Last week’s ‘Heroes vs. Aliens’ four-show crossover on the CW concluded on ‘Legends of Tomorrow’. The ending is certainly better than that lame ‘Arrow’ episode in the middle, but I can’t say that the plot makes a damn bit of sense.
Mind you, the time travel logic on this show rarely makes much sense, but in this one, even the basic plotting of the episode seems to contradict itself from scene to scene.
First off, Ollie, Sara, Diggle, Ray and Thea have returned safely from space, which effectively means that the whole kidnapping plot in the ‘Arrow’ episode served no purpose at all except to stall for time between the end of ‘The Flash’ and the beginning of this. We’re now right back to where we were before that episode. Ollie speculates that the Dominator aliens probed their minds for information on meta-humans, but if that were the case, why wouldn’t they kidnap some of the actual meta-humans rather than just humans, and what was the point of having those humans live out a perfect-lives fantasy that didn’t even involve meta-humans? That was pretty much the worst way to learn about meta-humans imaginable.
Somebody (Cisco, maybe? I forget) proposes that they should return the favor by kidnapping an alien and interrogating it to find out what they want and why they’re here. But how will they find one? Hey, they actually know exactly where an alien was… in 1951. With a timeship and a team of time travelers on hand, why not zip back to the past and kidnap an alien when they wouldn’t expect it? Sounds like a plan. Cisco and Felicity get invited to go on the mission, and totally geek out about seeing a spaceship and traveling through time. Felicity is a lot less psyched after making the jump and having a lot of physical side effects, including repeated vomiting jags. (Har har…) Cisco is also disappointed that the two of them are grounded and told to stay on the ship while the others go look for aliens. (Why even bring them along?)
Still in the present, Ollie pulls Kara aside and asks her to sit things out for a while. His rationale for this is incredibly dumb. He’s not comfortable with her, doesn’t like change, and wants some space, or something. If the guy is always this big a dick, how has his show stayed on the air for five seasons?
Dr. Stein works with Caitlin on an idea about making a nanotechnology weapon to fight the aliens. Caitlin brings in Stein’s daughter Lily, who just so happens to have a PhD in nanotechnology, to help – not realizing that Stein doesn’t know who this girl is because she didn’t exist from his perspective until he met her the prior day. Stein is awkward and uncomfortable in Lily’s presence, and hardly speaks to her. When Caitlin notices this, he has to explain to her that he recently interfered with his own timeline and inadvertently encouraged his younger self to spend more time with his wife, which must have resulted in a daughter they didn’t have originally. Caitlin is aghast when Stein says that Lily is not a real person and that, as soon as this alien threat is taken care of, he intends to go back in time again and “fix” his mistake, which will prevent her from ever being born.
On the mission in 1951, Nate tries on the new superhero costume that Ray made for him. It’s goofy as hell. Mick grumbles that he looks like “a star-spangled idiot.” I concur. The two of them and Amaya come upon the site of the U.S. Army fighting an alien spaceship and wait it out until the battle is over and they can grab a straggler alien. Mick and Nate nab one, but before they can get it to the Waverider, a bunch of Men in Black government goons show up and tranq them all. The young guy in charge is wearing a distinctive pair of glasses.
We see those glasses again in 2016 when another team of Men in Black agents led by an old man wearing them (oh, I get it; this is the same guy…) arrive at the S.T.A.R. Labs hangar. We’ll find out later that the old guy’s name is Agent Smith (real original). He knows Barry’s identity and knows all about Flashpoint. He says that by time traveling and altering the past, Barry has somehow broken a truce with the aliens. The only way to stop a war with the aliens is for Barry to surrender himself.
In 1951, Nate, Amaya and Mick wake up in an empty warehouse room. Amaya and Nate’s powers don’t work. The three of them have been left alone with the alien, and figure that now’s as good a time as any to try to talk to it. The alien communicates with them telepathically. It tells them that his race recently detected the emergence of meta-humans on Earth and came to determine if they’ll be a threat in the future.
