Spoilers ahead for “Invasion!,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash!
The short version: Barry gets all the heroes together to take on aliens. Most of them get brainwashed, but Barry tricks Supergirl into stopping it. (Future) Barry’s message from Legends of Tomorrow is to not trust (Young) Barry. Uh-oh.
The good: Crossover insanity, Flashpoint fallout, aliens!
Pretty much all the trailers and footage have been promising a crossover bonanza jam-packed with heroes, and Flash’s installment in this adventure did not disappoint. Barry assembles pretty every DC hero he knows to help fight off these aliens, and it gives you a whole lot of the character moments you’ve been wanting. Oliver meeting the super-chipper Kara? Check. Seeing their two styles clash was pretty great, and also a stark reminder of just how much darker things are in Star City. Diggle barfing after being carried by Barry? Check. That gag never gets old. Sara Lance totally crushing on Supergirl? Check. ‘Shippers, start coming up with a couple’s name (“SuperCanary,” maybe?). Barry being put in charge was also great, as Oliver not so subtly coached him through it (something Sara, a team leader herself, is quick to point out). The real appeal of this project is getting all these folks on the screen together, and the shared creative team looks to be taking full advantage. As expected, the Dominators’ convenient brainwashing tech also gave us a chance to see all the heroes fight one another. Contrived? Sure. But still awesome.
Though it’s a chapter in “Heroes v Aliens,” this was also a Flash episode — and it worked accordingly. We get a decent focus on Team Flash, and a lot of the action focused on the continued fallout from Flashpoint. Stein and Jax reveal the secret message from Future Barry (introduced earlier this season of Legends of Tomorrow) is a (frustratingly vague) message not to trust Barry because he’s changed the future. Diggle also learns how Barry inadvertently messed with his life, and the look on his face when he realizes there’s a daughter out there he never got to meet was heartbreaking. Cisco is understandably still upset with Barry, and alien threat or not, it’s nice to see these storylines weren’t completely shelved.
Oh, and who can forget the aliens? It turns out the Dominators have actually been around for decades, and were responsible for the infamous Roswell crash. ARGUS has been tracking them for years, and they’re as scary and intimidating as expected. Look, the real focus here is on the heroes — which makes the Dominators an excellent villain to pit them against. A black and white alien invasion keeps it simple, allows for a ton of fun sci-fi tropes, and represents a larger-than-life challenge worthy of assembling all of The CW’s greatest heroes.
The bad: Kid Flash being sidelined, Thea’s about face to suit up
After finally getting his powers a couple of episodes ago, Wally really gets the kid gloves in this one. It’s understandable they (specially Iris) would want to protect him and keep him out of harm’s way. But, c’mon. It’s an alien invasion. All hands on deck. Why does Iris get to be a part of this super team-up, while her brother (who is actually a speedster) gets benched? Iris hasn’t been a part of Team Flash for that much longer than Wally. Sheesh. He’s dying to be a hero, and the gang could use some back-up. Just let him get his feet wet and take off the training wheels.
Looking to the Arrow crossover aspect, we see Felicity and Thea pop up to help combat the alien invasion. But, if you’ve been following Arrow, you know Thea retired from crime fighting a while back. It was a major story, and a hard decision made to allow her to escape from all the darkness and try to live a normal life. But here, she literally hears the word “Aliens,” gets all giddy and grabs her bow and arrow. It’s great to get Speedy back in the field, but didn’t really feel all that true to the character.
So, apparently the president was vaporized? That’s a big deal, right? Also, H.R. is still pushing to reopen STAR Labs. Interesting to see if he has any luck convincing the rest of Team Flash. But, logistically, wouldn’t it be hard to have their superhero base literally open to the public? Wouldn’t people notice the Flash shooting in and out all the time? Kara mentions the Dominators attacked her planet long ago, so these aliens apparently also exist on Kara’s Earth. Hmm. Could these aliens be able to jump universes, too? Or just a different set of Dominators? Called it! Stein does have a daughter. But, is it because of his own meddling in time, or an effect of Flashpoint?
Barry’s message was sent to Rip Hunter, and talks about when he returns to Earth. Did everyone on Team Flash/Arrow/Legends miss that little detail. I’m guessing this message isn’t in relation to this trip to the past, and will instead come into play when Rip eventually rejoins the team later in the season. Just my two cents. Oh, and H.R. will be training Wally? That should be … interesting. Also, anyone else notice the old STAR Labs where the teams set up shop looks an awful lot like the Hall of Justice from DC lore? Well played.
Lines of the night:
“I'm convinced.” -Diggle
“One sci-fi problem at a time.” -Oliver
“That’s… a colorful backstory.” -Kara
Up next: Pretty much the whole team is captured by aliens. We’ll see you on Arrow!