“Armageddon Part I” – Review of S8E1 of THE FLASH

Armageddon Part I – Review of S8E1 of THE FLASH

We are back with another season of The Fastest Man Alive! This season starts with a 5 part event that will bring in many of our favorites from across the Arrowverse – followed by a long wait until March 2022 before we pick back up. This needs to be really BIG, and from all early indicators it seems to be just that. It’s “Barry’s Worst Day Ever”, even with all the help he’s going to get. So, wanna know more? Follow us after the jump!

SPOILERS AHEAD – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

NOTE: This review is posting before THE FLASH is shown in the Pacific Time Zone. If you haven’t seen the show yet, STOP HERE and come back after watching the episode. You’ll be glad you did!

When a big event starts, there are some key things that have to happen. They all happen here.

Much of the first 30-40 minutes of the show is themed on “leveling up”. You see it in everything from the look of Jitters to the Central City Citizen (now Central City Media) to Flash’s own abilities. Barry and Iris are more confident, more secure in who they are. We see it in how Barry handles the Royal Flush Gang (who themselves were leveling up in how they commit crimes). All of this makes Despero more impressive when the battles begin. This baddie can easily handle even a leveled-up Flash!

Let’s go back to the Royal Flush Gang. They are setting up situations that keep Flash occupied, while they steal what they need for a major cryptocurrency heist. Their goal was to empty the coffers of the casinos in Central City. And indeed that’s just what they accomplish. We learn that this is the first meta team of bad guys in Central City, having struck before Barry woke up from his coma to become the Flash. Now, they are a well-oiled machine, and have managed to pull off their big heist, when the Flash arrives.

However powerful the Royal Flush Gang has become, Barry has become even better. He easily slips into Flashtime, and uses it to defeat this very powerful team with ridiculous ease. The Royal Flush Gang was set up to be exceptionally powerful, but only to show just how far Flash has come in using his speed. It’s effective – and it works for this reviewer.

While all of this is going on, we meet up with Ray Palmer, in town for the Central City Technology Convention. There is a great subplot between Ray and Chester, leading up to an interview Ray has with Iris on the floor of the con. Just when that interview was over, Despero makes his entrance.

There is some excellent use of CGI in this episode, especially with the appearance of Despero. I was worried from the trailers that we would not see the Despero we know from the comics – but we get him in all his 10 foot tall glory after he transforms from the human form we see in the ads.

Here’s where it’s so important that we’ve seen everyone “level up” so far, because Despero can swat Flash away like a bug. It isn’t even a fair fight. During the battle, Despero gives Barry a view of the future, the one we see at the very beginning of the show from 10 years in the future. The world is in chaos, the planet is dying, and Despero is convinced that it’s all the fault of the Flash. He has come back in time to kill Flash, and by doing so prevent this terrible future.

Barry has no chance. Only timely intervention by Ray as the Atom saves him temporarily. He somehow sends Despero away, giving Team Flash a chance to catch their breath.

When we get to the epilogue, Ray has given some good advice – show this bad guy that the Flash is not the evil person Despero thinks he is. Barry waits for Despero to appear in S.T.A.R. Labs, and he allows Despero to scan his mind. Despero is shocked to find that Barry doesn’t have any trace of the villain that he supposedly becomes 10 years from now. But, it doesn’t completely stop Despero. He gives Barry 7 days – just 7 days – to prove he isn’t going to become the man who destroys the world. If Barry can’t do that, Despero promises that he will kill him. That’s where we leave it for tonight.

NOTES:

  • For those who complained that last season didn’t have enough action, this episode should be a good sign of things to come. Lots of great action sequences throughout.
  • At the first of the episode, we see a shadow outline of the “big” version of Despero before panning up to see him only in human form.
  • Despero doesn’t appear again until 40+ minute into the episode, but he makes a huge impact from that moment on. It was a good play on the part of the show – by that time Team Flash was shown to be at their peak. That made the ease with which Despero fights Flash all the more impressive.
  • There are a number of side-stories here, so many that I can’t get to them all in a reasonable time here. But, let’s note these:
    • Iris is still suffering from her temporal sickness, but treatments are helping for now
    • Iris is also much more confident and now has a whole media empire with 2 million subscribers and a full staff.
    • Allegra is now in charge of the bullpen – and after a rocky start is becoming a good manager of the journalists Iris has hired.
    • Chester tried to surprise Ray with a group of young scientists with ideas for a new startup company. Ray wasn’t happy at first, but near the end sets up a non-profit for young scientists, to be named after Chester’s father.
  • The building that holds Central City Media has been significantly upgraded, with their new landlord Sue Dearbon (not appearing this episode but now apparently the owner of the building).
  • When Ray runs off to put on his Atom suit, we get the Superman-type shirt rip – very cool from one of the best actors to portray the Man of Steel.

SUMMARY:

This was a great start to the season. We get a buildup that covers the supposed six months since the end of last season. We see the increased confidence and maturity of the team, especially Barry and Iris. And we get a bad guy so powerful that it makes sense Barry would need a lot of help (hence the big event with all the guest stars). I’ll give this episode a 10/10 – of course, that’s just my opinion. What do YOU think? Leave your comments below!

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