"Invasion!" Rocks the Arrowverse - The Flash S03E08

#DCWeek continues, with The Flash kicking off the real start of the alien invasion of Earth-1 (aka the Arrowverse). Don't come expecting Shakespearean story-telling, because the story is quite simple, but do come expecting lots of fun and a surprisingly good continuation of several existing storylines on The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. You may also expect plenty of butthurt, because someone always has to be angry at someone else in the Berlantiverse. Always. It is a universal constant.

In fact, last night's The Flash rocked its highest viewer ratings since December 9 2014. These crossover things, you might want to keep doing them, CW.

(spoilers beyond the fold)

Okay let's get the simple story out of the way, because it's quick and easy. An alien pod lands in the middle of Central City, and when Barry goes to investigate, a bunch of aliens pop out of it and run off. Lila of ARGUS reveals to him that this isn't the first time these aliens, called the Dominators, have been here, and that back in the 50s a bunch of soldiers got killed for messing with them. Lila and the official channels want Barry to step off and let them handle it, but we all know how that's gonna go. And yeah, the aliens end up coming for the President and abducting him.

So there's your setup. Let's get to the meat that matters (...mmm bacon).

The real Civil War!
The episode actually started off with a brief scene of the future, wherein Barry and Oliver are facing off against all the other heroes, because the Avengers are noobs and every DC fan knows it. Real heroes fight each other with completely lopsided odds: two against like 25, because we all know Supergirl counts as at least twenty of the Arrowverse heroes.

Ok but let's back up to see how we got here!

Some really fun Flashy moments in this episode!
The Flash figures he's in over his head with these aliens, so he gathers the troops, starting with Team Arrow, who includes Speedy for this one because Thea is super excited at the prospect of kicking alien ass. Felicity then calls for the Legends of Tomorrow to join in on the fun. So let's tally this up, shall we? We now have Green Arrow, Felicity, Spartan, Speedy, The Flash, Iris, HR Wells, Cisco, Caitlin, White Canary, Heatwave, The Atom, and Firestorm. Yes, that means the Legend newbies Steel and Vixen got left behind, as well as Green Arrow's proteges, and Joe and Iris are so busy lying to Wally about what a gifted meta he is, that he doesn't join in on the fun either.

But even with this teamup, Barry doesn't think it's enough, so he and Vibe open up a portal to Earth-38 and bring in Supergirl (we get the exact same scene in her apartment that we did in yesterday's Supergirl).

I think the moment I was most looking forward to with this crossover was the Arrowverse meeting Supergirl for the first time (especially Diggle), and boy I wasn't disappointed.

Team Arrow in particular isn't super impressed by the sight of a mildly petite pretty blonde girl in a skirt, as grumpy Oliver is all like, "I thought you said you were bringing an alien."

So Kara is all like:

Diggle's calmly-but-not-really "I'm convinced" is probably one of the great moments in this episode.

Okay, so we now have an alien on the team. Oliver still doesn't seem impressed, and Kara wonders if he doesn't like her, but Barry assures her he's that way with everyone. Despite the fact that Oliver tries to make Barry the team leader, it's pretty clear that Barry doesn't know what he's doing, and when Oliver quietly makes suggestions that Barry immediately echoes, there was another great moment when the Legends are like, "So are we supposed to just ignore the fact that he said that?"

I'm gushing about these scenes a little, but honestly the chemistry between all the actors is there, and these scenes were just super fun. Kudos on the care taken by the writers here, because I'm sure I wasn't the only one looking forward to these moments.

Oliver McGrumpyPants suggests that everyone else train against Supergirl, and he does ask Kara not to go easy on them. If you ask me, though, she went pretty easy on them:

I just adore Kara's expression here, because you know she's all like, "Hee hee that tickles!"
Surprisingly, even though this was The Flash's episode, the story ends up revealing the end of a plot thread that had been left open for weeks now over at Legends of Tomorrow. Stein and Jax reveal to Barry and Oliver that they discovered a message from future Barry in the Waverider's secret room, and we finally get to hear what that message was: future-Barry is telling Captain Hunter not to trust past Barry because of the major Flashpoint screw-up. This is the first time Oliver is hearing about Flashpoint, because apparently Felicity kept the secret pretty well. Oliver takes the news with a heavy sigh (Metas, emirite?) and then delivers another great line: "One sci-fi problem at a time." In typical Green Arrow fashion, he suggests they need to keep this a secret from everyone else until after the aliens are dealt with.

