Hello and welcome to this VERY SPECIAL recap of The Flash season 8 episode 4, ARMAGEDDON: Part 4 (aka the Wildmoore ARMAGEDDON Recap).
It’s four weeks into this five-episode event, but the queer women finally had enough air time in The Flash’s ARMAGEDDON to warrant a conversation, despite both of them being highly advertised as a poster-worthy part of this whole shebang. But it’s fine! It’s fine.
AND since Supergirl and Batwoman have both sent representatives to this event, we’re going to follow suit and make this a tag-team recap between me (Valerie Anne) and Nic. Since we have both been fans of the CWDCTV Beeboverse for approximately eight years, and coincidentally have been friends for the same amount of time, it felt serendipitous for “our” shows to collide like this.
ICYMI, I gave a rundown of what all went on in the first three parts of ARMAGEDDON in Boobs on Your Tube last week, and this week we rewind to a few minutes before Barry shows up at the… rehearsal dinner? I thought it was the engagement party originally but it’s apparently the week of the wedding so that’s probably not it.
Either way, we rewind to just before Eobard’s speech and get to see the guests mingling. Except Alex. She goes missing until the speech. Maybe she called Kelly to check on what, in 2031, would be a teenaged Esme.
The most important conversation happening at this juncture is between Ryan and Iris, and it made me pause and all-caps scream at Nic, so I’ll let her take it from here.
Nic: OKAY LISTEN. (Speaking of all-caps screaming.) The very first words spoken in the very first scene of this episode are by one, Ryan Wilder, as she details her conflict over HOW SHE AND SOPHIE PLAN TO HAVE A BABY. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I know this is an alternate timeline of 2031, but the fact that in this alternate timeline Wildmoore is endgame…AND they’re starting a family…AND Iris was Ryan’s Maid of Honor?! Did I write this episode and forget? Beebo take the wheel.
Valerie: This is exactly why I wanted to tag-team this recap with you. Please continue.
Nic: In all seriousness though, the idea of a ten years older Ryan Wilder settling into her life with Sophie by her side as her wife is everything I could ever dream of. As Ryan spirals, Iris attempts to calm her down by reminding her that at the Wildmoore wedding, she told Ryan to always listen to what her heart wants, and everything else will fall into place. It’s the smallest and simplest thing, but Iris starts her advice by calling Ryan “sis.” It’s a term of endearment often used among Black women to convey community and safety. To me, it shows just how close Iris and Ryan have become in this version of the timeline. You can tell they can be real with each other and call each other out and in when necessary.
Cecile overhears the two women talking about babies, and drunkenly interrupts to complain about reading Jenna’s mind and seeing a string of impressively terrible insults. Allegra comes over to warn them against using the bathroom (presumably because of illicit activities) as Chester joins them and very awkwardly asks how Allegra was liking London. Turns out, Allegra just might be taking a job offer in Gotham. Petition for everyone to join Batwoman, tysm.
We land back at Eobard’s speech where Ryan and Iris give each other those “I’m So Happy My Best Friend is in Love” eyes, before Iris sees Barry and Ryan jumps into Protec Mode, demanding to know why Barry has dared to show his face.
Barry tells them what he believes to be true; that he’s The Flash. But when he speeds off to change, he arrives in the Reverse Flash suit. If you guessed that that means Eobard is The Flash in this timeline, well, you would be correct! Team Flash, including Batwoman and Sentinel, suit up and prepare to fight Barry.
Valerie: I don’t even have time to get into how FURIOUS I am that every time I turn on this Beebo-forsaken show, someone with Eobard’s face is causing some kind of mayhem, because actually there’s a better place for that rant later, so for now let’s talk about this new, imagined version of Team Flash. Because words cannot explain the THRILL I got from seeing Sentinel and Batwoman in their suits, fighting side by side.
And it soon becomes clear this is not the first time these two have done this. It seems like there have been some superqueero training sessions, because Ryan and Alex are so in sync, communicating in subtle gay nods and having their skills work together like a choreographed dance. It’s truly the stuff of fanfic, and it made me so happy.
