NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of “The Flash”, including a major character death, are present in this review
Coming off of the awesome high point that was last week’s Kevin Smith-directed episode of The Flash, it’s disappointing to see the series stumble a bit this week, in Season Two’s penultimate episode. “Invincible” started out by promising a big epic battle with a whole army of metahumans, all of which were led to Earth-One by Zoom, but that’s not really how things went down. Instead, the show strangely moves away from that idea, and devolves into yet another by-the-book confrontation with one of Zoom’s lieutenants, even if it is a familiar face, sort of.
Despite its narrative flaws, “Invincible” still had a couple of great, earth-shattering moments at the very least, and one of these came with the entire destruction of Mercury Labs, landing Tina McGee with the S.T.A.R. Labs crew for this week, and also giving her a convenient chance to meet Henry Allen, in a pretty cute moment for fans of the Flash TV series from 1990. Apparently, Zoom is destroying buildings around Central City, and he’s using one of his particular Earth-Two baddies to do it; Black Siren, a.k.a. the Earth-Two Laurel Lance!
Yes, despite the Earth-One Laurel being killed on Arrow this season, Katie Cassidy has been given another chance to appear in the DC Television Universe, albeit this time as Laurel’s evil doppelganger. Cassidy really relishes the return as well, and her Black Siren is a big highlight in this episode! As much as it’s annoying to have her serve as the brunt of Barry’s struggles this week, rather than Barry and Team Flash having to take on the entire army of metahumans that Zoom brought to Central City, Black Siren, true to the show’s odd pattern of the female metahumans usually being a lot better than the male ones for some reason, is one of the better metahumans-of-the-week that the show has featured this season.
As much as Black Siren is a fun and effectively dangerous menace though, it doesn’t change the fact that the episode kind of pulls a bait-and-switch with Zoom’s other metahumans. The liberal array of Easter eggs that appear to show DC heroes and villains among Zoom’s forces just pours salt in the wound, since Barry literally rounds most of them up in seconds. That kind of deflates the big issue of an all-out metahuman assault on Central City, if Barry’s not even breaking a sweat while capturing them. That’s very frustrating, especially since I can definitely confirm that evil Earth-Two versions of Fire, Ice, Hawk, Dove, and The Question are blatantly glimpsed among Zoom’s forces, along with a DC Television Universe version of Livewire, and those are just the easily recognizable characters! I’m sure that even more devout DC enthusiasts could point out even more personalities that are unofficially part of Zoom’s forces.
Going back to Barry however, his weird optimism also felt like a poor fit for the episode. It goes somewhere promising by the end, but after his experience within the Speed Force, Barry is suddenly walking on sunshine, despite Central City literally being ripped apart by an army of metahumans, even if they don’t seem to be much of an issue for Barry, in fairness. I get how Barry might be feeling elated by the return of his powers, but as the other characters point out, Barry could at least act a little concerned that his city is falling apart around him. This unrealistic bliss just draws attention to the fact that Zoom’s big endgame isn’t really causing much of a problem so far, despite the big pomp and circumstance that the past couple of episodes have had in the lead-up to it.
Also, speaking of the city not having a proportionate response to the metahuman situation, why the hell is everyone still there?! It’s really hard to take the, “Metapocalypse” seriously when Central City isn’t even slowed down by it. It’s especially unrealistic to see the citizens as carefree as Barry while metahumans take over their city, with the authorities not even trying to evacuate people. At least when the Deathstroke army attacked Star(ling) City during the climax of Arrow’s superb second season, citizens had the good sense to at least try to get the hell out of dodge! Surely, people would logically scram even faster when they’re actually under threat of people with real, actual superpowers, beyond mere strength!
Fortunately, like I said, “Invincible” still had a few good bright spots beyond Katie Cassidy’s great guest turn as Black Siren. The idea of Caitlin suffering shock and PTSD from being kidnapped by Zoom is pretty intriguing, as was Cisco constantly vibing a mysterious image of dead birds. The two even put their heads together with Wells for a pretty cool solution to stop the metahumans, as they use Barry’s speed to create a sound barrier around the city that interrupts Earth-Two frequencies and knocks out anyone from Earth-Two. Despite the ear protection, Jesse is also temporarily pained by it, suggesting that she may have been changed by the dark matter wave in some respect after all, despite Caitlin finding no genetic alterations. That just left the pesky issue of Black Siren, who Cisco and Caitlin temporarily fool by dressing up as Reverb and Killer Frost (sadly, this is another fake-out in the exciting preview), begging the question of how they had the clothes of their evil Earth-Two doppelgangers handy. Even for this show, that’s a pretty massive stretch. Anyway, this just served as an excuse for Cisco to accidentally use his powers more offensively, but it doesn’t work a second time, and Barry ends up bailing them out thanks to the big sound gizmo.
For all of these frustrations, the end of the episode at least started having proper stakes behind everything, as Zoom appears to flee with the defeat of the Earth-Two metahumans, whom Barry rounds up and imprisons between Iron Heights and The Pipeline. It looks like a happy ending for the crew, especially as romance blossoms between Henry and Tina (of course), but as viewers no doubt know, we have one episode left in the season. Zoom knows this too, as he suddenly re-appears, leads Barry back to his childhood home, then forces him to watch as he murders Henry right in front of Barry, closing out the episode! Holy crap! That was really unexpected, and it nicely capitalized on Barry and the rest of the crew getting cocky and believing they’d won, despite most of Barry’s cockiness being pretty unrealistic.
“Invincible” is an annoying speed bump for The Flash as it approaches the end of its great second season, but at least the episode had enough good moments to avoid it feeling like a complete disappointment. Still, the promise of a huge metahuman showdown gave way to a surprisingly trite and annoying plot execution, beyond a good villain-of-the-week, and a surprisingly tragic ending to lead into next week’s season finale. With Cisco vibing a plan with potential global implications (hilariously occurring at the same time as the other impending doomsday scenario unfolding on Arrow right now), and Henry now having been killed as another price for Barry to pay in his long battle against Zoom, the real final showdown is now here, and Barry will need everything he has to finally stop the menace of Zoom once and for all!
- Tina getting to join Team Flash and meet Henry
- Cassidy's great Black Siren
- Zoom murdering Henry before Barry's eyes
- Weak, unchallenging metahuman invasion
- Several ridiculous story elements
- Barry's high confidence doesn't make sense