TV Review: Legends of Tomorrow: ‘Invasion!’

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, formally began on The Flash, continued on Arrow (sorta), and concluded on Legends of Tomorrow.

Todd Karella: The final chapter of the CW’s crossover event ended with the Legends of Tomorrow episode and started with the band of superheroes meeting up at STAR Laboratories in Central City to plan their next move. Having been abducted by aliens, Oliver (Green Arrow) is more rattled than he realizes and his first thoughts are to get some kind of revenge on the Dominators by kidnapping one of them and then sending Supergirl away because she is an alien and he just doesn’t trust aliens.

Steel comes up with a plan to take the Wave Runner and go back in time to 1951 where the Dominators once had a conflict with the U.S. military in order to find an alien they can abduct. He takes along Mick and Vixen who pick a likely candidate to take, but before they can complete their mission a secret federal agency captures them and locks them all away. Felicity and Cisco who came along for the experience end up leaving the ship and rescuing them.

While half the group is away on their mission, Dr. Stein is working on a way to stop the invasion using nano technology. But since he can’t do it alone his daughter, who he has never met before because she came to existence from his interference in his own past timeline, has to help him.

The remaining group members are summoned by the President of the United States to a meeting, but instead of the President they find themselves surrounded by government agents that inform them that the reason the aliens are there is because The Flash messed with the timeline and they find him a threat to the entire universe. If he turns himself over to them, then they will leave the planet in peace, but of course, that’s not their real intentions.

The fourth episode in this special event was once again a mixed bag. The storyline with Steel’s group that traveled back in time made no sense. The whole point of going there was to grab an alien because they knew where there would be one. But when they finally get the chance, they speak briefly and then let it go. There was no point to the mission and once again nothing they did advanced the story.

Stein’s learning to deal with a daughter he never had slowed the pace of the episode to a crawl. His constant obnoxious decision-making has been overplayed over the last two seasons, and he always comes around to realizing he’s an asshat five minutes later.

And about the meeting with the President, did they forget that the President was killed right in front of them when they fell into the Dominators trap two episodes ago?

The best parts were still the interactions of the group members with one another. Mick always had the best one-liners and I still find Supergirl to be the most fun and comic-like character out of the group. But unfortunately, she was missing the majority of the time.

Overall, I’d have to give the crossover event a C-. I would like to give it higher, but the storyline was kind of a mess. The special effects were great; I enjoyed seeing all of them together on the screen at one time, the interactions between the characters was fun, and I like how a number of issues were resolved for the individual shows. But as an overall piece and one continuous story, they really did a poor job, and it’s such a shame because individually I enjoy the shows very much. I’m sure there will be more crossovers in the future and if there’s another multi-show event, I hope they get it right because the novelty of seeing them all together as one group will only last for so long.

Shawn Bourdo: I will give this final episode of the epic crossover event across the four CW DC superhero shows credit for a couple things.  First, it actually brought the aliens into the alien storyline. Our heroes got to to go up against what looks like a traveling basketball team of aliens to bring the story to a close.  The episode gets some credit for showing off all the heroes and some of the best cinematography of the season for any of the shows.  There were at least five shots of the group that will probably show up in advertisements for as long as the shows still air.  The brilliant colors of the different costumes look great in the sunlight – take note, Arrow, since so much of your show is in the dark.

The story ultimately played out the only way it could.  This Universe is still dominated by Oliver and Barry.  There was a real lack of Supergirl except as a supporting character to give Oliver an epiphany and the Legends of Tomorrow didn’t play a lead role in their own show. This story was about Arrow and The Flash and how they are still finding their way as heroes and how they change as the power of their enemies change.  The chemistry of the two has continued to improve as they crossover more often – I actually believed their relaxed banter at the end.  I can picture them hanging out at a bar together at this point.

Cisco and Felicity geeking out was my favorite moment.  Those two are the best parts of their respective shows and I’m glad to feel like we are done with sad Felicity and petulant Cisco.  The character that has surprised me the most in the past few episodes of Legends, and in this episode, is Martin Stein and the revelation of his daughter.  His humor and intelligence are the glue for the Legends group.  The rest of the group was here to fight and fill in the gaps of the Arrow and Flash team.