With everyone else captured, Cisco and Felicity save the day and break them out, including the alien. Fortunately, they still have an alien shuttlecraft (the one Ollie and crew escaped in) on board the Waverider. They decide that the best thing to do is give the shuttle to the alien and let him return to his people, thus proving that they’re friendly and not a threat. Cisco leaves a transponder on the alien so that he can communicate with it again in the future.
No sooner does the Waverider return to 2016 than the alien calls. He demands that Barry be turned over, or else the Dominators will unleash a “meta-bomb” that will exterminate all meta-humans on Earth. Lots of Dominator ships descend from the sky and hover over Earth cities.
Cisco vibes and teleports himself and Nate onto an alien mothership to talk to the alien in person. It says that they fear that meta-humans will spread like a virus and threaten their world. After returning, Cisco has a realization that he made the same mistake Barry did with Flashpoint. He changed the timeline in the past trying to fix something but just made things worse in the present.
Caitlin encourages Dr. Stein to talk to his daughter. When Lily comes up with a breakthrough in their project, he realizes that she’s a real person after all and doesn’t deserve to be eradicated.
Barry is willing to sacrifice himself to save the world, but the rest of the team won’t let him leave. Suddenly, the alien ship over Central City opens and aliens flood out. We’re told that this is just a distraction to keep the heroes occupied while the meta-bomb drops. Nonetheless, most of the team has to go deal with it. Supergirl saves Ollie from falling off a building, so now he’s cool with her again.
Stein makes a nano-weapon that can cause the aliens intense pain. Barry and Supergirl race away to plant the devices on all the aliens (literally all of them, across the entire planet?).
Meanwhile, the alien mothership drops a big spherical bomb. Cisco and Sara in the Waverider try to grab it with a tractor beam, but it’s too heavy. They only manage to slow it down. Stein and Jax merge into Firestorm and transmute the bomb into harmless water.
After Supergirl and The Flash plant and activate the nano-weapons, all the aliens retreat, screaming in pain. That’s the end of their invasion, I guess.
At the party to celebrate their victory, the new President of the United States (who’s a woman, just to prove that this show truly takes place in a fantasy world) declares meta-humans heroes. I guess she’s forgotten or wasn’t aware that 99% of meta-humans are criminals and/or psychopaths.
Ray drops a line saying that Kara looks just like his cousin. The episode leaves a solid beat or two for viewers to contemplate the joke. (Brandon Routh played Superman in a movie once, get it?)
Stein decides not to ret-con away his daughter, but asks Jax (who knows everything he knows) to keep what he did a secret from the team.
Ollie apologizes to Kara for being a prick. Cisco whips up a mini breach devices that will allow her to communicate with this universe or travel here whenever she needs – thus allowing for future crossovers. Before she leaves, Kara convinces the new POTUS to reassign Agent Smith to Antarctica.
The crossover ends with a lot of goodbyes and departures, followed by Barry and Ollie going out for drinks.
I have to say that this episode is, overall, pretty enjoyable, and at least feels like a satisfying end to the crossover. However, the reasons for that are largely superficial, mostly to do with the rapport between the characters and the pacing of the action. If you try to put any thought into making sense of the plot, forget about it.
Honestly, I can’t make heads or tails of what the purpose of the alien invasion was. The Dominators are afraid of meta-humans, but are willing to stop their invasion and go home if just one meta-human (Barry) turns himself over to them? How did Flashpoint in any way affect these aliens? What did Cisco change when he time traveled, other than talking to the alien? Why is that alien mad at him now? How did Cisco’s time traveling make the situation in 2016 any worse than it was before? It seems to be exactly the same to me. I mean, the aliens invade in 2016 regardless.
Also, if the intent is to prevent a war with the aliens by proving that meta-humans aren’t a threat, how does beating them back with a weapon that causes intense pain accomplish that? I have to think that the aliens will be more likely to come back in force and destroy us now.
These are questions I’m sure can never have satisfactory answers. It also feels really weird to me that a ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ episode would close without any ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ characters, as if the whole thing was really just about The Flash and Arrow, and the Legends merely made cameo appearances in their own show.