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Friday, 2 December 2016

Invasion! Part Four.

Part Four.

So we're here at the final part of this year's big DCTV crossover event, the Legends of Tomorrow episode that is meant to cap the whole thing off. With all the hype the CW has been trying to build for this, and with eighty-five minutes of buildup to this grand finale, the pressure is certainly on to make this a memorable and dramatic finale.

So, does it succeed? Not -- really, to be honest. We'll talk about that in a moment.

In this week's episode, Nate, Amaya, Mick, Cisco and Felicity go back in time to the 50s, intending to capture a Dominator and interrogate it as to the reasons behind their invasion of Earth. However, in the process, they found themselves running afoul of the US government, who capture both them and the Dominator. Meanwhile, in the present, the team discover that the US had a peace treaty with the Dominators, which was broken when Barry created Flashpoint, and that the Dominators wish to exterminate all metahumans, seeing them as a threat. As the Dominators drop a bomb that will wipe out all metahumans, the team faces them in battle in Central City.

I'm actually struggling to think of much to say about this episode, because to be honest, it's just kind of -- blah. In a way, the element that was such a strong point in the past two episodes -- the push to have each episode tie into the themes and storylines of The Flash and Arrow -- is this episode's biggest weakness. 

Also, Nate's costume is ridiculous.

Legends of Tomorrow is easily the weakest show of the bunch, with the least going for it in terms of both running themes and interesting subplots, and in lieu of interesting ongoing conflicts to work with, the writers instead try to shoehorn most of the episode into a standard Legends plot structure. Thus, rather than devoting valuable screen time to establishing the Dominators as a threat and building up to a battle with them, we waste most of the episode on time travel shenanigans. 

But to be honest, none of the time travel stuff is interesting, and it doesn't lead us onto any interesting conclusions. The revelation that the Dominators hate metahumans and want to eliminate them is weak, and just feels like kind of a limp and lifeless explanation for their actions, and its only purpose seems to be to make Barry inclined to give himself up to them so that everyone can have an emotional moment.

But the result, both of that weak motivation and the fact that we've encountered the Dominators very little during this crossover, is that the final battle doesn't really feel like it has any kind of dramatic weight. The Dominators haven't been established as a real threat, so seeing the heroes clash against them in battle doesn't feel like it has much going for it in the way of stakes. They're just random CGI mooks, and you could replace them with literally anything and have much the same effect.

The gang's all here.

We would have been much better off if the Dominators had had much of a presence thus far, or even if they'd been built up as ominous, shadowy manipulators in the background, but we've had basically nothing.

This is especially galling because the Dominators are actually a pretty interesting threat in comics, with the ability to functionally imbue members of their species with metahuman powers. So, wouldn't it have been more interesting if the first episode had actually culminated in a battle between the team and footsoldier Dominators, with Barry and Ollie arriving late to help save the day -- only for this episode to then see the team facing off against augmented meta-Dominators, who would all exhibit the powersets of one of the superpowered members of the team?

This episode also critically under-uses one of its main assets: Kara. Her addition to the cast is one of the big new draws of this crossover, and in both this episode and the last one she has barely shown up. The moments where she does appear are all very nice, but she has a very limited presence in both this episode and yesterday's episode, and that seems like a big miscalculation on the writers' parts. Ollie, Barry, and Kara are the big three of this shared multiverse, so the emphasis should always be on the three of them.

Yes, Nate, stay at the back where I do not have to look at you.

So, while this was certainly not a terrible episode, it was definitely a very disappointing end to what had, up to this point, been a pretty excellent crossover. It looks like next week we actually don't have a Supergirl episode, and it might even be going on hiatus until after Christmas, while on The Flash we have Jay Garrick returning for a battle with Savitar, with, one presumes, it going on hiatus immediately afterwards.

So that's a thing. Man, I'm going to see a sharp drop in how many ongoings I have, aren't I.

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