UK TV recap: Legends of Tomorrow, Season 2, Episode 7 (Invasion!)
Heroes vs Aliens7.5
Matthew Turner | On 17, Dec 2016
Warning: This is a recap and contains spoilers, so do not read this until you have watched the episode. For information on how to watch it, click here.
This week’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow is the third and final part in the three-way alien invasion crossover with fellow CW superhero shows The Flash and Arrow (and Supergirl, although her episode wasn’t really a part of the crossover). As such, the episode provides a satisfying conclusion to the alien invasion story and delivers the promised amount of Hero vs. Alien action, while also finding time for some solid character development for at least one of the main Legends cast.
Read our review of Supergirl’s crossover episode here.
Read our review of The Flash’s crossover episode here.
In case you haven’t been watching The Flash and Arrow, here’s a quick recap: an alien race called the Dominators invaded Earth and Barry Allen / The Flash recruited Supergirl, Oliver Queen / Green Arrow and a few of the Legends to help defend the Earth. During the battle, some of the heroes were abducted and ended up on the alien spaceship, where they discovered that the Dominators were planning to destroy the Earth with a giant weapon, before escaping in a smaller spaceship and getting picked up by the Waverider. And that’s where we come in…
Back on Earth, the super-team decide that they need to capture a Dominator in order to find out what their master-plan is and why they want to destroy the Earth. Nate figures out that a Dominator landed on Earth in the past, so he takes Mick and Amaya to 1951, with Felicity and Cisco tagging along for the ride, because how can two super-nerds resist the opportunity to time-travel?
Meanwhile, The Flash, Green Arrow, Ray and Sara receive an urgent request to meet with the new President (the pesky aliens having apparently killed the old one), so they head off, but not before Oliver rather rudely sidelines Supergirl, effectively telling her that they’re already dealing with quite enough aliens as it is, thank you very much. That’s not really in character for Oliver and it’s the one note in the entire show that doesn’t ring true, but it’s fine because it’s all a set-up for them becoming proper super-friends later, after Supergirl rescues him, when he’s thrown off a building.
Back in 1951, Nate (now dressed in his Steel uniform, which prompts Mick to tell him he looks like “a star-spangled idiot”), Amaya and Mick encounter a whole bunch of Dominators and attempt to subdue one of them, but are captured by government agents, including a sinister figure with glasses, and knocked unconscious. When they come to, they find themselves locked up with the Dominator and Nate attempts to communicate with it. Meanwhile, Felicity and Cisco stage a rescue (“Did somebody call for tech support?”) and the team also free the Dominator, who’s being tortured by the government.
Back in 2016, Barry, Oliver, Sara and Ray expect to meet the President but are instead greeted by Agent Smith, the agent in glasses from 1951 (now played by Donnelly Rhodes), who’s now… actually, let’s not think about how old he’s supposed to be. Anyway, it turns out that the Dominators (whose ships are now positioned all over the Earth) are there because of Flashpoint and the danger that meta-humans pose to mankind – and, by extension, the universe. They’ve made a deal with the government that if they hand over Barry (seriously, is there anybody left in the entire Arrowverse who doesn’t know The Flash’s secret identity at this point?), they’ll leave the Earth alone. Barry being Barry, he considers sacrificing himself for the greater good, but the rest of the heroes aren’t having any of it, prompting the Dominators to activate something called a meta-bomb, that will kill all meta-humans.
The heroes all standing up for Barry is one of a handful of key emotional moments that have more meaning because they were all so angry with him after he told them about the effect of Flashpoint on their lives in The Flash part of the crossover. The second such moment involves Cisco, who’s been angry with Barry for a few episodes now, because his brother is no longer alive after Flashpoint. However, after realising that his own unwitting actions in the past have contributed to the conflict with the Dominators in the present, Cisco has a lot more sympathy with Barry’s situation, so he tells Barry they’re friends again. Awww. It’s hard to believe the writers are entirely done with Flashpoint, but at least Barry’s now been forgiven by everyone that matters.
(I mentioned in my Arrow recap that it was interesting how the crossover episodes chose to address and resolve key plot points from the main shows, rather than shoving them to the side for a week, and this is a good example of that. It also shows a lot of (no doubt justified) trust in the crossover audience that they would effectively let a big Flash-related issue get resolved on Legends of Tomorrow. It certainly helps to make all the episodes in the crossover feel more integrated.)
