FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 3x08 - "Invasion!"

The Flash (3x08) - "Invasion!"
Written by:         Aaron & Todd Helbing
Story by:              Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg
Directed by:       Dermott Downs

Please note: I am not reviewing the crossover as whole, this is a review of the Flash episode.

So after Supergirl does just a bit over the bare minimum of crossing over required for people not to think this was all false advertising we open on Barry and Oliver getting their asses kicked by pretty much the rest of the cast.

Then comes the obligatory jump back in time so we can see how we got here.  So for all intents and purposes the episode “opens” in STAR Labs with Wally test out his new powers.  It’s still pretty clear to Cisco and Caitlin that Wally is ahead of Barry at the beginning and Joe and Iris are from happy to hear that. 

In fact, Iris is so unhappy she starts plotting to hide how well Wally’s doing from him because she’s jea- worried about him.  (Sorry, sometimes it’s hard to tell those two apart.)  After all the secrets and fallout they cause, Cisco is not interested in keeping secrets.  However, he surrenders just before Wally comes down to see how he did.  Joe offers him a “consolation” dinner and the Wests leave just before HR gathers the team together for his latest idea for STAR Labs.  Essentially, it’s a rehash of his initial idea for turning STAR Labs into a Museum only this time with an emphasis on recreating the Accelerator Explosion using Virtual Reality.

Unfortunately for HR, they’re interrupted by an alarm.  In this case, it’s a satellite alarm meaning a falling meteor.  Barry races to the crash and finds not a meteor but a space ship full of pissed off looking aliens.  The next morning the government has gone full Roswell cover-up, but Good News!  Lyla’s here.  Bad News!  She thinks this is really bad setting up: Even Worse News! The other government agent wants the head of ARGUS to shut up and go home.

When Barry clues Lyla in to what he saw she has him gather up the Team to brief them on the situation.  Meet the Dominators.  War mongering aliens that have visited Earth before with bad results for us until they just decided to leave.

So after telling a super hero team all about invading aliens, Lyla goes all passive aggressive and tells them to sit back, relax and let the government take care of this.  That’s just not gonna happen Lyla.  Cut to Star City where Oliver and Diggle about to get killed by Vigilante, Barry rescues the pair and clues them in on the invasion.  Felicity points out that they still don’t have the numbers.  Well good thing there’s still two other DC/CW-Verse shows!  They head to some “old” STAR Labs facility-

Call upon the Legends crew while Cisco and Barry plan to make a hop over to “Earth-38” and pick up Kara.  Meanwhile, Cisco still acting (understandably) hard to Barry.

With gang all gathered up it’s time to check in on our villains.  It seems they’ve got some sort of evil device they’re setting up. They also have a creepy sounding language so that’s good.

Back at the hangar, Kara’s getting up to speed while the group starts trying to figure out how things will work.  Who’s in charge for example, this is when Cisco makes it a point to say how much he trusts Oliver.  No one else seems to take this as the obvious red flag that it is and decide to put Barry in charge.  Barry shows how good he is at being a leader by being kind of terrible at it then gets the gang training.

But first, the groups break up and start catching each other (and viewers like myself that don’t watch every show) up on what’s happened:  Oliver training Barry, Ray getting a new suit, Snart dying, tension between Barry and Cisco because of his role in Dante’s death.  Meanwhile, Wally shows up and Iris earns sister of the year by telling Wally that’s he’s just not up to snuff.  (There’s tough love and then there’s what you’re doing, Iris.)  There’s also one, very big problem.  Stein and Jax found a message from a future Barry telling them that Barry changed the timeline while they were traveling and screwed things up significantly and he is not to be trusted.

Jax thinks it would be best if they told people exactly what was going on and that Flashpoint might have something to do with the Dominators.  He apparently forgot that Oliver Queen was involved.  Telling people at the beginning about potentially life-ruining/earth-destroying secrets?  That’s just not how it’s done!  Better to let it fester for a while so they can deal with the immediate threat.  After the others leave, Stein has a vision of a girl and he and Caitlin leave to look into it.

Meanwhile, in another hangar, Lyla and the other government agents brief the President on the Dominators.  He thinks they need to take on the Dominators head on, so of course they show up and abduct him.

Back at STAR Labs, Wally has figured out that Iris and Joe were lying to him and he is pretty pissed off about it.  So after telling them off, Wally runs into HR and asks him to train him.  HR eventually says no, though he didn’t seem convinced.

Across town, Caitlin and Stein talk about Killer Frost on the walk up to his house.  As they get to the door, the girl in Stein’s vision greets them warmly and surprise! She’s Stein’s daughter in this timeline.  Stein is not happy and has to leave.

Back at the Hall of J- hangar, Cisco finds the recording and this is why you tell people up front about problems!  He brings the message to everybody and there are all understandably furious with Barry.  To make matters worse they have to go save the President but nobody trusts Barry.  So while Barry and Oliver stay behind, the rest go to save the President at an abandon salt mine.

Trap? Trap!  The Dominator’s evil device is a mind-control device and turns everybody into their minions.  Meanwhile at STAR Labs, it’s a real blast from the past!  Barry’s looking at Thawne April 25th, 2024 edition of the Central City Citizen and things are apparently still changing.  Most notably, the article about Flash’s disappearance is no long written by Iris but by someone named “Julie Greer.”

Barry realizes now that he may have screwed things up so badly that there’s no way to fix it.  Fortunately, Oliver is there to put things in perspective.  He did something anyone in his position with his powers would do and regardless of if the past was changed or not they have to deal with the present.

Good point, and timely considering the rest of the gang has arrived to kick their asses.  Back to where the episode began, things become basically one big fight scene.  Wally shows up to make the save on Barry but is injured to Barry leads Kara back to the salt mine and pisses her off enough make a mistake and destroy the mind control device.  So, that’s one problem out of the way.  Wonder what happens next?  The Dominators abduct everyone but Barry, that’s what happens next.

I won’t lie, I haven’t liked the crossovers all that much but credit where credit is due.  This was pretty good.  I haven’t watched Arrow or Legends yet so I don’t know how they wrap things up but I enjoyed this.  They even managed to move the Flash plot along.  Most notably, it’s now very clear that the Flashpoint storyline is not finished but we haven’t even really seen the full ramifications of the Flashpoint to this point and something will likely happen this season that is even more devastating than what we’ve seen thus far.  (Which makes sense since rumors persist that Supergirl will be folded into the DC/CW-Verse proper.)

Wally’s plot took another step forward and the rift between Barry and Cisco is compelling.  There were a couple of silly moments, like the STAR Labs hangar for example.  However there was nothing that bounced me out of the episode so that’s definitely a positive.  The episode felt crowded, but I just don’t think that can be avoided when you bring the casts of four shows together.

In the end, I must judge this as an episode of the Flash, not as part of a crossover and as an episode of the Flash it’s fine.  Not as terrible as All-Star Team-Up but not great and they are in desperate need of a great episode at this point.  Here’s hoping they fix that with the mid-season finale.

Three Things We Learned This Week:

1)      Something Barry changed in the past makes him a liability to the CW-Justice League in the future.
2)      Due to Flashpoint, Iris was unable to write the article about Barry’s disappearance in 2024.
3)      HR has offered to train Wally.

Three Four Questions:

1)      Was this invasion caused by Flashpoint?
2)      Why was Iris unable to write the article in the future?
3)      Why did future Barry warn the others not to trust him in the past?
4)      With the attention they drew to it, is there a reason that Diggle and Lyla’s daughter became their son that’s important to the future of the DC/CW-Verse?

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