Season 5, Episode 5: “Invasion!”
Original Air Date: November 30th, 2016
Oh. My. God. How am I supposed to react to this episode of Arrow? I have never been speechless before. I have SO MANY STILLS and I literally took notes while watching the episode because I knew there would be an overwhelming amount of oh-my-god. Like… two pages of notes. Yeah, I’ve come prepared.
This may be basic information, but it may be important to know that this is the 100th episode of Arrow. Congratulations to the cast and crew. Seriously. It’s hard to make such a great TV show. A lot of past Arrow characters made guest appearances in its 100th episode, like Moira, Robert, and especially Laurel. Unfortunately, Tommy (Colin Donnell) couldn’t make it to shoot, but the writers (or maybe it was an adlib by John Barrowman?) managed to add a sick-ass allusion. Something about Tommy not being able to make the party because he was a doctor in Chicago. Disclaimer: Colin Donnell is shooting Chicago Med right now.
Because the Arrowverse is now familiar to metahumans, aliens, and magic, the producers wanted to bring back the essence and roots of Arrow. Which is something they’ve been doing all season. In other words, this episode is inevitably hardcore.
The episode began with an action shot of Oliver running through leaves and trees. Sound familiar? If it doesn’t, you may want to re-watch Season one. Or just the first episode for that matter. Just the first few seconds, at least. But WAIT! Plot twist! It’s not the “Pilot,” and Oliver isn’t sprinting through Lian Yu. He’s actually “on a run” in his neighborhood, and he’s on his way to his home to shower…with Laurel. (Editor’s note: didn’t they also do this at the beginning of Season Four, too?)
Hold on, I’ll let you comprehend that information for a bit. Let it soak in. Is it weird that I spent 3 paragraphs talking about the first 10 seconds of the episode? Phew. Anyway, the next scene takes place in a really nice bathroom because yes, I did say he was showering with Laurel. Yes, they are dating. Engaged, actually. To be married in like, two days. Why Oliver decided to sprint through a bunch of bushes on his run is really beyond me. (Although, no judgement. I’ve gone on a two-mile run before just to stomp in puddles.)
But of course, I guess the relationship isn’t not that weird because we do know that Oliver and Co. are currently abducted by aliens, right? So all this happy business is probably an illusion. So, not that confusing. Well, if you watched the previous night’s The Flash. Otherwise, you might be confused.
His smile. Oliver is smiling in this scene. Of course he is. He never got on the Queen’s Gambit. He has Laurel. He’s happy. Does that mean everything in his actual life is a disappointment? “I have everything and I don’t want to give it up.” Cry. I’m probably thinking too hard. Wait, scratch that sad stuff. The next scene is creepy. It shows the five characters (Oliver, Diggle, Sara, Thea, Ray) in stasis in an aliens’ space ship, wearing gray baggy clothes. But NICE GROUTFIT GUYS. Okay, then. Icky.
While this is going on, it seems Felicity has called on the new recruits into the Arrow cave and she has told them about the abduction. So what happened to the others? F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M.? Heatwave? (Well, Heatwave I can understand). Supergirl? The Flash? They’re like “Aye, oops, we lost five Arrow-ers. My bad. We’ll leave you to figure that out. Tell me when you get that figured out. Peace.”
But, yeah. Rory, Wild Dog, and Curtis sign on to figure out how to help “Oliver and company” (Cisco’s words, not mine). More importantly, the scene starts with Wild Dog doing the salmon ladder. Hell no. Oh hell no. That’s for people who are worthy. Step away. Step over the yellow line. Don’t go 25 feet NEAR that thing. No touching.
With Cisco’s help, the Green Arrow gang 2.0 gets closer to finding their friends. (And his quips and movie references. There were so many. Movie reference overload.)
Oh, here’s another Pilot-Easter-Egg for you. (Does this qualify as an Easter egg?)
“It’s called a hosen. It’s supposed to represent reconciliation.”
“No, this is a rock.”
Now… does that sound familiar?
That’s right, 10 points to Gryffindor. After coming home from the island in the pilot episode, Oliver gave Thea a “hosen”. 🙂 And this time, Thea gave Oliver one. All the feels.
CUE THE RETURN OF SUSANNA THOMPSON.
Our most beloved characters, so dearly missed, returned to the Arrow community for this episode. It’s actually so nostalgic and heart-warming to have Moira back. And Susanna Thompson is actually so beautiful. I do not understand, how can she look younger than she did in season 2?
Here’s a quote for you that’s bound to make you sob: “We have been blessed to watch the two of you [Thea and Oliver] grow up.”
But they HAVEN’T, THOUGH. In real life, they died before they could see both Thea and Oliver mature to be the wonderful human beings they are now. I think I have a tear coming out of my eyes. Or allergies. A cat just fell into my eye.
Let’s be real here for a second: I’ll try to stop myself from making my lame jokes. I am in love with the way they showed the “memory flashes” (as Oliver explained it) in the episode. They were shown like TV glitches. Gotta be honest. I thought my laptop was dying for the first two seconds.
