The Flash experiences a high-speed reversal of fortune as “Armageddon” continues

Eobard Thawne, Damien Darhk, and Batwoman all drop in on “Armageddon, Part 4”

The Flash experiences a high-speed reversal of fortune as “Armageddon” continues

Grant Gustin, Tom Cavanagh Photo: Katie Yu (The CW)

After three episodes of throat-clearing, “Armageddon” finally achieves the giddy velocity of the best crossover episodes, at least in spurts. It’s enough to make one wonder why season eight and this five-part event didn’t start here: with Barry learning the timeline has been altered, resulting in Eobard Thawne taking his place as both the Flash and the love of Iris’s life. All of the preamble with Despero these past few weeks feels like a waste of time that could have been used to better effect. And given what’s revealed tonight, it doesn’t seem to make much sense.

Why would Despero come back to 2021 looking for the Flash when, from the point of view of everyone in 2031, it’s the Reverse-Flash bringing about Armageddon? Despero’s whole story about the Flash going mad doesn’t fit in with what we find in this altered timeline, where the Eobard Flash is still known as a hero. I know, I know, it’s pointless to try to find logic in multiple-timeline scenarios like this, but all the time manipulation stuff feels off here. Thawne killed Barry as a child, but it doesn’t really count until midnight when the timeline solidifies? That’s convenient!

If you’re able to put all that out of mind, there’s fun to be had here. We pick up at the 2031 celebration of the impending Thawne/West nuptials. (There’s no mention of it here, but Iris was once romantically involved with Eobard’s distant ancestor Eddie, so it’s not entirely improbable that she’d be attracted to a Thawne…even if it is unsettling to witness.) An expanded version of Team Flash is in attendance, including Ryan Wilder/Batwoman (Javica Leslie), Alex Danvers/Sentinel (Chyler Leigh), and Ryan Choi (Osric Chau), revealed tonight as the new Atom (with a costume much closer to its comic book origins than the Ray Palmer super-suit). When Barry crashes the party, they recognize him as the Reverse-Flash, and a battle ensues.

Barry learns that he wasn’t going crazy after all. It was Thawne who attacked City Hall in his Flash guise. He was also responsible for Joe’s accident, removing him from this revised timeline. And he went all the way back to the 2013 birth of the Flash to ensure he would be the one struck by lightning (which raises the question of who was Harrison Wells in this version of reality, and how the particle accelerator exploded if it wasn’t Thawne, and…I said I wasn’t going to do this).

Barry’s only hope is to enlist Damien Darhk to his cause, which he does by at first playing along with being the Reverse-Flash and then revealing the truth about the timeline disruption, which resulted in the death of Darhk’s daughter Nora. Darkh has his time stone and a gizmo called the PED, the combined forces of which will erase the anachronisms if Barry can get up enough speed to break the time barrier. Doing so will cause earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanoes…you know, Armageddon. But if he succeeds, that won’t matter because this future won’t ever have happened.

The biggest problem with this altered timeline is that we don’t get to spend enough time in it. There’s a scene at STAR Labs where Thawne is struggling to play the good guy, but it’s also clear that his leadership style is far more decisive than Barry’s. It might have been fun to play this out a little more and get into the dynamics of this version of Team Flash, but instead many precious minutes are devoted to pushing Chester and Allegra toward the romance the regular timeline has been hinting at since last season. Why should we care if this soon-to-be-nonexistent version of them gets together? And was anyone dying to hear Ryan Choi’s real thoughts on love? We barely know this guy.

As we know (and the show won’t let us forget), Barry Allen is the real Paragon of Love, and he proves it again by convincing future alt-Iris that she loves him, not Thawne. Back in 2021, almost all of Team Flash is dead and Despero is about to finish off Cecile when Barry arrives with the timeline-healing energy. The story doesn’t end here, however, as Thawne pursues Barry through time and is determined to mess it up again with Gideon’s help. “Armageddon” has one chapter to go, but this installment gives us a pretty good idea of what it should have looked like all along.

Stray observations

  • Did I mention that Chillblaine is Frost’s boyfriend in this reality, and also part of Team Flash? I think Darhk got it right when he called him Chill-lame.
  • Joe is alive again and Barry talks to him on the phone, but Jesse L. Martin still doesn’t make an appearance. He must have negotiated quite a contract for this season.

Join the discussion...