A Closer Look: Arrow – “Invasion!” (Heroes Vs Aliens Part 2)

Despite being part of a three night Heroes Vs Aliens crossover, tonight’s episode of Arrow marked it’s 100th episode. The series has come a long way from its humble yet stellar beginnings. The show might have waned in recent seasons as it tired to find its stride with an ever-expanding world/ Arrow-verse; but nothing can tarnish the heights of its first two seasons.

Whereas last night’s episode of The Flash had just as much Flash and Legends Of Tomorrow storyline as it did Crossover, tonight’s episode had just as much Season 1 and 2 story as it did present Arrow storyline and Crossover.

So let’s take a Closer Look at not only how perfectly the writers wove seasons of details into one episode but also how they furthered the crossover and series as a whole. This is a Closer Look at Arrow “Invasion!” Heroes & Aliens Part 2.

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The Pain Of Goodbye & Facing Reality – OH THE FEELS!!!!!!!:

In Part 1 of the Invasion Crossover, we heard Oliver express how he would have done what Barry did if it meant he could see his parents alive again. This episode he got that chance – and so did the several others. With the exception of Ray, each member of this group flashback has suffered tremendous heartbreak lately – and through his or her multiple seasons on this show. (Note: This isn’t to diminish the loss of Ray’s fiancé Anna, but Diggle’s, Sara, Oliver and especially Thea’s pain were felt much more this episode).

We see how Diggle would rather see himself as “the man who did some shady things at war and now has to atone” rather than remember his brother as a traitor and killing Andy as the real reason he should atone. When Sara sees Laurel’s Canary necklace and starts to remember, she hugs Laurel tightly to try to forget it . We see Oliver embrace his parents and cry as he says goodbye and earlier tell Laurel that he wants to elope with her. He doesn’t want to give her up, not again. This episode shows us more than others that Oliver really did/ does still love Laurel. He might not be the old Oliver (the one dream Laurel fell in love with) but he and her grew together and recent Laurel loved present him (and vice versa). Though all of this pales in comparison to Thea who knew from her first embrace with her mom; and yet chose to stay regardless. After all, what’s waiting for them when they return?

The answer is pain, but it’s a pain they have to face. And brilliantly the writers chose that each roadblock on their way to Smoak Technologies would perfectly mirror the pain each returns to. Sarah must face the death of her sister at the hands of Darhk, by facing him. Ray must face the loss of his fiancé at the hands of one of Slade’s goons during the Uprising, by facing one of those goons. Diggle must face what HIVE turned his brother into, by facing HIVE. Oliver must face the loss of his parents, by facing the man who killed one, Slade. Thea must face the loss of a simpler time and take on Malcolm – the man who made her a pawn and revealed her parentage to be much more complex than she ever wanted.

The Things You Remember – Past Season Easter Eggs & References (Listed):

  • Season 1
    • Thea gives Oliver the arrowhead hosen this time around, not Oliver to Thea
    • Walter Steel to become Queen Consolidated CEO
    • Family wants Oliver to become head of company
    • Robert Queen says “It’s not going to finish well” like he did on the Queen’s Gambit
    • The vigilante known as The Hood and the police sketch of him
    • Sarah sees Laurel’s Canary necklace, reminiscent of not only their hero names but also their childhood pet
  • Season 2
    • Laurel says Sara and Oliver could have been a thing, and almost were twice pre Season 1 and they actually dated in Season 2
    • “You’re lucky I’m not a trained assassin or anything” is a reference to Sara’s training with the League of Assassins
    • Thea running the night club Verdant
    • Malcolm telling Thea her dad would be proud of her reminds us of how he dropped that bombshell on her in Season 2
    • Oliver shot Slade in the eye, which is a throwback to the Season 2 flashback where Slade lost his eye

