Arrow 5×9 Review: “Invasion!”

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Arrow delivers a solid third part to the CW’s DC Crossover with “Invasion!” The storyline felt familiar, like rereading a book, but even though I had a good guess what was coming it still held my attention.

“Everything is awesome” alternate universes are a time-honored trope. It’s one of those scenarios that will wind up on every show that runs long enough. Sometimes the character is in a coma, or they make a wish that one thing had gone differently, or they get captured by aliens and shut up into weird pods that generate a happy universe. I think the Dominators’ goal was to keep the humans quiet while they read their minds? Probably? There’s no way the Dominators had time for this mid-invasion. What could they get that would be immediately useful in an attack against Earth? Even if they wanted Ray’s Atom suit they would need time to adapt it to their tech and build it. I’m going with the theory that it was a minority faction who had some scheme of their own, and they’re now in hot water with Dominator command.

Side note: I’m wondering who undressed the team and put them in weird baggy pajamas. Also, why were there weird baggy pajamas on a ship full of nude aliens? ALSO why are the aliens nude? The comic Dominators were pretty big on billowy cloaks. I do appreciate the lack of big red facial dots, though. Glowy foreheads are an acceptable substitute.

Some of the story arcs come across as shallow. For example, Rene (AKA Wild Dog) makes a huge deal out of melodramatically whipping off his hockey mask to tell Kara and Barry that aliens and metahumans only bring trouble and he doesn’t trust them. Two minutes later they rescue him (and can someone hand Kara a scrunchy already so she doesn’t have to shove her hair out of her face every time she lands?). All of a sudden he’s chummy with them and they’re laughing over how Oliver would have reacted to being sassed.

Thea and Oliver have an emotional scene when she initially refuses to leave the simulation. How can you not like Oliver respecting his sister’s choice even when for him it means her death? He hasn’t always been great at that, so I’m happy to see growth. Lucky for Oliver, Thea changes her mind within a minute to join a melee on the lawn with the “Arrow Villains: Greatest Hits” league. I guess we know why Deathstroke was in the preview now.

Felicity and Rory’s Jewish heritage gets some play when they find the key to interpret the Dominator transmissions. Aliens with a language so close to Hebrew makes me think this might not be a “one and done” alien appearance after all. Maybe they’ve been in contact with Earth much longer than we originally thought.

The ending sets us up for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, which airs tonight. I thought it was a little rushed- but then again, if you don’t escape a Dominator spaceship fast you’re probably not escaping at all. Also, friends with time-ships are extra handy to have in this kind of situation. It would be stupid not to have the Waverider run a rescue mission.

If it sounds like I’m picking “Invasion!” apart and I hated it, that’s not the case. There is a lot to like about this episode.  The acting was well done as usual. Special effects were good for a TV show. Kara’s sunny optimism is a riot set against the darker Arrowverse characters. The Flash/Supergirl tag-team takedown of Cyberwoman made me rewind to watch again. Overall, I think it was a fun way to focus on the Arrow characters in a story that seemed a little too brutal for squishy humans.

What did you think of this episode? Let us know in the comments section below!

Author: Khai

Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.

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