For those of you who haven't watched five years of Arrow and only tuned in for the mega-crossover event, this hour might have been confusing for you.
Because while Arrow Season 5 Episode 8 was certainly a continuation of the crossover that began in earnest on The Flash Season 3 Episode 8, it was also a 100th episode celebration, which is why very specific characters were beamed up to the alien ship.
The question is whether or not "Invasion!" was a fun and satisfying watch that met demands as both part of the crossover and the 100th episode.
Believe it or not, it's kind of easy for me to stand back from this one from a crossover standpoint, because I stopped watching Arrow. Oh, I still know what's going on with the series because I read all the reviews. I'm the editor!
If I was a fan of the current characters, I wouldn't have been in the least bit satisfied. They were underutilized, with the exception of Oliver, who will always be in the forefront, and Rene aka Wild Dog, who, it turns out, is just as much of a pain in the ass as so many commenters have said along the way.
Many have also said he's grown on them, and then un-grown and grown again. The character appears to be a mess. Dressed in camouflage pants, a hockey mask and with a giant chip on his shoulder, it's easy to see why he'd be difficult to love.
But, as the resident skeptic, he was needed to interact with Supergirl and The Flash, who only showed up to help him out and persuade him to show some love to aliens and metas. Was it worth it to change his mind? Does he matter that much? Meh.
Curtis is the new Felicity, and gets all the lines she used to get when she was the techie.
My whole life I've waited to see a sign of intelligent life. Now that I've seen it, they're not intelligent at all, they're just mean. I can't believe it.Curtis
But overall, they were barely seen, even though I think they were in some way integral in getting the Waverider to the right location to pick up the former hostages of the Dominators at the end of the hour.
Honestly? I couldn't really tell. Pretty much anything that was happening in the present was superfluous to what was going on with the five who were in stasis. That's where the real crux of the content was found, and why the 100th portion trumped the crossover in spades.
I'm not sure the story could have been told in any other way, as effectively, than to have the alien invasion be the cause for the shared hallucination. But those of you who watched for the first time and for part of the crossover have to be the judge...did any of the hallucination story make much sense to you?
For long-time viewers, there were a lot of treats. Most especially, of course, was the nod to Laurel fans of what might have happened if Oliver had never cheated on her by taking Sara on board the Gambit in the first place, as there was no Gambit tragedy at all.
For both comics and show lovers, no matter what became of Laurel as a character, you must wonder at some point how the show would have looked had that never have happened, right?
Even if Sara hadn't gone onto the Gambit, all other things being equal, Oliver should have still been Arrow and his dad still dead, but in this no Gambit at all world, we saw a beautiful love story, and Diggle as The Hood. The latter was pretty cool. Do you think the aliens thought that up, or all the collective minds of those in stasis?
So many little things came to light. Sara commenting on a necklace Oliver gave Laurel that happened to be a canary. Yes, some of us miss Black Canary and appreciate the recognition.
(While I'm here...not so many comments on the lack of fighting skills these new Team Arrow members have in comparison to how you felt about Black Canary being on the streets...feel free to extrapolate.)
It's too late now, but as much complaining as fans do about Sara always pointing out her sexual preferences, she was flat out bisexual when the series began. Too bad that wasn't more apparent when she got on the Gambit.
Laurel: You know, there was a time I thought the two of you would actually hook up.
Sara: You know I prefer girls.
Honestly, I also greatly appreciated that someone other than me remembered that Felicity and Ray had something at one point that was more than just a passing fancy. They watched Doctor Who together, people! They may not have set the world on fire with their sparks, but as two nerds go, totally adorable.
The flashes of memories that came and went as Oliver walked through the city were really well placed, and some of them I expected to mean more. Maybe the will when all is said and done.
Laurel: What's going on with you?
Oliver: Last night somebody reminded me that I have everything, and I don't want to give it up. I'm afraid that I'm going to give it up.
Although Oliver was saying that to Laurel, it came to him after he had his flashes of Felicity, including their fake wedding and her almost dying in his arms. There have been so many mistakes between those two as a couple, that it would be nice if they could find their way back to each other without the melodramatics.
Realize what's important, repair the deep friendship and rebuild the love. Oliver lost everything once. Then he lost it again. How many times will he lose it before he stops allowing life to slip through his fingers without putting up more of a fight?
That's what was running through my mind he processed his memories.
Thea: It's too bad Tommy couldn't make it, though.
Malcolm: Well, they've got him working triple shifts at the hospital now, and Chicago isn't exactly next door.
For a second there, I really thought Thea might not go back or that she might choose an alternate route to get there. But with Malcolm in the picture, you just knew he'd be the catalyst to drive her into fight and flight mode.
As beautiful as it was to drape herself in the warmth of her parents again, to see her best friend alive and happy, they were memories. She had already been through the pain of their loss, so the revisit was a gift she can take with her.
No matter what the aliens do now, at least they can't take from everyone the rather kind way of trying to trap everyone that they used.
Getting off the alien ship was ridiculously easy. If fighting aliens is this easy, they should come down all the time. When you think of Barry's first ALIENS!!! shout upon seeing them and how easily they're really bested, well, it's silly.
At least Oliver accounted his understanding of the weapon on the wall to the similarity of technology Ray had just been talking about, but nobody seemed to take credit for steering the ship. They just jumped into the Disney ride and were off. Was it being steered by Felicity and friends?
I'll just roll with that.
This whole melee wraps up tomorrow on DC's Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 7. Go ahead, poo poo the show. It's become my favorite for the candid humor and outright enjoyment factor. We got two new characters this season with Nate (who greeted everyone at the end) and Amaya aka Vixen, and they're awesome.
That's when we'll be kickin' some alien ass. Finally. We've spent so much time building up to it, it had better be worth the pay off. And I'm expecting it to be comical, so there are big expectations ahead.
What did you think of Arrow's 100th episode? Did you enjoy seeing the Queen family together again (for the first time)? What are your hopes for the wrap up? What characters have you missed that you think need to be showcased? Hit me up in the comments!
And if you want to go back and see how some of these fake memories came to light, watch Arrow online and get to know the original characters from the beginning!
The following slideshow contains photos from the end run of the crossover event. Enjoy!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.