After tons of hype, the CW’s big Arrowverse crossover, “Invasion!,” kicked off on Tuesday night with The Flash. Technically, this “four-night event” should’ve started with Supergirl on Monday, but the only scene from that episode related to the crossover was replayed in full during The Flash, so it hardly counts. Perhaps because of this, knowing that they only had three hours instead of four to get this whole “Heroes vs. Aliens” shebang in motion, the team-up that started this episode was rushed, but the heroes’ thrilling fights with each other certainly weren’t.
The titular invasion starts off pretty small. An alien ship crashes in Central City, and when Barry goes to investigate, the extraterrestrial Dominators flee rather than fight. Sure, he soon learns that they’re really bad news, but Barry’s gathering of the troops before the stakes have been sufficiently established feels a little forced, like the only reason he’s not handling this one solo is because, welp, it’s time for a crossover. This is especially clear when Arrow’s Thea — who has been vehemently retired all season on her show, decides to become Speedy again because of “aliens.”
It’s all a bit ham-handed, and it makes you wish that Supergirl could’ve helped set this up a little better (even if Monday night was a sterling hour as a stand-alone show). Luckily, once they yada yada the assembly, there’s a lot of good stuff. In an interesting reversal of the classic superhero trope where good guys have a quick fight before a lengthy team-up, “Invasion!” featured a quick team-up and then some high stakes inter-hero duels.
The most consequential fight isn’t physical. It’s the aftermath of Barry’s reveal that he changed the timeline — and with it, the lives of several of his fellow heroes, including what happened to Diggle’s daughter and Stein’s wife. The reveal finally fully explains the deal with Barry’s secret message over on Legends of Tomorrow, and the rest of the heroes (save Oliver) are pissed and go off to have their first fight with the Dominators without the two.
Unfortunately, the Dominators have lured that whole team into a trap, and they’re able to mind control Diggle, Thea, the Legends, and Supergirl. The resulting fights between them and the heavily outgunned Oliver and Barry are some of the best action scenes the CW has produced to date — especially the Flash and Supergirl’s high-speed death race.
Thanks to some quick thinking on Barry’s part (and a brief assist from Wally), they’re able to snap the dominated heroes out of their mind control … and then a bunch of them get beamed away. From the looks of the preview for the next episode, it looks like they’re in some sort of Black Mercy-type mental prison. It’s going to be up to the heroes who escaped and the new Team Arrow (who sat this one out) to rescue everybody on Wednesday.
So far, there hasn’t been much, uh, “Heroes vs. Aliens” action in this crossover, and it doesn’t quite look like that’ll change in the upcoming Arrow episode. Perhaps, though, it’s because the Dominators know they’ll lose big time in a straight-up fight. Their plans so far seem to be centered around removing the superheroes from the battle before it starts.
I’d wager a guess, however, that by Thursday’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow when the crossover comes to a close, there’s gonna be a legit showdown.