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  • Season 3
    • Ray Palmer trying to buy Queen Consolidated
    • Learn that Ray Palmer’s wife was killed during the Uprising (Season 2) and then started dating Felicity
  • Season 3
    • Oliver running through the woods only for it to turn out to be him going for a jog is how Season 4 started. Just swap Laurel for Felicity.
  • Season 4
    • Robert Queen to become mayor instead of Oliver
    • Despite this being “The Hood”, the current hideout is in the previous Arrowcave, which was previously Blood’s office.
    • This time around Andy and Diggle’s roles were switched and Diggle did things in war he regrets and Andy is in security.
    • Smoak Technologies was what happened after the supposed “death” of Palmer
  • Legends Of Tomorrow
    • Sara says she prefers girls. Despite learning she was Bi on Arrow, her preferring women was shown more on Legends.

Rapid Fire – Easter Eggs, Quotes & Other Notables:

  • Favorite Quotes:
    • “Okay, Curtis – you’re tall – Renee and Rory. That’s two Rory’s I know now. The other, he’s a douche though… You’re not a douche are you?” – Cisco
    • “YOU SAID TECH!” – Felicity
    • Yes I said tech. It’s an alien spaceship Felicity these guys aren’t amateurs” – Cisco
    • “I’m so conflicted. On one hand I get to hack actual extraterrestrial technology. On the other hand, ETs are real but unfortunately they’re dickwads who are going to kill us” – Curtis
    • “Your tech guy quotes movies huh….. real original” – Cisco feeling the competition
    • “Well that’s nothing we can’t handle”/ “That’s everything we can’t handle” – Curtis/ Felicity
    • “Good cause I’d hate to have to shoot you for breaking my girl’s heart… the paperwork would be hell” – Dream Lance
    • “You should have taken him up on his offer to carry you. It was awesome.” – Curtis about Flash
    • “Apparently we have to get to an office tower my non fiancé doesn’t own, which is a little strange and all that coming from a guy who’s having memories that he’s able to shrink” – Ray
    • “That’s either the way out of here or we have to click our heels together three times and say there’s no place like home” – Ray
    • “For the gentiles and those of us who actually have social lives in high school, what the hell are you talking about” – Renee
    • “Ray’s right. Certain principle of design are universal” – Oliver as he fires a flamethrower bow
    • “Oliver, nice clothes. Shopping at Alien Gap” – Nate
    • “Hi I’m Thea and this is exactly twice as many spaceships as I ever thought I’d be on” – Thea
  • As tonight’s episode explored, the existence of aliens and God are not mutually exclusive.
  • There’s no Cyber Woman in DC as far as I know, but there is a Doctor Cyber who not only fits the bill of enhanced body and energy powers, but is also a Wonder Woman villain. Could Wonder Woman be the next to join the Arrowverse?
  • One great moment in the dream sequence was how Thea said that Flash, Supergirl and those like them can handle threats from now on. This is especially poignant since it’s been hard to define Arrow – a show always based in the real – in a world that now includes Metahumans and aliens.
  • Gotta love the dynamic between Flash and Supergirl.
  • Noticably absent from this episode was Artemis who we last saw aligned with Prometheus. Considering all the secret identities that were shared this episode, probably for the best if she really is evil.
  • Major props for ending the episode with the team in space and being saved by the Wave Rider as now the rest of the Legends are in on the action and this can all lead in seamlessly to the final part of the crossover tomorrow on Legends Of … Tomorrow.

With all the references to metahumans and fearing them this episode, perhaps that is the hint at what the Dominators want. They came years ago to study humans, perhaps this time they want to know what to expect from Metas. We heard that they captured Oliver and company because they couldn’t fight back BUT they each know about Metas. We’ll have to see how this plays out, but in the comics the Dominators weren’t too thrilled with Metas either, so this would be a nice reference.

We’ll find out when Heroes Vs Aliens concludes tomorrow night on Legends Of Tomorrow “Invasion!”. So stay tuned to the CW and see you back here for another Closer Look!

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