Arrow: Invasion!
November 30, 2016 8:28 PM - Season 5, Episode 8 - Subscribe

The crossover continues with Oliver waking up to a life where he never got on the Queen's Gambit, Robert and Moira Queen are alive and well, and his wedding to Laurel is imminent. Meanwhile, Felicity and the recruits take on a new threat with help from the Flash, Supergirl, and Cisco.
posted by oh yeah! (11 comments total)
AV Club recap - A series-best Arrow imagines an Oliver Queen without heartbreak

I didn't love this one as much as all the reviewers seemed to - I was kind of impatient at the beginning waiting for Oliver to realize things weren't real, though I did like it better by the end. And the Flash/Supergirl beatdown of the Cyberwoman seemed uncharacteristically brutal for them though.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:49 AM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

And the Flash/Supergirl beatdown of the Cyberwoman seemed uncharacteristically brutal for them though.

Yeah, and often I'm sensitive to that sort of thing, but I kind of liked it? It felt gleefully unreal, like a professional wrestling match with superpowers.

I gave up on Arrow on this year, I hear it's better now or something, but I've got a baby and limited time and don't see the reason. I'm out of the loop, but the character who hated superpowers really annoyed me. Is he always like that? The religious (I guess Jewish? Let us not speak of the numerology again.) character seemed fine, but got little screen time so I don't really know.

Overall, I thought it was a fine implementation of the "life you could have had" trope. The choice to have Thea be the one who wanted to stay was satisfying, and I found Oliver leaving her to it to be touching even if it made little plot sense (what she's going to do, just live on this spaceship?). I'm very very susceptible to being overly manipulated by these plots (that new Doctor Who episode where he has to give up his school teacher life kills me), but I thought they threaded the needle well. I find bringing back a bunch of old characters to be a bit gimmicky, but it's comics and the "everyone cathartically kills their specific most hated person from the past was kind of fun.

Random thoughts:
Is this Cyberwoman an Arrow character? Did I miss something before on another show? That felt like a sudden bit of exposition that served no real end.
I'm a little disappointed in Supergirl in both episodes so far. She's got no real plot, she just triumphantly does her superhero landing and then punches someone or something. (Also why do you do the landing twice in what's essentially one scene with Cyberwoman, where have you been?)
The team of heroes is abducted by aliens. They know they've been abducted by aliens, everyone else knows they've been abducted by aliens, but somehow the big reveal is that they're on a alien spaceship? WHERE DID YOU THINK THEY WERE?
I like the light hearted pre-League of Assassins Sara. I wouldn't want her all the time, but it was nice for to come out for a bit.
Who invites that many people to a rehearsal dinner? What is everyone doing later on in the fake world since it seems like Oliver didn't go to the wedding? Is this a pre-wedding reception, held late at night? Have the writers of this show ever been to a wedding before?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:03 AM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Bulgaroktonos - this was the first appearance of Cyberwoman on Arrow as far as I can recall. Mad Dog is pretty much always that annoying, and Rory the Ragman's Judaism is kind of weirdly gratuitous in the writing sometimes - like the other week when he quoted Moby Dick and Ollie guessed it was from the Torah first.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:04 AM on December 1, 2016

Is this Cyberwoman an Arrow character? Did I miss something before on another show? That felt like a sudden bit of exposition that served no real end.

Supergirl and The Flash needed something to do this episode, otherwise it wouldn't be a complete crossover.
posted by FallowKing at 8:39 AM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah I get that they needed something to do, but having them do one quick fight after Felicity read a villain's Wikipedia page barely qualifies.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:46 AM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I didn't really enjoy this one much, which was a shame coming off the opener to the crossover.

This is partly on me: I'm not an Arrow watcher, so everything I know about Oliver Queen & Co comes from a mix of pop culture osmosis and watching The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. That means the whole 'trap them in a perfect fictional life' subplot didn't really do much for me because I mostly don't know them - Sarah was the only one I had much investment in. Unfortunately, that was the part of the episode that seemed to actually gel: while that's a cliche, it seemed well-executed. Good pacing, good fights, suitably creepy and whatnot. I thought they did a good job with it.

The parts I understood better fell flat: I came here to watch the rest of the gang fight Dominators, and instead? We got Barry and Kara gleefully beating the tar out of a D-list one-off villainess who came from nowhere, gratuitous anti-superhero sentiment and the cringeworthy gematria stuff. They should've at least had the team fighting alien scouts or something.

