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Arrow: Invasion! – Season 5 Episode 8

As a part of the CW series crossover event, Oliver and Company (his friends, not the Disney animated movie) find themselves in a dream world.

Recap

The Dominators, a race of alien introduced in the last episode of The Flash, have trapped Oliver and some other heroes (Ray Palmer, Sarah Lance, Diggle, Thea) inside of a dream world. Oliver wakes up in a world with a few differences. Laurel is alive and they are engaged. Oliver’s parents are also alive. Ray and Felicity are engaged. Everyone seems happy and they are working on planning the wedding and Oliver’s future. Perhaps, most importantly, Oliver isn’t the Green Arrow. Things keep triggering Oliver that something’s wrong with the world he’s in. He gets flashes of memory of his old life that lead him to the arrow cave. He stumbles in on Felicity and Diggle, who’s apparently the Green Arrow now.

Outside the dream world, Felicity, Curtis, and Cisco are working on trying to hack alien tech. In order to interface with the alien tech, they figure out that they need another piece of tech that was recently stolen. The thief is a cybernetically enhanced scientist with super strength. Worrying that the remains of her team can’t dealĀ  with this alone, Felicity calls The Flash and Supergirl for backup. Wild Dog isnt’ too thrilled about this idea because he has a problem with metas and superpowers. He believes that they are evil, but he changes his tune a bit after Supergirl and The Flash make almost cruelly quick work out of their resident bad-guy.

It’s not just Oliver that’s having these flashes of reality inside the dream. Everyone interacts with something that makes them doubt their reality. The trapped heroes quickly end up convening with each other. Thea is the one member of the group that’s not ready to give up the dream world. She wants to stay where they are instead of going back to a world of pain and suffering. Wanting his sister to be happy, Oliver decides to let her stay in the dream and go without her. However, once they start to break the illusion, the dream world starts to turn nightmarish. Starting with Deathstroke, villains from their past start to resurface and attack them. Just as they’re preparing to face off with the cavalcade of villains, Thea rejoins them, saying that she couldn’t leave her family behind. Once they defeat the villains, the only thing left for Oliver to do is say a final goodbye to Laurel. As the heroes head through a portal to waking up, Oliver is visited by the visions and words of his mother, his father, Roy, Tommy, Felicity, and Laurel. He nods a quiet goodbye to them as he heads through the portal.

The heroes wake up inside the alien spaceship just as Felicity pinpoints their coordinates there. Following Ray’s lead, they hijack a smaller ship and manage to jettison it from the main vessel. They are immediately pursued by the Dominator fleet. Just as they’re about to be turned into space dust, the Waverider (the Legend’s ship from Legends of Tomorrow) comes to their rescue. Felicity was able to send the coordinates to Nate. Once they’re on board, Ray mentions that the technology that was being used on them was likely there to extract information. He has Gideon (the ship’s computer) translate it. It turns out to be the Dominators talking about completing a weapon. They don’t know what it is, but they are pretty sure that Earth is it’s target.

The Island / Flashback

Hey, outstanding! No flashbacks in this episode.

Favorite/Other/Notable Moments

  • For those keeping count, this crossover episode was also the 100th episode of Arrow.
  • Starting with the opening scene where Oliver is running through the woods, there are a lot of direct references to the pilot and first season of Arrow.
  • “You know, the green guy would’ve kicked my ass if I talked to him like that” – Wild Dog
    “Oh yeah, we know” – The Flash and Supergirl
  • The fight between the heroes and the cast of Arrow villains is pretty epic. Some really great fight choreography in that episode.
  • The Dominator’s language is either based on or shares a commonality with Hebrew.

Commentary

I don’t know that I loved the idea of this being the 100th episode of the show. It felt like they were trying to force it to simultaneously be a commemorative episode and a fun, high concept episode at the same time. They didn’t really fail at either of those things, but they also didn’t do either of them exceptionally well. The episode was definitely a lot more fun than a normal episode of Arrow (especially the ones we’ve been getting recently), but “fun” isn’t what this show survives on. It survives on action, grit, depth and drama (which is, admittedly, sprinkled with some fun).

There was no way to really have any depth in this episode and it felt like they were racing to get to a lot of the plot beats because there was so much to get done. The best example of this was the heartfelt moment between Oliver and Thea that was undone, literally two minutes later when Thea completely changed her mind about staying in the dream. That’s the kind of moment that it’s hard to pull off in that short of a time frame, but I still respect that they tried to do more than just crack jokes this whole time. I do think that they could’ve done away with Rene’s whole turn about meta-humans and superpowers. That didn’t really add anything to the episode. I think they would’ve been better served to spend time creating a more formidable foe instead of having The Flash and Supergirl beat some random girl down like it was WWE Smackdown.

It was nice to see them get so many old characters back on the screen even though they already had so many people to incorporate from the normal cast, let alone the crossover cast. They even managed to get Tommy and Roy on screen for a few seconds. I don’t know that it really fit into the episode, but I get that it was important to do something like that in a 100th episode. I guess that’s really the blessing of having this episode fall during the crossover. The show didn’t have to be solely responsible for concocting a scenario that allowed it to do some kind of convoluted reunion of all these characters. Even if this wasn’t the best episode, it’s better than a clip-show.

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