Friday, December 3, 2021

The Flash Season 8, Episode 1: Armageddon, Part 1

This week on The Flash, it's twice the fun as we get the Season 8 premiere, as well as this year's big Arrowverse Crossover. Well, sort of.

If I'm being honest, I'm less surprised that the show's made it this far than I am that it actually got renewed after the disastrous Season 7! 

You all remember Season 7— the one in which Iris defeated Mirror Master/Monarch/Mistress by telling her to stop being an asshole. The one in which a group of grown-ass adults became the Four Forces and literally— not figuratively or metaphorically— considered Barry & Iris to be their parents, and consistently referred to them as Dad & Mom. The one in which Barry teamed up with his nemesis Thawne and had a Speed Force Lightsaber duel with Godspeed. THAT Season 7!

Should the show have been renewed for an eighth season? Based on its performance last year, my answer would be a resounding NO! Fortunately this week's episode was leaps and bounds better than anything the writers vomited up in Season 7. It's wayyyyy too early to tell if this season will redeem the show, but so far I'm cautiously optimistic. 

In the past, the annual Arrowverse Crossovers were major events, and stretched across multiple series— sometimes all of them. This one's a bit different though, as all five chapters are taking place solely on The Flash. It's also a very scaled down crossover, as only a handful of guest stars will appear. I'm assuming this is yet another side effect of Covid filming restrictions.

Even though this week's episode was a vast improvement over anything we saw in Season 7, it was still somewhat disappointing. Mainly because for an episode titles Armageddon, Part 1, there was precious little Armageddoning going on. The bulk of the story consisted ot typical The CW melodrama, and the actual Despero plotline didn't kick in until very late in the third act. In fact you could easily skip to the 30 minute mark without missing a blessed thing! It's never a good sign when a show starts padding and treading water in the FIRST EPISODE OF THE SEASON!

This episode also made it abundantly clear that Cisco and Harrison Wells' departures left two massive holes in the series that have yet to be plugged. Sadly, Chester and Allegra are VERY pale substitutes for them. In fact the two of them both had major story arcs this week, but they were so dull and uninteresting that I can barely remember what they were. 

Allegra had a standard "Youthful Assistant Is Put In Charge Of Veteran Coworkers Who Don't Respect Her" storyline that we've seen a thousand times before (see the TNG episode Pen Pals for a prime example). Chester's arc was so insignificant that I'm still not sure what the hell it was even about. Seriously! Something about he was butthurt over a comment from Ray Palmer?

And we'll get into it in more detail below, but my prediction concerning Despero's appearance turned out to be one hundred percent spot on.


The Plot:
Central City, 2031. Citizens run through the streets in panic, begging to be saved. A red-headed man appears and says only HE has the strength to stop the disaster. He activates his glowing belt and disappears.

The Present:
Barry & Caitlin stop for coffee at Jitters, where she tells him she's ready to start dating again. Just then Barry gets an alert that two trains are about to collide outside the city. He zooms to the scene and evacuates the passengers from both trains a second before they crash.

Barry returns to Jitters, where Caitlin says it looks like his powers have leveled up. He tells her it's high time she leveled up her love life. Get used to that "leveled up" phrase, because it's uttered ad nauseam in this episode.

Cut to Iris, who's inexplicably now the head of a her own vast multimedia empire. She interviews Kristen Kramer (ugh), who says that she's dismantled the Meta Task Force (after finding out that she herself is in fact a meta). Iris then tells Allegra she needs a new supervising editor, and gives her the job. Quite rightly Allegra balks, saying she doesn't have enough experience, but Iris insists.

That night Barry brings home pizza from Italy, and Iris hints it's time they finally started conceiving their future kids. Right on cue there's a knock on the door. Barry answers it and is greeted my his old friend Ray Palmer, aka Atom. Ray says he's in town for the Central City Tech Conference, and all the hotels in town are full. He asks if he can crash at their pad as he barges on in.

Meanwhile, guards at Mercury Labs are prepping to load a tiny new power core into a truck for transport. Just then the Royal Flush Gang appears and easily takes out the guards. The Queen steals the power core, and says it's time to "raise the stakes." Com-O-Dee!

The next morning Ray makes breakfast and tells Barry and Iris about his wife Nora (not to be confused with Barry's mom Nora, the Speed Force which took the form of Nora Allen or the two versions of his future daughter Nora). Chester arrives, and announces he's going to be Ray's personal assistant and liaison at the Tech Conference. Barry speeds off to his CSI job for once, leaving Iris alone with the nerds.

Barry examines the Mercury Labs robbery as Kristen looks on. He tells her it was the work of the Royal Flush Gang, Central City's very first meta threat (retcon!). She asks if her being a meta herself makes it hard for Barry to work for her. He suppresses a chuckle as he says it's not a problem.

