The Flash: Invasion!

"Best. Team-up. Ever!"

In an excellent and huge Flash episode, Barry and an extended pool of friends have to find a way to deal with invading aliens when a meteor falls from the sky and crash-lands in Central City, while at the same time helping Wally handle his growing powers.

If you watched Supergirl's "Medusa" this week, reviewed by Mark, you may have noticed a hint of something Flash-like at the end. It had no plot relevance, really, so I’m not considering this a spoiler, but if you saw it you may have thought: oh, goody, crossover coming. I did.

And, for the most part, despite bringing us a huge ensemble and an implacable enemy and lots of spectacle, this episode did a fantastic job of actually pushing some character development too! Kudos, writers, I know some DC films which could use your expertise. I thought the design for the Dominators was very cool, and the Flash team definitely won points from me on the costume and special effects front. This episode, however, was really about Barry and Wally, with many little moments around them bringing shows and episode and characters together in exciting ways, and I think it's frikking awesome that the show was able to keep this spotlight focused while at the same time engaging in this total superhero opera gorgefest.

For Barry, the point is to once again smack him with the Flashpoint hammer: he’s somehow never thought that his own future might have changed with Flashpoint. Now, with the teams coming together, he’s finally been made privy to a message first discussed in the Legends of Tomorrow series in which Barry suspects himself and warns them about the coming war — and the continuing effects of Flashpoint in the future. It makes him run to check Gideon and the newspaper. Barry’s face when he sees that Iris West-Allen is no longer a thing — he’s really crestfallen, and it strikes me as a reviewer that I now feel uncharitable. He’s been lying to himself so hard he never even looked at the potential future results of his mistakes. Cisco once again plays the role of truth pusher here, forcing Barry to admit his realizations to the team — and share some truths he never has before; Dig was hugely disturbed that Sara had become John.

What I loved most about this storyline, oddly enough, is Oliver, who smacks Barry with the reality hammer. Both these characters have made irreparable, damaging mistakes as heroes — and come through it. And in many ways Oliver is entirely right. While Barry changed the timeline, he didn’t control the people once the timeline was changed. People still made their own choices in the new timeline — including Cisco’s brother. Barry’s not a god; he didn't force anyone into a car. His change, changed the world: yes. There has to be a line somewhere though; there's still individual choice and freedom out there. This is the other half of Jay Garrick's message. I think the team will realize this at some point, and I definitely hope Cisco does.

For Wally, the issue is Iris, who has (in my view) very unreasonably demanded Wally stay out of training and not be involved. Why is this unreasonable? Because it’s clear from the beginning that Wally’s power levels and speed are a whole new ball game in the metahuman court. Forget speeding bullets: he can now kick Barry’s ass. You can’t have a gun that big and not have to use it when a situation like an alien invasion arises. If Wally had been involved with training earlier, wouldn’t that have given him at least an edge when he had no choice but to go and help the team? I mean, clearly he has power — he knocked over three villains at once. It’s about practice for Kid Flash. Also, frankly, come on. The whole team sans Barry and Oliver go in and immediately get mind-controlled. Who is Iris kidding? They all need training. Going forward he’ll have HR Wells training him, and I love the emerging parallel, as if we were witnessing the Flashpoint world come to be in Barry’s own world: is every Flash trained by a Wells somehow?

The ensemble cast for this episode had some amazing moments too — I loved every minute of "Skirt's" interactions with Heat Wave, her learning and repetition of all their powers and code names. I was touched that Barry was looking for Snart — and that Barry fervently called him a Legend. (You’ll always be mine, Wentworth. Your eyebrow alone —but I digress.) Felicity's geeky excitement is the audience's geeky excitement — and you can geek me up!


I’m curious about how much of an impact the invasion is going to have on the overall timeline. I’m also curious — now Vibe knows how to access Supergirl’s world, are these kinds of crossovers going to become more common, and if so, how will that affect the series? If you do a crossover, though, this is the way to do it — I can’t believe they fit this much in an hour, and it's not over: Wally has a training session coming up, hopefully not as a tour guide; Barry wasn't able to save Oliver or (it looks like) most of the Arrow team, and we'll have to watch the next episode of that series, ably reviewed by J.D. Balthazar, to find out what happens to our bevy of heroes.

Oh yeah, and where was Alchemy during all this?

Flashes of Insight

Wally's already at Mach 2.

I understand Iris wanting to 'protect' Wally, but it's a really bad idea to try to protect people with powers when you have none yourself.

Thea being so willing to join Oliver. She wants to fight, this one, she just doesn't want to do it for immoral reasons anymore.

HR's vision of the STAR Labs Experience Ride — I really think this could either be great, or totally blow Barry's cover.

Lyla should get a mention as a connecting point between Flash and Arrow — and someone who is being groomed to replace Amanda Waller?

The Dominators came by in the 1950's — this is their second data-collecting visit.

The Flash's President was vaporized? This can't have good consequences.

