Editor’s note: This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of The Flash! Proceed with caution, speedsters. For reals, if you haven’t yet watched this week’s episode, “Invasion,” we highly suggest you do so before proceeding. Okay? We good? Let’s go.
It’s that time of year again. When the sun sets a little earlier, the wind blows a little colder, holiday tunes are heard in every store, and the CW’s DC TV shows stage crossovers guaranteed to set superhero fans’ heats ablaze. This year, however, that crossover has doubled in size, including not only Arrow and Flash, as it did the last two years, but CW newcomer Supergirl and the ensemble of heroes in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow as well. It’s almost too much for even four nights of television, but as per usual, each show gets to tells its own story within this epic tableau. The second of the four nights is The Flash, and it’s when things really get started.
The show smartly weaves the fallout from “Flashpoint,” which has plagued Barry throughout this season, into a narrative that sees him taking a leadership role as he recruits the rest of the universe’s superheroes. It’s a shame that Cisco’s on the outs with Barry right now, because it robs him of some of the fannish joy he usually brings to these proceedings. And there’s a lot of proceedings in this, the darkest DC TV crossover yet.
Loosely adapting the company’s comics storyline of the same name, “Invasion” uses its tale of an attack on Earth by the alien “Dominators” as, in the time-honored superhero comic tradition, an excuse to watch some of our favorite characters crack wise and battle bad guys and each other. But Barry’s changing of the timeline comes back to haunt him once more, lending gravitas as Cisco outs him for having killed his brother. Barry in turn admits to Diggle and Oliver that he erased Diggle’s daughter from existence, while Stein learns he now has an adult daughter he’s never known.
It’s pretty heavy stuff, but the big, bright red-and-blue ace (or “S) that “Invasion” has up its sleeve is Supergirl, whose introduction to all of Barry’s friends is completely adorable. She’s Wendy surrounded by the Lost Boys in Peter Pan, Snow White upon meeting the Seven Dwarfs. Whereas the first order of business for most heroes might be finding out who to punch, Kara immediately sets to learning everyone’s code name and name, including the non-superheroes on both Team Flash and Arrow. But her superpowers come in handy when the episode requires these friends to turn against each other, the action focus of this episode.
Still, everyone gets one good character beat, and The Flash doesn’t forsake its other ongoing storylines. Caitlin confesses her fears that Killer Frost might one day return to her late husband Ronnie’s partner Stein, who’s had some experience of his own juggling multiple personas. HR, still anxious to prove his worth to the team (while continuing to take notes on them for his novel), agrees to mentor Wally, after the young man saves Oliver and Barry, when their friends’ minds are overtaken by the Dominators. Barry admits to some relief that the invasion isn’t, for a change, something for which he’s responsible, and confesses he sees it as a means of proving his own worth once more to his teammates. Which he does when he gets the rare opportunity to use his own brains to save the day, tricking a mind-controlled Supergirl into destroying the source of the Dominators’ hold on everyone.
With Sara, Thea, Ray, and Oliver now prisoners of the Dominators, “Invasion” continues on tomorrow night’s episode of Arrow. So be sure to check out our Arrow recaps for our take on that installment!
— Is it just me or was anyone a little disoriented by the opening of this episode? It starts in the midst of battle, before flashing back 10 hours, but there are so many heroes involved I was worried for a second I’d missed something.
— “I have to say, this is a nice universe you got here.”
— As it did with Grodd, Flash again uses telepathy as a means of eliminating costly animation of its CG villain’s mouths.
— Seeing the Justice League’s Hall of Justice is enough to bring tears to this old fanboy’s eyes. But since the show can only afford an exterior matte painting, all interior shots utilize an airplane hanger. At least Barry hilariously admits as much, referring to it as “this old hall…hanger thing that STAR Labs owns.”
— “Oliver Queen is the Green Arrow? Oh my God, he just got so much hotter.” “Oh God…”
— “I would be gone faster than humor in a Liam Neeson movie.”
— Oliver’s words of consolation to his friend echo Jay’s earlier this season: “You’re not a god, Barry.”
— I love that it took all of 30 seconds after informing Supergirl he’d never call her by either of her names, Heat Wave is crying, “Supergirl, do something!”
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).