On Supergirl this week, we saw Barry and Cisco journey to her universe to ask for help, and now in this episode of The Flash, we find out what for. As the Flash, Green Arrow, Supergirl, the Legends of Tomorrow, and more join forces against alien attack, meet me after the super speed, extra-dimensional, and interstellar jump for my thoughts on “Invasion!”
Now and Then
There’s no playing around here. From the first seconds we are dropped right into the action, in media res, as Green Arrow chastises the Flash for getting him into this mess. They are under fire until the rest of their ‘friends’ show up. There’s Supergirl, Firestorm, Spartan, Speedy (this must be serious to get her back in costume), the Atom, White Canary, and former Flash enemy Heat Wave. This team-up is serious, and just a minute in, better than the prologue in Supergirl the other night.
Once we get the big posing frame however, we’re in the titles (symbols dropping on each other like bricks), and the caption 10 Hours Earlier. At S.T.A.R. Labs, Team Flash is giving Wally more tests and debating his becoming a speedster. Crossover aside, this is business as usual – Joe is overprotective, Cisco is still mad at Barry, H.R. Wells is still coming up with wild ideas, and Iris is just standing around. Then a meteor is headed for Central City. When the Flash gets there, it’s a spaceship, with aliens running out.
When Flash confronts Lyla Michaels (Spartan’s wife and A.R.G.U.S. agent) at the landing site later, she agrees to meet with Team Flash at S.T.A.R. The government has known about the Dominators since the fifties. In 1951, they attacked and killed hundreds of soldiers. They left without a word, then just returned today. Lyla suggests that Team Flash do nothing, and leave it to the government.
In the comics, the Dominion first appeared in the Legion of Super-Heroes stories in Adventure Comics. The Dominators are geneticists, super-intelligent and manipulative, with large yellow heads, nasty sharp lamprey-like teeth, and big red circles on their foreheads. The circles indicate caste or rank. They organized the Invasion! in the DC Comics of same name.
Best Team-Up Ever
Whether it’s in the spirit of heroism, or just another Barry-ism, if one tells the Flash to do something, he’s just not going to do it, or do it the way he was told. Told to do nothing about the Dominators, he naturally gets help to help defend the Earth. First stop is Star City to collect the Green Arrow and Spartan. He saves them a firefight with Vigilante, but fails to stop the anti-hero so as not to disturb the status quo on Arrow.
Next he gets Felicity Smoak, and Thea, who for the opportunity to fight aliens will suit up as Speedy again. Then at a S.T.A.R. Labs facility that looks suspiciously like the Hall of Justice, they summon the Legends of Tomorrow. I loved seeing this building, and wondered if it was all CGI or just an altered Union Terminal. It sure would be nice if this was a test run to actually use it as a headquarters for a group of superheroes. Hmmm… Justice League is a good name… One more stop, one we’ve seen before, Barry and Cisco go get Supergirl on Earth-38. A veritable army of heroes against the aliens, I’d have to agree with Felicity, “best team-up ever.”
Best team-up ever, except for a few things. There’s the tension between Barry and Cisco because Flashpoint is responsible for Dante’s death. Even a chat with Felicity doesn’t help. The tension gets old real quick. Having Supergirl learning everyone’s name was a necessary evil for Flash viewers who don’t watch the other shows, but it was just a bit tedious.
Equally tedious was the training session against Supergirl, just because she’s a powered alien and there’s a bit of a special effects budget to spend. It might as well have been one of the CW’s fight club commercials. Then there’s also the problem of Wally, who wants to help, but no one thinks he’s ready yet. It just gets old. It seems like a time filler, rather than characterization or plot furtherance.
There’s a message that was found on board the Legends’ ship, the Waverider. Discovered by Stein and Jax, the two components of Firestorm, it’s been an ongoing subplot over on Legends of Tomorrow. Since the message came from Barry forty years in the future, they decide to confront him now with it. Originally intended for the now-missing Rip Hunter, the older Barry confesses to altering the timeline (again? still?) and creating dangerous paradoxes. Furthermore, he should not be trusted, nor should anyone encountered in the new timeline.
Barry comes clean with everyone, not endearing himself with some, especially Spartan who was traded a son for a daughter in the paradox. And then there’s the Legends, whose whole reason for being is to correct time aberrations, and now they are faced with a doozy. White Canary is enraged as she fights constantly not to use her time travel gift to save her murdered sister to preserve the timeline. Now, pretty much everyone but Green Arrow and Supergirl distrusts Barry. And then, as if to distract from the moment, the President gets kidnapped by the Dominators.
Oliver stays behind with Barry when everyone else goes to save the President. Oliver tells Barry about his parents, and the choices they made, as well as the bad choices he’s made. Oliver is trying to boost Barry’s spirits, but in Oliver’s words, it’s a nightmare. I guess that’s why Flash is day and Arrow is night. Barry then shows Oliver the holo-newspaper from the future that is stored in the Braille room. I’m not sure how they got there from the Hall of Justice, but there you go.
We get to see a shocker never before revealed about the paradoxes of Flashpoint. The holo-newspaper is no longer written by Iris West-Allen, but by someone named Julie Greer. Could all of the hints lately with Iris feeling useless, out of place, and like a fifth wheel on the team be leading up to something? Is she doomed like her comics counterpart so that she’ll never live long enough to write that story? Will she die at the hands of the Reverse-Flash?
Then we return to the moment the episode began, the reinforcements are there, but to fight Green Arrow and the Flash, not help them. The President was a ploy to get the heroes under the Dominators’ mind control, so it’s Barry and Oliver versus everyone else. If not for Supergirl, the odds might be even, but she stacks the deck. Kid Flash enters the fray to even those odds, but is quickly taken down by the girl of steel.
While Arrow makes a break for it with unconscious Kid Flash, the Flash leads Supergirl on a super speed chase through the city. One would think that he can’t keep this up forever, but then he does something that proves Barry can think. He runs at the generator mind controlling the heroes, then stands there vibrating as Supergirl charges him. She goes through him and smashes the machine. He not only proves he can think, even after so many tragic Barry-isms, but also that he can be trusted.
As the heroes prepare their next move against the Dominators, the enemy beats them to it, teleporting White Canary, Speedy, Spartan, the Atom, and the Green Arrow away, leaving everyone else standing in the rain. To be continued… in Arrow…