Let’s get this out of the way: I am not loving this year’s mega crossover.
It began with the final two seconds of a pretty good Supergirl episode, and then continued through a cringeworthy hour of The Flash. In fact, I wanted to review that episode, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do so (just like I couldn’t review last week’s Arrow episode – for the first time in history). But since the crossover just happens to be Arrow’s 100th episode, how could I not honor the show in my own way after five years of loyal viewing? And I gotta say, this was a pretty terrific episode.
The greatest thing about Invasion is that it gives Oliver an actual arc to experience. Placing our hero in a perfect world isn’t exactly a fresh superhero trope, but it gets the job done and simultaneously gives Thea an even more intriguing arc in the process. In fact, the scene in which the Queen siblings debated leaving the alternate world for even more pain and suffering (and I’m sure we can all relate) was probably one of the single finest things this show’s ever produced. If only Arrow could tap into this kind of emotion and humanity on a weekly basis.
Invasion wisely paid tribute to a host of characters we haven’t seen in a long, long time. Some definitely fared better than others: Tommy and Roy got some shoddy CGI work, whereas Moira (played by the still-gorgeous Susana Thompson) received a whole lot more screen-time. The less said about Deathstroke the better, because due to Manu Bennett’s unavailability, the baddie didn’t even get to take off his mask. Can you say awkward?
And then there’s Laurel Lance. I still haven’t gotten over the idiotic writing decision that constituted killing off her character after such a transformative journey, so it was with a heavy heart that I watched Katie Cassidy’s return appearance. The actress did what she could, but sadly she was relegated to sulking around and sobbing after her fiancé; no action sequences (which makes no sense as the Black Canary is an iconic fighter) or anything particularly memorable. Apparently Cassidy will also appear in the midseason premiere, so fingers crossed that something is salvaged there.
It must be stated that the final spaceship sequences were a tad too rushed for my taste, and they (along with Barry and Kara’s distracting subplot) prevented the episode from being perfect. It felt like the gang got off the ship and navigated the tiny aircraft far too easily. Still it was thrilling to have the Waverider save them. Bring on the final part of the crossover (guess I’ll have to force myself to watch Legends again – God help me).
Bits & Arrows
– In a nice reversal from the pilot, it’s Thea who gives Oliver the Hozen. And I’ll never get over how odd that word sounds.
– Great little moment with Sara sensing that something happens to Laurel after noticing the Canary necklace and giving her yet another hug. Aww.
– Walter Steele namedrop! I honestly don’t miss the character.
– Uber creepy flash of Laurel in that infamous hospital gown. I really don’t need reminders of that traumatic episode writers!
– As if you needed more proof that this world wasn’t real: Lance told Oliver he was proud of him.
– Some hilarious nods: Laurel saying she thought Sara and Ollie might hook up, and Sara’s ninja assassin line to Ollie (with the Nanda Parbat musical touch).
– The bartender in the engagement party is none other than Caity Lotz’s dad! How sweet is that?
– God Ray Palmer is still useless isn’t he?
– Does anyone else miss Moira Queen as much as I do? She really elevated the show in every way, and her death scene still haunts me.
-The great thing about Diggle being the Hood is that it makes perfect sense from a character perspective.
– I almost jumped out of my seat when Sara saved the boys from Deathstroke and dispatched him in two seconds. Too awesome!
– The only good thing that came out of the Arrow trainees subplot: Barry and Kara’s double punch against the metahuman. Otherwise: lame.
– The line about Tommy being a doctor in Chicago is a nod to the actor’s role on Chicago Med. It’s a real pity he couldn’t appear in this episode.
– I got all teary eyed when a crying Oliver hugged his mother after realizing he must leave. Ouch.
– Willa Holland really delivered exceptional work in that tearjerker of a scene as she told Ollie she didn’t want to go back. Wow!
– Thea saying that they aren’t needed as heroes because there are actual superheroes with powers now was a pretty convincing argument.
– Loved the big fight between our gang and Malcolm, Damien, Mirakuro soldiers and the Ghosts. If only the show could have brought back Ra’s Al Ghul, Nyssa, and Isabel Rochev. And what about China White? That would have been cool.
– The most badass moment of the hour: Thea taking out Malcolm and shooting an arrow into Sara’s hand who grabs it and stabs Damien with it. WOW! (What makes it cooler is that he killed her sister in a similar manner).
– Why was Felicity in those final visions that Ollie saw? Wouldn’t it have been more effective for him to only see people who were dead?
– Awesome sight: Ollie using an alien gun.
Quips & Canaries
Cisco: Your tech guy quotes movies, huh?
Cisco: Real original.
Quentin: You getting cold feet?
Oliver: No, not at all, I promise.
Quentin: Good. Because I would hate to have to shoot you for breaking my girl’s heart, right? The paperwork would be hell.
Barry: Supergirl’s not a meta, she’s an alien.
Supergirl: Oh, I’m one of the good ones.
Rene: There are no good ones.
A fitting tribute to 100 episodes of Arrow. I pretty much loved this one.