know, Supergirl is an alien), this is a genuinely exciting event. Alice and Brian, our usual CW reviewers, will be discussing the crossover, show by show, and then wrapping up by talking about the crossover as a whole. Keep reading for MEDUSA – Multiversity’s Extended Discussion Unto Superhero Action!
Part 2: The Flash‘s “Invasion”
Alice: Well… that certainly was an episode.
Brian: I probably should have warned you that there’s yet another Harrison Wells floating around. My b.
Alice: Yeah, holy shit. I know this is a four episode crossover, but I didn’t think that meant each episode had four episodes of content in them. I feel like I watched that episode on fast forward.
But, before we get into the nitty gritty details… what did you think of the official first part of ‘Invasion!’?
Brian: Well, it’s sort of hard to say, isn’t it? There was a lot of action, a lot of following threads that had been laid out in all the shows thus far, and it was all intriguing and all worked together, I feel like I need to take a nap before I can really process it.
So, let’s dig in: how much of this was total nonsense to you?
Alice: Well, let’s just say I appreciate your crash course yesterday. Otherwise, I’d have been way more lost. Although, I will say that it was mostly easy to keep up with because The Flash is still very much dealing with the fallout from ‘Flashpoint’.
And, I assume that the writers were aware that fans of the other shows who don’t watch The Flash would be tuning in so the Flash-centric characters did a pretty good job of airing out their baggage going into the episode.
Although, I must ask: when did the show decide to turn Barry Allen into history’s greatest monster? What’s up with that?
Brian: It’s been happening slowly over the course of this season. While we are made to be sympathetic to Barry’s situation, the show takes every single opportunity to remind us that he fucked up big time. Cisco, in particular, has been brutal to Barry this season, just reminding him time and time again what a shit he is.
I can obviously see both sides, and I think Ollie made a lot of sense with his pep talk to Barry last night, but I also think that the emo Barry thing is getting real old, real quick. You got an hour of it; I’ve had half a season of it.
Alice: Do you think this is a way for the writers to communicate that they want Barry to be done with time travel? Like, they introduced it and saw that it could potentially be such a powerful problem solver that they needed a way to take it off the table again? By having Barry mess up so bad, he’s less likely to just use time travel to fix all his problems nows?
Brian: Yeah, I think that was definitely part of the thinking. The problem with that is, 48 hours after every Barry adventure, we get a time travel adventure. There was careful dialogue last night to ensure that we could tell the difference between “good” and “bad” time travel, and that just seems abundantly silly to me.
I mean, I get it, but it seems like it is trying to make a point that is so slippery that I almost just fell over typing it.
Alice: Yeah, having a group of people whose job it is to travel through time and… do what, exactly? Outside of the whole Vandal Savage deal, what’s the Legends’ goal these days? Either way, they’re cruising through time and doing their thing, but Barry can’t because he affected peoples’ lives?
It’s like Doctor Who giving Marty McFly a hard time.
Brian: They’re essentially the new Time Masters, after they got killed at the end of last season. Currently, they’re hunting down Damian Darhk and the Reverse Flash.
Alice: Still, as much as I felt for Sara’s whole “You were selfish because I travel in time and I didn’t try to bring Laurel back” speech, I feel like this episode was as much about clearing up ‘Flashpoint’ stuff as it was about introducing the Dominators.Continued below
Speaking of which, I really hope next episode gives us more in the way of our heroes actually facing off against them because this episode was really lackluster in that regard. I get that they went the whole mind control route to see up the Dominators as a credible threat that one person couldn’t take on alone, but focusing so much of the episode’s climax on heroes vs. heroes (more specifically, the two old guard heroes in Barry and Ollie facing off against everyone else) was a bit trite.
What did you think?
Brian: Yeah, I could live a very happy life if I never see a hero fight a hero again, but that’s not the case. I have a real soft spot for the Barry/Ollie bond, and so I liked seeing them work together, but I’m with you – all we know about the Dominators is that they have spaceships and look like the aliens from Signs.