Elsewhere, Allegra tries bossing around her employees, all of whom are older and have far more experience. Predictably they ignore her and do whatever they want, as we're presented with the old "Youngster Gets Promoted To Boss And Older Workers Don't Respect Her" plotline.

Barry determines the Royal Flush Gang caused the trains to crash in order to steal an experimental microchip from one of them. Cecile's in his lab for no good reason, and wonders why the Gang is stealing high tech equipment.

Just then there's an alert that the power went out at Iron Heights prison for just three seconds, allowing all the inmates to escape. Barry zooms to the prison and puts everyone back in their cells. While there he also discovers the Royal Flush Gang caused the blackout, and one of the prisoners— who's a computer hacker— has disappeared.

At Jitters, Chester introduces Ray to a group of his friends who want to pitch new tech startup ideas to him. Ray apologizes and says he's not interested in forming new companies, as he just wants to enjoy his life with Nora. This gives Chester icky bad feelings, and he sulks like a child for the rest of the episode.

Elsewhere, Allegra tells Iris she crashed and burned in her new leadership role. Iris gives her a Patented The CW Pep Talk® and tells her she believes in her or some such hooey.

At STAR Labs, the team tries to figure out what the Royal Flush Gang is up to. After much discussion, they determine they're using the microchip, power source and hacker to steal cryptocurrency from various casinos. Chester figures out a way to detect the Gang's location.

Cut to the Royal Flush Gang's empty warehouse, er, I mean secret base. The hacker they liberated from Iron Heights pushes a button, and millions of dollars begin pouring into the Gang's account. Once it's finished, they move in to kill the hacker. Just then the Flash appears, zooms the hacker back to Iron Heights and returns. He tells the Gang their plan is kaput.

Queen reminds him her power allows him to predict his every move. The Gang attacks, and the Flash activates his superspeed, causing them all to seemingly freeze in place. He rearranges them all so they're facing one another, then places power-dampening cuffs on Queen. As he returns to normal speed, King, Jack & Ten all knock out one another, and Queen is stunned to see she's been cuffed. When she says that's impossible, Flash explains that he "changed his mind" at superspeed. Eh, I guess?

At CCC Media, Allegra rejects her staff's stories, saying they're well-written but lack the "voice of the people" or something. She tells them to try again and leaves them with their mouths gaped open.

Later at the Tech Con, Chester avoids Ray. Barry asks what's going on, and Ray says he hurt Chester's feelings by rejecting his startup ideas. Iris interviews Ray, asking him about his future projects. He says he doesn't want to repeat his past achievements, and they'll find out his plans together next year. For some reason the crowd decides that deserves a round of applause.

Just then Despero appears onstage. FINALLY, the actual plot of this crossover can start! He looks at the crowd and tells them they should all run.

Despero demands that the Flash show himself. A second later Barry appears in costume and asks what he wants. Despero says the Flash was good once, but he's going to kill him in order to save the world. Despero then 
activates his belt and morphs into his true form— a ten foot tall pink alien with a finned head.

Barry begins running circles around Despero, disorienting him. Ray tells Chester that he was right, and made him change his mind (?). He then runs offscreen as he rips open his shirt. Just then Despero's had enough and punches the floor, knocking everyone over and somehow throwing Barry from the building. Despero leaps out of it as well and lands in a plaza.

Just then Atom joins Barry, and the two attack Despero. Iris asks what the hell they're firing at, as they realize the alien bamboozled their senses and is actually behind them. He hurls a taxi at the heroes, and Atom grabs Barry and shrinks the two of them to avoid it.

Despero tells Atom this isn't his fight and orders him to leave. Barry then creates a Speed Force mirage of himself, and he and his twin attack. While the alien's distracted, Atom shrinks and looks for a weakness in his tech. Despero uses his telepathy to easily detect the real Barry and punches him to the ground.

As Despero moves in for the kill, Barry asks him what he meant by him "being good once." Despero shows him a psychic image of 2031, and the destruction the Flash will cause. He says the Flash turns evil in the future, so he came to the past in order to kill him and save the world. Just as he's about to deliver the killing blow, his belt begins malfunctioning and he teleports away. Atom appears and says he shorted out the belt and sent Despero to a random location.

Later at STAR Labs, Barry wonders if he's really destined to end the world. Team Flash assures him that's not possible (even though we've already seen evil future versions of him before). Ray says if they knew what planet Despero's from, they might be able to find a weakness.

At Central City Media, Iris reads the staff's revised stories, and congratulates Allegra for riding her employees and stepping up in her new role or some such drivel.

Back at STAR, Ray offers to stick around, but Barry stupidly says they can handle Despero. Ray & Chester then kiss & make up (figuratively) over their irrelevant little spat.

