The Flash, Season 3, Episode 8 “Invasion!”
This is more like it.
After last year’s bland, unnecessarily dark crossover designed to launch Legends of Tomorrow, this year’s CW superhero crossover truly got started with The Flash, and it pulled no punches.
After a brief introduction in last night’s Supergirl, The Flash set the scene and got the action started in this second act of a four-act action drama.
The danger the alien invader Dominators pose is very real as they kidnap the president and generally toy with the best the world’s military has to offer. We come to learn that despite physical advantages and big gnashy teeth, the Dominators’ main weapons is fear and surprise the ability to control minds, which is a good fit with the rag tag group of heroes Barry assembles at the Abandoned Warehouse of Justice.
Yes, that is the Hall of Justice from the Superfriends cartoon, and the first of what is sure to be many clever nods to superhero team-ups of the past. The lynchpin to this particular team-up is Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl. Her chemistry with Grant Gustin’s Barry is already established, and her earnest optimism and gentle disposition of a Labrador retriever shines through during the training montage, which could have be the entirety of the episode because it was fun and gave all the assembled heroes a chance to quip and marvel at Supergirl’s powers.
But, since this is The Flash of recent times, Barry and his Flashpoint antics had to bring the whole room down. Cisco is still sore about Barry changing the past, which causes Dr. Stein and Jefferson to reveal the message from the future that Barry sent Rip Hunter. There’s a lot of debate about keeping secrets and trust, since this is Barry’s show, not Ollie’s.
Between Cisco’s sulking and the worry over Wally’s desire to use his powers, there was more regular Flash drama in this episode than I expected. While it ultimately gave the Flash series regulars something to do, it kind of felt out of place from the larger story, mainly because we came for the crossover goodness and anything that drew attention away from that felt like a distraction.
Of course, just as the team comes together, the bad guys set a trap and mind control everyone except Barry and Ollie, who make a heroic stand while the assemblage of super brains computer their way to a solution.
This leads to a nice, if slightly cheesy, special effects battle between Barry and Kara, where Barry acts as bait to lead Kara to the alien gizmo that is controlling everyone’s minds, while Ollie holds off the rest of the compromised heroes. Once the day is saved, the celebration doesn’t last long, as the heroes who are most closely connected with Team Arrow are sucked up to the Dominators’ spacecraft, to start the ball rolling for the next part of the adventure.
This first real chapter of the crossover (Supergirl was just a prelude) was really everything you’d want the crossover to be. The writers got to have fun with the characters from the other shows, and gave fans the moments they want to see on screen: Oliver giving Barry a pep talk, Cisco and Ray talking tech, Felicity acting like a sugared-up six year old, Thea and Sara in a one-liner contest, and Heatwave deciding to call Kara, “Skirt.”
It looks like the Arrow installment might get a little more introspective (as middle chapters tend to be) but so far, the crossover is getting maximum fun and excitement out of the concept, which is all anyone could hope for.