‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Post-Show Analysis, Season 2, Episode 7: ‘Invasion!’
The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow follows a time-traveling team of misfits that includes historian Nate Heywood, Arrow’s Atom and White Canary, both halves of Firestorm and Flash rogue Heat Wave. Recappers Matt Wilson and Dylan Todd are on hand to deliver our Legends of Tomorrow post-show analysis, Stuff of Legends.
This week, the Legends are caught up in the week-long "Invasion" crossover with Supergirl, The Flash, and Arrow. This climactic episode sees the heroes from all four shows developing a plan to defeat the alien invaders, the Dominators. The episode was directed by Gregory Smith. Phil Klemmer and Marc Guggenheim wrote the script from a story by Greg Berlanti.
Dylan: Matt! This week’s episode of Legends is elbow-deep in the Invasion crossover. Have you been following the four-part event, or was were you thrown in the deep end with this one?
Matt: I came in cold, but I think I got the gist of it from the "previouslies" and the exposition. Barry changed the timeline, some characters were in People Prison, Ray made a new ATOM suit, I guess.
Mostly, though, it seemed like a whole bunch of nothing must have happened in those last three episodes, because this one was 20 pounds of potatoes in a five-pound sack. Overstuffed to the gills. Why are the Dominators so dadgum worried about metahumans? Sorry! No time to explain! They have just seen this before, OK? How did the heroes suddenly know everything (including collateral damage estimates) about the meta-bomb? They just do! Gotta keep this moving!
Dylan: This was very much a CWverse third act. Not a lot of sense being made and things just happening because they need to happen, but I felt a lot of that was saved by having a group of people who, after a few years of crossing over on each other’s shows, are comfortable enough with each other to be having a good time doing this goofy stuff.
Matt: The Felicity/Cisco interactions are fun, and the way Caitlin Snow cuts through all of Martin Stein’s bullcrap is very admirable.
Dylan: So, starting off, our heroes are splitting up to try and defeat the Dominators, with a team headed back to the 1950s to kidnap an E.T. for what I assume is some revenge probing. The Legends team consists of Heat Wave, Vixen and Steel, with Cisco Ramon and (swoon) Felicity Smoak tagging along so they can hopefully, finally solve the problem of Cisco’s brother being erased by the Flashpoint business in The Flash. How’d you like the alien heist, and subsequent Nerd Rescue bit?
Matt: Well, the heist was more of a stakeout. They all just stood around until there was a straggler, and then Heat Wave lit him up. (Vixen telling Mick not to kill him was one of the better character bits in an episode that didn’t really have time for them.)
Then those G-Men showed up and things got very Doctor Who when they interrogated the alien whose mouth refused to move.
Dylan: Well, this is Legends of Tomorrow, AKA Doctor Who For People Who Also Watch The Vampire Diaries.
Matt: It’s true. Am I wrong to believe that the alien didn’t seem like such a bad guy, or to have such a bad point? “What if a person worse than Barry Allen got powers?” is not a totally unreasonable question, even if it’s already been answered by Vandal Savage and Damien Darhk running around with powers for years and years.
Dylan: It’s hard to imagine anybody screwing up more than Barry Allen, though.
Matt: But at least he has good intentions(?).
Before we go any further, we need to talk about Nate’s new costume. Matt, it is just terrible, right?
Matt: Oh, it’s the pits. I thought it might look better in action than it did on the mannequin, but whoo boy, it’s worse. Why is the helmet mostly red and the suit mostly blue? It’s like someone saw comics Citizen Steel once and then had to recreate his costume from memory.
Dylan: The Batman ‘89 makeup around the eyes is so weird and it makes his head look like a big bubble. Which fits for Nate, I guess. It’s like off-brand Ant-Man. Like a Halloween store’s “Ant Hero” costume.
Matt: It is completely a Halloween costume and Nate is absolutely the guy who would be the model for Halloween costume packages.
Dylan: Meanwhile, Caitlin and Stein are trying to do science to stop the Dominators while also dealing with Stein’s brand-new time aberration daughter. How did this stuff work for you?
Matt: On the one hand, Martin Stein is a complete turd for meeting his daughter and reacting with, “You don’t exist.” On the other, the actress who plays Lily Stein, Christina Brucato, plays it almost as if... she’s someone pretending to be Stein’s daughter rather than the real thing. I think some of that’s the script (“Remember X thing that you obviously don’t remember?”) but it also feels like she came from a holodeck.
Dylan: Yeah, it’s… he’s kind of a jerk. Like, he’s been mucking around with the timeline for a season and a half now. Did he really not think it would ever have consequences?
Matt: And it’s kind of the best possible outcome of his whole “there’s this woman I don’t remember” thing, right? He didn’t lose anybody, he gained this whip-smart daughter.
Dylan: Back in Central City, Barry, Ray, Ollie and Sara head off to meet the new President after the last one got turned to goo by a Dominator ray-gun. It’s the smoking doctor guy from Battlestar Galactica! He’s got horn-rimmed glasses so that you can tell that he’s the old version of the shady G-Man who kidnapped the Legends in the 50s. Which was fun, having both timelines meet up. What did you think, Matt?
