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'Legends of Tomorrow' recap: 'Invasion!'

Posted on

Bettina Strauss/The CW

DC's Legends of Tomorrow

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
1
run date:
01/21/16
performer:
Victor Garber, Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Wentworth Miller
broadcaster:
The CW
genre:
Action, Scifi

The CW’s epic DC crossover is over — and it finished with a superhero extravaganza well worth the wait.

As soon as Lyla mentioned the Dominators had been to Earth before, in 1951, I knew (and I’m assuming many of you did, too) the Legends installment would inevitably take characters to 1951. (It was either that, or traveling way into the future to talk to Future Barry and find out exactly what his message meant. But that seemed unlikely, even if seeing Grant Gustin in old-age makeup would have been a fun sight.) And so they did, as soon as the gang regrouped in the hangar and Nate brought up the first mission the Dominators carried out.

Felicity and Cisco, both eager to travel through time and, in the latter’s case, get away from Barry, join Nate, Maya, and Mick on the ship to kidnap and interrogate a Dominator to figure out how to stop them in 2016. And by “join,” I mean they geek out inside the ship but are told to remain behind while the Legends head to the site of the invasion. While there, Nate’s all dressed up in his new costume that Mick immediately calls out for being a sartorial celebration of July 4th, but Independence Day is actually happening in front of their eyes. The Dominators have descended in Redmond, Oregon, and are taking out soldiers so quickly, even Mick’s hesitant to get in on the action. And when has that ever happened?

Once the Dominators start retreating, though, Mick spies an opportunity to grab one and go. They successfully knock the Dominator out, but before they get a chance to celebrate, they’re knocked out by a team of suits led by a spectacled man who looks oddly like…

The government suit who talked back at Lyla in 2016 and is now surrounding Oliver, Barry, Sara, and Ray when they get called to meet the new (female!) president. Kara’s not there because, well, Ollie got all “unnerved” and decided he’d rather her stay back in the hangar — he just wants a sense of “normalcy” and she’s not “normal” and blah blah blah. Arrow viewers will remember this is pretty much the same speech he gave Laurel when she first started suiting up and training to be the Black Canary. Clearly, Oliver hasn’t learned a damn thing when it comes to accepting new and badass female partners.

Still, he’ll get his way — for now. Barry quickly takes out the bodyguards and their guns, but Suit and Glasses (okay, I’ll admit, I totally missed his name in all this… If you caught it, let me know!) tells them their disagreement’s not over. After all, the Dominators are here not just because they have beef with the metahumans, but because they have beef with one specific metahuman: Barry himself. Though Barry had believed the invasion had nothing to do with Flashpoint, it turns out his actions attracted the Dominators back to Earth, because they realized the growing number of metahumans would become a threat. And with that, Barry’s trapped, which is exactly where the Fastest Man Alive would rather not be.

Speaking of trapped, though, Nate, Amaya, and Mick are in a worse situation. They’ve been locked up in 1951 with the captured Dominator, and whatever tranquilizer the suits used also minimized their powers. Good thing Nate sees a silver lining in this: He points out this is what they wanted to do all along (i.e. get a Dominator in the same room and get a chance to interrogate him). It doesn’t start well, as the Dominator just screams in response to his opening line, but soon the two sides have an admittedly uneasy rapport. The Dominator reveals they’re only there to determine whether metahumans are a threat because the JSA has emerged. Before Nate can press further, young Suit and Glasses takes the Dominator away. For what? No idea.

NEXT: Stranger things than Stranger Things are happening…

[pagebreak]

Meanwhile, Felicity and Cisco are bored and FOMO’ed out of their minds aboard the Waverider. (Time travel’s only fun when you’re traveling!) Out of conversation topics, Felicity finally breaches the one Cisco most wants to avoid: the fact Cisco maybe isn’t on this trip for the right reasons. Cisco admits he just wanted to get away from Barry, whom he doesn’t see Barry as a friend anymore. After all, Barry was selfish with Flashpoint. To save his family, he ruined Cisco’s, without ever consulting his best friend. And though Felicity tries to talk him out of this line of thinking, Cisco can’t see it any other way and cries.

When Gideon sounds the alarm that the rest of the team has been kidnapped, however, Cisco snaps out of it. He and Felicity find a stash of weapons to take with them and save the heroes from whatever Stranger Things-like experiments Cisco is afraid they’re having to endure. Luckily, it hasn’t come to that. Instead, as the three wait their turn, Cisco and Felicity take out the guards and barge right in. “Great,” Mick reacts. “Saved by geeks.”

