The tradition continues as the Sentries team up to cover the seventh annual CW/Arrowverse crossover event. This season the five-part “Armageddon” airs only on The Flash. Read “Part 1” here and “Part 2”.
Gordon S. Miller:
Turns out that Barry Allen / The Flash has called for the Injustice protocols to be activated and for Jefferson Pierce / Black Lightning (Cress Williams) to take away his powers. One would think something of this magnitude would require more than one other hero to be involved. It’s supposed to be permanent, but I can’t imagine the writers think anyone aside from children or people new to superhero stories would buy it. But then the writers make a lot of choices that don’t seem to make sense in the grand scheme.
Iris finally looks at video footage of Joe’s death, six months after the fact, and we all see that Joe disappeared before he was hit by a train. This not only begs the question who faked Joe’s death, but whose body was buried in his place of Joe? Iris informs Team Flash someone is purposely driving Barry mad using this fake out as proof. Oddly, Cecile has a meltdown with Joe’s death brought up, claiming Iris is just distracting them from finding Barry. Granted she might still be grieving, but how could Cecile think Iris is up to shenanigans after all she’s seen since becoming a member of Team Flash?
As the investigating commences with Allegra, Iris wants to back out, which seems odd, but it’s yet another poorly constructed fake out by the writers. Iris meets Deon, host of the Still Force, and he discovers someone has tapped into the Negative Still Force. I don’t understand what the Still Force is, so that there’s a negative variation means nothing to me beyond it being some kind of magic.
When Jefferson learns why Barry has invoked the protocols, he stops the power-removal process. Our heroes fight, but then come to an agreement just as Desepro arrives, as do Iris and Deon. Iris tells Despero Barry has been framed and he refuses to believe it because the writers have him needlessly committed to murder fixing the future over the truth. To learn who framed him, Barry time jumps to 2031 and finds Thawne marrying Iris and no one happy to see him. Now that the true villain has been revealed, Team Flash and whichever Arrowverse characters will show up can spend the next two episodes righting the wrong.
At this point, I don’t have much faith in the Flash writers creating a compelling conclusion, and if the show is cancelled and no more episodes air, I could move on easily.
The middle episode of the Armageddon crossover event should be the depth of our despair before the final act saves the day and redeems our hero. The build over the first two episodes has been focused on telling a story that feels larger than just our usual Flash Universe. The story has left me cold to this point but the end of episode two and the appearance of Black Lightning gave some hope for a compelling story.
- The reason Black Lightning (Cress Williams) is so effective in this Universe is that he’s almost always positive, hopeful, and logical. Barry operates on the edge of his emotions even in the best of circumstances. It’s not the least ironic to say he’s always speeding off to solve a problem without thinking of the consequences. Add to that Barry’s trials of the past two episodes and the loss of Joe, Barry is at his most emotionally reactive. Even Black Lightning can’t talk him out of giving up his powers.
- The reveal last week of Joe’s death is explored in emotional depth here. To the point of “gimme a break from this” levels. Cecile, we get it, you’re upset over Joe’s death. Iris’s investigation that it might be a time line issue makes this even worse. I hate time line stuff and this show is the most guilty of solving problems by going back in time. If Joe comes back because of some time anomaly, then this episode is even more useless.
- Not really buying into the whole Despero deal, Black Lightning and the Flash exchange lightning battles until they break the Arrow statue and both realize they are going to be in a lot of trouble with the Justice League. I guess talking about Oliver Queen makes this officially a crossover with Arrow. Like any good comic book battle, things are instantly fixed and they realize they have to work together to fight the . . . . whoops, here’s Despero.
- Saving the best for last again, Barry ends up in 2031 at a “West Party”. And there’s Thawne (Tom Cavanagh) with Iris West at their wedding! This story and this show has always been at its best when Thawne has been in the story. I can only hope that this is the impetus I’ve been waiting for to get us to a satisfying conclusion.
- I’ve watched this show for eight seasons now and I think that we’ve established Barry’s connection to the Speed Force in such a way that he can’t actually be separated from his powers. It’s convenient to this particular crossover to think Barry could make a decision to give up his powers but I’m pretty sure we spent most of the past couple seasons proving that it’s not a simple as just blasting him with some lightning.
Are we at the depth of our despair? Maybe. Next week better start our climb out of this and start the defeat of Despero.