It’s here: one of the biggest television crossovers of all time – the 4-episode “Heroes vs. Aliens” crossover among Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow. Since we have capable writers that cover all of those shows separately, I’m going to just concentrate, as usual, on The Flash. This episode begins the real arc of the crossover, when an alien species called the Dominators launches an invasion force against Earth.
#5: Supergirl vs. All the Others
It’s actually pretty ridiculous to call this a 4-episode crossover event. It is, in the very narrow technical sense, but the only portion of Supergirl that dovetailed was the final minute. Even that scene ended up appearing, verbatim, in this episode of The Flash. Nonetheless, we do have characters from four shows here, and the most important, truly, is Kara Danvers, aka Supergirl (Melissa Benoist).
The other heroes in this group are (mostly) pretty impressive, but when Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), the Green Arrow, sets them to train against Kara, it becomes pretty obvious, quickly, that she’s in a class by herself. The only one who can even remotely hold his own with her is, arguably, Barry (Grant Gustin), but that’s only in a narrow sense, in that he’s faster than her. She flat out wipes the floor with everyone else.
#4: Why Isn’t it All Hands on Deck?
In a practical sense, I understand the limiting factors that caused the show to leave out two of the Legends (Nate Heywood / Steel, and Amaya Jiwe / Vixen), as they’re fairly effects-heavy characters who have literally no connection at all to Barry. And clearly, they’re going to show up when the crossover moves to their own show on Thursday, if not on Arrow tonight. But given the scale of what they’re facing, why did White Canary (Caity Lotz) decide to leave them behind on the Waverider?
On that same note, shouldn’t Kara have given her cousin Clark a call before hopping on over to Earth-1 with Barry and Cisco (Carlos Valdes)? Wouldn’t two super-powered Kryptonians be even better than one? Same goes for Martian Manhunter and her new friend Mon El.
I get the budget and special effects limitations that make those additions impractical, but really, when you’re facing a planetary invasion, you should be bringing in every big gun you have, especially when so many of the group you have gathered – Green Arrow, Spartan (David Ramsey), Speedy (Willa Holland), White Canary, and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) – are just regular mortals with no superpowers or super-fancy tech to protect them.
That’s what bugs me most about keeping Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) out of the fight. Despite his sister Iris (Candice Patton) and his father Joe (Jesse L. Martin) having their reservations, Kid Flash should be out there training with the others. Wally’s speed is faster than Barry’s was when he first became The Flash. Yes, he’s still rash and doesn’t have the “battlefield” experience he needs, but that’s what the training sessions would be for! Maybe if he had been training with the others, he wouldn’t have gotten hurt when he did finally race into the fray.
#3: The Non-Combatants
The show kept just the right amount of B-plot tension, and didn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on The Flash‘s secondary characters in a way that would bore the crossover audience, especially the ones coming over from Supergirl. That said, there were some great little moments:
- I always enjoy seeing Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Cisco working side by side. They make me laugh.
- Caitlin’s fear of using her powers, and her time spent with Martin Stein (Victor Garber) talking about it, was just enough. I wonder if we’re going to see her make the mistake of trying to use her powers again after all, and that will be the tipping point to take her full Killer Frost?
- While I think Iris is wrong to be discouraging Wally, it’s very true to the comics. Of course, in the comics, Wally is Iris’s nephew, not her brother, so she actually has some real authority over him.
- Why in the world is Wally seeking training and guidance from H.R. (Tom Cavanagh)? Barry’s original training was from a Harrison Wells that actually turned out to be a speedster in disguise. Harry Wells from Earth-2 was a super-genius, so he could really help Barry, as well. H.R. doesn’t bring anything to the table for helping a speedster learn. Still, when everyone else is refusing to help, I guess you go where you can.
#2: The Hall of Justice and the JLA
This is a short one, but it’s a really funny in-joke that the S.T.A.R. Labs warehouse the heroes all meet in to train looks just like the Hall of Justice has always been portrayed in the comics, animated series, and DCAU one-shots. While they may never officially give this group the moniker of “Justice League of America,” the showrunners are certainly nodding that way. It would be very difficult to really call it the JLA when 4 of the Big 5 (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern) aren’t part of it, but it’s still fun.
#1: Superhero Fight Club!
Incredibly, nobody punches or shoots a single alien in this episode. Instead, after Barry’s revelations about the timeline changes he caused with his Flashpoint misadventure, the team leaves him and Ollie behind, the aliens put them all under mind control (after disintegrating the President – um, what?), and a battle royale ensues, with all of the Legends, Supergirl, and Team Arrow trying to kill Barry and Ollie. In fact, between this and the training sessions, about half the episode is just heroes wailing on each other. Which, of course, is what fans really want to see, at least for the first part. Also, Zack Snyder, take note: this is how you give fans what they want!
The centerpiece of the final act, of course, is Barry trying to outrace and outsmart Kara, in order to get her to destroy the aliens’ mind control device. It’s a great sequence, and I especially loved how Barry tricked her, by letting her simply phase through him! That’s a trick he needs to remember to keep in his arsenal.
Meanwhile, the final scene with Green Arrow’s part of the battle was a little weird. In truth, Barry was taking too long, and Oliver should be dead. Instead, Speedy and Spartan just stand back and hold their fire while Oliver and Sarah battle hand-to-hand.
Bonus: Sarah Lecturing Barry About Messing with Time?
I’m going to go on a bit of a rant here: where the hell does Sarah Lance get off lecturing Barry about interfering with the timeline? She gets awfully high and mighty about how she hasn’t killed Damian Dahrk in order to bring her sister Laurel back, considering it’s a lesson she only finally digested two episodes ago on LoT. In the meantime, her team has done a lot of things that probably caused a lot more long-term changes to the timeline than Barry did. Namely:
- Jefferson freed a whole group of slaves, and led them to Union lines during the Civil War. There are likely dozens of people alive today that wouldn’t have been if those men and women had burned with the plantation. While, ultimately, that’s a “good thing,” surely the timeline ripples from that are immense.
- Martin lectured his younger self about being more attentive to his wife Clarissa, which has now apparently resulted in them having a daughter he’s never known.
On the other hand, it’s only because of Barry’s Flashpoint mistake that the Legends are fighting Eobard Thawne this season, so I guess the score is about even.
With Team Arrow and White Canary now in the aliens’ clutches, the action moves to their show tonight. Keep an eye out for Amelia‘s review of that part of the crossover. See you guys next week, when we resume our Flash-only adventures!
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