As they’re about to leave, they hear the Dominator being tortured and tested on in another room. Cisco and Nate argue they must help free the Dominator — if they show the Dominators metahumans can be better than they believe them to be, maybe that’ll change the alien species’ mind. They rush into the testing room, take out the humans, and allow the Dominator to take the dropship back to the mothership, without so much as a goodbye.

At least Cisco got something out of it. Before the Dominator left, he snatched a transponder off him and says they can use it to communicate in 2016. When they return to the hangar, Cisco activates the transponder to talk to their alien pen pal, but while he’s open to talking, he says he can’t grant mercy: The Dominators must get their dominating hands on Barry Allen. And if Barry doesn’t turn himself in, they’ll deploy the weapon to exterminate metahumans once and for all. (If you’re keeping score, that’s pretty much the same motive as Project Cadmus on Supergirl, which came very close to succeeding in Monday’s episode that ended with the beginning of the crossover. Alien stories think alike, I guess. Or something like that.)

Obviously, no one on the various teams wants to see Barry sacrifice himself to these gray, fleshy Groots. Even so, they can’t deny the Dominators’ power. While Ollie tries to talk Barry out of it, Jax and Diggle (all healed!) come in to report Dominator ships have arrived all over the world like they’re role-playing Arrival. Cisco tries to contact his alien pen pal again, but this time, it doesn’t work; instead, he and Nate vibe all the way aboard the mothership, where they talk again with the Dominator, who reveals their race believes metahumans will eventually destroy their own world. Just look at it this way: If the metas didn’t travel to 1951 and free him, they wouldn’t be the targets now, right?

It’s a bit of a mixed message and motive, but it rattles Nate and Cisco nonetheless. In particular, Cisco feels awful about how his time traveling helped lead to this extra-crazy invasion. And in that moment, he realizes how fragile the timeline is and how maybe Barry isn’t the biggest enemy after all.

Good timing, because Barry’s about to leave. He gathers the team and says his goodbyes, but as soon as he turns his back on the others, Oliver calls out, saying they’re not letting him leave. “Listen, Red, I don’t like you, but when you got a crew, you don’t take a hit for the rest,” Mick says, perhaps expressing some of his continued grief over Captain Cold’s self-sacrifice. (Or, maybe the writers forgot Leonard Snart did exactly what Barry’s doing now? Welp.) As each hero says their piece, Barry looks touched, and then finally agrees to stay when Cisco delivers the final testimonial. “You’re not a hero to me,” he says. “You’re my friend.” Aww. Too bad your brother’s still dead, Cisco.

Right at that moment, another alarm comes through: The Dominators’ ship in Central City is opening and ready to deploy whatever they’ve got in store.

NEXT: It’s the final showdoooowwwwn

[pagebreak]

Go team! I mean, teams! Felicity stays in the hangar to keep watch, as she does, on the Dominators’ movements, reporting to Sara and Cisco they’ve dropped a metabomb over Central City that must be the source of whatever weapon they’re planning to use to wipe out metahumans. Sara and Cisco, aboard the Waverider, race to catch it. It’s not easy, of course: As they get close to it, they try to use a retractor beam, but as Cisco points out, it’s “barely” slowing it down.

So instead, Sara calls in reinforcements. Firestorm, who had been fighting alongside everyone else against the Dominators who descended upon Central City, flies to the bomb and tries to transmute it into something harmless. That, uh, is also much harder than it sounds.

Meanwhile, everyone else fights on a rooftop in an epic sequence that sees heroes running and flying toward the pack of nameless, deadly Dominators. Mick fries the freaks, Nate steels on, and Amaya taps into her elephant mode, while Oliver and Diggle fire away. At the same time, Barry speeds through the crowd to place a device Stein and his daughter (yeah, we’ll get to that) created that would cause great pain in the Dominators, but the trigger must be pushed at just the right time — after all the devices have been placed. (But what if Barry gets left with a surplus? Or misses a Dominator? Never mind.) As he does this, Oliver gets tossed off the building — but Kara, despite their earlier disagreement, catches him. Looks like Supergirl really is the best.

And so, after The Flash takes care of all the Dominators in Central City, he and Supergirl speed off to attach devices to all the Dominators in the country. Just as Felicity eagerly anticipates their signal to fire away, Sara and Cisco brace themselves for whatever Firestorm does. Jax is afraid he can’t transmutate the bomb, but after Stein tells him about his daughter and how it’s important to save the world, he does it — and causes the bomb to mutate into a harmless liquid. “They did it!” Cisco marvels. “They can do that?!” Yes, Cisco, they really can.