What’s so weird about the decision to really focus on Flashpoint, besides this being the Flash episode of the crossover, is that it really doesn’t affect anything here. Sure, we get to see the team doubt Barry due to it (and the message from future Barry that’s been Checkov’s gun for a few weeks now on Legends of Tomorrow), but again, why couldn’t we just get some more awesome team up stuff?
Also, I’m calling bullshit on Sara, as she tried to kill Damien Darhk to bring Laurel back this season, only to be talked out of it. Self righteous much, Ms. Lance?
Alice: Oh, man, those alien designs are killing me. That shot of all of them running over Barry after he discovers their ship and it looks like they were running in fast forward? Unintentional hilarity for me. CW doesn’t have the biggest budget in the world, but I couldn’t not laugh at how goofy they looked.
And, admittedly, there was a lot in this episode that makes me intrigued about the appearance of the Dominators. They idea that they’ve been on Earth before and are now returning, the concept of them abducting humans to understand them and trying to pass it off as them simply researching, the fact that they kidnapped and killed the President just to get the heroes in one room? There’s some scary shit in there before they even got to the mind control. I just wish they had more room to breathe instead of being sandwiched in between the Barry hatefest at the Hall Of Justice.
Because, c’mon, that shit was just the Hall Of Justice.
Brian: Of course it was the Hall of Justice! And it was fucking glorious. I love little moments like that. The CW, for all its flaws, really lets the shows dive deep into DC minutia, and we are all better of for it.
The Dominators, as you said, have some interesting elements to them, but there just wasn’t enough time spent there. This feels like it may be too much for 3 episodes, as Arrow is also the 100th episode, and looking to bring back the farm for the festivities. If only there was a fourth show that could’ve taken on some of this storytelling…
Alice: Yeah, I think this was really where the crossover felt the sting of not having Supergirl do the heavy lifting in introducing the Dominators, honestly.
Also, I have a beef and I’m about to go full Seinfeld on this but… what is the deal with Iris West? She spent two whole seasons pissed off at every man in her life for lying to her for her “protection” only to turn around and do the same thing to Wally? That’s some bullshit and I’m totally with Wally here. Barry had pretty much everyone’s support from day one to go out and use his powers for good, but Wally has to stay at home like a good little boy while the whole world is at stake? Naw, I’m not about that.
Brian: This is the best season so far for Iris, but you’re right, this is some pot kettle black shit. I understand her concern for her baby brother (who she just met last year), and I get that this is quite literally the most dangerous situation that this team has ever faced, but her “hey, let’s lie to Wally and tell him he sucks so he won’t try to be a hero!” plan is shady as fuck.Continued below
That said, I don’t need HR training Wally. God, I don’t need that.
Do you want an HR refresher?
Alice: I’ve been genuinely afraid to ask, but yes. Hit me. Who the hell is HR?
Brian: Hold onto your butt, because this is pretty convoluted.
OK, so, Harrison Wells of Earth-2, who they lovingly called Harry, wanted to get back to Earth 2. But the team was lamenting this, as Wells was an integral part of their team. So, they created, essentially, a job description in the form of a puzzle, and sent it out to all the Harrison Wellses in the Multiverse. If someone could solve it, they’d submit an application to work with S.T.A.R. Labs.
So, we saw a few applicants, specifically British foppish dandy Wells and French mime Wells (I’m not joking), and this Wells, who goes by HR, who is essentially “hipster douche Wells.”
It turns out that he has no scientific knowledge whatsoever, and that his partner at his Earth’s S.T.A.R. Labs figured out the riddle, and he’s really an aspiring author, who is writing a sci-fi book. He stuck around because the team believes in second chances or some shit.
Alice: Wait. So he… is Harrison Wells? But he goes by HR? Why? Just… just why?
God, this show shot itself in the foot so much by wanting Eobard Thawne and Harrison Wells to be different people, but still wanting to keep Tom Cavanagh around after it turned out that Thawne had killed Wells.
Brian: Yes, I guess his middle name is “Redundant” or something.
I actually think if a different Earth’s Wells is on each season, that could be sort of fun. But H.R. is really annoying.
