DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Season 2 Episode 7
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow finishes off the “Invasion!” crossover event with a direct conflict against the Dominators.
Many would say that this event isn’t what it was hyped to be and I suppose that’s accurate. It was being billed as a massive crossover where the heroes team up to fight aliens which suggests a far more intense story than the one we got. None of this bothered me because I never expected this to be something akin to The Avengers in terms of how it comes across. For one thing the CW shows have far fewer resources to create that kind of spectacle and for another the crossover genie has been out of the bottle for a long time so it’s arguably impossible to recreate that same level of excitement.
With that in mind I expected this crossover to be a lot of fun while also being flawed and that’s pretty much exactly what I got. I am always going to enjoy seeing these characters interact and the crossover definitely delivered on that.
Does this episode manage to finish this off in a satisfying way? I would say that it mostly succeeds in delivering an entertaining experience and that’s definitely worth a lot.
This episode is concerned with developing the Dominators with everything from their motivations to their plans. Arguably more time could have been spent in the earlier episodes but I enjoyed the mystery and focus on how their presence affected the various characters. We get to have a finale like this because we know where the characters stand on the whole thing by this point. The Dominators are fairly simple and didn’t need much development so there was plenty of time to handle it in this episode.
They actually received much more development than I thought they would. I had almost forgotten about the encounter in 1951 but in retrospect it should have been obvious that time travel would be involved at some point since a big deal was made out of the fact that they have visited Earth before.
I thought the time travel part of the episode was handled really well as it tied into the present day in a really organic way. Cisco, Felicity, Mick, Nate and Amaya saving the captured Dominator turned out to be the catalyst for all of this in the first place while also allowing them to have a mouthpiece to articulate their intentions.
It turns out that they are terrified of Metahumans because they have witnessed the emergence of them on other planets and know how dangerous they can be. They also have a personal beef with Barry for changing the timeline in ways that could threaten them. Everything they do is out of fear and a desire to make sure that their existence is preserved.
Cisco’s act of mercy in saving the captured Dominator in 1951 pays off really well with him extending some mercy in return. He speaks for his people and agrees to spare their lives as long as they hand over Barry. This adds a little bit of depth to them as a threat and shows that there is more to them than simple invasion plans but equally it doesn’t go very far. Barry offers to turn himself in to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save Earth but nobody else agrees to this so the big conflict happens anyway and no alternative is really considered. It might have worked better had we seen the reaction to the refusal to turn Barry in. They almost got this right but not quite.
It also bears mentioning that Cisco and Felicity work really well on the Waverider but it seems like they would work well together everywhere. I’d love to see them cross over to Kara’s Earth for an episode and see how they fit in with that dynamic.
One thing this crossover has accomplished is widening the scope of Flashpoint and making it feel worthwhile in a big way. It’s less about the minor changes made to Barry’s life as well as the lives of those around him and now more about changes that rock the universe itself. I still don’t like it but the approach taken in these episodes is a good one.
The emotional hook for this comes from Cisco who is in a lot of pain after the death of his brother. He blames Barry because he is unable to break the connection between changing the timeline and his brother’s death. As far as he is concerned Barry is directly responsible and it’s difficult for him to see past it. This changes when he has some experience of time travel and sees how his actions can easily ripple. Saving the Dominator caused the invasion -at least in his mind- so he starts to see Barry’s point of view and that it’s impossible to predict the consequences of actions in the past even if the intentions are noble. This allows him to forgive Barry and their friendship is restored.
It seems good on paper and it does work for the most part. Carlos Valdes can pretty much sell anything he’s asked to so there’s no problem from a performance and emotion perspective but the fact that Barry’s intentions were selfish not noble are completely ignored. He only tried to restore the timeline when he noticed that others were suffering but that was more to appease his guilt than anything else so the situations still aren’t the same thing. It is good to see the feud over but there could have been a bit more to this realisation. I also don’t see Cisco’s role as changing the timeline as it looks to me that he has simply completed the loop that drives these events. Thankfully it feels like Flashpoint is going to be pushed aside now which is completely fine by me.
This is also another example of the writers expecting the viewer to just accept that the crossover is going to resolve some things even if it’s in another show. The first part revealed Martin’s daughter and this part resolves the Barry/Cisco conflict even though neither reveal happened in the show those characters belong to. As I’ve said it doesn’t bother me but I wonder if there are viewers who might be a bit lost if they only watch the one show.
Martin’s daughter is a significant part of this episode and it’s handled really well. Seeing Martin having to work with a daughter that he doesn’t know gives Victor Garber plenty of opportunity to deliver an engaging performance. Lily (Christina Brucato) is incredibly enthusiastic as well as affectionate towards him and Martin just doesn’t know how to react. In his mind he has to go back in time and correct this mistake which will cause her to stop existing so he is torn between seeing her as a person and seeing her as a mistake that never should have happened. It might be really harsh but he has pledged to preserve the timeline so his internal conflict makes sense.
It’s really easy to find this a relatable problem as if you take away all of the science fiction elements then it’s a story about a man who meets a daughter he never knew he had and almost wishes that she had never been born. The weight of responsibility forced on him for a child that he never planned to have is an issue that resonates and that comes across really well.
