"Supergirl: How did you get the nickname "Heat Wave"?
Mick Rory: Well, I burned my family alive, and I like to light things on fire.
Supergirl: Aah. Well, that's a colorful backstory.
Mick Rory: Well, my shrink thinks so." -
One of the best things about The CW's sprawling universe of TV superheroes is how they can cross over into each other's show. Felicity will regularly pop over to Star Labs, Cisco will be on hand to help team Arrow develop their suits. We've had two cross-over stories between The Flash and Arrow so far and both have been fun. But this year The CW has taken things to a whole other level, with Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and Supergirl teaming up to save the world from the fearsome Dominators in one four-episode epic event.
Okay, so it was really three and a bit. The Supergirl mid-season finale Medusa was really just a tease for the alien invasion story to happen on Barry Allen's Earth. What was so remarkable was how quickly Invasion! skyrocketed through the story. It opened straight into the action as Barry and Oliver found themselves in a war zone and audiences were introduced to the epic shot of Firestorm, Spartan, White Canary, Speedy, Heat Wave, Atom and Supergirl.
It certainly ramped up the anticipation for the team up to come as Invasion! jumped back 10 hours to fill us in on team Flash hanging out in Star Labs, unaware of the alien threat to come. Wally is training, Iris wants to protect him, HR wants to open up Star Labs to the public; it was all pleasant fare but it was all scene setting before the Flash raced off to track a mysterious craft crashing into Central City and came face to face with "Aliens!" The Dominators, even in their brief debut, certainly looked great, and while Barry described them as given Ridley Scott nightmares meets World War Z zombies, they reminded me very much of Species 8472 from Star Trek: Voyager.
Enter Arrow's Lyla and her Argus information to fill in the team on a first encounter with The Dominators fifty years ago and their forbidding return. It didn't take long for Barry to rush over to Star City to save Oliver and Diggle hunting down Vigilante and recruite them, Felicity and Thea to fight the alien threat, calling in the crew of the Waverider Legends Of Tomorrow and then getting Cisco to open up a portal to Earth 38 to bring in Supergirl, as seen in the closing moments of Medusa. And that was all within less than quarter of an hour!
The heroes from all four shows united under one hangar bay and and as Felicity gleefully announced that this was the "best team up ever!" I couldn't have agreed more. It was a lot of fun, from Supergirl's glee at learning everyone's names, Oliver 'leading' Barry's attempts to lead the group and Sara Lance pointing out that everyone could hear him, Iris learning Oliver was Green Arrow and noting it made him hotter and Barry telling Kara that Oliver trained him by actually shooting him. It was nice to see that they acknowledged just what a powerhouse Supergirl was, using her to train for the upcoming alien invasion.
It was interesting how - unlike last year's big two-episode Legends Of Tomorrow set-up - this episode still felt like an episode of The Flash with the ramifications of FlashPoint still being acknowledged, as Cisco announced to everyone what Barry had done. I'm not sure his timing was great, but this was probably the only chance everyone was going to be together in one place. Diggle learned he had a son instead of a daughter and the mysterious message Stein and Jackson picked up from Barry Allen over in their show was revealed to a message from him 40 years in the future, warning that he was not to be trusted. It was great to see Sara as the wise leader (even if it was a little hypocritical given her actions with Damien Darhk this season). Plus Stein got a daughter, which was kind of nice too. Wally's story also continued, convincing HR to train him (with what - motivational speaking?) and getting the chance to save Barry and Oliver just once.
The kidnapping of the president by the Dominators lead to a fantastic final act as the aliens activated their trap, brutally murdered the President and unleashing a weapon that turned Supergirl, White Canary, Firestorm, Speedy, Heat Wave, Diggle and Atom into villains. The murder of the President was a shocking twist and led to that thrilling opening as the Green Arrow And Flash were forced to fight their friends. There were some very cool moments as the heroes fought each other. It wasn't quite the airport sequence from Captain America: Civil War but it was action packed, intense and a whole lot of fun.
There were two particular highlights; White Canary versus Green Arrow and Supergirl versus the Flash; we've had something similar before between the two original leads, but this was another another level. Barry using Kara's rage to destroy the device was a savvy move. The cliffhanger cleverly set up the continuation in Arrow too as Oliver and many of his allies were abducted on the Dominator ship. We've not had the heroes going face to face with the aliens yet but that will be sure to change soon.
There was A LOT packed into Invasion! and while it certainly wasn't subtle, it left a big grin on my face from beginning to end. Some other highlights? Diggle's general reaction to everything, from vomiting after being rescued by Barry, to his comment "you know I never did drugs because I was always afraid I would see weird stuff," after witnessing time-travelling Waverider for the first time. Heat Wave calling Supergirl 'Skirt'. Thea just deciding to don her costume again because it was aliens. Lyla proving every Government bureaucrat wrong. Oliver being wise and guiding Barry through his Flashpoint drama. And the epic showdown most of all. I have high hopes for the following two installments; it seems the invasion is just beginning...