Black Lightning Saves The Flash In Part 3 Of The Armageddon Crossover
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Black Lightning Saves The Flash In Part 3 Of The Armageddon Crossover Event

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BY February 2, 2022

The series finale of Black Lightning was a satisfying one save for the fact that no one wanted his story to end. Thankfully, in the Arrowverse, anyone can come back. Cress Williams suits up as Black Lightning in Part 3 of the Armageddon crossover event and every scene was a gift. The chemistry between Williams and Grant Gustin was apparent in the Crisis on Infinite Earths event. So, it makes sense that (with Oliver Queen gone), Barry Allen turns to Jefferson Pierce in his most desperate hour. As he always does, Black Lightning steps up. The casual nature of this appearance makes me think we’ve not seen the last of Black Lightning in the Armageddon story. Yet, we’ll save the details for the spoiler section.

The specter of Jesse L. Martin’s Joe West hangs all over this episode, as last week Barry learned he’d forgotten the death of his surrogate father. The real-world nature of making television lets us know that Martin is not going anywhere, so we know we’ll see him again. Also, speaking of real-world things breaking through, the COVID reality of this episode is apparent in the staging between Williams and Gustin in their scenes. This is not a criticism, but simply a hallmark of how things have changed.

The rest of the episode is devoted to grief, another subject coming up more and more in our superhero TV shows. There are two chapters left, and still more crossover characters to join in. At the very least, this event shows how future crossovers of DC shows on the CW might work.

Spoilers to follow

How Black Lightning Fits Into ‘Armageddon,’ and ‘Injustice?’

The Flash Black Lightning Armageddon Cress Williams Candice Patton Iris West Jefferson Pierce Image via the CW

We expected Black Lightning to mix it up with Despero, played with vigor by Tony Curran, and he did. And Despero did not want that smoke. We also got a little Flash versus Black Lightning because superhero friends love to fight each other as a way of having a conversation. Yet, throughout the episode established that he and Barry are trusted allies of each other. In fact, Barry invokes the “Injustice protocol,” which is a very fun DC Comics in-joke.

At the end of the Crisis event, I hoped that Jefferson would step into the more-experienced hero role in the wake of Oliver Queen’s absence. That wish was fulfilled in this episode. The storytellers did a great job of centering the emotional (and physical) conflict in this part of the story on Jefferson’s mantra. He’s a great character, and Williams knows exactly how to play him. If you watched his series, it makes perfect sense to you why Barry would trust Black Lightning with the vague sci-fi procedure of removing his powers.

Many DC stories focus on this idea, taking powers away from a rogue hero. Yet, the ‘how’ the Injustice Protocol works is less important as to ‘why’ it’s going down this way. As the rest of this episode reveals, this has all been an attack on the Flash. He’s weakened; he’s broken off from his support systems. So, when in doubt and you’re Barry Allen, you time-travel.

Is The Joe West Mystery a Set-up for Season 8 After ‘Armageddon?’

The Flash Black Lightning Armageddon Despero Tony Curran Doing the Most Image via the CW

In the end of episode tag, it’s revealed that the Reverse Flash, Tom Cavanaugh version, is behind it all. Unless he had a change of heart, this is a limited engagement for Cavanaugh, who left the series with Carlos Valdes last season. Also, the timeline with Reverse Flash is always weird, but I think we can assume this is the one who Barry mollywhopped in the last season finale. While I am not sure of the math on Mia Smoak-Queen’s age, I suspect she (and possibly the Canaries?) will show up in Armageddon Part 4. It’s possible that whatever happened to Joe will take longer than the Armageddon event to undo. (Or maybe it’s unrelated altogether?)

I suspect Martin will show up in some form or another before the end of these first five episodes. Yet, the mystery of what happened to him may stretch out further into season 8 of The Flash. The good thing for the producers is that starting with this event has shifted focus from what the larger story of season 8 will be. I think the series still has a lot speedforce left in the tank. Still, Joe’s absence is playing really well with the utter dysfunction of Team Flash without him. Luckily for Barry, Black Lightning sympathized with a hero out of control, perhaps because he remembers when it happened to him.

The Flash debuts new episodes Tuesdays on the CW.

What did you think of this latest chapter in the ‘Armageddon’ story? Share your thoughts, reactions, and theories about what the future holds 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 of superhero short stories, Tales of Adventure & Fantasy: Book One is available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon.

          

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