Once Ray's gone, Chester detects an alien signal coming in (whatever that means). Despero then appears in the Cortex, and once again says he's going to kill the Flash to protect the future. Barry insists he's not a killer and tells Despero to scan his mind. Despero does so, and sees Flash is telling the truth.

Unfortunately Despero says there's too much at stake and he's killing Flash anyway. Barry says he's spent his entire life protecting the world (that's a lie!) and would never hurt it. He asks for a chance to prove it. For no good reason, Despero gives him seven days to convince him he's not the monster he saw in the future. If he's not satisfied by then, he'll kill him.

Back in October The CW announced their big Annual Arrowverse Crossover Event, titled Armageddon. Unlike past crossovers though, this would would take place solely in the first five episodes of The Flash. Which really isn't a crossover, but whatever. The event would feature Barry and a select group of friends squaring off against Despero, a prominent villain from the comics. This news was met with cautious optimism by most fans.

That excitement was short-lived though, as The CW released this image of Barry confronting a very human-looking Despero— a character who's supposed to be a ten foot tall alien with pink skin and a fin on his head. The second I saw this shot I made the following prediction:

I've been watching these shows long enough now that I know exactly how this will go. Despero will actually be an alien, just like he is in the comics, but they'll come up with some bullsh*t reason for him to take human form for 98% of the crossover. We'll then be treated to a mediocre CGI version of him for one brief fight scene in the third act of the final installment. You heard it here first!

Welp, turns out that's EXACTLY what happened. In fact the opening shot of this episode shows Despero (albeit in shadow) shrinking down into human form. 

And just as I predicted, Despero spends 98% of the episode looking like actor Tony Curran...

... and the other 2% as a CGI alien. Hey, at least it's something, I guess. They could have easily have foregone the alien form altogether and just had him be a lame humanoid for the entire crossover.

Despero's alien form was a much better looking CGI creation than I expected, but still— sometimes it sucks to be right all the time.

• In the flashforward to 2031, we see someone took the time to spray paint "The End Is Nigh" on a wall. Who wrote this graffiti, Stan Lee?

• "What do you think, audience?"

For no good reason, Despero looks directly into the camera and tells the audience that only he has the strength to kill the Flash and save the world.

• It's Morphin' Time!"

For reasons known only to him, Despero apparently programmed his human disguise to have black fingernails.

• At one point Barry & Caitlin take a morning stroll to Jitters. Caitlin asks, "So what's it like walking to get coffee when you can run 4000 miles per hour?"

Eh, I dunno... While it's nice to find out Barry's top speed, I can't help but feel that confirmation is gonna come back to bite the writers in their collective ass. Especially when he performs feats like running across the country in five seconds or literally turning back time.

• Caitlin says Frost is MIA this week because she's pining over Mark Blaine, aka Chillblaine. Ugh... I was hoping we'd seen the last of him in Season 7, and he'd been Poochied back to his home planet.

• At Jitters, Barry gets an alert that two commuter trains are out of control and heading toward one another. He then zips to the scene and evacuates the passengers from both trains‚ in just twelve seconds.

It's an awesome scene filled with amazing superhero action, but... wouldn't it have been easier to try and stop the two trains instead? Now in addition to the massive loss of equipment, there's gonna be a huge pile of debris and wreckage to clean up.

And why'd he dramatically crash through the windshield of the second train with the engineer? Wouldn't it have been safer to phase through it with him?

"Leveled Up" Counter: 5. I dunno why, but for some reason "Leveled Up" is this week's catchphrase. It's said by various characters FIVE times during the episode. Strange.

• So at some point between seasons, Iris' Central City Citizen newspaper switched gears and became Central City Citizen Media. Probably a wise (and necessary!) decision, given the state of newspapers today.

In this episode it looks like they took the standard Central City Citizen establishing shot and stuck a very obvious CGI Central City Citizen Media near the bottom of the building.

• By far the most unrealistic element of The Flash isn't the superpowers, time travel or multiple worlds— it's Iris' media outlet.

She started out with a simple blog called The Streak Lives, in which she informed the citizens of Central City of the exploits of the Flash. A few seasons later her blog grew into the Central City Citizen, and ill-defined publication that was online in some episodes, and a physical newspaper in others. 

Its schedule was a mystery as well, as it came out either daily or weekly, depending on the needs of the script. Amazingly, Iris, Allegra and Kamilla were the only employees, and the three of them somehow managed to put out the entire publication themselves— despite the fact they were regularly hanging out at STAR Labs, helping Team Flash or being kidnapped by evil metas.

Then if that wasn't ridiculous enough, at some point in the past six months Iris somehow transformed her little online/physical newspaper into a vast multimedia empire, which she's rebranded Central City Citizen Media! And what an operation it is, too. Allegra herself states, "We have three new reporters, an IT intern and an office manager now. Plus, online circulation's over two million, and your new podcast is frickin' brilliant."