Eventually they beat Barry, and say that they’re taking him down for Nate, for Ray…and for Sara. Because our favorite bisexual badass simply cannot catch a break and dies in 90% of the timelines she’s in. (And nevertheless, she persists!) Though I did wonder if this means something Eobard did made Sara less invincible than she is in present-day Legends? Or maybe Ryan meant “for Sara” having to lose Nate and Ray? It doesn’t REALLY matter, to be honest, because like most things timey and wimey on The Flash, this will all be undone before long.
Barry gets away by the skin of his supersuit, learning that Eobard took over his whole life. Became the Flash, somehow wooed Iris, and, possibly most unbelievably, turned Barry into the Reverse Flash. And the cherry on top is that Eobard went back in time to kill Baby Barry, so his adult self only has a few more hours until he disappears forever.
Nic: Okay, I watched this episode multiple times, and still can’t exactly figure out what time travel rules we’re working with? Are we talking Back to the Future can’t run into your own self? Is it Lost “whatever happened happened” and you can technically die no matter which timeline it is?? If Eobard killed Baby Barry, how is THIS Barry even here? You know what? I’ve already put too much brain power into this, please, carry on, friend.
Valerie: I think we’re going with Legends Logic which is that it takes time for the new timeline to cement, HOWEVER I do not know how Eobard knew it would solidify at exactly midnight? I feel like it’s usually more random than that.
ANYWAY, Barry goes to see yet another overused villain on the CW, who was long-term evil and killed the Legends in this timeline: Damien Darhk. Barry pretends to be his evil counterpart and convinces Darhk to help him fix the timeline.
Back in Star Labs, it seems Alex feels right at home and is sent on a weapon’s check with Garvia. It’s unclear if she’s always around, like maybe Eobard recruited her and Ryan early in their careers to Team Flash in order to secure his version of the timeline, or if they’ve just been around the team enough over the past decade that they’re comfortable with their friends. Alex decides to waste no time getting the goss though, and immediately asks Allegra about the weird vibes between her and Chester.
Allegra says one of the best things I’ve ever heard on this television program, which is that Allegra and Chester hooked up one night after a particularly sexy session of D&D. And what’s great about this is that I’ve literally known this to happen. Allegra says that Chester snuck out the morning after and that they ultimately decided to be friends.
Damien Darhk interrupts this chat with an attack, and Barry manages to convince him to steal what they came for and leave without killing anyone, which clues Darhk into the fact that this isn’t the Barry Allen he knows and loves, because his Barry would have killed them all without blinking. Which feels…psychologically illogical? I feel like you could change the timeline as much as you want, and while you could probably turn Barry darker and broodier than even Oliver Queen, you can’t MAKE someone a sociopath? But totems shmotems I guess.
Nic: Meanwhile, a fully suited-up Ryan visits her bestie Iris to give her an update on the search for Barry. Unfortunately, Ry needs to head back to Gotham to take care of some Bat Business, but promises Iris she won’t miss her wedding the next day. And because Ryan knows Iris so well, she sees that the Flash Off isn’t her friend’s only problem at the moment. Despite having won two whole ass Pultizers (that Valerie and I are certain Kara Danvers presented to her), Iris can’t seem to finish her wedding vows.
So Ryan throws Iris’ earlier advice right back at her. (Don’t you love it when your friends do that?)
Nic: As soon as she slows down her mind and listens to her heart, the next step will become clearer.
In fact, Ryan used that very advice earlier that night when she saved an unhoused kid who reminded her of herself. In that moment, Ryan and her heart knew exactly what to do; she wanted to save a child the same way Cora saved her. Once everyone was safe, Ryan called Sophie and they decided they’re going to adopt. (This super isn’t the point, but I’m imagining Batwoman breathing heavily after kicking ass, and having an incredibly serious conversation with HER WIFE about bringing a child into their family, and I can’t stop laughing. This shit is so gay.)
Valerie: EVERYTHING IS GAY AND NOTHING HURTS
Nic: Iris looks genuinely so happy for Ryan and the two just have this comfort and ease with each other that I think mirrors the relationship Candice and Javicia have off-screen. When Azie Tesfai hosted her Instagram Live a few months back, Candice mentioned the importance of Black female friendship especially in places like television sets where it can be more difficult to advocate for themselves. The importance of having people you can shed your armor around; who you can share book recommendations with; who you can kiki with about the nonsense your non-Black co-stars get up to. It’s a sense of community that can only be understood by those who’ve had similar experiences.
