Armageddon Part 4 Is The Flash Versus Reverse-Flash, But, Uh, Reversed
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Armageddon Part 4 Is The Flash Versus Reverse-Flash, But Not How It Usually Goes

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BY December 8, 2021

Recently while discussing the Arrowverse with a colleague here at Comic Years, I again described these series as “morality plays for pre-teens and teenagers.” This does not mean that they cannot be enjoyed by everyone, but these crime-fighting comic book adaptations share more DNA with soap operas than crime procedurals. This is on full display during the penultimate episode of this year’s DC on CW crossover. Armageddon Part 4 reveals it was Reverse-Flash all along, and the Flash has to face his worst enemy. Yet, it seems like the writers took that “It was me, Barry” meme to its fullest extent. Team Flash is not out of the crossover woods yet, but things are on track for the rest of The Flash season 8.

The headline for Armageddon Part 4 has little to do with the Flash or Reverse-Flash, but rather that Tom Cavanaugh has returned. A part of the series since the first season, Cavanaugh left the show with Carlos Valdes, who played Cisco Ramon. Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Jesse L. Martin, and Danielle Panabaker are the only original cast members left on the show. (Though, Robbie Amell will return to The Flash later in Season 8.) So, even though he’s no longer a series regular, it’s good to know that Tom Cavanaugh will return to The Flash when needed to play Eobard Thawne.

This episode also lays clear the plan that brought about Armageddon. Though, like with most super-villain plans, it’s best not to sweat the details. Ultimately, it was a grand reunion of these two titans amongst speedsters. And strange detours aside, this is proving to be a very good way to do a crossover that’s still focused on the characters.

Spoilers to follow.

Armageddon Part 4 Reveals How Eobard Thawne Became the Flash

The Flash Armageddon Part 4 Damien Dahrk Neil McDonough Grant Gustin Barry Allen Reverse Flash Image via the CW

So, just to lay it all on the table, this episode confirms that all of the problems Barry Allen faced thus far were the result of Reverse-Flash shenanigans. The death of Joe West, the condemnation of Star Labs, and the arrival of Tony Curran’s Despero were part of his scheme. Yet, the real villainy involved him traveling back in time to kill young Barry Allen. He then replaced himself in the Flash’s life, making him the official Scarlet Speedster. He’d also double (as Barry, somehow) as the Reverse-Flash, just to make sure the real Barry is hated if/when he shows up. To add insult to this injury, Thawne also wore down Iris West enough that she agreed to marry him in the year 2031.

Now, the fun thing to debate about this plan is how, specifically, Thawne did this. Did he live the past eight years as a hero (and villain)? Did he somehow super-speed his way through the tenure of the Flash in Central City? What did he do with Eddie Thawne, his ancestor, or the other version of himself in that past? It’s equal parts silly and fascinating, and comic book stories always should have something fans can debate and argue about (civilly, of course) amongst each other.

My favorite detail, however, is that it takes Iris 18 years to fall for Thawne. This implies a lot of rejection on her part, but that he eventually wore her down. And he did all of this just to hurry Barry. It’s sadistic, a huge violation, and the exact kind of petty, pointless villainy worthy of an arch-nemesis. My only problem with this episode was what they chose to spend their time on.

The Crossover-est Episode of the Armageddon Event Yet

The Flash Armageddon Part 4 Alex Danvers Batwoman Ryan Choi Runk Iris et al. Image via the CW

Another highlight of the episode are all of the characters from throughout the Arrowverse who appeared as part of the Reverse-Flash’s team of allies. Things are not just the same as we know them. The Legends are dead, as are Cisco and Ray Palmer. There is no mention of Oliver Queen, and it makes sense since Thawne would definitely want to avoid the Star City vigilante. Still, Javicia Leslie’s Batwoman is there (married to Meagan Tandy’s Sophie, no less). As is Osric Chau’s Ryan Choi. Though he’s a different version than the one we met in Crisis on Infinite Earths, because he does not have a family.

In fact, much of these heroes’ interactions with each other had less to do with kicking Barry’s ass and more about, well, love. Remember when I said these are basically soap operas? Well, that’s what much of this was about. Giving some shippers an “endgame!” argument and highlighting how the Barry and Iris love story is (still) the heart of the show. I admit I was bummed to see Chyler Leigh’s Alex Danvers in the episode mostly to be a busybody matchmaker. (Though, in fairness, it does fit the character.) Still, I am confused as to why they devoted significant time to the exploration of the relationship between Kayla Compton’s Allegra and Brandon McKnight’s Chester P. Runk.  Especially since these versions of the characters were erased from time. Again, it could just a quick meal for shippers and a vehicle for a morality play for teenagers about expressing love.

Still making a large part of the third act of their five-episode event about the power of live is a very The Flash thing to do.

Part 4 of The Flash: Armageddon is streaming on the CW app, and the conclusion debuts Tuesday on the CW.

What did you think of Armageddon Part 4 and of Thawne’s plan to usurp Barry as the Flash? Share your thoughts, reactions, and theories in the comments below.

Featured image via the CW

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Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.

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