The Dose: The CW’s ‘Heroes vs. Aliens’ is the ‘best team-up ever’

The Dose: The CW’s ‘Heroes vs. Aliens’ is the ‘best team-up ever’

The Dose: The CW’s ‘Heroes vs. Aliens’ is the ‘best team-up ever’
December 04
13:20 2016

“Heroes vs. Aliens,” the CW’s four-night event, kicked off on Monday with the “Supergirl” episode “Medusa.” Thanks to a well-devised marketing strategy, the CW billed the event as a crossover between its four DC superhero shows.

This storyline, called “Invasion,” is better described as a three-night event with a tiny connection to “Supergirl.” Because “The Flash” characters appearance in “Supergirl” was so brief, I can understand why some people might feel deceived by the CW marketing strategy.

While the CW skillfully advertised the crossover as a four-night, the “Supergirl” episode did not add anything substantive to the “Invasion” story arc. Logically, with the episodes from “The Flash,” “Arrow” and “Legends of Tomorrow” bearing the same title, the inclusion of “Supergirl” seems like an afterthought.

Despite this point, even though the scene with Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) was brief, it was clear a significant threat had prompted a visit to Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist).

Featuring multiple encounters between the Girl of Steel and Cyborg Superman (David Harewood), “Medusa,” was action-packed. Lillian Luthor (Brenda Strong), the mother of Lex and Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath), attempted to release an airborne Kryptonian chemical, which is designed to kill all alien lives except for Kryptonians. Unlike her brother, Lena was determined to follow a different path. She disappointed her mother by preventing alien life in National City from being killed.

A significant scene, at least for members of the LGBTQ community, revolved around Dr. Eliza Danvers (Helen Slater) and her relationship with her daughter Alex (Chyler Leigh). Alex was attempting to come out as gay. Many people, myself included, can relate to the anxiety Alex was feeling.

The actual “invasion” happened on “The Flash” where an alien vessel crash landed in Central City. Initially believing the vessel to be a meteorite, the Flash sped to the location. His reaction to seeing aliens on his Earth was priceless.

The aliens, called “the Dominators,” are a clear and present danger to humanity as we know it. Barry rushed to Star City to recruit Team Arrow in his fight against the invading aliens. In addition to Team Arrow, members of the “Legends of Tomorrow” were also called upon to lend a hand.

If you are wondering how the Girl of Steel plays a role in this episode, the scenes in “Medusa” when Barry and Cisco visited Earth 38 are key. Earth 38 is what Cisco refers to as Supergirl’s Earth. Relative to “Invasion,” it made sense to incorporate Earth 38 scenes into “The Flash” episode.

Team dynamics were jeopardized when Team Arrow and the Legends learned Barry had tampered with the timeline in an effort to prevent his arch-nemesis from killing his mother. Although Barry tried to repair damages he had done when he created the Flashpoint timeline, an alternate reality he lived in for months, he is unsuccessful in restoring everything back to how it was.

Virtually everyone’s life had been affected. Cisco’s brother Dante (Nicholas Gonzalez) is dead, Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) develops metahuman powers, Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) eventually acquires speedster powers similar to those Barry has and where John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson) originally had a daughter, they now have a son.

Even though Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber) now has a daughter, that might have been a result of Stein giving his younger self (Graeme McComb) a stern talking to for not paying enough attention to his wife.

The kidnapping of the president was a ploy from the Dominators to get the heroes in the open. Using mind control, the aliens turned Supergirl, Speedy (Willa Holland), White Canary (Caity Lotz) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) against Barry and Oliver.

The fight between Green Arrow and White Canary was well-choreographed. The same is true for the chase sequences between the Flash and Supergirl.

The “Flash” episode closed with many of the heroes being kidnapped. The Dominators teleported them to their mothership. It was notable that the Dominators did not kidnap any metahumans or Supergirl.

On Wednesday, “Arrow” initially appeared to be disconnected from the storyline, in which Oliver and most of the heroes were stuck inside a virtual world where the people he loved were still alive.

Reality seeped through the visual cortex, interfering with the false imagery that the Dominators planted in the heroes’ minds. They were looking for weaknesses. The hallucination presented a world of “what might have been” if Oliver had not boarded his father’s boat, which led him to become Green Arrow in the first place.

The simulated reality tries to fight back by placing obstacles in the heroes’ way. Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) and Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) fought the heroes.

In the real world, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), Mr. Terrific (Echo Kellum), Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez), Ragman (Joe Dinicol) and Cisco were working on finding their kidnapped super friends.

After Oliver, Diggle, Thea, Ray and Sarah took a ship from the alien mothership, they were pursued. The heroes were saved by Steel (Nick Zano) and Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) when the Waverider suddenly appeared.

The “Heroes vs. Aliens” crossover event concluded well on Thursday with the “Legends of Tomorrow” installment.

The producers unquestionably saved the best for last. If anything, this episode proved what Felicity said on “The Flash” was correct. “Heroes vs. Aliens” is the “best team-up ever.”

The “Legends of Tomorrow” episode is, quite simply, the CW’s most ambitious hour of television.

An aspect of the crossover was how screen time was divided between the main characters. Imagine trying to accommodate the needs of 22 main characters. For the most part, the producers pulled off the task. While many of the characters were utilized perfectly, Supergirl was not used as much as she should’ve been.

In an effort to discover what the Dominators’ plan is, Steel, Heat Wave, Vixen, Overwatch and Cisco traveled to ’50s-era Oregon to capture and interrogate one of them. Like a lot of missions, this one did not go according to plan. Instead, three of the heroes were captured by mysterious “men in black.” It took Overwatch and Cisco, with some awesome “tech support,” to rescue their friends.

Meanwhile in 2016, the rest of the team came face-to-face with one of the men in black. The team handled the mysterious G-men easily.

Barry initially believed the Dominators were not related to Flashpoint, but all these CW shows are now connected. Cisco was mad at Barry for messing with the timeline, but Cisco allowing the 1951 Dominator to go home is equally as culpable for the mess they find themselves. It’s another change to the timeline, which will surely have a ripple effect later on.

The heroes defeated the Dominators in the best televised crossover of the past few years. Thankfully, these crossovers are now annual events.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

About Author

Shain E. Thomas

Shain E. Thomas

Born in Sacramento, University of North Texas graduate student Shain E. Thomas is an actor, social historian and a freelance entertainment journalist. Shain, a member of National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) and the UNT chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), is interested in studying Antebellum American history.

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