Catching Up: The Flash, Episode 308, "Invasion!"

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Flash Episode 308, "Invasion!"

It's the crossover event we've been waiting for ever since SUPERGIRL found herself rocketed to the CW network. We saw the crossover begin, sort of, in Monday night's SUPERGIRL, although only with a hint at the beginning of the episode and then with the actual appearance of Barry Allen (GRANT GUSTIN) and Cisco Ramon (CARLOS VALDES) during the last three minutes.

That scene repeats itself later in THE FLASH as "Invasion!" gets fully underway, opening with Flash and Green Arrow (STEPHEN AMELL) under fire -- and attacked by heat vision!

We then flashback to 10 hours earlier, at S.T.A.R. Labs, where Wally (KEIYNAN LONSDALE) is continuing to have his speed tested. He's already developing faster than Barry did, but Iris (CANDICE PATTON) doesn't want him thinking he's ready to use his powers. She wants everyone to tell him he's not ready, and Cisco is acerbic, claiming what's another secret among friends.

H.R. Wells (TOM CAVANAGH) calls a meeting to introduce an idea to re-open S.T.A.R. Labs to the public with some crazy marketing ideas, and they are all saved by an alarm. Satellite images show a meteor is incoming, and yes, certainly, it's on a direct impact path to Central City. Flash runs off to the impact site to find it' snot a meteor at all -- it's a ship. And when it opens, he's swarmed by aliens who pour out of it and run past him.

The Dominators arrive in THE FLASH

The next morning, the media is calling the incident a DoD aircraft mission. But when Flash arrives and talks to Lyla (AUDREY MARIE ANDERSON), who pulls him aside to speak confidentially: Yes, not only is it aliens, but ARGUS has been aware of them since the 1950s. Joe (JESSE L. MARTIN) is aware of the Redmond, Oregon event, surprising everyone that he watches science fiction channels. ARGUS refers to the aliens as Dominators, and the last encounter with them resulted in a lot of death. Apparently they disappeared for a while, until three months ago the DoD received a message: "We pose no threat..." with the caveat of retaliation of acted upon. It's presumed the Dominators are gathering intelligence, and Lyla insists that the U.S. military will be handling this, urging Flash to stay out of it as he couldn't stop them alone. But Flash doesn't plan to go it alone...

Cut over to Star City, where Green Arrow and John Diggle/Spartan (DAVID RAMSEY) are hot on the trail of Vigilante. Just as Vig is about to cut them down, Flash zooms in and pulls both out of the line of fire and all the way across town, where John promptly throws up from the travel. Flash tells Team Arrow about the aliens, and John is surprised that Lyla -- his wife! -- knows about them. Thea (WILLA HOLLAND) also enters the scene and volunteers to suit up as Speedy, despite her retirement, because, duh, it's aliens! Felicity (EMILY BETT RICKARDS) reminds them their forces still aren't strong enough, but Barry suggests they get Martin Stein (VICTOR GARBER) and the other Legends to help.

Meeting up at a disused S.T.A.R. building that Barry now owns (thanks to the Last Will and Testament of Harrison Wells) and which looks awesomely like the Super Friends Hall of Justice, Team Arrow and Team Flash await the arrival of the Waverider, which is just one more weird occurrence in John Diggle's life that used to be so normal. The Legends got Felicity's message (how it was sent is left to conjecture), and Barry and Cisco are off to Earth-38's National City to recruit their own alien to the fight: Supergirl (MELISSA BENOIST). (Here we get a reprise of the SUPERGIRL closing scene.) Upon return, she's asked how to prove she's powerful enough, and she floats into the air and flashes a heat-vision "S" into the floor of Barry's hall (which I hope he keeps!) "I'm convince," John replies. "Best. Team-up. Ever!" Felicity gushes.

Switching scenes to where the Dominators are hiding, we are made privy to their plans. They are planting a device and are taking steps to capture this world's leader, declaring that this war will be over before it has begun.

Assuming you're new to the whole CW world of heroes or were just a SUPERGIRL fan who tuned in for the crossover event, Supergirl gets introduced to the entire team -- by name and by codename -- which results in Iris learning that Oliver Queen is the Green Arrow. "Oh my God, he just got so much hotter," she teases Barry. As for the Dominators, those are aliens that Kara already knows about, as they came to Krypton once. (It would be nice if she said, "Oh, yeah, they came to Krypton once and we defeated them by (a) throwing glasses of water at them (b) exposing them to yellow sunlight (c) using a classic science fiction trope.") At this point, Oliver suggests that they use Supergirl/Kara to train against -- but the question comes up about who's in charge of this large team? Cisco immediately nominates Oliver, which doesn't go unnoticed by Barry. But Barry is the one who gets the position and he's clearly flustered. Oliver is stage-whispering what their steps should be, and White Canary (CAITY LOTZ) says, "Are we just supposed to pretend we don't hear him?" Ray Palmer (BRANDON ROUTH) shows the new A.T.O.M. suit he's been working on to Cisco, who already has plans to upgrade it, so watch for that to happen sometime soon. Ray also gets to tell Flash what happened to Captain Cold at the end of last season's LEGENDS OF TOMORROW.

Wally shows up to volunteer with the alien fighting / training effort, but Iris pushes him away. He later talks with HR about training him in secret, but HR declines the invitation.

