Arrow S05E08 “Invasion! Pt. 3” Review

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“Invasion!”

Warning Contains Spoilers

Arrow is the third episode of the epic CW DC four part crossover event–well three part if you don’t count the Supergirl episode which basically just threw Barry Allen and Cisco in as an afterthought at the end of a stand alone episode. If you haven’t been watching The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow you are missing out in general– but this week, especially, you will be very confused; I would at least watch each episode of the crossover event. If you are one of those few people who is strictly Arrow, you can check out our Flash review over here to catch up: http://whennerdsattack.com/2016/12/01/the-flash-s3e7-review-invasion-pt-2/ .

So here we are tonight, the 100th episode of Arrow. Hundredth episodes of shows are notorious for their blasts from the past and overall epicness, and this one did not disappoint. The episode begins with Oliver running through the woods to reveal his giant mansion from the early seasons. Then it cuts to Oliver talking to someone in his bathroom and all of sudden Laurel steps out from the shower and kisses Oliver, showing off her giant engagement ring. What? A few problems: Laurel is dead and that mansion doesn’t exist in Oliver’s life anymore. We then see a flash of Oliver, Thea, Ray Palmer, Sara and Diggle inside some sort of alien pod unconscious and then it all makes sense; this is all in their imaginations.

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Already I’m kind of mad: I’m happy that Laurel is back, but does this have to be the way it happens? Being a figment of Oliver’s happier life, in love and engaged. It was amazing having her back on the show but still, to this day, even dead she revolves around Oliver. Next we find out that not only is Laurel alive but so are Oliver and Thea’s parents! If you recall Oliver’s dad killed himself on the life raft to save Oliver when they were stranded after their ship, The Gambit, wrecked and Oliver’s mom was stabbed by Deathstroke in front of Oliver and Thea in season two. So they both haven’t been alive for quite some time now. So quickly I realize that this is what would have happened if The Gambit never wrecked. This was actually a pretty sad episode of Arrow, especially the interactions between Sara and Laurel and Thea and her Mom. Sara and Thea would get flashes of what actually happened in their lives and would hug Laurel and Momma Queen tighter and I just lost it!

Throughout the episode Oliver would get flashes of his actual memories while trying to stay in this imaginary scenario. The memories were really well placed and well done in my opinion. They were showing how much Oliver lost in his life– all his mistakes as they coincide with the imaginary events. He really has lost so much in his life again and again; this was almost a way for him to process everything and try to make it right. If anything, this reality showed him that he needs to fight to keep what he has, otherwise he’ll lose it again like he’s done numerous times. One of my favorite moments is when Oliver is about to leave this reality and he looks back and there are all the people he loves who either died or he lost somehow. When they showed each one you can hear a some words they shared with Oliver in past seasons, encouraging him. This is his light magic and something he will always be able to draw from in dark times. Diggle is actually The Hood–which if you recall is what Oliver was originally called by the SCPD back in the day–in this reality. So I’m wondering if this was all something the aliens formed on their own or if this is really what would’ve happened if the wreck never happened. I feel like Diggle always wanted to protect this city since he was quickly integrated into Oliver’s crime fighting life in season one, so maybe without Oliver he would’ve been The Hood– or maybe he just always wanted to be, so the aliens created that for him.

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Thea figured out pretty early what was going on, but unlike the others she wasn’t willing to leave. She didn’t want to lose her family again. She had Laurel there, she had her mom and dad, and she was happy; even if it wasn’t real happiness it was something she could hold on to. I thought it might’ve been a cool twist if she had just stayed behind. I doubt they would’ve left her body behind, but what if you don’t wake up unless you want to? It seemed they all only woke up when they decided it was time to, fought off their earlier season foes such as Deathstroke and Malcolm Merlyn, and walked through a portal. So without walking through that portal do they still wake up? We may never know. She eventually decided to leave, saying again that she didn’t want to lose her family (meaning the team), and awws were heard all over the land.

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This episode felt more like a 100th episode than a crossover. Only characters that got their start on Arrow were beamed up since it was a celebration of sorts. The crossover part with Cisco being in the layer with Curtis and Felicity talking tech, and The Flash and Supergirl fighting a villain with the new recruits kind of fell short. I get that the new reality Oliver’s crew were trapped in would not have been possible if it wasn’t a crossover event, but the other storylines didn’t feel needed. I guess Wild Dog teaming up with Supergirl and The Flash made him appreciate aliens and meta humans, and learn to love them. He was back to his annoying self before that though– which I didn’t care for. Felicity, Cisco, and Curtis’s interactions gave me life though; they were hilarious just being nerdy together talking about aliens– it was great. Curtis, especially, gets all the great one-liners this season; he was so excited about the aliens, it was adorable. The only thing they accomplished was getting The Legend’s Waverider (timeship) to pick up the team when they escaped the alien ship–which was super easy by the way. Oliver just picked up an alien gun and used it properly (there’s a throw away line about using the IT Ray was just talking about but still) and then they get in an alien ship and can drive and steer it fine. It was just all a little too easy; it’s unimportant and only a means to get them on The Waverider to set up for the last episode of the event.

The last part of the crossover is next up on Legends of Tomorrow, and hopefully it ends with some epic Alien battles because they have been lacking this week.

This episode was pretty great if you have seen the show since season one, otherwise you wouldn’t understand how important these fake memories were for these characters. Remember when Ray and Felicity were together? I do because I’ve seen those episodes. If you’ve only seen Legends you probably don’t know that because it’s not mentioned really. My favorite line was when Tommy was brought up, Merlyn said, “Well, they’ve got him working triple shifts at the hospital now, and Chicago isn’t exactly next door.” This was a nod to the fact that the actor who played Tommy, Colin Donnell, is currently playing a doctor on Chicago Med. This episode wasn’t for the crossover. This episode was for the cast of Arrow past and present, and their loyal fans; it really was a celebration rather than an invasion of other shows.

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