There was one other piece I was sure you’d be confused by, as a non-Legends viewer. The stuff with Stein, so I’ll give you a brief recap. Stein has been having these weird flashes of a woman enter his mind, and he thought that some time travel shenanigans had changed who he was married to, so he was afraid he’d lost Clarissa, his wife (who, sidebar, have the best relationship on the whole network, love wise). And, as I called last week, it turns out the woman he was seeing was his daughter, who is new via Flashpoint.
Alice: Yeah, I pretty much assumed as much. Although, I now think it would have been hilarious to see the show deal with the ramifications of Barry’s time travelling resulting in Stein having a now much younger wife than before.
I was honestly expecting, though, some kind of twist when his daughter said that his wife wasn’t there that the twist would come packaged with a “You have a new daughter, but your wife died” clause.
Brian: That still could be the case, but the way his daughter said “she’s not here” was far too pleasant of a response to “Hi, I’m here to see your totally dead mom.”
So, what else do we want to dig into? What were some of the highlights of the episode for you?
Alice: I really liked what little we saw of the actual interaction between the heroes and that makes me really excited for the coming episodes. This is a huge cast and I can see why sidelining the Legends and Supergirl in order to focus on Barry and Oliver and giving Wally his big moment made things a bit more cohesive. I wish we had seen more of the training against Supergirl and her interactions with the group as well as her leading the mission into the salt mine.
Plus, like I said, what we did see of the Dominators really interested me. The idea of an alien force who is actively invading a planet, but potentially playing it off as not understanding the culture of the world? That’s something I really dig and even though I feel like this episode underutilised them, I feel like they were set up enough to feel like a credible threat for the whole team to tackle.
Plus, we’ve still got two more hours of this crossover to see some actual heroes vs aliens action as promised.Continued below
Brian: Yeah, I’m with you – I liked seeing the various characters interacting. Heatwave and Supergirl went about as you’d think it would, but it was still fun (and I love that just minutes later he’s calling out to her as “Supergirl,” and not “Skirt”). I really enjoying Barry and Ollie’s conversation inside of Gideon’s control center, and I really liked the creative way that Barry got Kara to destroy the Dominators’ mind control device.
I’m looking forward to seeing more of the team battling together, but it appears that might have to wait until Legends, as Arrow has its 100th episode tonight, and will probably be at least half not crossover related.
Alice: I can’t believe it’s been 100 episodes of this show already. I mean, I don’t pay much attention to Arrow and I don’t actively watch it outside of these crossovers, but sometimes I forgot how long it’s actually been running for.
Like, it showed up not long after Smallville ended, right?
Brian: Smallville ended in May of 2011; Arrow began October 2012.
Do you think that any of these CW shows have the possibility of going ten seasons, like Smallville did? Arrow is halfway there.
Alice: Okay, the gap was pretty further than I thought. For some reason, I was always convinced Arrow spun out of wanting to capitalise on the Green Arrow appearances in Smallville with a new continuity.
I think, barring any unforeseen complete collapse of superhero media in the next couple of years, Arrow and possibly The Flash could hit that mark. I would love for Supergirl hit that mark too, but I’m also really wary of shows getting to that point. After ten years, how many more stories can there be to tell?
Brian: There is probably a longer discussion to be had about this, but let’s save that for another day.
So, any thoughts going into Arrow tonight?
Alice: The idea of a This Is Your Life style story for Ollie that examines the life that he could have had is interesting and reminds me of the Batman: The Animated Series episode ‘Perchance To Dream’. Tying that into the whole mind control thing with the Dominators can be cool too.
I just think it’s a shame, as we’ve mentioned, that a whole hour of this crossover likely isn’t going to deal with the actual conflict with the Dominators. I wouldn’t be surprised if Legends Of Tomorrow has the entire fight against the Dominators in one episode.
Brian: I know that this is sweeps and all, but wouldn’t this have been better served two weeks earlier? No interference with Supergirl‘s mid-season finale (which is a dumb concept to begin with), and it wouldn’t be Arrow‘s 100th episode. Although, the mind control allows Arrow to bring back folks rather easily.
Well, whatever the episode holds, we’ll be back to talk about it tomorrow. Stay tuned!