TV Review: The Flash: 'Invasion'

"Finally. The Superfriends are together again for the first time. And they even have their own Hall of Justice." - Shawn Bourdo
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The Cinema Sentries are having their own crossover event to cover the DC Superheroes four-part crossover event entitled "Invasion," running this week on the CW.  It began (briefly) on Supergirl and formally started on The Flash and continued on Arrow (sorta) and concluded on Legends of Tomorrow.

Shawn Bourdo: Unlike last night's Supergirl, this one is an actual crossover.  Like last night's Supergirl, it must be hard to watch these episodes if you don't follow all of the shows.  Each show has had a pretty complex series of plots this season so far and they are playing into the continuity of the story.  Cisco and Barry's tension is explained here but you have missed it growing over the past couple weeks.

I'm not usually a fan of crossovers - comics or TV.  What you usually get is a watered-down version of the characters that happens out of continuity so you can equally disappoint the fans of both characters. The CW put together some respectable crossovers last year.  They were mostly "get to know ya" stories that introduced the Universes to each other and gave us a few common points of reference.  The Arrow / Flash Universes mesh pretty well but it was the ease of Supergirl / Flash that was the most notable.  I love that instead of going back over info that was already covered, the show just threw everyone together in a few minutes and moved on.  Let the viewers be responsible for figuring it out - I love that.

So everyone is thrown together in a few minutes and then we spend a majority of the episode with Barry being all emo about how he changed the timeline and affected everyone's lives and now this mysterious tape from the future.  The real alien battle only kicked in at the end and was a little predictable but entertaining.  The "good guy taken over and mind-controlled by aliens" is as old as comics but in this case it wasn't too dramatic and easily solved.  I really felt comfortable with the episode as a whole.  For those watching along all season, the weakest story has consistently been the Wally story and it was the worst part of this episode.  I hope that he can be Kid Flash freely now and we've solved some of that fake drama.

The crossover kicks into gear finally and at the halfway point of the week, I have hope that this could end up being a pretty memorable storyline.

Gordon S. Miller: Having heard Supergirl was a fake-out from the fellas, and since I have only seen last year's crossover episode with The Flash, I didn't bother to watch it and started the crossover event with The Flash, which opens with the Scarlet Speedster and Green Arrow trapped and when a blast of heat vision fires between them, the viewers see that the heroes are trapped by Supergirl and the Legends of Tomorrow, making for a great tease.

Ten hours earlier, a meteor heads for downtown, but it turns out to be a spaceship, filled with aliens dubbed the Dominators.  Realizing the creatures are a bigger threat than the Flash team could handle on their own, Barry Allen seeks out his pal Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow.  In addition to the Arrow team, Oliver brings in the time-traveling Legends of Tomorrow while Barry brings in Supergirl.  Although the writers had Kara be the audience stand-in for those who don't follow all the shows and go through everyone's name, it was hard to keep track of all the Legends, writing as someone who doesn't watch the show.  Once all our heroes are gathered in the same spot, Felicity prematurely declares "Best. Team-up. Ever." but I'll wait until Thursday night to make that declaration.

Flash watchers know Barry has altered the timeline and the lives of his friends.  The news is slowly revealed to the rest of the group. Cisco tells Felicity.  Professor Stein and Jefferson Jackson play a recording they discovered Barry will send 40 years in his future.  Eventually, everyone knows and many are not happy with Barry's reckless actions.

The Dominators kidnap President, and all the heroes except but Barry, who is now mistrusted, and Arrow, go.  It was a trap, allowing the Dominators to take over the minds of the heroes, which explains the opening teaser and the classic "heroes fighting heroes" that was always a treat in crossover stories.  Of course, this type of thing never lasts long, and Barry puts an end to it by combining his powers and his brains.  The episode ends with a good cliffhanger as some of the heroes began to disappear, likely transported by the Dominators.

For regular Flash watchers, the episode also deals with the season-long storyline of Wally wanting to embrace his power and become the Kid Flash.  While almost everyone is cautious about this prospect, HR offers to train Wally, setting up an eventual conflict.  It's just enough to further the season as they basically take a week off dealing with the crossover. 

Todd Karella: Finally the real first episode of the “Invasion” began tonight on The Flash. Unfortunately, it made last night’s Supergirl completely irrelevant as they replayed the one brief scene from the show again tonight. But that’s okay because tonight they brought everything I was hoping for.

The best parts were the interactions between the heroes as each of them bandied back and forth trying to establish themselves in the group. Supergirl had some of the best reactions finding out how tough of a crowd she had just wandered into. Overall, it appealed to every fanboy in the audience as well as to the fanboy spark in some of our heroes as they appeared to be amazed by their own presence in such a setting.

While there was plenty of action and special effects, Barry Allen always being so upset and wallowing in his own mistakes took some energy out of the show. But it was nice to see the normally brooding Oliver, who blames himself for everything that goes wrong, telling The Flash to stop beating himself up and get over it. Hopefully, he will take his own advice to heart.

I do have to agree that mind controlling of superheroes and having them fight one another isn’t new, but seeing it in a live-action television show is new and was done as well as could be expected. There are two more nights of crossover goodness and I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow.

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