This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers for the whole damn crossover. You’re going to want to avoid this if you haven’t seen Flash or Arrow too.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 7
I have a quandary. A conundrum. I’m in a fix, if you will.
I’m supposed to rate this episode of Legends of Tomorrow, the finale to the big Invasion! crossover that’s been going on all week. And to be honest, I loved it. Like every other episode in the crossover, it was packed full of fan service and joy. It was an awesome way to close out the crossover. It hit every emotional moment and cool nerd beat that the shows needed to make the crossover probably the best thing the Arrowverse has put on television yet.
But at the same time…it wasn’t a particularly good episode of Legends of Tomorrow. Let me explain.
The plot of the crossover finishes up very neatly. Following the end of last night’s Arrow, the gang decides they need a Dominator captive to figure out what the plan is. And at the same time the new President (oh hey nbd, the old President just got killed but it’s cool they’ve got it) wants a meeting with the team of heroes. So they split up: one group (Steel, Vixen, Heat Wave, Cisco, and Felicity) goes back to 1951 to steal a Dominator from the last time they came to Earth, while the others (Flash, White Canary, Green Arrow, and Atom) go to meet “the President.”
Unlike Flash or Arrow, though, the big plot beats in these two stories didn’t land with characters from this show. In the past, Cisco and Felicity hash out part of Cisco’s ongoing problems with Barry and Flashpoint. Meanwhile, King Faraday “Agent Smith,” who gave Lyla a hard time back when the invasion first started, shows up to try and take down the big guns, and reveals that they cut a deal with the Dominators back in the ‘50s that Earth would be left alone as long as there weren’t metahumans threatening the rest of the universe. We find out that what triggered their return was actually…Flashpoint. So in both the A and B plot of the episode, we get Flash developments.
The only meaningful development for the Legends is actually the C plot – Stein and his new daughter work with Caitlin on a doohickey to make the Dominators hurt. We find out that she’s the product of Stein’s meddling in the past (and not Barry’s). The doohickey gets made. The Dominators get hurt. It’s nice, and it looks like it’s going to turn into something long term for the Legends to have to deal with, but it wasn’t the focus of the episode.
So aside from pushing Stein’s story forward a little (he and Jax decide that they’re not going to tell the rest of the team that she’s an anomaly, because he doesn’t want to get rid of his daughter), we don’t really get any forward movement for anyone from Legends of Tomorrow. Maybe that’s not fair, since Sara got some closure last night on Arrow. But I think it speaks both to the strength of this season of Arrow and Flash that they each just turned in the best episode of the year (or the entire show, in the case of Arrow), while Legends, a show that has been struggling with a lack of depth this season, just turned in a good chapter in the crossover.
Now that I’m done dropping a turd in the Invasion punchbowl, I have to ask the question: Do I even care? This crossover might be my favorite live action superhero thing ever, and I buy all the Marvel movies as they come out. It’s pretty much a streamlined but straightforward rip of the Invasion comics, right down to the gene bomb the Dominators drop that would kill anyone with a proclivity for powers.
And like Flash and Arrow, there were some very cool excuses for superhero showcases: we actually got to see Firestorm transmute something (he turned the bomb into a big puddle), and in a way that makes it make sense why he doesn’t just go around transmuting stuff willy-nilly; Barry gets a Days of Future Past-Quicksilver moment with King Faraday “Agent Smith”’s team; and Barry and Kara basically circle the globe at superspeed dropping macguffins on all of the Dominator invaders.
Kara’s effect on these characters can’t really be understated: Melissa Benoist seems to love being Supergirl, and she just brings so much happiness and fun and joy to not just her role but to everyone around her. Every scene she was in through this whole crossover was a highlight.
I’ve been smiling for 3 days, and nothing in this episode made me want to smile any less, so I’m going to set aside my grump for a minute and just let myself enjoy a good episode of a good show.
DC UNIVERSE TIME BUBBLES
– This is Felicity’s first time travelling through time, so her “linguistic disorientation” shows up in her shouting “darmokandjaladatTanagra,” and me yelling SHAKA WHEN THE WALLS FELL back at the TV. She is quoting “Darmok,” the second episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s fifth season.
– So I think we need to talk about this G-Man played by Doc Cottle from Battlestar Galactica. Kara calls him “Agent Smith,” and that is complete and utter horseshit because he is quite clearly King Faraday. Faraday was created by Bob Kanigher and Carmine Infantino in 1950. He floated around the DCU as a generic spy for a while, though he was notably involved in John Ostrander and Kim Yale’s Suicide Squad for a bit in the late ‘80s. He resurfaced in a big way in Darwyn Cooke’s utterly incredible The New Frontier, where he is basically this exact character: he doesn’t trust metas, really gives the Flash a hard time, and eventually comes around on aliens because of his relationship with the Martian Manhunter.
– Cisco to Felicity as they’re grabbing guns to go rescue the Legends the government captured in 1951: “Have you seen Stranger Things?” No I have not so I will thank both you and King T’Challa to stop referencing it.
– Was this the first time we’ve seen Firestorm use his transmutation powers? That’s a big thing in the comics – I’m specifically remembering an issue of JLA at the end of Morrison’s “World War 3” arc where he transmuted millions of warheads to…magnesium? But as far as I can remember, his powers here have mostly been absorbing radiation, throwing fireballs and flying.
– They have a little party in the Hall of Justice to celebrate their win, and as Kara’s leaving, Ray says to Felicity “You know what’s funny? She kinda looks like my cousin.” I love Brandon Routh’s superhero second act.
– Kara to Ollie and Barry before she leaves: “You’re Earth’s mightiest heroes.” KARA SHH! D’YOU WANT TO GET SUED?
– The song playing when Ollie and Barry go drinking is “The World (Is Going Up In Flames)” by Charles Bradley, who is excellent. You may also recognize him from the third episode of Luke Cage – his band was playing in Cottonmouth’s club while Luke was busting up Cottonmouth’s organization.
– Kara has a communicator that will let her chat with Barry and Ollie, or come back through if she wants. Smart money is on her only needing it one more time, though. If I were a gambling man, I’d bet that next year’s crossover is some sort of…Crisis.
– Next week: SNART’S BACK HOORAY!