The Flash Season 8

Season 8 of The Flash premieres tomorrow, Nov 16 on the CW. It’s going to start off with a five-episode crossover event entitled “Armageddon”.


A powerful alien threat arrives on Earth under mysterious circumstances and Barry, Iris and the rest of Team Flash are pushed to their limits in a desperate battle to save the world. But with time running out, and the fate of humanity at stake, Flash and his companions will also need to enlist the help of some old friends if the forces of good are to prevail.*

Caught it last night. Not bad. Maybe The Flash is back in more ways than one.

I gave up halfway through the finale last year.
OTOH, I like the crossover/events.

So, to watch this, do I need to finish the finale? Do I need to catch up on Batwoman (which is stacking up on my DVR because I don’t feel compelled to watch?) Can I just go in knowing that the finale (which I don’t really remember) was resolved through the Flash’s unique combination of love and stupidity and we’re now set up for a new threat to the universe?

I think “level up” is the new buzzy term everyone’s using. Do you think we should level up the script by using “level up” at least once in every scene? Because I think that will level up the whole show.

Level up.

So…the Arrowverse version of Despero is…a time travelling vigilante? Ooookay. That’s…a thing they decided to do. And he for some reason (coughCGI budget overrunscough) sometimes appears in his true form but mostly appears as Vicent Van Gogh with a fauxhawk?

We did get some idea of how the Central City Citizen can compete with CatCo WorldWide Media - apparently it’s now more than a blog with an intern. I kinda think the veteran journalists have some legitimate gripes, though. I’m personally not fond of viewpoint journalism, but I get it. But if you’re a veteran journalist who built their career on objective journalism, and then have your story shot down, by someone that was just promoted from intern with one year of experience and no education beyond high school to managing editor who “just happens” to be the publisher’s bestie, and she insists that you ignore your entire previous journlistic career and rewrite your story to engage in viewpoint journalism, and implies you’re an idiot for not knowing that’s how all CCC stories are supposed to be written to begin with…The fact that they all apparently meekly submitted to that may be the most gritty, realistic element that this entire series has ever had - that’s how hard-hit newsrooms even in the Arrowverse have been hit by layoffs, that they’re willing to swallow their pride and their journalistic integrity just to keep their jobs at a start-up.

I did like the Royal Flush Gang bit - it was kind of fun having all the build-up of an early-season style threat, only to have Flash dismantle them in a few seconds, because he’s…I refuse to say it. But you know.

I also liked seeing Ray again. I didn’t realize quite how much I missed him on Legends of Tomorrow. I didn’t particularly like Brandon Routh as Superman (although I thought he absolutely nailed Christopher-Reeve-as-Clark-Kent), but I really liked his genuinely nice and earnest Ray Palmer. It was just…nice to see him again.

If nothing else, this episode seemed a lot more coherent than most of the last season, even with juggling multiple sub-plots and characters. Hopefully that continues through the rest of this season.

Allegra’s plotline followed that of Wesley Crusher in an episode of TNG (“Pen Pals”)

Agree it’s really nice to see Ray. It’s a shame that he didn’t go to 1925 with the legends (he could have run into young versions of Shuster and Siegel who would have liked his style)

I would have liked to have seen Barry battling the Royal Flush Gang for a whole season or maybe a half season. They were exactly the kind of goofy fun that’s been missing from the show recently. The season arc could have been structured like the Forces last season, with Barry battling the members individually, coming to realization that they’re all part of the same gang, and then battling the whole gang. I hope that there’s still an Ace out there somewhere, since Barry only captured the King through 10. Maybe they weren’t the real Royal Flush Gang, since a true royal flush should all have the same suit, and the jokers that Barry caught each had a different suit.

It looks like the extent of the crossover will be having a guest star from a different show each episode. Five episodes, five different guests. Next up is Alex from the recently concluded Supergirl.

Despero’s CGI was at least better than last season’s Fuerza. One could say that the effects team leveled up.

You probably don’t need to have watched the finale. On the other hand, the finale did manage to salvage something out of the shambles of last season.

I’m not caught up on Batwoman myself. I’ve seen Season 2 but only the first couple of episodes for Season 3. My guess is that Barry will probably be surprised at encountering a different person wearing the suit.

I had the exact same reaction to Royal Flush gang — there were on,y four them and they were all different suits…


S08E02 Armageddon Part 2

THE FLASH SEEKS HELP FROM BLACK LIGHTNING - Despero (guest star Tony Curran) warns The Flash that great tragedies will befall the speedster and cause him to lose his mind. Once that happens, Armageddon will begin. Determined to prove Despero wrong, Barry doubles down on proving his innocence but a devastating revelation from Iris pushes him to the edge and sends him to seek counsel from Black Lightning (guest star Cress Williams).