You would think by now these people would have figured out that keeping secrets from one another never ends well.

Because of course, Cisco ends up finding the recording from future Barry lying around (dammit, Stein, really?), and confronts Barry about it. That's the point at which everyone finds out about Flashpoint. And remember that butthurt I talked about in the beginning of this review? Yeah, suddenly everyone is super pissed at Barry, especially Diggle at finding out that Barry "erased a daughter out of his life."

This was also the point at which my partner and I booed, hissed, and jeered loudly at the television. Because wow, the stones on Sara and her team, as they express their disappointment with Barry being so selfish and changing time because of someone he loves. Sara Lance literally just spent the entire first half of her show's season screwing up her team's plans to deal with time anomalies because everytime she saw Damien Darhk she would go absolutely batshit and try to kill him to save her sister's life. And Stein... Stein... who gives Barry his best "I'm so disappointed in you, son" look! Stein, the man who walked his younger self happily around the Waverider! And I'm not so sure that the reveal of Stein's daughter in this episode is due to Flashpoint at all, but rather at Stein's own meddling in his younger self's romance with Clarissa! Jax wanted to kill white Southerners in Civil War Mississippi! And this team kills historical randos in every single episode!

I literally cannot even right now with the Legends.

Anyway, the team doesn't want anything to do with Barry, and Oliver shows solidarity with his speedster bro, so Supergirl leads the rest to go rescue the president. There's a pretty brilliant interaction between Heatwave and Supergirl that I never knew I needed in my life, before they storm the castle to save the president.

Meanwhile, Oliver and Barry bond in a really cute and sweet scene where Oliver says that if he had Barry's power, he would have saved his own parents too. Their moment is interrupted when STAR Labs comes under attack... by Supergirl and her team. Turns out that they not only didn't save the President, but they were brainwashed by an alien thing.

"Well, this sucks..." - Barry Allen, probably
There is a fight wherein Oliver and Barry are clearly going to lose, and Wally briefly zooms in to help, gets hurt, and Oliver has to carry him to safety. Meanwhile, Barry pisses off Supergirl and gets her to chase him all the way back to the alien thingie, and uses her to destroy it. 

Crisis averted! Or not! Because before we can really celebrate, heroes start disappearing!

"Run, Barry, R--" - Oliver Queen, probably
In a minor The Flash continuing plot point, after Wally nearly gets killed here, HR Wells agrees to train him. I mean, in season one, Barry had Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne to train him. And in season two, Cisco had Harrison Wells of Earth-2 to bond with. So it makes total sense that in season three, young padawan Wally West shall have a Wells to train him as well. Even if said Wells is... a novelist.

Sounds legit.

Anyway, some of our heroes have been beamed aboard by Scotty, apparently, and the story will continue in tonight's Arrow.

I think what I really liked about this crossover overall--despite the butthurt and the complete lack of a sense of irony on behalf of the Legends--is that this really felt like the Berlantiverse was fully interconnected, for once. I mean yeah heroes appear randomly in each other's shows, but often those moments seem incredibly pointless, like the writers are just saying, "Oh hey, don't forget, these universes are interconnected... now back to our regular storylines that have nothing to do with anyone else!" But other than Supergirl's episode, this crossover feels like okay, yeah, these guys all inhabit the same world. Their lives are interconnected as they go about their superheroing business. They effect each other: Barry and his time travel affected everyone, of course, but we also revealed two major Legends of Tomorrow plots here (future-Barry's message, and Stein's daughter), and Oliver Wayne *cough* I mean Queen, is the gruff and smart leader that everyone else naturally trusts, much like a certain dude in a bat costume in most of your Justice League teamups.

Let's see what Arrow does with this crossover. Hope you are enjoying #DCWeek!

Ivonne Martin is a writer, gamer, and avid consumer of all things geek—and is probably entirely too verbose for her own good.