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The Flash: Armageddon, Part 2

Despero: “Tragedy is coming for you, Flash.”

No one mentioned Savitar, but the idea Barry could go off the deep end was front and center this week. And yet, I’ve watched and re-watched this episode and I’m still pondering what it all means. So forgive me in advance if this review is more of a ramble than usual.

I always like to start with what I believe The Powers That Be are trying to tell us. What information do they share? What do they conveniently leave out? And what do they show us and how? In those terms alone, there’s a lot to unpack.

Let’s start with what we know. Despero claims that another tragedy will befall Barry and cause a breakdown that will eventually lead to the Earth’s destruction. If Despero is to be believed, he’s on the same journey Barry just completed. Worrying that mercy may not be what the world needs in a defender. If he weren’t still wrestling with that, Barry would already be dead. However, for all his talk, Despero seems unwilling to kill an innocent.

But is Despero to be believed? The first scene is of Despero attacking Barry moments after declaring a truce. He claimed it was to test Barry’s healing properties, but I doubt that’s all it was. Could he have something to do with Barry’s descent into madness, intentionally or otherwise? It at least suggests Despero is not trustworthy.

The fact the camera weaves in and out like a drunken sailor for the rest of the scene makes me suspicious. This conveys the impression that something is already amiss. Then there's the fact that from that point on, most of the shots of Barry or from his POV were Dutch Angles. They were subtle at first, but the angle seemed to increase as time passed.

If Despero is what he claims to be, then what else could cause Barry’s break from reality? We have plenty of options to choose from. First the villain of the week with ability to drive people crazy. The not-so-subtle hints that something happening to Iris could send Barry on a one-way trip to crazy town. Layer in the federal investigation and the destruction of S.T.A.R. Labs and anyone would have a valid excuse for a mental health day.

However, the culprit appears to be an event from six months ago. Several anvil-sized hints later and Joe’s death was confirmed. I say this appears to be the culprit because many of those hints were said to Barry or in his presence, and he didn’t seem to be confused by the situation until he called for one of Joe’s celebratory meals. Whatever sent him over the edge happened prior to that moment and was probably its cause. Especially since it's clear both of his blackouts occurred prior to this moment as well.

No Joe, no S.T.A.R. Labs, no Gideon? This is either a clear the decks moment for the show or there will be something that resets this timeline. The former might be interesting, but the latter is far more likely. If only because I refuse to believe Joe is gone for good.

First, I can’t believe they would kill a character as important as Papa Joe offscreen, and certainly not during the hiatus. Second, his image is still in the opening credits. None of that is proof, but I consider it very compelling circumstantial evidence.

Now the other members of Team Flash are left to make their own calculations. Iris will always choose Barry, but she’s enough of a pragmatist to wonder what will become of him. Frost has come to a similar, although more extreme, conclusion. Flash is her friend and must be protected at all costs. Even if it means killing Despero. She may be one of the good guys, but she’s not a hero yet.

The problem is, she may take Chester down with her. I don’t think she truly understands what she’s asking of him. For her, the issue is cut and dried. If she has to choose between Barry and Despero. Despero has to go. For Chester, it’s turning his back on the person he strives to be. Frost, of all people, should know better.

Each member joined Team Flash not only because they believed in Barry, but because their journeys aligned with his. He never asked them to be something they weren’t. Not even Frost. Allegra’s right. Chester’s only job is to help Barry, not hurt people. And thanks to Allegra, he does. If only to buy Barry enough time to escape.

So, where does that leave us? I think Barry has a suspicion about what’s happening to him. Something he can’t resolve on his own. Something Black Lightning could help him with? I have no idea what it is, but I can’t wait to find out.

These are getting harder to rate now that we’re in the middle of a multi-episode arc. What do you think?

Parting Thoughts:

On a side note. Is this proof that The Flash is the strongest superhero? After all, no one managed to stop him from destroying the Earth in Despero’s future.

Allegra’s argument for Despero being a threat doesn’t hold water in the middle of a conversation that includes Kryptonians, a couple of whom have been known to “care so much about Earth.”

In Chester’s ongoing series, “Black Scientists of Yore,” we got Granville T. Woods.

Quotes:

Barry: “I thought we had a truce.”

Despero: “Pain is the debt we pay for change.”

Barry: “Protecting this city is still our top priority.”
Frost: “Even from you?”

Iris: “It doesn’t matter what anybody says about your fate. Our destiny is to be together.”

Gideon: “It has been an honor working with you, Barry Allen. Farewell.”

Barry: “I knew that if I ran around the city long enough, you’d show yourself.”
Xotar: “How very underwhelming and basic of you.”

Officer: “Miss, step aside.”
Xotar: “But if I did that, how would I grab all the priceless art you're transporting?”

Barry: “If it’s me you want, get it over with.”
Despero: “Gladly.”

Chester: “We’ll get Barry back.”
Iris: “Yeah, but what will he be like when we do?”

Jefferson: “Barry, what the hell is going on?”
Barry: “Injustice.”

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape.

4 comments:

  1. Shari, I'm with you. As in, confused. And Joe West cannot be dead.

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  2. Thank you!

    Was it just me or did the pacing feel off? Like they dragged out scenes when they didn't need to, but then didn't have time to make the connections that would let me understand what was happening in a given scene.

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  3. Actually, Grant Gustin still felt off to me. Although now I'm thinking it's an acting choice.

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  4. The way I interpret things, there are two distinct possibilities.

    One, Joe is dead and Barry has lost his mind. Which is not unrealistic, but not entirely believable. Losing a loved one like Joe would be deeply upsetting and would require months (more like years) to recover from. However, this is Barry Allen. Death and grief are his trade, and while I would expect some amount of depression this is pushing the character to a place that doesn't make sense (which the writers would never do... right?).

    Two, Barry is being gaslighted in a big way for reasons that are not yet revealed. Probably Despero. Which is probably the case, because honestly having a villain show up as sympathetic is a great way to undermine expectations.

    Either way I am looking forward to the resolution of this arc, it is shaping up to be interesting at least. I also love the format of having the cross-over be all on one show. It saves production costs, and allows the cross-over actors to be guest stars.

    Also... Joe can't be dead!

    ReplyDelete

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