Powers and relationships dominate this episode, and while there’s some action, it takes a back seat to several other things. We see the return of an old foe, some complications on the various jobs, and the beginning of a new subplot in “The Fire Next Time.”
Every once in a while, they let the writers have fun on a particular episode of an ongoing series. I suspect the writers’ room for Flash had a blast with this one. There’s not as much action as usual this time out, but they have a lot of relationship developments and some great dialogue.
Flash and his friends have been through a lot in their opening multipart event. There’s been time travel, changes to the timeline and a lot of guest stars, both hero and villain. Last episode saw the restoration of the “real” timeline and the reveal that Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash, has been behind all this chaos. Now, there are a few new problems and a big dilemma for the team in “Armageddon Part 5,” as the big event concludes.
With his history restored, Barry takes care of one of the most important things to him and goes to see Joe, back from the dead despite Thawne’s best efforts. After Barry and Joe have their tender moment and Barry catches him up on what’s been going on, they get a surprise visitor in the form of Damian Darhk. Damian himself seems surprised, both by his presence in Joe’s living room and his continued existence. While Joe and Damian reach an uneasy truce, the Reverse Flash shows up at CCPD, partially because one of them said something foolish about things going back to normal.
At STAR, Iris also says something you should never say in her line of work, and Barry answers some questions about the strange alternate reality he’s just returned from. This nice light moment can’t last, and doesn’t, as Iris gets word of Thawne’s visit to CCPD. Thawne rants about trying to draw out Central City’s hero, and then gets a bigger surprise as Mia Queen, Green Arrow from the future, shows up and attacks the evil speedster. Mia actually isn’t after him, and is apparently following up on events from the last time we saw her. Archer versus speedster goes about like you’d think, but Barry arrives in the nick of time for Flash to send Reverse Flash staggering. Apparently, this was more or less what Thawne wanted, and he makes a big deal out of asking for something surprising in front of witnesses.
Returning to STAR, Thawne is placed in a secure cage that actually seems to be holding its superhuman prisoner for once as the team debates what to do. Mia is evasive about what’s brought her back to this present (and we never do learn exactly how she managed the trip) as Barry tells the others what’s happening to Thawne. Mia disagrees with the others about even considering helping Thawne, while Barry assigns some tasks to his team, and the writers really go out of their way to emphasize the stakes for Thawne this time around. Displeased with the others’ decision, Mia works out some aggression on a punching bag that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen at STAR before, and Iris goes to talk to her. They disagree on several things, and I find myself siding with Mia on this one.
Caitlin’s task was to figure out how long Thawne had before certain doom claims him, and it’s a small number for an answer. Thawne is smugly certain about what’s going to happen next, and Caitlin, after enduring a few too many personal attacks from the villain, puts him in his place. She confers with Barry, who takes his turn in going to see their prisoner. Thawne continues his smug ranting and threatening, and isn’t moved by Barry’s usual optimism and belief in everyone he’s ever met. Thawne also, in his maniacal way, reveals the source of his enmity for Flash, and wow the man has issues. After this conversation, Barry finds that Despero is still around and has shifted goals once again. Despero is nothing if not flexible in his mission. That evening, the team meets, and Barry, Iris, and Caitlin deliver their decision. Allegra and Chester aren’t happy about it, but they get overruled. Joe, overhearing this, pulls Iris and Barry aside and gives them a lecture, changing their minds.
Not pleased with the current course of events, Despero of the Unclear Goals goes out and recruits a pawn, forcing someone to do his bidding. The team gathers again, and Barry shares the new plan, similar to something we saw earlier in Armageddon. Why they don’t call for the person who helped make it happen before, I’m not sure. After a brief namecheck for Cisco (I really miss him), Despero pops up and argues with Barry. Despero pulls Flash outside for a fight, and Iris takes charge inside. Allegra and Frost get a new assignment, but Despero’s latest victim attacks and prevents them from getting it done. While Flash and Despero fight, the team inside runs into some obstacles and then gets attacked. Iris does her best to talk their way out of the fight, and manages to finally get through to the attacker, breaking Despero’s hold. Distracted by the loss of his agent, Despero breaks off the fight and starts on yet another new plan, casting himself increasingly as the villain of the piece. He’s changed a lot since his first appearance and stated intention.
