TV Review: Arrow 5×08 “Invasion”

The alien invasion continues here, so if you want to catch up on what happened with the previous crossover episodes, check out Allyson’s reviews of Supergirl and The Flash this week.

Arrow -- "Invasion!" -- Image AR508a_0281.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, Caity Lotz as Sara Lance, Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer, David Ramsey as John Diggle and Willa Holland as Thea Queen -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW 

Diving right into this one, the Berlanti production team came to a realization that Arrow not only has the lowest budget of the four DC superhero series on the CW, but this also marks the show’s 100th episode, and showrunners and writers room came about a clever way to incorporate the legacy of Arrow into this mega crossover party.

The Flash episode here concluded with a select group of the heroes, the Non-metas, being abducted by the alien Dominators, and put into a Matrix-like utopia state as their craniums were being subconsciously probed for intel on Earth and it’s most powerful beings. With the setup leaving most of Arrow’s main cast in a dream sequence throughout the episode we see the return of cast members long gone as a pain fueled reminder that Oliver and Thea have lost just about everything they had in their lives. We see the return of Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen, Jamey Sheridan as Robert Queen, brief glimpses of Colin Donnell as Tommy but most importantly Katie Cassidy as Dinah Laurel Lance. In this alternate world, Oliver experiences something as similar as he would ever get to his own version of Flashpoint where everything he ever lost and the mistakes he’d made were undone and everyone so alive and well that Queen Consolidated is still intact and he and Laurel are on the eve of their wedding night. In slight restraint, the show presents clips in a static filled intersection of Oliver’s actual memories throughout the series, not to pull a Cheers clip-show segment, but to create a reminder to the characters what their reality that desperately needs them is.

Arrow -- "Invasion!" -- Image AR508b_0171b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Willa Holland as Thea Queen and Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

 Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW 

However, the need for these characters is put into question by Thea as an audience, and writers room, surrogate, questioning how the Green Arrow, Speedy and Spartan could possibly be needed in a world where extraordinary beings like the Flash and Supergirl can exist. Considering this contrast, it’s astounding to see a show like Arrow survive through massive changes like this, all instigated by the chemistry on screen of one Grant Gustin providing a cameo as CSI Barry Allen. A lot has changed since then, but it’s impressive that the show that started as a CW revive of something like Smallville with a vague Batman tone has instigated a grand universe for people to tune into and is seeing the first technical formation of the Justice League.

This milestone for Arrow is very important and the heartfelt moments with Thea, Oliver and their family show how far the series has come, even through some ups and downs, and some viewers may have found it a waste of crossover time, but I’m certain that the conclusion of Legend of Tomorrow, the show among the four with the biggest effects budget, will pull out as many stops as TV sci-fi action can get.

Rating: 7/10

Boston, Massachusetts: Evan is a 23 year old college graduate with a degree in English and Journalism. He's had a lifelong passion for film, games and reading things. A living movie quotation machine, and obsessively analytical, Evan will always give an honest and fair opinion with an insertion of wit where appropriate. (Who are you kidding? It’s always appropriate.) Additionally, he is an aficionado of the superhero genre, old video games and (yes, subjectively) awesome movies.