The CW’s big crossover officially kicked off in tonight’s The Flash (l refuse to count the single scene at the end of last night’s Supergirl) and it was incredibly fun, which is one thing we haven’t been able to say for most of The Flash’s third season so far. Watching The Flash team up with Supergirl and the heroes from Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow filled me with the same joy I felt watching the series premiere of Justice League 15 years ago.
As you probably know already, this year’s crossover is based on the 1988-1989 DC event series Invasion, which was about a technologically advanced race called the Dominators who form a coalition with other alien races to invade Earth and eliminate the growing metahuman population. Obviously, Earth’s heroes band together and fight back. Tonight’s episode “Invasion!” features some similarities to that comic, but also makes some significant changes. For one, it’s not immediately clear at the beginning of the episode whether the Dominators are part of a coalition and if they’re there for the metahumans. I suspect the Dominators’ purpose is the same in the crossover, but the show will avoid the coalition part because it probably doesn’t have the budget to design different kinds of alien races.
While the first issue of Invasion focuses on the Dominators assembling their allies to invade Earth, the first night of the crossover focuses on the superheroes joining forces once they’re made aware of the Dominator threat. “Invasion!” doesn’t waste any time introducing the Dominators or getting to the good stuff. There’s a confidence and zippiness to the episode that makes the moments where the show remembers it’s season 3 of The Flash (i.e. it gets angsty) more bearable.
After two short scenes that catch us up on Wally’s progress with his powers and H.R.’s plans for reopening S.T.A.R. Labs, we have our first encounter with the Dominators. A satellite alarm alerts Team Flash to something hurtling towards Earth. The Flash rushes to the crash site, where he encounters a space ship. The ship opens and a hoard of Dominators come running out. All Barry can do in that moment is yell “Aliens!”
The next day, Lyla informs Team Flash the aliens are called the Dominators and previously visited the Earth in the ’50s. During their first visit, the Dominators abducted a few people, but eventually left without warning. The Dominators sent Earth a message three months ago, saying they were returning on a mission of understanding and warned the humans not to attack them. Lyla tells Team Flash to stand down and let the governments of the world handle it. Obviously, Team Flash doesn’t do that — because then there wouldn’t be a crossover.
Barry gets to work assembling a coalition of superheroes. His first stop is Starling City, and he arrives just in time to save Green Arrow and Spartan from Vigilante’s bullets. If there’s one thing I’ve always loved about the crossovers, it’s how The Flash episodes always show a lighter side of the Arrow characters. Diggle throwing up after experiencing Barry’s super-speed and Oliver’s frustration with Barry’s interference made me smile so much. After catching up Oliver, Diggle, Felicity, and Thea on the situation, Barry decides to reach out to the Legends.
NEXT: A message from the future