The Flash Season 8 Premiere Kicks Off Crossover Armageddon Event On The CW
After both the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event and then the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arrowverse grew more distant. Following the DC on CW ‘Endgame,’ event and the loss of flagship series Arrow, crossovers haven’t happened. Black Lightning and Supergirl both ended without cameos from other series’ stars like the Arrow series finale. And these were the kind of quick cameo crossovers the end of the Crisis event was meant to facilitate. In 2021, the premiere episode of The Flash for season 8 is not just the start of a new season, but also marks the beginning of a new kind of CW crossover. (That’s a lot like the first crossovers, actually.) We may not end with a classic mass hero team-up, but instead we will get to enjoy seeing familiar characters for an episode or two throughout the story arc.
Image via the CW
Tony Curran, who you might know as Vincent Van Gogh from Doctor Who, makes his debut as a classic DC Comics villain. This version of Despero seems to be very different from what we know though. In fact, as far as I know, he’s more of a Justice League foe than a member of the Flash’s rogue’s gallery. Though, we do get to see some classic dopey rogues who are always used when storytellers want to give DC heroes an easy W. The Royal Flush gang return, and we get to see the kind of Flash a lot of fans want to see.
We also see the return of Brandon Routh, known both for playing Superman and Ray Palmer, the Atom. He left DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and he made it clear he (like certain Doctors Who) didn’t want to go. So, it’s great they brought him back. He kills it as a superhero.
Spoilers to follow.
The Season 8 Premiere of The Flash Is Light on the Armageddon Event Business
Image by Katie Yu via the CW
Most of the Season 8 premiere is light on the crossover and more focused instead on Team Flash. Ray shows up early in the episode, before the first act break, but he’s just in town being quirky and awkward. This storyline both helps make sense of the lack of crossover in this shared universe and is perhaps a meta-commentary on the real-world. Ray talks about enjoying his time out of the superhero arena, but he also misses it a great deal. There’s a seemingly throwaway line about how he hasn’t spoken to the other Legends in some time. This is genius because we often ask where other characters are in these shows. We know the real-world answer, but the narrative explanation is that, just like in real life, staying in touch can be hard. At least the Legends have the excuse of being in different time periods.
Still, much of the episode is focused on character. New members of Team Flash, Kayla Compton’s Allegra Garcia and Brandon McKnight’s Chester P. Runk are growing into their roles. We also see Carmen Moore’s metahuman police captain Kristen Kramer interacting with Barry, who she doesn’t know is the Flash. (This will probably change because, as this episode proves, Barry reveals his identity to like everyone.) There is a lot of focus this week on characters “leveling up,” from Barry with his powers, to the Royal Flush Gang, to Allegra and Runk. This is a fragile time for the series with the loss of Carlos Valdes and Tom Cavanaugh (as regulars), so these characters’ journeys are perhaps the most important in the show right now.
The show could wind down with the legacy characters in “good” places. But it can also evolve and grow with the characters. Let’s hope it’s the latter.
What the Armageddon Event Could Be About for The Flash
Image by Katie Yu via the CW
Despero shows up with his wild power set and mental powers and shows Barry a vision of the future in which he’s running the Earth to death. (Comic books!) In classic Grant Gustin Flash fashion, rather than fighting the villain, he reveals his identity and wants to befriend him. Obviously, this plan will go south, but it maintains that on Earth-Prime, Barry is as pure as a Kryptonian. Yet, in the trailer we’ve seen showing Cress Williams as Black Lightning, it seems that Barry is having a crisis, this time, of faith. The Arrowverse, if the name isn’t clue enough, took its cues from the iterations of the Justice League that has Batman as the leader.
Yet even though we have a Superman in this universe, Flash is that Superman figure. He’s the character that’s been around the longest, save for Caity Lotz’s Sarah Lance. He also is the kind of champion of compassion in this show that Superman usually is. So, I think the ultimate result of the Armageddon Event will be to level Barry up as a leader. On Team Flash, for like the last five seasons, the actual Flash is rarely in the ‘lead,’ at least compared to how Oliver Queen used to run his squad. While that works for the people he’s in the trenches with every day, Armageddon will establish Flash as the leader of all superheroes on Earth-Prime. Remember, he’s the one who set up the cool Justice League table, after all.
Outside of the narrative, if this event is a success, this could be how the CW keeps actors and characters in roles without series. They also could do multiple crossover events, confined to a single series, more than once per season. Rather than winding down, the DC universe on the CW might be entering a new, bigger ‘phase’ than ever before.
The Flash debuts new episodes Tuesdays on the CW.
What did you think of the season 8 premiere of The Flash? Are you hyped up for the Armageddon event? Share your thoughts, theories, and hopes for cameos in the comments below.
Featured image via the CW
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.