‘The Flash’ takes a break from dealing with Alchemy and Savitar this week to join ‘Supergirl’, ‘Arrow’ and the ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ on a much-hyped four-night crossover event that, let’s be honest, didn’t actually start until Night 2.
‘Heroes vs. Aliens’ technically began on Monday night’s episode of ‘Supergirl’. However, the crossover part of that episode was a quick two-minute scene tacked on at the very end. That scene is repeated in its entirety in this episode of ‘The Flash’. If you weren’t already a ‘Supergirl’ viewer and only watched to see all of this crossover, frankly, you got cheated by that. The crossover begins in earnest here.
The episode starts with one of those in medias res teasers that shows you a piece of the climax first and then flashes back to before those events. In this one, Barry and his pal Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow, are caught in a battle against Supergirl, some of Ollie’s other Team Arrow friends, and the Legends squad. What the what?!
Let’s explain in a flashback to ten hours earlier. Wally is developing his speedster skills even faster than Barry did, and Iris is very nervous that he’s going to get himself injured or killed. She’s kind of a bitch about it and asks the others not to encourage him or train him. Haven’t we already been through this storyline before? Meanwhile, Cisco is still pissed at Barry over his brother’s death. H.R. wants to open the S.T.A.R. Labs Museum in two weeks and everybody else thinks that’s a really bad idea.
With all that business specific to ‘The Flash’ out of the way, let’s get to the crossover. Cisco detects a meteor plunging directly toward Central City. Barry races over to it and discovers that it’s not a meteor at all. It’s a spaceship! As Barry stands there dumbfounded, a bunch of scary-looking aliens run out, knock him over, and head for town. Uh oh.
By the time morning comes, the military and U.S. government have already begun covering up the incident. (Where did all those aliens disappear to?) Barry gets a word in with Lyla, the head of A.R.G.U.S., who agrees to come to the lab to give him and the team the real scoop. She explains that four such ships have landed in all. The aliens are from a race known as the “Dominators,” and they tried to invade Earth once before back in 1951. She assures the team that the government is on top of this and asks them to stand down.
Naturally, nobody heeds that advice. Barry runs to Star City to ask for help from Ollie. The two of them send a message to the Legends to meet them at an aircraft hangar owned by S.T.A.R. Labs at a scheduled time. Cisco then opens a portal to Earth-38 so that he and Barry can go fetch Supergirl as well. If you’re gonna fight aliens, best to have an alien on your side.
Supergirl is pretty psyched to help out. She thinks it’s going to be fun. Barry is voted team leader but is pretty indecisive. Oliver is of course gruff and serious and growly. He suggests that, since Supergirl is the most powerful among them, they should all train by fighting her. He tells Supergirl not to hold back.
Cisco helps Ray build a new A.T.O.M. suit. Wally shows up, eager to join in, until Iris lectures him and sends him away. Dr. Stein and Jax pull Barry and Ollie aside to play them the message that Old Man Barry will send Rip Hunter in the future. The message tells Rip not to trust anyone, not even him. Barry explains how he screwed up the timeline in Flashpoint. He wants to confess this to everyone, but Ollie tells him that’s a bad idea because it will just distract from their focus.
Dr. Stein experiences weird memory flashes of a young woman he doesn’t know. Caitlin notices that something seems up with him, and she accompanies him home to visit his wife. When they get there, the girl from Stein’s visions opens the door. It’s his daughter. But wait! He doesn’t have a daughter! At least, he didn’t have a daughter before Barry screwed around with Flashpoint. It’s funny how all of Stein’s own mucking about with time travel (including interacting with his own younger self) never resulted in any changes to his life timeline.
During training, Supergirl kicks everybody else’s ass. They aren’t ready yet, but they don’t have any time to get better, because the aliens kidnap the President of the United States right after he has a meeting with Lyla.
Wally returns to S.T.A.R. Labs, all sulky and petulant. He asks H.R. to train him in superheroing, as if H.R. knows a damn thing about that. H.R. declines.
Cisco discovers the message from Old Man Barry and is even more pissed at his friend than ever. He confronts him and makes him tell everybody else about Flashpoint. Diggle is devastated to learn that he used to have a daughter that he doesn’t remember. Sara sternly lectures Barry about the dangers of changing history, as if she hasn’t done precisely that over and over again for two seasons on her own show. What a hypocrite!
Because nobody trusts Barry anymore, he agrees to sit this one out while they go rescue the President. Ollie thinks everyone else is being ridiculous and stays with Barry.
Conveniently, the President has a homing beacon tracking device on him. Supergirl, the Legends, and the rest of Team Arrow follow it to a building. Before they go in, Mick has a very funny conversation with Kara where he says that the name “Supergirl” is stupid so he’s going to call her “Skirt” instead.
They enter the building and find POTUS a little too easily. Of course, it’s a trap. The aliens disintegrate the President with a red energy beam, then attack the team with a different green energy wave.
Back at base, Ollie tells Barry to own up to his mistakes and move on from them. What’s done is done. There’s no sense dwelling on it. When they receive a distress call from the team, we’re quickly brought up to speed (no pun intended) with the beginning of the episode.
As a result of whatever they were hit with, the Legends, Team Arrow, and even Supergirl are now brainwashed to do the aliens’ bidding. They attack Barry and Ollie. They fight and fight and fight some more. Monitoring from S.T.A.R. Labs, Wally can’t stand on the sidelines anymore, so he races in to help, only to immediately get knocked down by Supergirl. Great job, Wally…
Barry leads Supergirl away while Ollie fights off the others. He eventually runs out of arrows and has to fight Sara hand-to-hand.
Barry runs Supergirl in circles, making her angry, and then tricks her into flying through and destroying the alien transmitter that was sending out the brainwashing signal. Quickly, everyone returns to their senses.
Wally’s arm is injured. Iris gives him a “Told ya so” nasty look, but H.R. feels bad for him and agrees to train him on the sly. As if that’s a good idea. Wally is really doomed now.
As the team regroups to develop a new game plan, light rays blast down from the sky and teleport several of them away, including Ollie and Sara. That can’t be good.
To be continued on ‘Arrow’.
Previous crossovers between ‘The Flash’ and ‘Arrow’ have been hit-or-miss affairs, and I worried that throwing a couple more shows in the mix would only drag the ‘Heroes vs. Aliens’ event down. Somehow, it actually works. The writing here is very on-point, the banter is funny, and the episode juggles the numerous characters nimbly, giving many of them moments to shine.
We’ll see how the next two parts fare. I don’t normally watch ‘Arrow’, so I’m a little wary of that one.