CW Superhero Crossover Part 1: The Flash, “Invasion!”
The CW’s big crossover last week, “Invasion!” technically started in Supergirl, but everything important (one minute of footage) was repeated in The Flash, so we’re just going to start there. There’s a lot going on between the arcs, so it’s mostly a summarized review.
What happened on Supergirl relevant to the crossover? There were a couple of universe-traveling portal blips (one during Thanksgiving right over the table), and then Barry and Cisco showed up right at the end of the episode to enlist her help in their universe. But this part re-aired on The Flash, so let’s get started, shall we?
First of all, I am not a fan of “Let’s jump into the action with no prep, and then go back to several hours earlier” openings. Perhaps I’ve been jaded by the overuse of this opening by shows like Hawaii Five-O, but it irritates me when they feel they need that initial action shot to get the story moving. That aside, The Flash is Act One of a three part story, and is where most everyone gets introduced.
After our initial action intro that throws us into the middle of everything, we go back 10 hours to the crew testing Wally’s speed, and they don’t want him rushing (haha) into becoming a superhero right away. So what do they do? Lie to him. Right, because we’ve learned that lying to each other always goes well, right? Next we get a crazy tourism idea from HR, thankfully interrupted by a “meteor” heading for the city.
This is our introduction to our Big Bad for the crossover, aliens! We get some establishing info about the aliens, some references to historical events (which are important and come up later), and how serious the threat can be, What can they do in order to defend against the Dominators? Time to collect some friends to assist!
First off is to Arrow’s Star City to recruit Oliver. Thea, Diggle, and Felicity come with, leaving the B-team behind. Next, we need a base of operations! Now, I’m going to stop right here, because…
Do you see this? This is the Hall of Justice. Yes, Barry Allen now OWNS what will become the Hall of effing Justice. Just an empty S.T.A.R. Labs owned hangar, we’ve never known about before, nothing to see here.
Now that they’ve got a new hangout, who’s next? Oh, it’s no big deal for Felicity reaching through time and space to contact the Legends of Tomorrow’s Waverider, which shows up right on time. With that settled, it’s nothing to get Cisco to open a portal to go recruit Supergirl Kara, who’s eager and willing to help without a second thought. Honestly, the gathering of SuperFriends happened much faster than I expected. They’re all thrown together, introduced, and the pecking order gets laid out fairly quickly.
One thing that’s focused on here is interpersonal interactions. Having just last week learned about Barry’s involvement in their lives having altered, the Flash’s crew is not quite a united front. Cisco feels the backlash most strongly, and while willing to help, continuously finds ways to lash out at Barry, give him the cold shoulder, or undermine his leadership.
Thankfully, Oliver seems happy to back Barry up for the leader role, even though Barry ends up deferring to him to get things rolling. Oliver does this repeatedly, and I don’t remember what has previously caused Ollie to believe in Barry so strongly. But it’s nice to see that he’s there backing Barry up through all of this.
There’s also a large portion of this episode focused on the Flashpoint problem. This gets a little blurry the further into the story we go because of the changes caused by what’s happened in Legends of Tomorrow, like Professor Stein’s daughter that didn’t exist until this episode. But anyway, the Flashpoint problem causes a large rift between the team. Future Barry’s warning of impending disaster makes most of the team doubt Barry, especially the Legends team, until they come to terms slowly through the story arc.
The back half of the episode is mostly a big fight sequence with Barry and Oliver fighting off the rest of the super-team who’ve gotten mind-controlled by the Dominators. It’s well choreographed, and featured Wally learning the hard way why he can’t just rush into dangerous situations, powers or no. We end up with Barry cleverly using his speed to make mind-controlled Kara inadvertently destroy the mind-control device, releasing everyone affected from it’s control. Personally, I could have done without the glowing foreheads as a sign of the effect.
Our episode ends with the beaming-up of some key players by the Dominators, setting up for the continuation on Arrow.
Barry’s responsibility: He’s been beating himself up over the Flashpoint timeline changes ever since it happened. Everyone knowing just how much he’s changed it doesn’t make it any better for him, and it takes the kind words and forgiveness of friends throughout the crossover episodes to help him resolve those issues along the way.
The writers did well, giving us some comedic and referential one-liners, helping cement characterizations for those who don’t normally watch the other shows. By the end of this episode, I was looking forward to the next night’s installment.