It’s here folks! The much hyped four night crossover event featuring every DCW program. While touted as part two of the four night event, The Flash was the real starting point of Invasion. Fortunately, it seems that the hype is real as “Invasion!” turned out to be an extremely satisfying hour of television. “Invasion!” has put DC’s Cinematic Universe on alert: this is how you build a world and create heroic conflict. For me “Invasion!” easily ranks as one of the best hours of programming in the DCW, so let’s get into it.
Let’s face it, ever since the announcement of The Flash spinoff series, fans have been waiting for the moment where we could the organic formation of the Justice League. So clearly there was going to be a ton of appeal seeing these heroes join forces against an alien threat. Interestingly, the Dominators are ill defined at the moment so Flashpoint was given the spot light and man did it burn. While there was levity in the episode the writers really leaned on the drama of Barry’s time tampering, which makes a lot of sense. Barry is the reason this team came together and he’s not in the best shape these days. The effects of Flashpoint are spiraling out of control and Barry is struggling to find his equilibrium.
All you have to do is look at Barry’s nonexistent relationship with Cisco to realize how bad things have gotten, which is a good thing narratively. Time travel is a sticky issue that raises all sorts of questions concerning paradox, predestination and an impressive amount of moral ambiguity. By making Flashpoint front and center, we can illustrate why Barry can’t tamper with the timeline. From Diggle’s discovery that Sara had been replaced by John Jr, Stein discovering that he has a daughter he never knew, and Future-Barry’s warning to the Legends we can see popular opinion shift against the Scarlet Speedster. It’s made for great introspection and in an ironic twist created a stronger bond between Barry and Ollie. Oliver has made some pretty bad decisions and has had to face them head on, so his reaction to Barry’s secret was simply “it happens, we’re human, we move on” and it was perfect.
Even so, tonight’s episode was really about the clashing of three distinct teams of heroes, all trying to work with one another under less than ideal circumstances. In fact, this was so important that the show spent very little time bringing the team together (in the Hall of Justice no less!!!!!!). Unlike other crossovers that may tease out a team-up until the very last act, the Invasion storyline skipped all of that and jumped right in. Even Supergirl’s introduction was deftly handled when characters questioned her codename. A quick jump into the air and flash of heat vision closed the conversation and got right to the training/bonding. Diggle has long been the voice of the everyman who gets the wiggins every time he fights alongside the metahumans, so he had some fantastic beats dealing with time travelers, aliens, metahumans and people from a parallel universe. Even so, Diggle couldn’t hold a candle to Kara meeting Mick. Completely unimpressed with her powers, Mick insisted that he’d call her “The Skirt”, which made it all the more humorous that he started to beg Supergirl for help the moment they got in trouble. I’m telling you folks, Mick is a gold mine.
So that brings us to the Dominators. To be honest, there’s not a lot going on here. They’re certainly a physical force to contend with but their motivations are ambiguous at best. Halfway through the crossover, it looks like the Dominators may finally spill their backstory, but as of now they look like generic invading aliens. Fingers crossed that they get better. On the upside they did give us one beauty of an excuse to pit our heroes against one another: mind control. With a wonderful piece of MacGuffin Technology at work, the Dominators were able to take control of the majority of our heroes and send them after Ollie and Barry. Even with all of the amazing team ups, easter eggs, and dramatic storylines, this was the fight to end all fights.
On a TV budget, the DCW was able to deliver a more satisfying “VS” than a certain unnamed movie featuring a Bat Guy and a Super Dude. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the martial arts beat down between Ollie and the mind controlled Speedy/White Canary/Spartan or if we’re talking about Barry fighting Firestorm/Atom/Supergirl – Invasion has delivered on it’s promise for an epic event. Completely outclassed, it was up to our elder statesmen to use their experience as a way of beating their friends and it was epic. Barry’s use of super speed, vibration, and flat out taunting was excellent and a great callback to some of his best tricks in previous episodes. We’ve come a long way from that kid who thought he couldn’t defeat a tornado. In the end though, everyone was saved until they were kidnapped. But that’s not for us to discuss! That’s for Wednesday Night’s Arrow! Can it live up to the amazing benchmark of tonight’s episode? Let’s hope so!
Back to the Flash though, I’m curious as to Wally’s fate going into all of this. With Joe and Iris adamant that he should not become a hero and Hipster Wells agreeing to train Wally on the sly, it looks like they’re setting up something big. Rumors are running rampant throughout the internet and I don’t want to give out any theories, but if they’re correct every major story leading up to this point is going to take a backseat to the bombshell the writers are going to drop. Curious what that may be? Come back next week and we’ll break it down.