Review: Arrow 5×08 – Invasion!

Arrow‘s stellar 100th episode celebrates how far the show – and the universe it spawned – have come in just five years…

 

Note: We don’t usually review Arrow but we are this week for the big Heroes vs Aliens’ crossover. You can read the previous installments of the event here and here.

 

While hugely entertaining, yesterday’s The Flash sacrificed the individual show’s needs to serve the wider crossover. Today’s Arrow, on the other hand, puts Oliver and his friends front and centre. It is the show’s 100th episode, after all.

After being beamed up by the Dominators last episode, Oliver, Thea, Sara, Diggle and Ray awake in a perfect dream world where Robert and Moira Queen are alive and well – as is Laurel, who is about to marry Oliver. As a storytelling device, DC fans will find it very reminiscent of brilliant BTAS episode ‘Perchance to Dream (in which Bruce Wayne likewise finds himself in a word where his parents are alive, he is engaged to Selina Kyle and someone else is Batman). There is nothing wrong with that, though, as these stories are always good value for demonstrating just how much the hero sacrifices to do the right thing.

Here for example, the gang have to say goodbye to their loved ones all over again, lest they leave the earth to the mercy of the Dominators. Only Diggle being the Hood seemed a bit strange (so his dream is to replace Oliver?) but other than that the emotional gut punches of the episode found the spot. As well as some old friends, several old enemies returned in an awesome final fight where Team Arrow united against their various Big Bads – some in masks to hide the missing actors, of course. Highlights included one more fight between Arrow and Deathstroke and Sara finally getting to kill Damien for what he did to her sister.

Arrow -- "Invasion!" -- Image AR508a_0215b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, and Caity Lotz as Sara Lance -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

In fact, this would have been a near-perfect episode if it wasn’t for, well, the crossover element. Now, there is no denying that it was fun to see The Flash and especially Supergirl on Arrow but their subplot with Team Arrow was very filler-y, with an underdeveloped villain. Perhaps this is because I have not been a regular viewer of Arrow this season, but it might have been neater to cut out the Team Arrow stuff and focus on Barry and Kara (with Felicity and Cisco’s help, natch) finding the others.

As such, it is difficult to rate this one. As the second/third part in an unfolding crossover story, it left something to be desired. But as a celebration of Arrow, it 100% hit the target.

 

Stray Arrows:

  • It didn’t strike me until after the episode but this is the third ‘hero trapped in a perfect dream world’ story we have got from these shows this year – after Supergirl: ‘For The Girl Who Has Everything’ and The Flash: ‘Flashpoint.’
  • Lots of great easter eggs in this one. e.g. Laurel’s pendant from Oliver features the Black Canary’s logo in the comics.
  • Thankfully Cisco was back to his usual quippy self this episode. Clearly the best course of action is to keep him away from Barry for the foreseeable.

 

Rating:

srating4

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