The Flash (08×02)- “Armageddon, Part 2″
Written by: Jonathan Butler & Gabriel Garza
Directed by: Menhaj Huda
Major Spoiler Warning for Fight Club. I’ll spoil the Flash all day long, it’s in the title but this serves as both a high recommendation of the film and the novel it’s based upon and your only warning. Spoilers ahead.
We pick up pretty much where we left off last week but despite their agreement, Despero put Barry on his back to test his abilities and healing. Meaning he now knows exactly what it will take to kill Barry. Well, that’s nice. Barry then asks the million dollar question, why did he destroy Earth in 2031? Despero claims that events playing out in 2021 begin to take their toll on Barry mentally and by 2031 he goes mad and decides to bring things to a tragic close. We’ll come to this scene and conversation later because I have a theory or two about this…
For now we’ll move on, the team has linked up with Alex Danvers and her agency’s database to find info on Despero. Unfortunately she doesn’t seem to have much but she will look for more. Meanwhile the team is left to figure out how much to buy from Despero and his claims that the end begins today.
There’s evidence in his favor though, last year when Barry boosted his powers he turned psycho so it stands to reason that it’s a danger now. In the end, Barry’s left with one plan; Prove Despero wrong. Later that night, Frost goes to Chester with a plan and that plan is to have Chester build a weapon to hurt Despero. Chester is not all that keen on the idea.
The next morning, Barry is brooding at the window and Iris tries to reassure him but I’m not sure how successful she is. That doesn’t matter because Barry receives a call to a bank robbery which screams meta attack. The guard apparently had a psychotic break and started waving his gun around before he was restrained and in the chaos the bank was robbed. Time to get to work, Barry…
Except there’s a little problem, Barry’s been suspended indefinitely by the DA’s office as new evidence has surfaced that he was connected to Joseph Carver. Kramer’s not happy about it but she’s playing things by the book here. To make matters even worse, it seems Despero is watching from the crowd and he doesn’t look happy.
Someone else that isn’t happy is Cecile and she’s gone full-on crusading lawyer as she threatens to sue everybody in Central City at least twice. Barry gets her to call down but that’s when Despero shows up telepathically. We learn something important for later, Cecile can sense Despero’s telepathic powers.
Barry sneaks into the bank guard’s hospital room and finds him repeating a name; Xotar. But things keep getting worse, the City is shutting down STAR Labs because of a radiation leak. The team has just a few minutes clear out and hide any evidence of them being Team Flash. Barry goes as far as to destroy Gideon and her data files in Thawne’s time vault while Chester takes the gun he was working on for Frost.
Things are getting pretty bad and they’re also starting to point to Despero’s accusations. But things are starting to look up, Iris has found out about Xotar, she’s apparently a psychic bank robber.
A strong one too because when Barry confronts her she puts the whammy on him, he blacks out and attacks the rest of the team before he comes out of it. Barry manages to talk them out of shooting him but now he has to track down and defeat Xotar with no access to his CCPD lab, no access to STAR Labs, its satellites, future AI or limitless super tech, and now to top it off the team doesn’t trust him completely. Talk about getting behind in the count.
Barry leaves to search for Xotar but the only psychic he finds is Despero who’s looking pretty close to issuing a guilty verdict here. He and Barry argue for a while before Despero explains that his home world was overrun by a despot. Despero led a successful rebellion and overthrew him, he spared the despot but that only allowed him to rise again and destroy everyone Despero cared about before banishing him to Earth only for Barry to destroy the planet.
At Chester’s place, Allegra’s helping him set up his ad-hoc Lab when she finds his weapon. When she asks how that’s affecting him he explains that when he was a kid he tried to build a laser gun and accidentally burned his friend’s house down. Almost killing his friend and his family. Chester vowed never to build a weapon again which has left him incredibly conflicted. Allegra convinces him that it’s as important to hold to his principles as it is to help Barry.
That’s when Chester’s equipment picks up word about Xotar on the police radio. She’s attempting to rob an armored car carrying art for the Museum. Barry heads to confront her and she immobilizes him. Barry decides now is the perfect time to flex his growing power by vibrating his cells enough to build up enough lightning to break out of her hold. That’s all she wrote for Xotar.
Back at Chester’s Barry’s with the others recapping what happens and all too soon Barry decides he needs some food. Where better to go for food than Joe and his jambalaya and that’s when things go wrong. Not just a little wrong either. You know that feeling the first time you watched (or in the case of my geriatric self, read) the moment where Jack realizes he is Tyler Durden?
