TV Review: The Flash: ‘Armageddon, Part 4’

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”, “Part 2”, and “Part 3”.

Shawn Bourdo:

This fourth episode of the five-part storyline should put the story into focus and present our hero with what he needs to do to solve the largest obstacle.  Last week, we confirmed that Joe had died in this timeline and that Barry was the only one with memory of the original timeline.  This week, we pick up right where we left off last week.

  • We’re about five minutes in and Thawne (Tom Kavanagh) takes a couple minutes of dialogue to confirm what we just figured out in the five minutes before this.  As I suspected last week, this is an alternate timeline engineered by Thawne.  This is one of those moments that the show has been guilty of for the past eight years.  They string the viewer on with lots of unexplained or not-so-logical occurrences for weeks until someone has to stop what they are doing to explain them to us.
  • Barry is now the Reverse Flash in the alternate future and while it makes some visual sense, it’s another stretch of the “Flash logic” that has been built for the past eight seasons.
  • Barry fighting against the future Team Flash is what qualifies this as a Arrowverse Crossover.  Much like his fight with Black Lightning last episode, Barry and Batwoman have a throwdown for a couple minutes to get the contractual “superhero fights superhero” scene out of the way early on.
  • The reappearance of Damien Dahrk must be really confusing to viewers of the series of the past couple years.  But at one point he was the embodiment of the “bad guy” across multiple shows.  He reminds me a bit of Loki in that whenever you start to feel like you see a bit of good in him, he’s going to crush you with another evil turn.
  • The most important theme of this episode is love.  Does love conquer all?  Can it shine through alternate timelines?  The irony is that Alex Danvers is the one giving the most heartfelt love advice here and she’s so typically pessimistic about her own relationships on Supergirl.  The solution to this alternate timeline is even partially from the mind of Damien Dahrk because of the love he has for his daughter. 
  • We even get a hint that John Constantine was involved in a spell this episode and now I want a full on crossover with The Legends next week.

Next week’s conclusion promises to confuse the timeline even more.  Stay tuned.

Gordon S. Miller:

I am really at a loss to understand what is going on. I would like to see a pre-production video because the plot is so disjointed and nonsensical it comes across as if the writers were assigned scenes without knowing what came beforehand. It’s clear there were no restrictions of having it make any sense in terms of time travel or continuity.

This episode opens in 2031 at Thawne and Iris’s wedding eve reception before Barry arrives, as was shown in Part 3. There has been a role-reversal: Thawne is the Flash and leader of Team Flash. Barry is the Reverse Flash and it appears Barry’s 2021 mind inhabits the his 2031 body as Barry 2031 never appears. It may, yet doesn’t, explain how Barry didn’t notice putting on the wrong costume.

Instead of becoming the Reverse Flash as he did in our timelime, Thawne went back to 2013, to the moment Barry became the Flash, and made it his origin. But since he did that, there’s no reason why he would need to kill Joe (although I thought we saw he disappeared before he die. Because every hero needs a villain, Barry goes on to become the Reverse Flash, although there’s no explanation of how that came to be. And even stranger, Thawne says he killed Barry as a child, but rather than Barry popping out of existence, he will vanish at midnight, which makes no sense whatsoever. To illustrate this, Barry is shown fading away, so his punches pass through Thawne even though we saw Barry knock him around two scenes earlier.

Reverse Barry had worked with Damina Darhk and together they killed Cisco and Ray Palmer. But he may now be the key to correcting the timeline. To fix it, Barry must reach Mach 20 within two minutes to open the temporal portal (which does what?), but he only has a two percent chance to get it right otherwise he destroys Earth, which is the Armageddon we’ve heard so much about. Darhk waits at the point of origin of Barry’s run, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason other than so he can fight with Killer Frost and her boytoy.

Barry has lost some of his power thanks to Black Lightning and the Injustice protocols, but what boosts him to complete his task? Love. How? Who knows? But his love for Iris and 2031 Iris’ newfound love for Barry whom she has only known as the murderous villain Reverse Flash pushes him to complete his mission. Love is also at the heart of a subplot with Allegra and Chester whose one-night stand caused them to split before they even started a relationship. This allows other Arrowverse characters (whose identities I don’t know as they weren’t properly introduced. I think one guy is a new Atom?) to talk about how great love and relationships are.

Back in 2021, Despero has killed Team Flash except for Cecile looking for the Flash’s location. With her psychic abilities, why would he end with her? Barry returns, claiming he restored the timeline by starting Armageddon, but the destruction didn’t occur because Iris’ love connected him to the speed force. I watched the scene a few times and it makes no sense how opening the temporal portal would correct all the things Thawne altered. It’s all just a magical reset, which is so disappointing.

Thawne arrives in 2021 for one more battle which hopefully will conclude in Part 5 because I am just about done with this series unless Gorilla Grodd returns.

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Cinema Sentries

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