Last week, Barry took on the entire Royal Flush Gang, all four of them, and defeated them by entering Flash Time faster than their psychic could think. This time, Barry couldn’t even defeat a singular psychic without her affecting his mind. Did he forget how to go into Flash Time?

So far, Barry has been suspended from the force, gotten S.T.A.R. Labs shut down, destroyed Gideon, attacked Central City at random, plus apparently Joe West died six months previously?! Someone must really really hate Barry to cause all this misfortune on him. Could it be, [speculation:] Reverse Flash?

I guess Alex making a Facetime appearance is the extent of the crossover with Supergirl. And she made excuses that Kara and J’onn were offworld. But what about Dreamer and Brainy? Or Lena for that matter. They have a whole host of Super Friends over there.

If it’s Reverse Flash, then next week everyone will be saying “Who is this Chester you keep talking about, Barry? Records show there was a kid named Chester Runk but he died years ago in a house fire”

“Level Up” Count: 3.

That was a weird episode. I guess intentionally so. But it seems like the show is headed back into the incoherent storytelling of last season. sigh

Yeah, that bugged me, too. To be fair, though, I don’t think it was that he was acting faster than Queen could think, at least not exactly. I think what happened was Queen read his mind and anticipated his attack plan, but then Flash came up with an alternate attack plan in a fraction of a second, after Queen had stopped reading his mind. But, still, the show makes a big deal out of how he’s sigh levelled up to the point he can out-speed a telepath, and then throws two more telepaths at him, and he just…seems to forget about how he just defeated a telepath? If the show were more ambitious in its plotting, I’d think there might be a connection there to Joe’s retroactive death, like it’s a plot point that we the audience see him defeat a telepath then seem to immediately forget how to do that, but I think it was just really sloppy plotting.

Speaking of…Barry Allen owns STAR Labs? And that’s a matter of public record? And he’s still just working as a frontline CSI for the CCPD? That’s…kind of odd. And Central City has had an Emergency Act since the Dark Matter explosion, and it has an emergency radiation containment team that with municipal resources is just kind of off-handedly planning a massive, Chernobyl style containment effort…and we’ve never seen or heard of any of this before? Again, if the show were more ambitious in its plotting, I’d suspect that’s supposed to be actively weird and a clue that there’s some serious reality distortion going on, but…

Oh, and there are holo-emitters that can conceal all of the Team Flash areas of STAR Labs (which is basically every area other than the lounge that we’ve ever seen), but the Time Vault, which was established all the way back in the first season as being undetectable, is so vulnerable to random city inspectors that Gideon has to physically self-destruct to protect the Flash? Like…she can’t just disconnect from the STAR Labs servers after wiping them? I mean, if they find the Time Vault and her melted plinth, I think the jig is up, anyway. Yet again, that makes so little sense, I’d wonder if it’s supposed to be nonsensical, and if we the audience are supposed to realize Gideon’s actions and Flash’s reactions don’t make any sense, but…

Unfortunately, I think this season is looking like it’s going to be as incoherently plotted as last season. At least it seems like they’re going to stick with one story arc at a time, instead of randomly mixing them, but still.

Reverse-Flash Wells owned Star Labs and left it to Barry to show he was a good sport.

S08E03 Armageddon Part 3

BLACK LIGHTNING, RYAN WILDER, ALEX DANVERS AND RYAN CHOI APPEAR - Barry meets Black Lightning (guest star Cress Williams) at the Hall of Justice after things take a dire turn with Despero (guest star Tony Curran). Iris suspects something is off with Despero’s vision of the future so she seeks help from a powerful ally.

It was my impression that, at the end of Crisis, all the heroes were just sitting around the table at the Hall of Justice, congratulating themselves. That was apparently not the case as they took some time to work out some things like the Injustice protocol – what to do if someone goes rogue. Black Lighting would take down the Flash. I would guess that Batwoman would take down Supergirl since she has that shard of kryptonite. What would the other pairings be, I wonder?

The source of Barry’s troubles was, as I suspected, Eobard Thawne all along. There’s still a lot that needs to happen though for Iris to agree to marry him in 2031.

And, judging by the exterior shot last episode, take care of exterior maintenance and landscaping. Not so much with the interior, though, which is still an unfinished warehouse with pools of standing water, for some reason. Sure seems like all the furnishings would be pretty rusty and moldy by now…

Also, the plan for Black Lightning to take down the Flash is apparently…for the Flash to take down the Flash, by the Flash rigging up enhancements to Black Lightning’s suit after the Flash has gone rogue, and then for Black Lightning to slowly deplete the Flash’s powers, in stages, while the Flash stands there. Huh. I mean, I really like the basic idea of the Injustice protocol, but…boy, does the DCW Justice League need an actual Batman (or Green Arrow…).