Remember a few Batwoman recaps ago, when I said Black women are not a monolith? We can be soft? We can love? We can have friendships that don’t revolve around backstabbing and pain? This relationship between Ryan and Iris is exactly what I meant. They love each other. They can count on each other. They aren’t fighting over a love triangle or putting each other down. They get to have this beautiful friendship and it’s a joy to watch, if even in a made up timeline.
Iris has been through the wringer on this here television program, and I would give anything to have her over on Batwoman permanently. But among all its timey wimey weirdness and obvious focus on Barry Allen, The Flash: Armageddon gives Iris West one thing she’s been missing: genuine Black female friendship in the form of Ryan Wilder.
Valerie: Seconding the motion to move Iris to Gotham! She’s going to have a queer daughter someday so she needs to start that support system now!
Back at Star Labs, since no one has given her a task, Alex is still meddling in Team Flash’s love life. She storms up to Chester and demands to know why he walked out on Allegra 10 years ago.
As it turns out, it was all a big miscommunication.
Nic: The way that miscommunication is my LEAST FAVORITE reason for television/story conflict?! It makes my tummy huuuuurt!
Valerie: Chester went out to get coffee and Allegra was gone when he got back. And when he tried to talk to her about it, she pushed him away and they decided to be friends. Ryan Choi chimes in that love is a lie anyway, science is the only truth. Alex scoffs at them but they say that not everyone can have a perfect wife like Alex does. Alex tells Chester and Ryan Choi that closing themselves off to love is a recipe for missing out on the best part of being human, and I’d rather her not be quite so LOUD.
Alex goes to Allegra to ask why she misled her on what actually happened with Chester, and Allegra admits that she was scared.
She has some abandonment issues, see, and when she realized that she was starting to genuinely like Chester, she figured she’d leave before he got the chance to. Alex tells Allegra that Kelly is her rock now, but she went through her fair share of heartbreak before they found each other. She promises putting yourself out there is worth it. Ryan Choi rudely abandons team Love is a Lie after this speech, and admits that he just plays the player because he’s scared of getting hurt.
Nic: And honestly…Ryan Choi can be A BIT QUIETER TOO, PLEASE.
Valerie: I suppose it makes sense that the bearer of the Love Totem would have some advice for the team lead by the Paragon of Love. Even though this whole thing was a little silly since it ultimately will be erased from the timeline, but Alex looks proud of herself for solving all of Team Flash’s romance issues, so it was worth it for that alone.
Nic: Iris is still having trouble with her vows when Barry just speeds on into her apartment. Now, I know in his timeline, it’s also his apartment, but there have to be some Flash consent rules, right? Can he just show up wherever he wants?? Anyway, he tries to tell Iris about his plan to sort of but not really cause Armageddon in order to fix the timeline. A clearly threatened Eobard shows up before Barry can confess his love, and demands Iris shoot Barry. Instead she shoots her fiancé and lets Barry go.
As Barry starts to run (!!) and cause natural disasters all over the world, Eobard begins chasing him in an effort to stop him. I just. This whole thing literally started because Eobard could not stand the fact that Barry was faster than him. SO HE STOLE BARRY’S ENTIRE LIFE?! Are cishet white men okay?
Valerie: When I realized this was essentially a toxic masculinity bro-off… Rage!
Nic: And speaking of cishet white men who absolutely are not okay, apparently Constantine is still somehow ruining our lives because he gave Killer Frost and Ryan Choi a protection spell so Darhk can’t hurt them as they attempt to fight him.