Also, minor loss of points for including Nick.

I am still reconsidering going ahead and binging Arrow, though.
posted by mordax at 11:22 AM on December 1, 2016

The on-a-spaceship reveal worked for me in a way it wouldn't have on any of the other CW shows, because street-level vigilantes suddenly finding themselves in outer space is just cool. Blurring subgenres like that is one of the really fun things you can do when you have a big enough superhero universe.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:27 PM on December 1, 2016 [4 favorites]

All of the goodwill earned by the Flash was squandered by this episode, which is really a shame on a number of levels. First it hurt the crossover and halted its momentum. Second, it gave non-viewers a really bad impression of this season's Arrow, which is actually pretty good (much better by far than Flash this year, and almost matching the high points of the best seasons of the past). Seriously, if you've got time and you're a DCCW fan, it's worth going back to Arrow this year and giving the show another shot. The flashbacks are great, and they're finally in Russia, so we're getting the Bratva backstory.

I realize that a big part of why the story was done this was was to do something special for the show's 100th episode. I don't know why the Berlanti team plans things the way it does, but it always seems that the big, supposed-to-be-important Arrow episodes get the short-shrift during crossover season.

While the writing on the Flash episode seemed tight, this seemed ham-fisted and choppy. I really hate Wild Dog as a character (especially his attitude toward women) but man was he terrible in this, and the sudden shift in his philosophical perspective was bad enough to cause whiplash. The numerology thing was ridiculous beyond words.

Apparently Cyberwoman is an off-shoot of Cyborg's mythos (same tech used on somebody who took to villainy), but she's an obscure enough/modern enough character that I'm unfamiliar with her, and I can't say I have any compelling desire to see her again. Maybe given more space and time she'd become interesting, but if she's a one-and-done type, I'm fine with that.

I know this was the Arrow portion, but the character balancing act in Flash was much more deftly handled. Kara, Oliver, Barry, Sara and Martin all got attention. Here Barry and Kara were shorted.

Okay, I realize it's common for crossovers to have week sections, and I guess this episode has claimed that spot this year. Here's hoping Legends (yes, I'm obviously behind in my viewing) can pick things up and recapture the energy displayed in the Flash.
posted by sardonyx at 8:43 PM on December 1, 2016

Oh God this episode was awful. I say this as a nothing-but-Arrow watcher, the opposite of most of the folks who've commented here so far. I barely know who the Atom and Flash are and like Supergirl and time spaceships WTF? From my perspective all I saw was "oh, my beloved characters are now on a foamcore alien spaceship?" Huh? Completely stupid. Please bring me back to my no-superpowers soap opera with occasional ninja tricks and shirtless men.

The part that was sort of nice, from the Arrow perspective, was bringing back all the past characters from Oliver's life. Laurel, his parents, even a nod to why Tommy wasn't there. I mean it wasn't subtle, they basically strip-mined all the emotional development they gave Oliver in the past seasons. But it was at least sort of poignant.

No idea what was up with Thea and her "I'm gonna stay.. wait, no, I'm with you afterall" thing. Is it some sort of doublecross? Or maybe girls are just indecisive. :-(

Wild Dog is awful. The character is awful, the actor is awful, the stupid hockey mask is awful. (He had to take it off two or three times! Because otherwise you can't see any emotion on his face. Worst costume ever.) Scary Jewish Sandman actor has some chops but they haven't written a single damn thing to do for him. And Mister Terrific is just fabulous but, again, nothing to do. Also absolutely no Artemis. Last we saw she was doublecrossing us back in Star City, so maybe that's why she's gone?

Whatever the showrunners are trying to do with crossover episodes. They should knock it the fuck off and never try again. The Marvel version of this is bad enough but at least kind of works through the medium of $100M budget movies. This DC Arrowverse crap is awful.
posted by Nelson at 9:14 PM on December 1, 2016

I read that scene as Thea changing her mind because she saw Malcolm put there and that bright back all those painful memories that this fake place couldn't make her overlook.

This felt like a solid Arrow episode, but pretty inconsequential to the crossover. I also wanted Ragman to show off his powers to the other superpowered people.
posted by numaner at 8:00 AM on December 2, 2016

I regularly watch all four shows and I really loved this episode. Which I assumed I would not because OMG who needs another "it's a wonderful life" take? But I really bought into the emotional aspect of it, presumably all credit to the actors for selling it.
posted by phearlez at 2:18 PM on December 5, 2016

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