Apparently? Although the show seemed very careful not to actually say which Tom Cavanagh character we see in that last scene. It could be one the alternate Wells rather than Eobard-Thawne-Playing-Harrison-Wells, or even some other temporal/parallel doppleganger. I mean, it sure seems like ETPHW - Cavanagh certainly seems to be using his mannerisms and inflections. At the same time, though, it just seemed to me like the show was really being coy about not actually using his name or clearly identifying him. Eh, I’m almost certainly overthinking it, and it’s just ETPHW.

On the bright side, though,

“Level Up” Count: 0

S08E04 Armageddon Part 4

BARRY FACES OFF WITH EOBARD THAWNE - Barry is shocked when Eobard Thawne (guest star Tom Cavanagh) returns in the most unexpected way, and with a tie to a loved one. Damien Darhk (guest star Neal McDonough) offers advice to Barry but there is a catch. An epic battle begins with Reverse Flash pitted against The Flash, Team Flash, Batwoman (guest star Javicia Leslie), Sentinel (guest star Chyler Leigh) and Ryan Choi (guest star Osric Chau).

Reverse Flashpoint was so much cooler than actual Flashpoint, the Arrowverse version at least. (I remain hopeful that the movie version will capture the spirit of the comics.) Batwoman! Sentinel! Atom! Real superhero team-up! The return of Damien Dahrk, who even managed to make the Power of Love much cooler than last season.

Flashpoint easter egg: Robern, the restaurant the West party was being held at, was the name of Eobard’s brother in the Flashpoint comics.

That…that made no sense. Even by comic book logic. I’m willing to accept “timey-wimey” as an explanation for time travel shenanigans, but…

Ok, so…Thawne manipulated events in 2021 to (unsuccessfully) drive Barry crazy and alienate him from his friends. But that’s not what created alt-2031; that was created by Thawne manipulating events in 2013, so Barry never became the Flash. But also Thawne went back to 199- and killed Barry as a baby, so now he’ll never have existed. Except he still does in alt-2031. Except at midnight (EST? EDT? GMT?) he won’t. For reasons.

Look, even though they don’t establish it in the show, I’m willing to accept on grounds of timey-wimey that Reverse Flashpoint was created by a multi-stage anachronism structure, where Thawne creates bigger and bigger changes in the timeline as he goes backwards to killing Barry as a baby. But then…how is Barry the Reverse Flash in alt-2031? How is he the Reverse Flash at all? How did alt-Barry get speed and why is he a crazed mass murderer? And Thawne became the Flash in 2013, as Eobard Thawne, and everyone knows he’s Eobard Thawne, but…he’s wearing Harrison Wells’ face? For reasons? And Eobard Thawne is from the future. In order to be in 2013 to become the Flash, he’d already have to have been the Reverse Flash to travel back to that point from his own time.

Side points:

Damien Darhk stays at the starting point in case anyone shows up. But…why? Is the starting point somehow significant? Because it sure doesn’t seem to be, like, of any significance at all. If Darhk hadn’t just stood there in the middle of the street, absolutely nothing whatsoever would have happened.

Ryan Choi is the Paragon of Humanity. But he’s kind of a douche. Except when he isn’t. And this episode even explicitly calls out the Paragons and Crisis in dialogue and makes it a plot point. I guess in the Reverse Flashpoint timeline he maybe isn’t a Paragon? Or, more likely, the writers just don’t care.

The Chester/Allegra romance has always just seemed kind of forced to me, but in this episode it seemed kind of like they were forcing it more than normal, and were trying to get character and relationship growth out of an alternate future time jump, which just felt clumsy, even by the standards of the series. I did like Caitlyn’s reaction shots to their big romantic moment, though.

And if the cataclysm that Despero was trying to prevent was apparently in alt-2031…why does Despero think Barry is the Flash? Shouldn’t he have realized something was incredibly wrong when he travelled back and Barry was the Flash instead of the Reverse Flash? And why were records so spotty, which was a pivotal plot point that allows Despero to be incredibly vague on the details, if he only travelled back 10 years, and left before Armageddon?

And the Flash travelling fast enough to go back in time…destroys the planet? I…he’s done that before. So has Thawne. It’s never caused so much as a sonic boom. Why does it tear the planet apart this time? I know Barry throws in some dialogue at the end that it was he and Thawne both running so fast that caused the destruction, but that doesn’t make any sense at all, either. For one, Barry races other super-speedsters all the time (pun intended). It’s never been an issue in any of them. But also, in this very episode it’s a central plot point that Barry by himself speeding up to make the time jump will destroy the planet. So…

My head hurts.

I figured that he wasn’t — that it was only ever Eobard, wearing Harrison’s face and a red costume when acting heroic, and wearing Barry’s face and a yellow costume when acting like a crazed murderer.

Wasn’t his speed diminished by Black Lightning? So normally he pretty much zips right up to timetravel speed and then goes back in time, but on this occasion he maybe has to run around and around and around and around at wreaking-collateral-damage speed until he finally hits timetravel speed and then goes back in time…