I’m so sad to see the wonderful life Oliver and Thea had. Throughout the show, they went through so much that they didn’t deserve. They deserved to have a life like this. However, it’s interesting to think that without going through what they have, they could have never become the people they are now. For example, Oliver could still be a play boy. Maybe he still cheated on Laurel. Or Thea could have gone to jail for drug-abuse. It’s definitely interesting to think about.
But actually though, this episode has made me incredibly sad at how happy they were with their families. And when Oliver knew everything wasn’t real, he hugged his parents. He knew it was the last time he could.
When Thea said she didn’t want to leave. That really almost had me in tears. Really. I actually thought she wouldn’t return home. (Editor’s note: Thea and Oliver’s goodbye was the hardest moment to watch.)
“What is waiting for us wherever we are right now? Nothing. There’s powers now, they don’t need us. We finally have a chance to be happy.”
So, I’ve been talking about Thea and Oliver this entire time. Let’s talk about Sara and Ray. (We’ll get to Diggle, I promise.)
So, Sara TOTALLY kicked ass this episode, AS PER USUAL. “You’re lucky I’m not a trained assassin or anything.” You know what moment I’m talking about? Oliver has just walked in missing the rehearsal dinner, and Sara-the-fucking-savage is throwing ACID at him. In buckets.
Also, you know later in the episode when Deathstroke attacks Diggle and Oliver while they were talking (AND OLIVER IS JUST FLAILING HIS ARMS) and Sara the actual assassin just demolishes Deathstroke? Whew. Girl power. Love that girl.
Felicity was Ray’s fiance. I think I have a little crack in my heart. Although, it does make sense. Really, if your relationship has as much drama as Oliver and Felicity, it’s probably not a good match. In the long run, Ray and Felicity would be forever.
Then we learn through a short fight sequence that Diggle is actually the Green Arrow. Really. REALLY. You wouldn’t think it makes sense, but it does. He wants to repent for his sins while in the army. Seriously though? Plot hole: what of the odds that to be a vigilante Diggle chose to wear a green costume with a hood, and shoot a bow and arrow? He was in the army, after all.
I would like to think this episode was important for the characters (not only Thea and Oliver) to say their goodbyes and let go of the regrets that have haunted them throughout their lives. Oliver and Thea saying goodbye to his parents. Everyone saying goodbye to Laurel (especially Sara and Oliver). Ray and Felicity making amends. These things have probably haunted them for so long, and this episode could be considered as a way of them letting go. You know what would have made it ten times better? If Shado actually returned. God, I love her character. Although, it might just reopen scars. Oliver let go of his regrets related to Shado a long time ago. (Editor’s Note: YOU KNOW WHO’S BETTER THAN SHADO? NYSSA.)
So, I’m not just talking about physically saying goodbye to the people they never got to say goodbye to. I’m talking about the characters fighting their demons. You see when all the villains were lined up near the end? It was so nice to see the characters matching up.
Oliver against Deathstroke. He had to juggle killing Slade for the entire time the show has been running. Slade also represented his time on the island, and everything he had done there.
Diggle matched up against the Ghost (Darhk’s henchman). I would like to think under the mask was Andy and Diggle was facing his regrets for killing his little brother.
Sara fought Darhk. Which, of course, makes sense. Darhk killed her sister, Laurel, and she never got to say goodbye. She actually wasn’t aware of her death until much later. So she wanted to battle that guilt, I guess? Or just fighting Darhk because, you know, he killed her sister. Significant.
Thea went against Malcolm, her father. Her darkest secret that Malcolm is her father, and he has done many horrible things to keep her safe. She could be guilty about that, or guilty about the hatred she shows her father. Dunno.
Ray… I don’t know about Ray. I don’t really know what he was doing this episode, actually. At all. Leave your conspiracy theories in the comments, I guess?
I don’t watch Legends of Tomorrow, so, tell me if I’m wrong, but Ray is basically not trained in any physical combat, right? So what’s he doing battling one of the main villains of Arrow? Sigh.
And Laurel came out to say goodbye after that battle ended. And she didn’t know why they were leaving. She thought Oliver was getting cold feet right before their marriage. She thought Sara didn’t love her anymore. The two people closest to her were leaving. Ow. I’ve been impaled in the chest. With a truck. (Just like season one all over again.)
May I just mention: I wasn’t keen on aliens as the 4-night-crossover began, but now I’m really digging how the GENIUSES over at the Arrowverse drawing table were able to make each night, indeed, reflect the vibe of the shows they are on. (4-night-crossover though? 4-night-crossover my butt. That Supergirl episode totally did not count.) In the Flash, we were able to see the repercussions of Barry travelling back in time. The episode was so Flash. And this episode was just so Arrow. They have done such a nice job.
I’m not familiar with Legends of Tomorrow, but I bet the episode tomorrow will seriously kick butt.
Watch Arrow 8/7c Wednesday nights on the CW.