Saturday, December 3, 2016

Arrow Season 5, Episode 8: Invasion!

OK, full disclosure here I don't watch Arrow. I started watching Season 1 a few years ago, but quickly grew bored with the show because I'm not a fan of "powerless" superheroes. You know, the kind who can only punch and kick. Like Batman. Blasphemy, I know, but that's just how it is.

You're probably wondering why I bothered to watch Arrow this week then, since I'm not a fan. Well, that's because I stupidly thought that since this episode was titled Invasion!, it would actually be part of The CW's Invasion Crossover Event, and not an episode of Dynasty. Silly me!

Instead of an episode in which the cast actually fights the aliens who are invading the planet, we get a slow moving soap opera one that plays out like a love letter to longtime viewers. See, the Dominators just happened to abduct the cast of Arrow and only them from the superhero team the Flash recruited on his show. What a coincidence! And then the aliens put them all in some sort of stasis pods and create a Utopian, wish-fulfillment virtual world for them, in which they all have absolutely perfect lives. 

Most of this shiny, happy world stuff was completely lost on me, since I have no idea who most of the characters are or their relationship to one another. OK, even I figured out that Ollie's reaction to seeing his parents means they must be dead in reality, but that's about it. 

So this is going to be a VERY short review. Maybe the shortest ever. Hey, HEY! Stop cheering!

By the way, the first part of this crossover event started over on The Flash, and was titled Invasion! This second part is called Invasion! as well. And the third part, which continues on Legends Of Tomorrow, is ALSO called Invasion! That's gonna make it tough a few months from now when you're bingeing the shows and trying to figure out what order in which to watch them. Would it have killed them to have labeled them Invasion! Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3?

UM... SPOILERS?

The Plot:
Picking up where we left off in The Flash, the alien Dominators have abducted Arrow, White Canary, Speedy, Spartan and Atom. They've placed them in stasis pods, and have constructed a virtual paradise for them, in which their lives are all perfect, their fondest wishes have come true, and they've all ended up with the right person.

Eventually they begin to notice cracks in the facade of this perfect world, and realize what's going on. They force themselves to "wake up" from their dream lives, and find they're in a Dominator spaceship orbiting the Earth. 

They run through the corridors of the ship, looking for a way out. They encounter a squad of aliens, and Arrow grabs a powerful blaster that's conveniently hanging on a wall (?) and starts shooting them. They all pile in an escape pod and take off.

They're then pursued by a squad of Dominator space fighters. Unfortunately none of the heroes knows how to operate the alien controls. Just as they're about to be destroyed, the Waverider (the Legends of Tomorrow's timeship) appears and brings them aboard.

Inside the Waverider, Steel and Vixen greet the heroes. Atom remembers a phrase he heard one of the Dominators say back on their ship. Gideon translates the sentence as "We are nearing completion of the weapon." 

We then see a massive Dominator ship heading for Earth.

To be continued on Legends Of Tomorrow...

Thoughts:
 I get that this is an episode of a TV show and not a multimillion dollar superhero movie. Naturally there's going to have to be some budget consciousness. But calling the episode Invasion!, implying it's going to feature superhero-on-alien action and then delivering a story that's nothing more than forty minutes of people engaging in polite conversation at a cocktail party is pretty goddamned low. Five minutes in I got bored and started playing with my phone while I waited for something interesting to happen. Pretty frustrating!

 So why did the Dominators just happen to abduct Arrow, White Canary, Speedy, Spartan and Atom? Um... for reasons? Actually, according to Arrow, it's because none of them have any superpowers. I guess they wanted to study ordinary humans to look for weaknesses? Maybe? Honestly I have no idea.

And why would they create an elaborate fantasy world for these humans, instead of just violently probing the sh*t out of them to get the info they wanted? It doesn't make any sense. I think there was a line implying the aliens were distracting their minds while studying them or something, but it seems pretty flimsy to me.

 When the heroes realize they're in a virtual world, they try to escape. Unfortunately the Dominators whip up a team of simulated villains (consisting of Malcom Merlyn, Damien Darhhhhk and Deathstroke) to keep them from leaving. The heroes battle the fake villains, and Spartan is wounded. 

They then wake up in the real world. Oddly enough, we see that Spartan is injured for real!

Were the stasis pods set up so that any injury sustained in the virtual world would be mechanically inflicted on a body in reality? Or is it some sort of psychosomatic deal? Like dying in your dream makes you die in real life? 

Apparently it's none of our business, as it's never explained.

 And that's it! I got nothing else. I told you this would be short!

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