Felicity, noticing the tension between Cisco and Barry, inquires as to what's up, and we get the full lowdown once more on Cisco's post-Flashpoint timeline changing life, resulting in his brother being killed in a car accident, which he blames on Barry. Meanwhile, Stein and his Firestorm partner, Jefferson Jackson (FRANZ DRAMEH) take Barry aside to play him the message they have from 40-years-in-the-future Barry that has been a subplot through their show. We finally hear it in totality, and it is a warning to the crew that the timeline has been changed and that they will be returning to a different one than they left. It also says they should not trust anything or anyone -- including present-day Barry! The entire LEGENDS team, as well as Team Arrow, learn about the post-Flashpoint changes, including Diggle's daughter now being his son. Stein, learning of these timeline changes, asks Caitlin Snow (DANIELLE PANABAKER) to accompany him to his home, so he can check on something.

Across the continent, the U.S. President (JERRY WASSERMAN) is being briefed by two teams, one of them being ARGUS. Lyla's advice is that the aliens are just biding their time to attack, and the President sides with her, advising his people to proceed as instructed. As Lyla gets not-so-subtly by a Presidential aide who used to be Amanda Waller's boss, the aliens attack -- and the President is abducted.

Stein and Caitlin arrive at his house, discussing Caitlin's inner demon, Killer Frost. She's scared that this other personality will eventually come out of her again, but Stein reassures her that if she does, they will all be there for her, perhaps indicative of another crossover coming in the future? On the doorstep to the Stein home, Martin gets yet another vision of new memories, of the young woman that he's been seeing but doesn't know, and the same woman answers the door. It's Lily Stein (CHRISTINA BRUCATO), and Stein is taken aback, having been expecting his wife. He fears she's been replaced in the timeline, but as I theorized in my write-up of LoT, Lily is, indeed, the daughter he never knew he raised. The question is, though -- did Barry cause this, or did the Legends cause it by interacting with younger Martin Stein twice already in the past?

At the training, Cisco finds the recorder with Future Barry's message, and argues with Barry about it for keeping it secret. Their argument forces Barry to burden the group with the information about timeline differences, and Sara launches into the whole "changing the timeline has implications" speech she's been developing for several weeks. When the call comes in from Lyla about the President's abduction, Barry chooses to remain behind, as none of the others will follow him except Oliver. "I'm not going without him," Oliver says of Barry. "Then you'll be here, Oliver," John says bitterly. Supergirl volunteers to go with the team to provide support.

Finding the Dominators in a salt mine (following the President's tracking signal), the team walks in to find the President, bound and pleading for help. But Jackson says that something doesn't feel right.

It's A Trap

Yes, the Dominators appear right on cue, communicating to the team telepathically. Then they disintegrate the President and set off their device, manifesting a glowing red circle on the forehead of our heroes.

At S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry and Oliver are in the secret room with the image of the future newspaper pulled up, the story of Flash's disappearance during the Crisis. However, the story is now by Julie Greer, not Iris West-Allen. Barry is beginning to realize that so much has been changed, and Oliver encourages him to stop beating himself up. He tells Barry about how his own parents died -- one to save him, the other at the hands of Deathstroke -- and that he'd do the same things Barry did if he had the means and opportunity. "The world isn't different because you changed the timeline," he tells him. It's because people made different choices. "You're not a god, Barry."

Cisco calls in an alert that pulls them out of their bonding moment: the Supergirl and the Legends (almost typed Legion there; wouldn't that have been fun?) are attacking! It's Barry and Oliver against all of them, which brings us up to this episode's entry moment.

As Flash throws lightning at the powered members, Green Arrow battles Spartan and White Canary, while Cisco, Felicity, Caitlin, Joe and Iris watch from S.T.A.R. Labs. Wally is there as well, and takes off against advice to help the fight. He manages to take down three Legends before Supergirl knocks him into next week and takes him out. He's hurt badly, but will be okay. Team Tech can tell there's some sort of signal indicating mind-control of their friends, but they cannot block it.

Since the signal is emanating from the salt mines, Barry calls out Supergirl and issues the challenge to see who's faster. She flies after him while Green Arrow fights off the remaining heroes to the point that he's out of ammunition and has to go hand-to-hand with White Canary. In the mine building, Flash finds the device the Dominators are using and tricks Supergirl into smashing it with her invulnerable body, removing the mind control effects from everyone.

At S.T.A.R. Labs, after Wally recovers and is once more admonished for having run into a fight, HR pulls him aside and reconsiders his earlier statement; he will help train Kid Flash in secret.

The heroes are ready to take their next steps, and Ray assures Barry that, message or no message from the future, they are with him. But before they can take another step, the team gets "beamed away" one at a time, with Flash moving too slowly to save Green Arrow from teleportation, leaving Barry alone.

There is a ton of story told in this compressed hour-long episode, and it's easily the most exciting chapter of this season! A lot of things that have been dangling in all the CW super-shows are finally getting full attention, and I can't wait to see what will happen next.

"Invasion!" will be continued on ARROW Wednesday night, November 30.

Note: Missing from this episode are Oliver's recruits -- Wild Dog, Ragman, Artemis and Mr. Terrific -- as well as new Legends Steel and Vixen.

5.0 / 5.0