Matt: That’s who that actor was! He wasn’t credited on IMDb, so I couldn’t place him. His name is Donnelly Rhodes and he’s great. And yeah, I wrote in my notes “Glasses G-Man is the same guy in different times.” I don’t know if that got hammered home in a previous part of the crossover, but I kinda like that it was just left to the audience to figure out here.
As for the president, Lynda Carter didn’t die, did she? Is she the president in Supergirl’s universe, but not this one?
Dylan: No, it was some generic Richard Belzer-looking dude. Lynda Carter is president on Earth-Supergirl, not Earth-Arrowverse.
They introduced Horn Rimmed Glasses in the Flash episode as a Definitely Distinct And Important Person when he was yelling at Layla, but it wasn’t paid off until now, even if the payoff was in nickels and Canadian pennies.
Matt: Speaking of Canada, did you notice all the American flags everywhere in this? It might as well have been signs that said “We’re not in Canada, honest.”
Dylan: I think it’s adorable that they think we think it’s not Canada. It will never cease to amuse me.
But yeah, it’s been ¼ of the season and we’re still hammering Barry for creating the Flashpoint timeline, which is getting really tiring, TBH. (Though I did like Cisco finally seeing how Barry came to his decision and forgiving him. I don’t like my nerdy Flash-boys fighting.) Either they hand over Barry or they drop a bomb on the Earth because there are too many super-people running around. Barry, ever the noble martyr is all for it. I gotta admit, I liked that scene where Barry’s buds stop him from marching off to his doom.
Matt: Yeah, it’s not a bad scene, though Oliver Queen being the ringleader of it is 1000 percent BS. Ollie has a bigger martyr complex than anybody, so it’s pretty mega hypocritical for him to get all on Barry’s case for having one.
Dylan: Ollie is just mad that somebody that wasn’t him stepped up to be martyred for humanity’s sake.
Matt: I still have many, many issues with Oliver Queen, even if I don’t have to watch Arrow every week anymore. The second he appeared on my screen, I audibly groaned. Then he asked Supergirl to give him and the team “some space” because he couldn’t handle working with an alien and I nearly had an aneurysm.
Dylan: So yeah, the Dominators drop the meta-bomb, and our heroes face down against them on what I’m pretty sure is the same rooftop they killed Vandal Savage on top of. How’d you like the final boss fight, Matt?
Matt: It was fine. Pretty rushed --- again, there’s too much crammed into this 40 minutes of TV --- but it had its moments. Supergirl saving Ollie to show up his stupid face was good stuff. (He didn’t even thank her.) And Firestorm transmuting the meta-bomb into water is the first time all season we’ve seen our Nuclear Man actually use his full power. I like it when Firestorm gets to be Firestorm.
One thing I did think was... weird was that the Steins basically created a torture device to use on the Dominators. This thing doesn’t just incapacitate them or knock them out. It apparently puts them in agony. Stein’s justification is that it’s war, but, man. It seems like a little much for our team of superheroes.
Dylan: This was a typical CWverse third act. Lots of barely-choreographed fighting of CGI bad guys, a third act Hail Mary pass requiring an exertion of super-powers, ethically dubious decisions by our heroes, ten minutes of people talking and wrapping stuff up afterward. I honestly zoned out for a bit of it because it was just visual noise, though I will say that I thought the Dominators ship was pretty cool. It looked like an evil humpback whale.
Matt: Again: Very Doctor Who in its presentation. Even the design of the Dominators themselves was on that tip.
Dylan: So after the big finale, we get a bunch of cute stuff. I just wanna know what your favorite bits were. Mine was Heat Wave telling Supergirl to call him. What did you like?
Matt: I liked Cisco just mega-casually giving Supergirl a thing that lets her travel between dimensions like it’s an Apple Watch.
Dylan: Ah yes, the Magic Crossover Brooch.
Matt: I didn’t like the confrontation between Kara and the bad G-Man as much. Yes, he was not nice, but the whole “Well, I talked to the president and she’s going to send you to Antarctica” was downright petty.
Dylan: And just… ridiculous? Like, does he even know she’s also Supergirl? And yeah, dude is ancient. He’s gonna die in that cold. RIP, Horn-Rim Glasses Man.
Matt: Speaking of Kara/Supergirl, I wrote this in my notes: Why are Kara and Ollie at this superhero party for superheroes?
Dylan: That was real weird.
Matt: One last thing: I guess it’s because Cisco and Felicity were around, but the pop culture references were off the charts in this one. Folks are quoting Missy Elliot lyrics and Princess Bride (and even saying “that was from Princess Bride”) left and right. Just not something that’s part and parcel of a typical LoT episode.
Also, Kara calls the assembled group “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” and I hope that one’s not a reference, because I think a different media conglomerate has the copyright on that in this universe.
Dylan: Can’t wait for next year’s Amalgam mega-event, where the CWverse heroes crossover with… are they still making Agents of SHIELD?
Matt: I believe by edict everything has become Inhumans content. (But yeah, it’s still on.)
Dylan: I was going to make a joke about this, but then I remembered how dull Agents of SHIELD was and now I’m just bummed out.
Matt: Well, cheer up, Dylan, because our favorite absentee Legend is returning next week! Captain Cold is going to be up in here!
Dylan: And it’s Chicago gangster times! Polish your tommy guns, yuh-shee!
Matt: A midseason finale and a holiday gift to us! At least, I hope.
Dylan: Depends on how naughty or nice we’ve been. Until next week!