Valerie: At this point in our joint doc for this recap, Nic put a note that just said, “annoying white man rant??” and frankly I wish I could just leave it as is. But of course I can’t resist a rant; I’m sick of these shows overusing the same three cis white men just because they like the actor. I’m sure Matt Ryan, Tom Cavanaguh, Neal McDonough, and Jon Cryer are lovely people. But that’s not a good enough reason to drag their characters’ stories out like this! Constantine’s only saving grace is that at least he is queer no matter which character he’s playing but even still I’m sick of him. With the existence of Metahumans and aliens in the Beeboverse, there are a bajillion different villains you can dream up, why are you using the same three villains over and over? And why oh WHY try to redeem someone who was truly vile to our heroes over the years? I will forever maintain that The Flash was at its best when it had a meta-of-the-week format with the throughline of Team Flash learning to work together and dealing with their interpersonal relationships. It was also more fun when Barry was more like Kara Danvers and less like Oliver Queen but that’s a rant for another day.
I will say, though, watching Sentinel be the one to take down Damien Darhk was very cathartic.
Nic: *Standing ovation for that rant. No notes.*
Meanwhile at Star Labs, since they figure death is more than likely imminent, Allegra chooses that moment to confess her love for Chester. And the way Chester is all, “yeah, duh, I obviously love you too” is so perfect and almost had me caring about a het relationship. But the icing on the cake is Caitlin’s reaction to the entire thing. HER FACE!
Valerie: After a very dramatic sequence, Barry eventually runs fast enough to break time, resetting the timeline and undoing everything Eobard did. Barry sprints back to 2021, where he finds himself face to face with Despero, who is a little confused because he had just murdered all of Barry’s friends and now their bodies are gone because the timeline reverted. Barry explains everything that happened and how actually the ARMAGEDDON he saw was the beginning of a new start, not the ending, so Despero leaves, promising to return if Barry is wrong.
Barry goes to find Team Flash, and is glad to find his found family all alive and happy. Barry hugs Iris so tight and is beyond thrilled when she suggests calling her dad, who is very much alive.
Hopefully Barry will take back the knowledge he gained in the future and make sure to introduce Ryan and Iris, and loop Sentinel into more fights, but who knows.
This is the point that I messaged Nic like “wait isn’t this a FIVE episode event” because it felt very Happily Ever After but then there’s one final scene where Thawne shows up AGAIN in the secret Gideon room in Star Labs (which…needs better security apparently??) and says no one changes the timeline but him. And I know this isn’t really the “murder thyne enemies” kind of show but sweet Beebo if they can’t steal this man’s speed, I vote we make an exception.
Nic, how are you liking ARMAGEDDON so far? Did the appearance of Ryan and Alex in Central City meet your expectations? Does it frustrate you as much as it frustrates me when entire plotlines are just…erased because Barry and other Speedsters can’t help but play god with everyone’s lives? What are you hoping for in Part 5?
Nic: Look, I don’t think it will surprise anyone that Alex and Ryan have been my main draw for watching ARMAGEDDON, so I was mostly thrilled with Part 4. Could have used more fun for Alex and maybe an Esme mention, but it was still great to see her! My one hope is actually that folks watching aren’t discouraged by the fact that the timeline where Ryan and Sophie are married got erased. I actually think it’s an awesome thing that both writers’ rooms recognize how important their relationship is; plus Barry “Barries” up the timeline every other episode of his own show, so who knows what their future will actually look like!
Valerie: I also think it’s a good reminder that Ryan/Sophie is definitely a POTENTIAL future, and that they both have to get their act together to make it come true.
Nic: As for Part 5, can we just…get rid of Thawne? Introduce a new villain? My pie in the sky dream is that Ryan comes back and she and Jefferson Pierce catch up about Anissa, who she’s also become friends with. Basically I want the CWDCTV Black woman group chat to come to life. Doesn’t seem like too much to ask, right?
Valerie: THE DREAM. Also I hope in Part 5, though it seems unlikely based on how this one ended, that we get more of Alex and Ryan interacting with each other. But if not at least we’ll always have this.
I also still want that CWDCTVLGBTQ+ party at the Hold Up, but perhaps that’s for a Batwoman Very Special Five-Episode Event. Maybe we can call that one APOCALYPSE. Or DANGER.
Hey Nic, if Ryan and Alex are both in ARMAGEDDON: Part 5 will you do this again with me?
Nic: Hey Valerie, YES DUH!
Valerie: Great, see you then.