The team works feverishly to attain their goal, now having two different deadlines to beat. Chester has done some tinkering with something Barry gave him earlier, and engineers a solution to one of these issues. With the new gadget, Flash is able to beat Despero, just in the nick of time, and Despero, of course, swears vengeance. No surprise there. Then it’s back to STAR to deal with the other pressing issue, and Thawne is even more enraged at Barry than usual. I suspect this will come back badly later. Oh well, at least we got a nice redesign of Reverse Flash’s costume out of all this.
Having been through a lot, the team gets dressed up and goes to celebrate. Everyone is looking great and there’s a very festive air. Even guest star Mia is fancied up, something she rarely does but looks great on her. Things get a bit tense when Damian shows up again (thanks for your help with the big bad earlier, D), given the bad blood between Darhk and Team Arrow, but that gets smoothed over with a few words and a large drink. While Barry and Damian talk, Iris gives Mia some help with her current quest. When Iris had the chance to do this research, I’m not sure, but Mia is as happy as she gets for the help. They talk about Felicity (I miss her, too), and Iris invites Mia to come by any time, referencing her time traveling kids Nora and Bart. Damian and Joe have a chat about being parents and Damian gives Joe a gift that I suspect will prove important in some random moment in the future.
Damian suddenly disappears, confusing both him and Joe. Damian ends up in some really weirdly lit lounge or something along those lines, possibly some odd representation of the place he just was. Weirdly, Nora Darkh (not Nora the speedster XS) is there as well, and they share a tender moment before he vanishes forever… until they bring him back again. A confused Nora appears at the party, causes a bit of a disruption, and Joe takes her aside to make her feel better. Apparently no one thinks to call her husband? Frost makes a suggestion to Chester, and he and Allegra share a few very awkward moments. Barry gives a glowing speech to the team about how they’re all heroes. The episode ends with some of the CCPD inviting the fates to really mess with them, and a preview of problems to come.
What I liked: As I said last episode, I am a big fan of Neal McDonough and will happily watch him play Damian, or anyone else, any chance I get. The heroic nature of most of the characters showed through brightly. It was nice to see Mia again, both because I like the character and because I was wondering if the rest of the Arrowverse had forgotten who they were named for. I’d be more than ok with it if this is the last we see of Despero. Joe is his usual reassuring presence, and I was glad to him back.
What I didn’t: There were a few unlikely dodges of certain attacks in one of the fights. A lot of the Flash vs Despero battle didn’t make a lot of sense in terms of things Barry did. If Mia popped up at the CCPD in costume and then went to STAR, where did she get either the workout clothes or that dress at the end? Why did no one call Ray to tell him where Nora was and that she was going through a really difficult time?
It was a decent wrap up episode. I’ll give this one a 3.5 out of 5, the entire Armageddon event a 4 out of 5, and I’d say part four was the best. I’m hoping the preview we got of things to come doesn’t go the “wacky hijinks” route it looked like.
They’ve been really beating the metaphor to death of the “family” aspect of the new Forces running around on the Flash. I’m still not clear if they just possessed existing people, or recreated dead ones, or how this worked. Nora, for example, looks like Barry’s long-dead mother, but Psych has a recent backstory as a human.
The newest big threat to come out of nowhere for Team Flash is the governor’s special envoy, Kristen Kramer, doing her best to turn Central City against Frost. Due to her influence, Frost has been arrested and is now on trial in an episode that shows the CW writers, collectively, have not only never researched anything at all about the Criminal Justice system, they’ve probably never even seen an episode of Law and Order.
Life probably hasn’t been normal for Barry since he was a kid, and less so since he got his powers. Lately, it’s been even stranger, as the team clashed with Mirror Monarch and dealt with the aftermath.
Now team Flash has to figure out what happened and how to find, let alone beat, this new threat. But that’s only the start of their troubles in “Fear Me.”
The various disruptions from COIVD are continuing, as “Central City Strong,” which was supposed to be the season seven premier, ends up being the fourth episode after various production delays. An old foe returns, there’s assorted chaos and unexpected events, and someone finally gets some help they’ve arguably needed for a long time now. It’s an interesting mix of events to try and adapt to.
The Arrowverse is a very strange place, when you consider what not only the various heroes, but the average citizen, has to go through over the course of time. Flash is in the seventh year of his career now, and he and his team have seen a lot. That sort of experience comes into play a few times during the episode.
It’s safe to say that nothing goes according to plan as Barry gains a new power and it causes a lot of complications. Thankfully, Cisco and Caitlin are back for the “Speed of Thought.”