It was interesting how quickly the powerful team was subverted! Almost as if they want to make a point about better planning for the future.

Ray's new suit seems pretty functional, but now Cisco's going to make some improvements...

The mind-controlling machines seemed familiar. Any idea where they are from?

Stein has a daughter as part of the new Flashpoint reality.

In A Flash

Felicity: OMG that's so cute you guys are just going to get together and fight aliens have you lost your minds?

Oliver: One sci-fi problem at a time.

Thea: She really is a badass.
Sara: Yeah, it's kind of hot.

Overall

Great crossover episode. If you didn't smile when you saw the teams coming together, and think Justice League, you weren't watching! Five out of five.

8 comments:

Billie Doux said...

"One sci-fi problem at a time." LOL

I really loved it, and especially liked the focus on Oliver connecting so strongly and helpfully with Barry and his pretty extreme problem. It was a joy to see all of these characters together. Although preventing Wally from participating was mean. I also thought all of them testing themselves on Supergirl was sort of idiotic. They must have all been exhausted when they had to fight the invaders.

Wonderful review, Joseph -- and thanks so much to you and to Mark for getting this week's crossover episodes up so quickly.

Anonymous said...

Oliver is always all round cooler/better in the crossovers. MVP for me and i dont say that often about his character.
Loved Heat wave and Kara. From ''Skirt'' to ''Supergirl,help''
Lyla is the best as always with limited screen time
Anyone watching Legends would have seen Rays continued habit of packing himself and micks snacks.
I liked Iris when she realized Oliver was green Arrow.
Loved Thea joining the fight ''cos aliens'' Speedy is back.
''ITS A TRAP'' Loooool

Mach 2 = Barry speed in episode 1.15 when he time travelled for the first time...Wally is not faster than Barry
Cisco found Supergirls World because they traced the Tachyons Radiation from the device Barry used to get there the first time..Flimsy but explained.


JRS said...

Great observations Anonymous!

In the first episode Barry was able to run up to just below 700 mph; in this episode and the last Wally was hitting Mach 2. Barry can now run that fast - definitely - but Wally is just beginning and he's ahead of the game. Curious how fast Wally can get!

sunbunny said...

Great episode and they had A LOT to get through. It really annoys me that Wally's clothes don't catch on fire though. That was a pretty solidly established thing that normal clothes catch fire at super speed yet he can run around and be fine. It's annoying. Also, I totally agree about Iris being ridiculous.

Patrick said...

"Wally is not faster than Barry" Anonymous, I think the point they were making in the show is that Wally is ahead of where Barry was when Barry had his powers for the same amount of time Wally's had them.

So, these Dominators have come to Earth before, in the 1950's. Not only that, but they suddenly left, seemingly without explanation. Anyone want to lay odds that the Legends, probably along with some other members of this crossover team-up, will be traveling back in time to fight them in the 50's?

I really enjoyed Oliver's talk with Barry in the "future" room at STAR Labs, but the person Oliver really needs to have that talk with is Cisco, and to a lesser degree Caitlin(though Caitlin seems to be at least trying to move past everything). I totally get why Cisco & Caitlyn are upset with Barry, but they're blind if they don't understand at least a little what drove Barry to do it. He had to consciously let the Reverse Flash escape KNOWING that one day he would eventually go back in time and kill Barry's mother. His dad was killed by Zoom right in front of him, and shortly thereafter he came face to face with his father's doppleganger. I'd be pretty messed up too. And then in order to try and set things right, he had to free the Reverse Flash to kill his mother all over again. It's amazing Barry hasn't had a complete nervous breakdown, seriously. Besides, we know they aren't going to keep the three of them antagonistic forever, and Cisco's constant "I'm only doing this because it's the right thing to do, we aren't friends anymore" is already getting old.

Mallena said...

I'm with you, Patrick. In the fight of good versus evil, sometimes people die. Didn't 10,000,00 people die when Felicity turned that rocket bomb around or whatever it was on Arrow? I don't see all their relatives coming to gripe at her nonstop. Cisco has gone from a fun character to a really unlikable one. Plus the look of sadness on Barry's face every time Cisco is mean to him is horrible. Hasn't Barry suffered enough without the constant jabs?

Anonymous said...

I can't even remember what Dante looks like.

I found it so hilarious how affronted Supergirl was when Mick said her name was stupid than refused to actually use her name(Kara).

I also think Wally is going to help the legends...That will be Joe and Iris's growth to allow him to leave and be a hero.

Sam Smith said...

I would love to see Wally join the legends next season! i don't think Stein was affected by flashpoint, i think it was his interaction with his younger self. it'skind of impossible to tell though now. this is the problem when you take a show that is trying to portray time travel fairly accurately (Flash) and one that just screws with time and suffers no consequenses, or all the consequences depending on the story requirements (Legends) and set them in the same universe. (multiverse? what are we calling this thing?) Both are brilliant shows, but they are at complete odds with each other.