An alternate title for The Flash: Armageddon could be “Barry Allen’s Very Bad Day”. It’s hard enough when a psychic alien tells you that you’re destined to fail yourself and everyone around you and the whole world. It doesn’t help when the universe starts throwing every curveball it can at you. Anyone, even a superhero, would go a little crazy.
The Beginning of the End
Despero agrees to let Barry have a week to prove his mettle. However, he warns Barry that a great tragedy will drive him to madness, where he then forsakes the world. And the events will start unravelling the very next day.
True enough, Barry shows up to work only to learn that he is being investigated as the potential mole in CCPD for Joseph Carver. Then, a city task force shuts down Star Labs because of excessive radiation levels. Chester discovers their detection system had been corroded, possibly tampered with. Barry tasks the team with seeing the labs and hiding any evidence of the Flash. Gideon wipes all their data then self-destructs in front of Barry to hide his identity.
Losing his mind
Barry occupies himself as the Flash, chasing a psychic/telekinetic metavillain going by Zotar. In one of their confrontations, Barry comes to in his wrecked apartment. Team Flash tell him that he suddenly burst in and thrashed the place until Allegra blasted him.
Barry suspects Zotar’s powers will cause his eventually descent to madness. But after apprehending her, he realises his brain might have been off before she even arrived in Central City. Apparently, Joe died six months ago (wait, WHAT?) and Barry doesn’t remember it happening.
The Flash is also in trouble now, because he was seen rampaging Central City after putting Zotar in meta-dampener cuffs. Barry has no recollection of this happening. Did he accidentally run into an alternate timeline?
It doesn’t matter, because Despero decides it is time to kill Barry. The team help him get away, and Despero threatens them to not get in his way again.
Barry rendezvous with Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning) at the Hall of Justice. He tells Jefferson to trigger the injustice protocols: to take his powers away because he has gone rogue. Jefferson is hesitant, but gives in after hearing Barry’s recount. He does warn Barry that removing his powers would be permanent.
Apparently, the injustice protocol for dealing with the Flash is to give Jefferson a device that amps up his lightning, so he can shoot Barry with so much lightning it severs his connection to the speedforce. It takes more than a blast though, and when Jefferson suggests they stop and find a less drastic solution, Barry gets angry. This leads to a lightning fight between the Flash and Black Lightning.
The two battle until they crash through the Green Arrow tribute display. This shakes Barry out of his funk. “Oliver Queen never quit on you,” Jefferson reminds him. Barry finally decides to stop running from the future and face the present.
The West Investigation
Iris wonders if Barry is being framed, and suspects foul play in her father’s death. According to reports, Joe fell onto railway tracks as the train approached. This is backed up by security footage (yikes). Iris finds that the footage has missing frames. She goes to the station and notices some floating dust along the tracks.
The security chief provides Iris with backup files of the footage. This video has the frames intact, showing that the footage was not doctored. Iris admits that it was indeed an accident. But now Allegra – who used to ride that train line frequently – has her own suspicions. She does her own digging and finds information to suggest the train had been sabotaged. Iris sees the floating dust on Allegra’s files.
Iris meets Deon/Still Force at the station. They’ve been meeting regularly to treat Iris’ time-sickness from last season. Iris says he needs to undo all his treatment for her to see what’s happening with the dust. She accepts the risk that she might start fading in and out of timelines again. Deon relents. He snaps his fingers, and now both he and Iris see the floating dust.
Deon realises they are from the negative still force (the what now…?) Someone used it to change the past. (I’m sorry, what??)
Finding the Flash
Meanwhile, Cecile can sense Despero psychically scanning the city to locate the Flash. She figures she is more familiar with Barry’s mind and could locate him first – but she needs a mental booster and a psychic partner to match Despero’s alien abilities. The booster can come from Chester’s tech. As for the partner, Cecile seeks out on-parole metavillain Top, and strikes a deal.
The plan gets off to a shaky start, and they have to pause for Chester to do some MacGyvering. It does work eventually work, but Despero has caught on. He attacks Top and Cecile mentally to fish out the Flash’s location. Oh, he also uses the particle accelerator to charge his powers.
Despero, Iris, and Deon all teleport to the Hall just as Jefferson finishes his pep talk for Barry. Iris’ pleas that Barry is being framed fall on deaf alien ears. Barry is weak from all the lightning strikes, and can’t fight back and the alien strangles him. Jefferson attacks Despero and is able to hold him off long enough for Deon to transfer some still force to Barry, who escapes alone again.
The Worst Tragedy
Barry winds up in Central City, 2031. It has not been destroyed by Armageddon…yet. He does find his way to a ‘West Party’…which is an engagement party for Iris and Harrison Wells (wait, WHAT???!)
There are a few familiar faces amongst the guests, such as Alex Danvers and Ryan Choi. Team Flash are also present. When the party realise Barry is here, they face him with disdain – and in Iris’ case, fear.
Oh. My. God. This show just upped the stakes. Surely this is an alternate timeline, another Flashpoint, it has to be.
Story-wise, ‘Armageddon’ is shaping up very nicely. There are a couple of exposition-y scenes still, telling rather than showing, but the emotional stakes don’t feel bogged down by all the information. This feels much more like The Flash‘s earlier seasons.
Nothing can be certain with Harrison Wells around, and based on Tom Cavanagh’s acting, it seems like this is a return of the Eobard Thawne Harrison Wells. If anyone used the negative still force, it would be Reverse Flash.
And…Barry’s bad day was bad, but the final discovery that he loses his wife to his greatest rival is such a punch to a gut. I think if you asked Barry, he would give up his job and his lab and his powers if it meant getting the Iris he knows and loves back.
I loved Cress William’s Jefferson in part 3. He was a calming, sturdy presence in a storm of turbulent emotions, between distraught Cecile being reminding of her husband’s death and Barry frantic, self-destruct mode.
Tony Curran is still delightfully hammy as Despero. And while his powers (and alien form) are formidable, it’s also interesting that he’s not really the main antagonist of the plot. Right now, it feels like Barry is fighting fate instead, which is less tangible but perhaps also much, much larger than the superpowered alien.
There was a short sub-plot in part 2 where Chester eventually tells the story his choice to be a pacifist. He accidentally burned his friend’s house down with a failed experimental gun. Also, Despero revealed that his home world was destroyed, and he refuses to let his second home fall as well.