While all this time-travelling and President-meeting has been going on, Stein has been attempting to come to terms with the existence of his adult daughter (whom he met for the first time in the Flash episode), Lily, played by Christina Brucato. At first, he’s cold towards her, figuring that she’s a time aberration and that when all this alien invasion nonsense is over, he’ll go back in time and erase her. But when he realises she’s a super-intelligent scientist (like father, like daughter, etc.), he begins to warm to her, especially when her field of expertise turns out to be extremely useful in developing a weapon to use against the Dominators. In fact, it’s slightly more nuanced than that – Lily loses interest in the project when Stein ignores her, and Caitlin persuades him that she’s a person, not a time aberration, and that he needs to connect with her so they can finish the weapon. And of course, as soon as he does, he realises he loves her and doesn’t want to lose her, all of which will no doubt be addressed next week.
Anyway, Stein finishes his weapon just in time for the climactic Heroes vs. Aliens battle, during which The Flash and Supergirl race around the world placing Stein’s pain device on all the aliens, Sara and Firestorm attempt to defuse the meta-bomb, and the rest of the heroes… um… battle a few Dominators on a rooftop. To be honest, the climax is a bit of a let-down – it’s poorly staged and lacks imagination when it comes to the heroes working together, opting for long-shots of everyone doing their thing rather than embracing and exploiting the team-up concept. It’s still a lot of fun to watch, but you can’t help wishing they’d brought some of the invention of, say, the fight sequences in the marooned-in-space episode from Season 1.
On the plus side, Firestorm gets to use his once-a-season transmutation powers again, as he manages to turn the meta-bomb into a giant shower of water, just in time. And Sara’s skills with the Waverider continue to impress, as she realises she can slow the bomb’s descent with the ship’s tractor beam. Anyway, the bomb disappears and the remaining aliens collapse in pain, once Felicity activates Stein’s device, causing them all to disappear, perhaps to return another day. Either way, the day is officially saved and the writers have even left time for an enjoyable party scene at the end, in which Oliver and Supergirl make up, and add a nice bonding moment as a trio with Barry into the bargain. Oh, and Cisco gives Supergirl a portal-opening device and a communicator, so we’ll hopefully be seeing a lot more of her in the future.
All in all, this is a fun episode that delivers handsomely on the promise of the crossover and serves up some enjoyable character interaction, along with the usual blend of action, humour and emotion. The special effects are pretty great too. Tune in next week, when the Legion of Doom spring into action, along with a new recruit.
Footnotes of Tomorrow
– This episode proves beyond a doubt that you can put Felicity (and Cisco, come to that) into any of the CW shows and she just fits right in. Emily Bett Rickards is similar to Caity Lotz, in that she generates easy chemistry with just about everyone, albeit in a more comedic way. Anyway, she’s great value this episode, with her post-time-travel disorientation standing out as a comedy high-point.
– The afore-mentioned party scene features a brilliant throwaway meta-joke that might be one of the best things they’ve ever done. As Supergirl is leaving the party, Brandon Routh’s Ray turns to Felicity and says: “You know what’s funny? She kinda looks like my cousin.” I don’t have to explain that, do I? No? Good.
– Another odd thing from the party: before Supergirl leaves the party, she tells Oliver and Barry that they are “Earth’s mightiest heroes”. As a life-long Marvel fan, I’m not sure how I feel about that, given that it’s a phrase that’s closely associated with the Avengers (it’s even the title of the superb Avengers cartoons, that I highly recommend, if you haven’t seen them). I’m putting it down to playful banter, but seriously, it’s as weird as it would be to hear Green Arrow say, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Are there any copyright lawyers in the house?
– Although none of the same characters play key roles, a surprising amount of the Invasion! crossover storyline is taken from a three-issue D.C. comics run published in 1988/1989, including the Dominators, their reason for attacking the Earth and the meta-bomb (called a Gene Bomb in the comics).
– I’m probably the only person watching this show who got excited when I saw Donnelly Rhodes’ name in the credits. I may even have shouted “Dutch!” Man, I loved Soap. Yeah, you can keep your Doctor Cottle from Battlestar Galacticas – he’ll always be Dutch to me. (Oh, and he’s 79.)
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