This isn’t quite the baseball bat to the teeth that moment is but when the team reveals that Joe’s been dead for six month Barry is thrown completely and he races back to the West Home to find Joe. In the confrontation that follows between Barry, Iris and Cecile it clicks into place why Cecile has been seemingly barely holding together. It’s also revealed that Barry attacked the City, injuring dozens and causing massive property damage.
That’s when Despero returns to render his verdict, Cecile is barely able to slow him down and if not for Allegra and Chester this five part even would be over. Instead, Barry escapes and Despero leaves to find him.
Later, the team (minus Barry) talk to Alex and she explains that Despero may have an unstoppable power within him so that’s good.
At the Hall of Justice, Barry finds Black Lightning and asks for his help.
Quite a bit to discuss here. First and foremost this is another really good episode, strong melding of moving the event forward while using a plot of the week to keep it moving along. I liked Kandyse McClure as Xotar quite a bit and I hope to see her again when she can be more than just a side-threat because I think she could bring a lot of fun to the role.
Gustin is good this week playing the line of a man who’s starting to buckle under the stress he’s being put under. You can see as each new problem arises he’s straining just a little more and by the end you could almost believe that Barry’s not going to make it through this right in the head.
Again, Tony Curran is strong and menacing as Despero and I’m still trying to figure out whether he’s the villain or not. Turning Barry into a fugitive, taking STAR Labs away from the team and driving a wedge between Barry and his friends and family is good and combining the three is good way for me to ignore that Barry acting strange and suddenly not remembering that Joe is dead should be a giant red flag.
Speaking of Joe’s thread, let’s get this out of the way if this is how Jesse L Martin’s been written out of the show I’m going to be furious. I think he’s too important to this show and has done too much of the heavy lifting over the years to just be killed off screen even if it’s a major plot point.
That said, I don’t really believe Joe’s dead and not just because of the meta-knowledge that Despero is a prominent villain in DC Comics or just general denial. Let’s circle back to that opening scene. Despero attacks Barry and from that moment things start to feel more and more off. Too many events seem to be conspiring against Barry to take away all the pieces of support he’s had over the years.
First the seed of distrust is planted in his team, then he’s kicked off the force, then he loses STAR Labs, then he blacks out and attacks the team, cultivating more distrust between them, then the Flash attacks the city making no part of Barry’s life safe. He can’t even turn to his friends now because “Joe’s death” has wedged that doubt in even further.
Barry’s running out of people and places he can turn to and fast and I believe someone has done a damn fine job of manipulating events to get us there. So who would do that?
The obvious choice is Despero of course, you don’t exactly introduce him then not make him the villain of this story. On the other hand, he seems pretty straight forward and he seems to believe the Flash is going to destroy the world. So who else could pull all this off and has the motivation to do so?
Is there really anyone else who could pull all this off or would want to? Anyone else who would manipulate time and space to not only defeat Barry but destroy him in the process? I have kept myself as spoiler-free as possible so all I have is the story so far but I think there’s every reason to believe that Thawne is at the center of all this.
He’s traveled back to the past to remove Joe and create a supposed link between Barry and Carver then I believe that he traveled to 2031 to manipulate Despero into believing Barry had destroyed the world and left just enough bread crumbs to bring him back to 2021 to kick off a line of dominos that Thawne can use to kill Barry at the end of it all.
But that’s just a theory…
Well, you know the rest.
Things We Learned:
- In the future that Despero came from, Barry’s has lost his mind after repeated personal tragedies and that was why he destroyed Earth.
- Barry has been implicated in Joseph Carver’s criminal escapades and suspended to the CCPD.
- The Flash has seemingly attacked Central City.
- STAR Labs has been declared a radiation hazard and shut down.
- Chester is a committed pacifist after nearly killing a friend trying to build a weapon.
- Joe has been dead for six months.
- If Joe is dead, when and how did this happen?
- If he isn’t dead, is he okay?
- Is Despero lying about his home planet and the events that led to his exile?
- Will it be possible to retrieve Gideon?
- Who is behind the clearly coordinated attack on Barry and Team Flash?
- Will Black Lightning believe Barry and help him or will he and the Justice League decide to subdue Barry making things worse?
- FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 8×03- “Armageddon, Part 3” - December 5, 2021
- FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 8×02- “Armageddon, Part 2” - November 25, 2021
- FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 8×01- “Armageddon, Part 1” - November 21, 2021