The Flash Armageddon Finale Brings Out Green Arrow And Joe West
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The Flash Armageddon Finale Brings Out Green Arrow And The ‘Dad’ Voice

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BY December 17, 2021

The five-episode Armageddon event came to an end, and it turns out (as per usual) the story wasn’t about the villain at all. The Flash Armageddon finale gave us the return of Kat McNamara’s Mia Queen, but also gave us another classic comic book hero problem. Tom Cavanaugh, back once again as the Reverse-Flash, Eobard Thawne, comes to Team Flash for help saving his life. After the events of the last episode, it seems that what he tried to do to Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen is now happening to him. Thus, the main conflict of this episode is not a battle between the hero and the villain, but rather whether or not “not killing” is the same thing as “I don’t have to save you.” But the culmination of this emotional story also comes from perhaps my favorite Jesse L. Martin moment in the entire series.

After he was conspicuously absent from the Armageddon event premiere, fans asked “Where is Joe West in The Flash season 8?” We knew Jesse L. Martin hadn’t left the series, and the characters talked around Joe in a way that made me immediately suspicious. It turns out this was intentional, as removing Joe from the picture was a key part of Thawne’s plan. So, we’re doubly glad that Joe and Jesse L. Martin returned to the series unchanged. In fact, he’s the entire reason Team Flash solved their problem the way they did.

This also served as a continuation of Mia Queen’s journey. Sadly, Green Arrow and the Canaries was not picked up by the CW. Still, the character is a great one and we get a small taste of what we missed from The Flash Armageddon finale.

Spoilers to follow.

Joe West Hits Barry and Iris with an Elite ‘Dad’ Voice

The Flash Armageddon Finale Jesse L Martin Grant Gustin Joe Iris West Image via the CW

The premise of the Armageddon finale isn’t so much a battle between the Flash and a Big Bad. Rather the problem is what to do with said villain. At the end of last episode, Reverse Flash showed up in the time vault, looking to cause trouble. In this episode, he pops up at Central City Police headquarters to draw out his nemesis. He gets Mia Queen instead, but he lets her take him into custody.

He then reveals to Team Flash that he is a time-remnant and about to disappear. Even though the Reverse-Death cheats Death a lot, for Story Purposes™ this would be his final curtain call. Two-thirds of the way through the episode, Barry, Iris, and Danielle Panabaker’s Caitlin Snow all decide to simply let him die. The two new kids on the team, Kayla Compton’s Allegra and Brandon McKnight’s Chester P. Runk, think they should save him. It’s actually Iris who says they don’t get a vote, and Barry backs her up. Then, Joe West puts some bass in his voice.

In my favorite Joe West scene in the series (and that’s saying something), he yells at Barry and Iris like I’ve not seen before. He’s appalled and enraged that they would consider not helping Thawne. He said that heroes, like the good cops out there, don’t get to choose who they help. They save whatever lives they can, not just those of “good” people. A fun comic book debate is whether or not heroes should kill their villains. Obviously, they don’t so storytellers can keep going back to that well. Thus, the villains inevitably increase their body count. This is often referenced in stories with the classic argument: Everyone the villain kills after the hero lets them live is technically the hero’s fault. But it’s not.

Why Green Arrow Was Perfect for The Flash Armageddon Finale

The Flash Armageddon Finale Green Arrow Mia Oliver Queen Image via the CW

It wasn’t just loose ends that brought the new Green Arrow back into the story. Having a Green Arrow around is perfect for this episode which so focuses on the importance of not killing. In the first season of Arrow, Oliver Queen drops a lot of bodies. Much of the series after this focused on the fallout of him being the arbiter of life and death. Yet, even from the first time the Flash showed up, Barry Allen is a different kind of hero. The Arrow was a reaction to corruption, while the Flash is a symbol of hope. Mia is herself flirting with crossing this line in the episode, and it helps underscore the hypocrisy of not actively killing Thawne versus simply doing nothing and letting him die.

It was also a perfect theme for the Armageddon finale, because the entire event is predicated on the idea of killing the Flash before he destroyed the world. Again, the ‘logic’ of it makes sense in the same way the logic makes sense in the argument for Batman to kill the Joker. Time-travel and being a long-time comic book fan means you know what’s going to happen in the future. And just like audiences who think the Punisher has it right, the time-traveler misses the point and gets it wrong. My favorite detail is that Despero was not a hero of his destroyed homeworld but rather the despotic fascist that caused all of the problems.

I often say that these CW shows are, first and foremost, morality plays for older kids. Yet, some of themes in The Flash Armageddon crossover might be lessons we could all stand to learn or re-learn.

The Flash returns with new episodes March 9, 2022, and you can watch the Armageddon event on the CW app.

What did you think of the Armageddon finale, and do you think the Flash had it right before or after Joe hit him with the “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed?” Share your thoughts, theories, or philosophical dissertations about the use of force in protection of others 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.

ArrowverseThe CWThe CWverseThe Flash

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