The fate of Central City’s Scarlet Speedster is once again hanging in the balance as THE FLASH returns for Season 8 and faces off against one of the DC Universe’s most unpredictably dangerous villains in “Armageddon” Part 1 of a 5-episode arc!
Spoiler Alert! When the Eighth Season of The Flash opens up, Central City is caught in the midst of another crisis, which has become the order of the day given it’s the home of our hero! After evading death during the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” and confronting his own legacy facing off against the power-hungry Godspeed at the conclusion of Season 7, it would appear that there’s little rest for the weary. Barry Allen, The Flash is once again in the crosshairs of a dangerous foe who wants him dead before he condemns them all in the future!
Time is apparently never on his side! Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) has faced any number of perils in his eight years as Central City’s preeminent superhero, but the Fastest Man Alive can’t seem to outrun his own future, which has brought the threat of Despero (played by Tony Curran) to the present from 2031 to take The Flash out! Before Despero makes his intentions apparent, The Flash is on the case thwarting a dangerous train collision, which later is uncovered as a scheme by the criminal masterminds known as the Royal Flush Gang (making their second appearance in the “Arrowverse”).
The criminals comprised of a quartet that fashion themselves after a deck of cards appear to have “leveled up” since their last crime spree (the Royal Flash Gang appeared as a group of a low-tech, motorcycle gang that were foiled by the Green Arrow in a previous episode of “Arrow”). Leading the pack is the mind-reading Queen (Agam Darshi), who instructs Jack (Eston Fung) to use his eye-blasts to attack while Ten (Megan Peta Hill) disarms the guards, leaving the playing field open for King (Ryan Jefferson Booth) to make his move. The crooks make off a piece of tech hardware from Mercury Labs.
When Barry is analyzing the crime scene, he is baffled by his findings and shares his discoveries with Captain Kristen Kramer (Carmen Moore), the latest addition to the CCPD and Barry’s new boss. Earlier, Kramer was at Central City Citizen Media run by the always-ambition Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton) who has grown her publication into a larger multi-media conglomerate dedicated to sharing the truth with the world; Iris puts Allegra (Kayla Compton) in charge of the outlets day-today while she pursues other opportunities to grow her brand.
Team Flash is visited upon by none other than former Legend, Ray Palmer aka The Atom (guest star Brandon Routh) who is in town for the city’s tech conference and conveniently available for a “brave and the bold” team-up when Despero attacks and tries to take out our heroes. The Flash and The Atom are both outmatched by Despero, who reveals himself in the form of a red-skinned 10-foot tall alien with a third eye and fin. Despero is stronger than both our heroes and uses psychic abilities to bring The Flash down, showing him the terror he unleashes on the future and why he is determined to stop him.
The Atom is able to shrink down and sneaks into Despero’s belt which houses the alien’s ability to move through time — and before he can deal The Flash a fatal final blow, Despero vanishes in the blink of an eye. Leaving behind more questions than answers, Team Flash is completely unprepared to face this newest threat, so Barry invites the villain to “find him” in STAR Labs. Chester (Brandon McKnight) is able to track his bio-signature, as Barry confronts Despero and allows him to “read his mind” and shares with his adversary his secret identity.
Despero is undeterred, convinced that The Flash will unleash havoc on the future and destroy the world. He gives Barry 7-days to prove his innocence, but if he can’t convince him, Despero will end his existence!
After a somewhat disjointed and lackluster Season 7, which ended on a particularly high note when after so much teasing about it, the power-hungry Godspeed descended on Central City! It took the might of every speedster including the return of the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick (recurring guest star John Wesley Shipp), and the future’s XS (Jessica Parker Kennedy) who brought along a sidekick, Bart Allen (played by Jordan Fisher) living up to his name of Impulse. After the stunning 2-part season-ender, audiences were ready to jump back into The Flash which has felt like it’s gone a little off the rails.
Certainly, a lot had to with series television production shutting down due to the onset complication of shooting amidst a global pandemic, but after the 5-part “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event in Season 6, The Flash had suddenly gone into a place that wasn’t particularly familiar to fans or engaging. Season 7 allowed for a lot of “pocket stories” to emerge that helped to really flesh out several of the new cast members that had come on board, while it gave way for familiar faces to depart, but now that there’s been sometime between seasons (6 months apparently) it’s time for The CW’s primetime to power up!
Instead of jumping into a “new season” picking up where the last one left off, showrunner Eric Wallace has decidedly taken a pause from the character-rich dramas and allowed The Flash to return to its “superhero roots” if you would. The decision to open up Season 8 with a 5-part epic stunt satisfies fans’ thirst for the annual crossover spectacle that brought casts from the various CW shows together to take on a “crisis”. The pandemic is still a thing, so safety precautions have to be factored into schedules. The network’s solve: open up The Flash Season 8 with a “team-up” event instead!
“Armageddon” in 5-parts will bring guest stars from across the DC TV primetime universe together, both past and present to help solve the mystery surrounding the arrival of The Flash’s latest threat, the alien Despero (winningly portrayed by Tony Curran) — a popular adversary from the comics mythology that has always plagued the Justice League and has over the years proven a formidable agent of destruction. Wallace’s choice of Despero is interesting, especially because the character isn’t necessarily singularly associated with The Flash, but The Atom appearing in Part 1, makes for an excellent pairing.
In Five Acts!
In Part 1 of “Armageddon,” Brandon Routh reprises his role as Ray Palmer, the scientific marvel known as The Atom who is a founding member of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Routh was introduced as Ray Palmer in Season 3 of Arrow before transitioning into the team show, and The Atom proved a relevant component of the “Crisis” crossover where Routh played two roles: Ray Palmer and reprised his role as Clark Kent, Superman from another Earth in the multiverse. In the comics, The Flash and The Atom, both scientists, have often teamed up although, The Atom is often paired as Hawkman’s chum.
It made for an exciting opener to see Ray return to Central City, especially after parting ways with The Legends and assuming his crime-fighting identity as The Atom. His appearance on The Flash establishes the wealth and extent of the DC TV primetime universe, now that (most) of the shows are aligned on Earth-Prime Post-Crisis, and with Central City (and The Flash by extension) in the heartland of the metahuman universe of storytelling, it makes sense that a dangerous monster like Despero would crash The Flash’s hometown.
There’s still the mystery unfolding, but with “Armageddon” promising to provide the team-up event of the season, it feels like The Flash has returned to form — super-powered form, that is. A reminder of what initially set the show apart from its predecessor Arrow and what endeared audiences to the perils facing Central City’s Scarlet Speedster and his friends. “Armageddon” is a good place to start. Let’s hope Season 8 proves as gangbuster as its kick-off!
THE FLASH | starring Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Danielle Nicolet, and Jesse L. Martin airs Tuesday nights @ 8 pm on The CW.
“Armageddon” Part 1 | Season 8 Episode 1 is written by Eric Wallace and directed by Eric Dean Seaton | Original Airdate: Tuesday, November 16.