Last week, Supergirl teamed up with The Flash, Arrow, and DC's Legends of Tomorrow to tell the story of "Invasion!," in which an alien race known as The Dominators invaded Earth and did battle with the heroes of the CW's DC Universe.
...well, multiverse. You know.
Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl crossed over with DC's Legends of Tomorrow in a three-part crossover that started in the final moments of an episode of Supergirl and then played through the other series. Based on the 1988 comic book event miniseries Invasion! from Keith Giffen, Bill Mantlo, Todd McFarlane, Bart Sears, and more, the event tracked the plot of that storyline: The Dominators descended on Earth to bring an end to the "threat" of Earth's burgeoning metahuman community. In the TV version, rather than assembling a loose alliance of dangerous alien races, the Dominators attacked on their own, and briefly mind-controlled some superheroes into fighting each other.
Oh, and by the way? It was awesome.
The event delivered huge ratings and was generally well-received by just about everybody, and of course all involved are already talking about how they could do it next.
It's been a week, but we're still so excited, we wanted to take a look back at our favorite elements of the crossover, to give us a little bit of a positive vibe going out of The CW's midseason finale week.
So read on, and if we missed anything, let us know in the comments!
NEXT: The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow Crossover Trailer / First Look At The Dominators / Invasion! Crossover Promo Photos / Potential The Flash Spoiler Spotted On Set / Will Joe West Die During The Invasion! Crossover? / Enter To Win An Ultra-Rare Invasion! Crossover T-Shirt
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT; The Flash on Tuesdays at the same time; Arrowon Wednesdays and DC's Legends of Tomorrow on Thursdays.
BEST TEAM-UP EVER
The enthusiasm for the crossover from fans was met and exceeded by the enthusiasm for the whole thing on the part of the characters.
Felicity Smoak's "best team-up ever!" may have become grating after about the tenth trailer it appeared in, but the fact that everyone involved with the event seemed to be really enjoying themselves, from Felicity to Curtis ("I get to hack alien tech? This is the best day ever!") to HR and around the whole circle of characters.
The events of The Flash's season premiere are out in the open now, and the heroes of The CW's DC Universe have responded to them.
Also, in the course of the story, the "Flashpoint" storyline has been somewhat redeemed. There has been a sense this season that, especially compared to the universe-altering version from the comics, Barry's messing with the timestream had had relatively little consequence.
Not so much anymore, once it attracted the attention of alien invaders and enraged the rest of the world's heroes.
IT GAVE STEIN DIRECTION
Professor Martin Stein didn't make the cut as the new Captain of the Waverider after former Time Master Rip Hunter disappeared in the season premiere (don't worry, he's back...kind of...), and since then, he's been kind of wandering.
Given the fact that all the Firestorm action is done by Franz Drameh, since it's Jax's young and fit body that catches fire and flies, it sometimes feels like Victor Garber is left without a ton to do...but introducing the plot thread of Stein's daughter Lily has given him a lot of emotional heft to work with already, and promises to provide a lot more storytelling for the remainder of the Legends season.
The hundredth episode of Arrow wasn't anything groundbreaking -- as we pointed out at the time, it had shades of It's a Wonderful Life, For the Man Who Has Everything, etc. -- but it was still great.
The challenge presented by trying to recognize Arrow's five years of history while also serving the needs of the crossover was a significant one, and we had our doubts going in that both aspects would be as well-served as they were. Ultimately, you had a middle section of the crossover that felt a little bit like a digression -- but a welcome one -- and one of the best episodes of Arrow...well, ever.
EVERYBODY BROUGHT THEIR A-GAME
The performances in "Invasion!" were top-notch, and there were so many standouts that it's nearly impossible to count them all.
Probably the biggest winner was Stephen Amell, since he was clearly the centerpiece of the Arrow episode while everybody else had to share camera time, but honestly, every episode had at least one or two actors who absolutely killed it.
The cast and crew behind the shows was very open about how difficult this was to manage, in terms of logistics and scheduling, but it seems as though will or adrenaline carried them through and helped them to step up to the challenge in front of them.
This is almost implicit in the concept, but the scale of this is something that's truly laudable.
They could easily have brought the various casts together to battle the Legion of Doom, currently appearing in DC's Legends of Tomorrow and featuring multiple villains, each of whom has vexed people with powers for significant amounts of time in the past. Bringing in aliens allowed them to do something truly creative, to do some effects that audiences never thought they'd see on a show like Arrow, and it gave a really good explanation for why Barry's first thought was "I need to get Supergirl."
Also: they managed the scale of the other things really well. The size of the cast was daunting, but everybody got at least some screen time that made it clear why they were there and what they were bringing to the table. And the "airfield battle" may have played out pretty quickly, but it gave a sense for the scope of the story: a dozen or so superheroes facing off against a horde of (really cool) CG aliens in prime time!
THE NATURE OF THE BEAST
It remains pretty rare that either movies or TV take a serious stab at adapting any particular story from the comics, so the idea that this was Invasion! and not just "Heroes vs. Aliens" is a pretty great thing to think about.
While it diverged pretty significantly from the comics it was based on, the most important part of the premise -- that the Dominators weren't just random alien invaders, but were coming to deal with the "threat" of Earth's rising metahuman population and what it would mean for the rest of the universe if someone with Flash-level powers were to be irresponsible or violent -- remained intact.
One of the things that happened last year is that almost nothing that was playing out in Arrow and The Flash was reflected in the "Legends of Yesterday" and "Legends of Today" episodes that led into the DC's Legends of Tomorrow pilot.
This year, they managed to craft a story where elements of what was going on in each show were at least referenced (Vigilante, new costumes for ATOM and Steel, etc.), and at most a major part of the story (Flashpoint). It made "Invasion!" feel like a key part of the season instead of just a special little diversion along the way.
What Supergirl brought to The CW was pretty clear from the word go, and what she brought to the crossover just as much so.
But of course, it's always difficult -- especially in a crossover populated by a dozen or so heroes -- to have one character so powerful and drawing so much focus. Would Supergirl tilt the balance of the story? Would having a multiversal component be too much for a show like Arrow?
...Turns out, no. Supergirl fit in perfectly with the story, and seeing her bounce off of the other characters of the Arrowverse was a highlight of the story. Using her (mind-controlled) as a foe to the other heroes briefly particularly helped deal with the "is Supergirl powerful enough to turn away the invasion herself?" question.
IT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS
After each show posted massive ratings gains during the crossover, somebody broke down the numbers to show that The CW had experienced its best ratings week in years.
Why's that good? The same reason any ratings or box office success is reported on as a big deal: it means there's more to come.
At the beginning of the season, there was a feeling that Legends of Tomorrow -- an expensive show, and often the lowest-rated of the four DC shows -- was on the cancellation bubble, for instance, while at this point in the season it seems like more or less a sure thing. And showrunners are already speculating about how next year's crossover -- maybe a true four-episode affair? -- could be undertaken.
That's nothing but exciting.