And so can the others. Oliver gives the order for Felicity to activate their weapon, and as soon as she does, the Dominators all fall to their knees and retreat. Not just the ones they’ve tagged, either, but everyone around the world. One of the ships flies right by the Waverider as it scurries out of the atmosphere. And as the heroes watch, Oliver praises Firestorm. “He did it,” he says. “No, Oliver,” replies Kara, before Barry adds: “We all did it.” They cap off their success with a heroic pose, a press conference, and a party.

You can see the heroic pose above. As for the press conference? Well, the new president — not Lynda Carter, by the way — announces (to an oddly small pool of reporters, considering the huge alien invasion) that metahumans are accepted and are heroes. And as for the party? There might just be too many great moments to name.

But first, we need to talk a bit about Stein. At the party, he and Jax reflect on what’s happened, as in the fact Stein has been having Flashpoint-caused memories of a woman he doesn’t know — and who he, in the crossover episode of The Flash, discovered was his daughter, Lily. In this episode, he had to work alongside her when Caitlin thought she, as an MIT graduate, would be a good addition to the counter-weapon team. He treated his daughter as a stranger, and the two only reconciled when he understood she wasn’t a time aberration to be erased, but a good human being and scientist who helped them figure out the weapon that took out the Dominators. Though he thought he had to go back in time and, well, c-ck-block his younger self, he isn’t going to anymore. When he tells Jax to not tell the team, Jax hesitates and wonders what that means… I guess we’ll find out next week.

NEXT: It’s a party and heroes will celebrate if they want to

[pagebreak]

Because why worry now when there’s a party? Here are some of those great moments I was talking about before being Stein-tracked:

  • Felicity and Ray reflect on Kara. “It’s really like looking into a mirror,” she says. He ups the ante by going SUPER meta (heh, get it?): “You know what’s funny? She really looks like my cousin.” Aw, Brandon Routh.
  • Oliver apologizes to Kara, admitting Earth could really use a Supergirl. Kara, being Kara, says her Earth could use an Oliver Queen, and praises Oliver and Barry for being Earth’s mightiest heroes — another meta callout or slight dig at Marvel’s The Avengers. The conversation culminates in a group hug, which I’ll admit I had been waiting for during this entire crossover. Finally!
  • Cisco brings a gift for Kara — an interdimensional extrapolator, which will allow her to not only communicate with Earth-1 denizens but also allow her to travel to their universe anytime. Which begs the question: How often will we see this used as a plot device going forward? And will this allow her to tap into other Earths, too?
  • Older Suit and Glasses arrives to talk to Nate, but Kara reveals she’s taken care of his tirade against metahumans. She’s spoken to the president and he’ll be shipped off to Antarctica. He’ll blend right in with all the penguins and their suits.
  • “Hey Skirt, call me.” Oh, Mick.

After the party wraps, Sara, Diggle, Barry, and Oliver say goodbye to Kara, and they leave one by one, like a super-powered Ocean’s Four. Oliver and Sara talk about how they started all this by getting on the Queen’s Gambit, and while Sara says it was a gift to see what life could have been, she doesn’t seem completely over the bliss she witnessed. But then again, neither of them ever will be. “There she goes, off to her spaceship, time traveling as if it’s totally normal,” Diggle remarks as Sara walks away. He almost sounds like a proud father.

Speaking of which, Diggle forgives Barry — and then encourages Barry to forgive himself. To help, Oliver takes Barry for a one-on-one bonding session over drinks. The pair talk about potentially fighting each other again — smells like another crossover opportunity! — and realize the new normal is nothing but normal. They may always want things to change back to the way they were, but there’s no looking back now. At least, I hope Barry finally understood that.

And with that toast to things not being normal and life being full, Arrowverse finally wraps its biggest crossover yet. Judging this episode on its own, I’d say it didn’t feel at all like a Legends of Tomorrow episode, despite all the quips from Mick and the blue chyron and the time traveling. Though Stein got an emotional arc, the rest of the emotional story belonged to Barry and the tediously angry Cisco, making this almost like a second Flash episode. And at times, the budgetary constraints were glaring: Thea was awkwardly dropped off in Star City at the start of the episode and actor Willa Holland didn’t show up even for the final party, giving The WB and The CW a little more money to play with to fund the final battle and the team one less fighter in their ranks. Plus, having Oliver lash out at Kara didn’t just feel out of place, it was a transparent move to take Supergirl away from the run-in with Suit and Glasses so they wouldn’t have to VFX both Barry and Kara.

Yet, much of this episode worked as an hour-long finale. Everyone got a chance to shine, and though the Dominators’ motive is still somewhat muddled, the invasion sparked fun rapport among the teams — and isn’t that the whole point of a crossover in the first place? This might not drive any non-Legends viewers to watch Legends, but the episode gave plenty to Arrowverse fans. So, uh, any other alien species out there who want to invade Earth soon?

Episode grade: B+

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