Final conclusion?  Supergirl wasn’t really part of this crossover.  Her episode didn’t include the other groups and she wasn’t a key part of the rest of the story.  That’s too bad because I enjoy her show quite a bit.  The Flash episode showed how you can seamlessly flow into a group crossover without having to explain too much.  The Arrow episode felt like a big delay and ruined so much of what they had set up. The consequences have to be dire and this took all of that away.  So we got to Legends and there just didn’t feel like there was much danger for our characters against the Dominators.  In the end, it was a fun battle of an episode and I think it sets the stage for characters to crossover and walk in and out of each other’s shows like I imagined the Buffy / Angel universes.   I leave it with once scene that sums it all up – Sara and Oliver standing there talking about getting on that boat so many years ago and how it changed their futures.  There’s a sadness and resignation in their hug that summed up everything about time travel and not changing the past that four hours of dialog just can’t capture.  Well done, CW.

Gordon S. Miller: “Invasion!” has come to an end, and the creators did such a poor job, I don’t trust them to do another four-(or three-)night crossover event, which will likely come next season.  Forget that there wasn’t a Supergirl: “Invasion!” episode; she was a non-entity in the story, contributing little more than one-liners.  There must have been some production issues behind the scenes that limited her involvement because it’s hard to believe they had access to Supergirl and this was the best they could come up with for her.  

The episode begins with the gang reunited.  Needing a Dominator to learn what is going on (and because it’s a Legends of Tomorrow episode) they send a small party back to the first Dominator appearance on Earth in Redmond, Oregon, 1951.  For some inexplicable reason, as the heroes are taking on their greatest challenge, Ollie tells Kara (Supergirl), the strongest among them, he doesn’t want her taking part because he needs “a sense of normalcy” with all that’s been going on, as if people time-traveling to the past so they kidnap an alien will seem normal without her involvement.  It’s quite possibly the dumbest thing over the entire crossover series.    

It’s finally revealed that the Dominators have come to 2016 because they see metahumans as a threat, since Barry has altered time. A deal has been struck by the U.S. government that the Dominators will leave the planet in peace if Barry turns himself over to them. If not, an anti-metahuman bomb will go off.  So because this advanced race is worried that humans will leave to kill other worlds, like other species have, they have left their planet to kill this world.  Apparently, these aliens (nor the writers) have any use for logic since they are the threat they are trying to stop.

This all leads into a two-prong attack as a few heroes try and stop the bomb while the rest fight aliens on a building rooftop.  It’s not clear why that’s the location for the battle royale, but there are some very cool images that come from it, although fighting against CGI aliens didn’t look as good as the sequence when they fought each other.  There is a silly moment where Oliver is knocked off a rooftop and rather than using an arrow to swing back up, which I imagine he’s done before, Supergirl catches him, which was sure to be a teachable moment by episode’s end.

In addition, there’s a subplot from LoT about Professor Stein (Victor Garber) running through this episode.  Turns out he also went back in time and altered it (bad enough Barry keeps repeating this mistake, but the producers as well?), which resulted in an adult daughter appearing. Flash fans will be happy that the fractured relationship between Cisco and Barry is finally mended.

Some final thoughts. Does this Atom shrink?  Routh had the greatest in-joke of the crossover when he said Kara looked like his cousin. Where did the girl who had the power of an energy elephant come from? Kara called them Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which is the tagline of another comic book company’s group.  Kara has a chicken pox mark on her forehead, but how could a Kryptonian get one considering her skin can handle bullets (I presume)? 

“Inavasion” sounded like a fun concept, but they faltered in the execution.  It’s probably difficult bringing together four different series, but if they are going to go to the trouble, they need to do a much better job crafting the story.  And if they are going to promote a four-episode event, they need to actually have a four-episode event instead of this which was maybe two and a half.

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Cinema Sentries

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