Reflections on Invasion! The DC/CW Crossover

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For those of you who don’t know (or haven’t managed to figure it out from my posts), I’m a bit of a TV junkie, and I happen to enjoy, perhaps sometimes on a bit of a guilty pleasure level, the CW’s take on the DC Universe. While the shows have all had their ups and downs in terms of quality, I still think it’s a lot of fun to see exciting superhero stories on the small screen.

This past week all four series (Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow) were brought together in a crossover event that featured all of the heroes and several of their sidekicks battling against an alien invasion. This is my breakdown of the story across all four episodes (or three and a little, if we’re being honest) and what I thought did and didn’t work.

Warning: spoilers ahead!

Supergirl

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The crossover was supposed to start on Supergirl, but that didn’t really happen. The show ended up running a regular episode in which Kara takes down the head of CADMUS, Lena Luthor’s mother. It was actually a really great Supergirl episode, a show that I think has dramatically improved in its second season, but the crossover element was only tacked on at the end. Multiverse portals show up throughout the episode as we learn Barry and Cisco were trying to find Kara, but only in the last moments of the show do they actually show up.

Given that other elements on the crossover felt a little rushed, I wish that more had been done in this episode. I think the threat of the aliens could’ve been developed more, and Kara could’ve been introduced to the other members of the Flash-Arrow-verse sooner. Maybe the writing team could have even had Kara and Barry attempt to take on the aliens with limited help before figuring out that fighting them would be too difficult and then reaching out to the other heroes.

I also would’ve liked to have seen more of the Supergirl crew involved in the event rather than just Kara. While we got to see at least a little bit of the other teams’ sidekick characters (even Speedy making a comeback), we didn’t get to see any of Supergirl’s team. The Guardian or The Martian Manhunter might’ve been a nice addition, or even just having Alex tag along could’ve been cool.

The Flash

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All of that being said about Supergirl, I can sort of see why the creative team decided to really kick things off with The Flash. The core conflict of the crossover has a lot to do with Flashpoint, how the aliens are invading because they think Barry’s changing of the timeline is a threat, and how most of the assembled heroes, especially Cisco, are mad at Barry for doing this.

I thought this episode was great for many reasons, but perhaps the biggest was that Barry finally had to come face-to-face with people who were upset with him for his actions and face the consequences of their justified anger. It drew some rifts in the team, which created some nice drama. Barry’s friends like Dr. Stein, Kara, and of course his mentor Oliver were willing to side with him, but other members of the group like Diggle, Palmer, Sara (who is still upset over the loss of her sister), and Cisco didn’t even want to work with him.

Due to alien mind control, we also got to see some hero vs hero action with Barry and Oliver taking on pretty much the whole team of supers, with a notable assist from Kid Flash.

Arrow

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In the middle of this crossover, Arrow also had its 100th episode. The longest standing members of the Arrow team along with Palmer and Sara, who started their adventures on Arrow, get put into a Matrix-like simulation created by the aliens. We learn at the end that the purpose of this was to probe their minds for information about meta-humans, the threat that has the aliens worried and has caused this whole invasion in the first place.

I thought this was a fun episode, and it was great to see characters from Oliver’s past as well as to get a look at what his and his teammate’s lives might have been like if he never went on the sailing trip with his father and became the Green Arrow. As a 100th episode and a look back, I thought it was very well handled. As a crossover episode, I’m not sure that the plot moved forward much, but it was still fun to see the different teams working together in the background.

Legends of Tomorrow

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Much of the action from the crossover happened in the Legends episode as all of the action was brought to a conclusion. As such, I think this felt less like a Legends episode and more like a full ensemble episode. We got to see a little bit of Vixen and Citizen Steel, and Firestorm dismantled the meta-human killing bomb the aliens wanted to drop, something that Kara might’ve normally done, but it was nice to see Firestorm do something other than hurl fire at people.

The conclusion did feel a bit rushed to me, which is why I wish more had been done with the crossover in the Supergirl episode. The heroes seem to find a way to beat the aliens out of nowhere with a nano-virus. Oliver doesn’t want to work with Kara for some loose reason that doesn’t make much sense. There is an evil government agent type guy who could’ve been more and better developed in the previous episodes so that he was more sinister. And then Cisco messes with the timeline, realizes he’s changed something and made things worse, and then decides to forgive Barry pretty quickly after that.

There was also the whole drama into non-drama of Barry being willing to give himself up to the aliens, and I think more could’ve been done with that. Maybe he should’ve handed himself over, and then the team could’ve rallied around him, forgiven him for what he did, and then planned a rescue. I think that would’ve been more fun and dramatic than just having him be convinced by a show of solidarity in one scene that he should fight the aliens instead of surrendering.

That being said, Cisco and Felicity working together was amazing. I thought they actually had great chemistry with the splinter team of Citizen Steel, Heat Wave, and Vixen. Just as an aside, I would totally watch a show that featured Cisco and Felicity sciencing the shit out of bad guys, maybe with some back-up from the other three I mentioned…but yeah, I think that would be fun.

DC's Legends of Tomorrow Season 2, Episode 7 - "Invasion" (L-R): Nick Zano as Nate Heywood/Steel, Maisie Richardson- Sellers as Amaya Jiwe/Vixen, Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl, Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, Dominic Purcell as Mick Rory/Heat Wave, Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer/Atom, David Ramsey as John Diggle and Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
Season 2, Episode 7 – “Invasion”
(L-R): Nick Zano as Nate Heywood/Steel, Maisie Richardson- Sellers as Amaya Jiwe/Vixen, Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl, Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, Dominic Purcell as Mick Rory/Heat Wave, Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer/Atom, David Ramsey as John Diggle and Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon

Overall

This crossover was really fun. I feel like I spent a lot of this post complaining about some of the shortcomings, but watching these four episodes was a chance to experience some fun TV. It’s great that something like this can happen on network TV, and on one of the small networks at that. If you haven’t had a chance to see the crossover, even if you don’t follow all of the shows, I highly recommend it.

Next Time?

I’d really like to see smaller team-up arcs. Each of the shows has robust supporting casts, and I would really like to see a crossover where everyone was involved, even if it was only between two of the shows rather than four.

I’d also love to see team-up arcs that went beyond one week or back-to-back episodes, maybe a finale or midseason finale arc that went across a few episodes, again, even if it was just two shows involved. One of my biggest issues with the crossover was that parts of the plot felt rushed, and I would love to see a story involving multiple superhero teams that got to develop over a couple weeks worth of episodes.

Finally, I’m really happy that Kara has been given a little dimensional jumper that will let her communicate and hang out with the other teams. I’m excited to see how that plays out, and (as I just said) I hope this leads to her working with people from the other teams. Even if we just get a couple of guest appearances from Felicity, Cisco, or someone else, I think it would be cool to see Flash, Arrow, or Legends characters coming to fight aliens on Supergirl’s Earth.

So what did you guys think of the crossover? Did you enjoy it? Are there things you liked or didn’t like that I failed to mention? Drop a line in the comments and let me know!

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