Before I start, congratulations to the Arrow cast and crew on their 100th episode.
The massive CW crossover continues with Arrow’s part of the “Invasion!” At the end of the Flash episode, we saw a good chunk of the Arrow cast beamed up by the Dominators. Now we get to find out what happened to them, along with a few scenes of what the others are up to. Well, most of them. As I commented about in my Flash review, Artemis is never seen, mentioned, referred to at all. Rory gets a passing scene, but no in-costume action.
The show opens with someone running through the forest. This proves to be nothing sinister at all, just Oliver out for a run on the grounds of the Queens’ mansion. It’s a clever idea, but they did this pretty much exactly a while back, when Oliver and Felicity enjoyed their brief domestic bliss in Ivy Town when they both left the hero game for a bit.
When Oliver gets back inside, we see even more is not as we remember: his parents are alive, as is Laurel, who he’s engaged to. Robert Queen is about to become mayor, and is pressuring Oliver to take over Queen Consolidated. There is a brief scene showing the real Oliver and friends in pods on the Dominators’ ship, so all this is some kind of Matrix-like shared virtual reality.
With the boss missing, Team Arrow is training in the Lair, and bickering a bit. Wild Dog really does seem to go out of his way to be an ass. Felicity shows up with Cisco along for the ride. Cleverly, they are going to use Cisco’s Vibe powers (this portion is pretty much psychometry) to figure out where the missing heroes are. Wild Dog almost sneers when he learns Cisco is a metahuman. Whatever the Dog’s problems are, they come out of nowhere and make no real sense, as he works with the magically powered Ragman. Cisco works out they are on one of the Dominators’ ships, and Cisco brought some stolen Dominator tech to try and help figure out what to do next. Curtis gets very excited about the idea of hacking alien tech.
At the Queen Mansion in daydream world, Oliver and Thea talk about reconnecting. There’s an amusing scene with her giving him a rock symoblizing reconnecting, which we saw a few seasons ago with the roles reversed. They start getting hints about things not being right, such as Oliver catching a falling vase, and Sara arriving, hugging Laurel, and getting weird images when she learns Laurel is wearing a Canary necklace. Robert and Oliver go in to the city, get mugged, and then saved by… Green Arrow?
Back at the Lair, Curtis and Rory have a wide-ranging talk that covers aliens, tech, hacking, and theology. Rory is a believer, Curtis sounds agnostic. After some geek talk, they try and hack into the alien tech and manage to cause a minor explosion. To make the gadget work, they need a special gadget that was, of course, recently stolen by a new supervillain.
In the dream world, Oliver pays a visit to Captain Lance, and eyes the board set up for the task force trying to figure out who the Hood is. Oliver and Lance have a very nice conversation, as do Thea and Moira Queen. The glitches get worse as Ray Palmer and his fiancé, Felicity, arrive for the rehearsal dinner, and Ray and Sara meet. Oliver follows his emerging memories and ends up in the Lair and meets this world’s Team Arrow- the Hood/John Diggle, and Felicity as the loyal tech support. Another glitch I guess. Diggle lectures Oliver that he has everything in his life and shouldn’t throw it away
Back in reality, Wild Dog, Mr. Terrific, Flash, and Supergirl go after the villain, who I think is a version of the Wonder Woman villain Dr. Cyber. Wild Dog continues ranting about being anti-meta. He blames metas in general on Flash and the aliens on Supergirl. Wild Dog tries to go lone wolf on Dr. Cyber and gets zapped pretty badly. It takes the tag-team of Flash and Supergirl to beat her, after which Wild Dog suddenly is glad they’re there.
The glitches continue in the dream world as the “real” characters spark more memories in each other. Most of them are aware by now that something’s wrong, except Thea. Oliver and Diggle compare notes on the Smoak Tech building downtown that just shouldn’t be there. Their planning is interrupted by a sudden attack from Deathstroke. Sadly, I guess they couldn’t get Manu Bennett back for the guest shot, as ‘Stroke never unmasks or speaks. The heroes are smart enough to know it’s a distraction.
As the party goes on, we get more blasts from the past that echo the reality. Malcolm Merlyn is there, talking to Thea about how her father should be proud of her. Tommy, another of the dead in the real world, is mentioned as now being a doctor in Chicago. The heroes start to gather together to try and get out, but Thea won’t go. She likes this life and doesn’t want to lose everyone again. The rest try and leave the party and are confronted by an all-star villain team including Deathstroke again, Malcolm Merlyn, Damian Darhk, and various thugs. Thea finally comes to join them.
The heroes leave after a big fight and some heartbreaking goodbyes. Maybe it was too much to fit in, but Diggle should have gotten to see his late brother Andy (he at least gets mentioned). They wake up, dressed in grey prison uniforms with no weapons. So Ray lost his new ATOM suit after wearing it what, twice? They eventually find an escape pod and get off the ship, hotly pursued by other ships. If only the heroes had a friend with spaceship… Cue the timely (pun intended) arrival of the Waverider. The heroes work out that the Dominators are about to move more directly against Earth.
What I liked: The team up is really cool. It’s great Arrow made it to 100. It was nice seeing so many of the cast we’ve lost, like Moira, Robert, and Laurel. The heroes did have decent alternate lives at least. The Waverider swooping in for the rescue made perfect sense. And I liked the Supergirl/Flash team up.
What I didn’t: Where’s Artemis? Why is Rory on the sidelines? Where did Wild Dog’s anti-meta issue come from? It gets a passing mention, but is it really no issue for Gideon to make new ATOM suits now that Ray losing it doesn’t matter any more? And why is Thea shown as the weak one all the time? She quits heroing and now won’t leave dream world?
I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5. The glitches are maybe understandable with so much happening at once. On to Legends for the conclusion!