So, as the hundredth episode of Arrow that was pretty damn good. As for it being the second part of a massive crossover it left a lot to be desired. So lets talk about part two of “Invasion” which was a hell of a lot more of an Arrows greatest hits than anything else, and you know what its kind of what I wanted in retrospect. It feels very odd that the CW would let Arrow’s one-hundredth fall squarely in the middle of the big crossover week. It not like there was any way to push or rush the crossover I guess, but the episode largely suffers from the sam issues I have with the Supergirl part of this four part epic, not a whole lot of crossover importance. Make no mistake all of the Arrow parts of the episode are pretty good, but the crossover felt really shoe horned in to the entire episode. I guess you can try to have your cake and eat it too, you just unfortunately get sick some times.
So in a change of pace I am going to start with the weakest part of the episode the actual crossover bits. I mean I am all for Barry and Kara’s antics in the field, and Cisco proving to be more fun than all the new recruits, but the rest of it just felt so bleh. Especially considering how well all of the crossover aspects were incorporated into last nights episode. There should have been more depth and substance to the whole side plot other than Wild Dog learning to begrudgingly respect Barry and Kara. Also the turn of the Dominators using Torah math was a little dumb, there simply had to be a better way to incorporate Rory and Curtis into the episode other than them simply fanboying out.
As for the rest of the episode it was pretty good in hitting all the right emotional strings to elicit fan reaction. Stephen Amell and Willa Holland were clearly the standouts in the virtual reality as the most dealt with their demons in their own ways. Amell was great as Ollie put together the pieces and managed to become the leader we know him to be. I especially enjoyed his big conversations with Laurel about just eloping and running away and the final big talk with Thea. Both of these could have easily come off as hokey but Amell sells the crap out of Oliver’s realization that he can still do more on his mission. What really made it all click together was watching Oliver agree with Thea on some level that the virtual reality was actually better than the life they are living. After last night we know on some level that if Ollie could throw it all away he would, so to see him give it up to continue the fight was great.
As for the rest of the team they were mostly hit or miss. Watching Sara and Laurel interact was definitely really enjoyable and Katie Cassidy and Caity Lotz always have really solid chemistry in scenes. Diggle was another standout as he became the Green Arrow because of all of the stuff he was part of in the army. Sadly Ray was just kind of there and never really had a plot develop for him outside of the fact the Dominators only captured non metas. It would have been great if we actually got to see why the Dominators wanted them all outside of mining for information until their mysterious weapon was finished. There had to be a better way than to It’s a Wonderful Life the members of Team Arrow.
As for the action it was pretty solid throughout. Sure Slade becoming everyone’s punching bag is probably the largest down grade any villain has ever gotten, but it still was fun to see him pop back up. The big escape from the ship had just enough sci-fi touches to make it not feel so out of place on Arrow and having Flash and Supergirl team up to beat Cyber Woman was a cool little scene. I just wish the big showdown at the end had a little bit more of an oomph instead of feeling resolved so quickly. I realize we were in a slight crunch for time but it could have been a little bit more to seal the emotion and weight of Ollie fighting his old enemies.
Overall the episode managed to do just enough to tie into the crossover, but really managed to nail all the aspects of Arrow 100.
Final Grade B+
+Fun final fight scene
+Great performances by Amell and Holland
+Barry/Kara team up fight
+Great emotional beats
-Crossover plot was pretty weak
-Ray fairly useless in the virtual reality
-Fun little joke that Tommy is a doctor in Chicago since Colin Donnell couldn’t make it for the crossover. Guessing that rules out the whole Tommy as Prometheus theory.
-Seriously what the hell was up with CGI Roy? They couldn’t talk Colton Haynes into one day on set or was he also too busy?
-Laurel’s Black Canary necklace was awesome. I really hope it makes a comeback somehow.
-The thing that didn’t belong in Ollie’s dream world was Smoak Tech. Just like it never really belonged on the show in the first place.
-Also not having Ra’s in the big bad villain team seemed weird. People give him a lot of crap but I thought overall Ra’s was a fun character.