The CW’S DC heroes started their most ambitious crossover yet with Tuesday night’s episode of The Flash. What was advertised as a “four-night crossover event” was revealed to really be only three nights. Monday’s Supergirl offered crossover material in the last thirty seconds, and that same scene is what kicked off Tuesday’s episode, but despite this misleading advertising, CW is proving it has a lot to offer fans in bringing all four of these shows together. Here’s all that they got right and wrong in the first part of “The Invasion.”
It would’ve been easy for this episode to get bogged down in exposition, but luckily our heroes were sharing the screen in a flash. There wasn’t some huge setup to bring them all together. Barry just called them all for help and they responded like friends/heroes would. Even introducing Supergirl to Earth 1 took almost no time at all. As a result, more time was available to give each character a fair amount of screen time. No one present feels particularly left out, even though there’s always going to be more of a focus on the titular three: The Flash, Green Arrow, and Supergirl. Oliver’s new recruits as well as the Steel and Vixen have yet to make an appearance, but not revealing all their cards immediately is a smart move.
Emotions run high when the time is taken to acknowledge the roots that tie all these characters together. They may have created their own worlds now, but most of The Legends were still introduced in either The Flash or Arrow. It’s easy to forget that even Barry started out on Arrow. Professor Stein’s touching conversation with Caitlyn provided a nice homage to his time as a valued member of Team Flash. When Ray is the first to tell him about Captain Cold’s sacrifice, Barry is clearly upset. All these moments felt very earned and appropriate. This is still The Flash, though so it’s not all serious.
The close proximity of these characters was always going to cause some funny interactions, and this episode offers several memorable ones. Barry being chosen as the leader, but clearly needing Oliver to call the shots, was hilarious. Diggle’s inability to handle the weirder, sci-fi areas of the CWverse continues to be charming. Meta-humans and time-travel are too weird for even the guy whose city has seen villains like Ra’s Al Ghul and Damien Dahrk. Supergirl, in her first trip to Earth 1, sticks out from the rest of the heroes in a good way with her cheery demeanor. It makes sense that Heatwave would single out “Skirt” like he did, and that only made it and his near immediate fold that much more funny. Oliver trying to get Barry to stop blaming himself for everything, and then immediately following it with his “you really did it this time Barry” moment was another highlight. The episode still wasn’t as light-hearted as expected, though. More so than humor, the focus tonight was on Flashpoint drama that only brought the episode down.
While it’s exciting to finally hear the message that future Barry left for Rip Hunter, Cisco’s anger feels a bit excessive at this point. Even Sara’s criticisms of Barry for Flashpoint are hypocritical, since she tried to kill Damien Darkh only a few episodes of Legends ago. The conflict between Wally and Iris feels shoehorned in as well. Everyone shouldn’t just forget about Barry’s mistakes, but put that to the side when Earth is literally threatened by aliens. Luckily, this also creates some interesting directions for the future. Stein finds out he has a daughter post-Flashpoint, and that is why he’s been having hallucinations. A big reveal for Legends, and it’s impressive they revealed it in an episode of Arrow. The biggest tease of the night by far though was the setup for The Hall of Justice. The CW is committed to their small screen DC universe, and it looks like they’re going to continue to be more ambitious in the future. Even though the Dominators weren’t much to reckon with tonight, I think the finale will offer more than enough hero vs. alien action.
It’s been a crossover staple for the heroes to fight amongst themselves ever since Oliver first shot Barry with his hidden bow. Tonight continued that tradition with an exciting final act that pitched our heroes against each other. Alien mind control was the obvious way to go here, and that’s what happens when Barry, Oliver, and Wally have to fight against Supergirl, Heatwave, Atom, Diggle, Firestorm, and Thea. It was fun seeing The Flash beat Supergirl with his speed after she kicked the butts of everyone else earlier in the episode while training them. Fight scenes in CW shows have a large range of quality, and these were all a treat to watch.
“The Invasion” is already providing proof that CW’s entire DC cast belong on screen together. Offering plenty of memorable interactions between the multiple teams, as well as some top notch fights between the heroes. It’ll be interesting to see how they keep it fresh, and how the crossover translates to each show as the week continues.