Using Caitlin as a sounding board for what he’s going through was a great decision because she has important insight on fractured parental relationships. From Caitlin’s perspective Lily has always existed and presumably she remembers a version of Martin who was a devoted father so it looks to her that he is abandoning his responsibilities. Her insight helps him to decide that she has every right to exist so the revelation that he has done this could have consequences in future episodes.
One problem I had with this is the inconsistency that all of these shows have in applying their time travel rules. In “Flashpoint” it is established that Barry’s memories were changing to align with the new timeline but that didn’t happen to Barry in the current timeline and it doesn’t seem to have happened to Martin either. It did look like it was but it seems to have stopped. I wish the writers would establish some rules and stick to them.
It’s really confusing that Kara was effectively benched for two thirds of the episode. The attempted justification for this is that Oliver doesn’t trust her because she’s an alien. He admits that his reaction is a harsh one but he needs to not be distracted by her in order to function effectively. This is particularly weak because it makes absolutely no sense for Oliver to heave this way. He has always been really pragmatic and put his personal feelings aside to use whatever resources he has available to him at any given time.
I wonder if the reason was for the writers to not rely too heavily on Supergirl considering how powerful she is but there were surely other ways for them to do that. The episode felt a little emptier because a lot of it lacked the infectious enthusiasm that can only be brought to the table by Kara Danvers.
There is a resolution to this when Oliver decides that he should give up on life being normal ever again and just accept what is going on while reacting to things as they come. Kara saving him is supposed to be symbolic of that and his conversation with Barry at the end of the episode solidifies his change in approach. We could be about to see a changed Oliver Queen but that has been promised before with very little coming of it..
Most of the minor flaws fade away in the battle between the heroes and Dominators because it’s just so much fun. It’s great to see so many of the heroes together bringing their unique talents to the fight and the increasing urgency that comes with the anti-Metahuman bomb that is about to strike. It is a little disappointing that Sara is sidelined as the Waverider pilot as her combat skills would have come in handy in the big rooftop battle but otherwise the characters were used well and the fight looked really cool even if sometimes it seemed like the actors were punching and kicking thin air. It was great to see everyone working together and the action living up to the potential this crossover brings.
It was also a good move to take some time to wrap everything up. The strength in this concept is seeing everyone interact so allowing some time for them to celebrate and unwind is necessary. There were so many great moments here such as the group hug involving Oliver, Barry and Kara where they all reach a bit of an understanding which is important where Oliver is concerned since he puts his prejudice against Kara behind him. I also loved the Superman Returns reference when Ray points out that Kara looks like his cousin. Such a cheesy line but I’m glad it was referenced in some way. Though it is a little creepy considering it came right after Felicity acknowledging that she and Kara look similar. Since Ray and Felicity were in a relationship and Kara looks like his cousin then there are some issues going on with him that aren’t being raised.
Come to think of it, Kara was involved in most of the memorable wrap up moments. Her grin after announcing that she had Agent Smith transferred to Antarctica was perfect. It’s amazing how she can be so sweet yet so punishing at the same time.
This episode solves the problem of Kara being from a different universe through Cisco giving her a device that allows her to move and communicate between universes with ease. The universes haven’t merged but this is the next big thing and crossovers should be a breeze now. I’m hopeful for a more intimate crossover of some kind in the near future as I would like to see the question of what happened to Earth-1’s version of Krypton addressed since it could still be there so it’s worth having that question answered.
Now that aliens have been confirmed to exist in the Earth-1 universe I wonder what the implications of that will be. We see Dominators in the streets and ships in the sky so people must have seen them but maybe they just assume that they are some sort of metahuman creatures or maybe the knowledge that aliens exist will become known to the public. It is known to the American government certainly so it will have to be dealt with at some point. The secret thanks extended by the new President Susanna Brayden (Lucia Walters) suggests that things will change in terms of how the heroes and vigilantes are recognised. There is plenty of time to work all of this out and I dare say it will be.
A mostly satisfying conclusion that gave us the team up brawl against the Dominators that we have been waiting for. It’s a solid action sequence and great to see everyone fighting together but it’s a shame that Sara was sidelined by piloting the Waverider. It was a very good idea to take some time to wrap the episode up as well since there was a lot to cover. The time travel aspect of the episode was handled really well and formed the emotional hook for the episode by having Cisco realise how easy it is to make a mess of the timeline. It also allowed for the Dominators to be developed as much as they needed to. Martin dealing with the daughter he never knew is solid stuff and Caitlin being involved makes a lot of sense but I wish the writers would stick to some defined time travel rules.
There were some flaws such as Oliver keeping Kara on the back burner for no real reason and Cisco’s forgiveness of Barry not quite working since his intentions were noble when Barry’s weren’t. The acting and emotion was genuine enough but it didn’t quite hold up. Seeing some kind of reaction to Barry’s refusal to surrender from the Dominators would have been nice too. Despite that it was overall a fun crossover that makes good use of the characters and I already want to see more.
- the hero on alien brawl
- the well deserved extended wrap up
- Cisco and Felicity on the Waverider
- Martin’s difficulty dealing with his daughter
- Kara being benched for much of the episode for no real reason
- a lack of reaction from the Dominators to Barry’s refusal to surrender