So where's Iris getting the capitol for all this growth? How's she paying all these new employees? What's the two million circulation mean? Are those paid subscribers? Or did Iris line up a sh*t ton of advertisers? 

Iris mentions that Sue Dearbon (who's a cat burglar, by the way) bought the building they're housed in. So is she letting Iris use it rent free?

I fully realize I'm whistling into the wind here and trying to apply real world logic to a comic book show. But there needs to be some level of verisimilitude in the series, else it's all just utter nonsense.

• Yay, Kristen Kramer's back! Everyone's favorite new cast member from Season 7! Seriously, was ANYONE out there demanding the return of this poorly written, inconsistently-motivated character?

By the way, that Citizentopia logo in the background may be the butt-ugliest piece of design I've ever seen. Half the letters are obscured by the underlying colors, and the headphones inadvertently suggest a skull!

• At CCCM, Iris interviews Kristen on her podcast:

Iris: "Captain Kramer, while supportive of your transparency, you have been criticized for your decision to disband the city's Meta Task Force. Some people thinking that it will increase meta-crime across the city. Do you care to comment?"
Kristen: "Once I came to terms with being a meta, it helped me realize how important it is for everyone in Central City to receive equal protections under the same laws."
Iris: "So you felt as though the Meta Task Force was unfairly targeting marginalized sections of the populace."
Kristen: "Yes. Which is why its time has passed."

Translation: "The Meta Task Force was a great idea until it affected me personally."

• After the podcast Iris introduces Kristen to Allegra, saying, "You remember Captain Kramer?"

You mean the ruthless, humorless harridan who relentlessly hunted down metas like Allegra, threatened to forcibly strip her of her powers and tried to sentence her friend Frost to life in prison? Nah, never heard of her.

• At their apartment, Barry & Iris try to enjoy a quiet evening alone. He mentions how Deon is helping to stabilize her temporal sickness with "regular treatments," whatever that means.

So... are we dropping this major subplot? It seemed like it was gonna be a BIG Deal back in Season 7, but they just casually hand-waved it away. I suppose it could still happen, but for now it seems like they're trying to sweep this whole arc under the rug as quickly as possible.

• For me the highlight of this episode was the appearance of Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer, aka Atom. His endearing persona and goofy charm made me realize just how much I've missed him on Legends Of Tomorrow. In fact his ill-advised and unjustified discharge from that show left a HUGE hole that's yet to be plugged, and seriously lessened my interest in it.

At one point Barry asks Ray if he keeps in touch with his old team. He admits he hasn't seen any of them in a while, and wistfully says, "It was really hard leaving the Legends."

Based on his expression and his melancholy tone, methinks that was really Brandon Routh saying that line, and not Ray Palmer.

• The secondary Big Bads in this episode are the Royal Flush Gang.

Um... have the writers ever played poker before? Because a royal flush consists of an ace, king, queen, jack, and ten— all of the same suit. For some reason there are only FOUR members of the Royal Flush Gang. They left out the ace. And their costumes all feature a different suit.

Their powers don't make a lot of sense either. Queen is telepathic and can see the immediate future, King has superstrength, Jack can fire heat rays from his eyes and Ten is apparently an acrobat. None of those abilities have anything to do with poker or playing cards in general.

There've actually been two previous Royal Flush Gangs in the Arrowverse. The first was just a family of plain old non-meta robbers, who debuted in the Arrow Season 1 episode Legacies. The second was a biker gang who showed up on The Flash in Season 1's The Sound And The Fury.

The group seen here is clearly a retconned Post-Crisis version who's never appeared before— despite Barry's insistence that they were Central City's very first meta-threat. According to him, they first popped up in Central City while he was in the lightning strike-induced coma that gave him his superspeed.

Nice Attention To Detail: At one point we see a Royal Flush Gang headline from 2014 (the year Barry became the Flash). It's from the Central City Picture News, where Iris used to work. And it was written by Mason Bridge, one of her coworkers who was killed by the Reverse-Flash.

• The Royal Flush Gang bust into Mercury Labs to steal an experimental microchip. Ten takes out a guard with an impressive roundhouse kick.

Amazingly she kicked them so hard she turned into a completely different person!

• Supervillain Landing!

• Whenever the super-strong King punches someone, there's an audible whirring noise, as if some kind of machine's powering up. Is King bionic? Does he have cybernetic implants? Is he a brain in a robot body? Your guess is as good as mine, as it's never addressed or explained.

• Thanks to the Royal Flush Gang, this episode is filled to the rafters with poker & playing card puns. In fact if you take a drink every time you hear one, you'll be dead of alcohol poisoning by the third act.

Jack: "Guess you drew a lucky hand."

Queen: "Ooh, their minds are full of fear, Ten. Show them who has the winning hand."

Jack: "Guess he folded."

Queen: "It's easy when you can see each card before it's dealt."

King: "Now what?"
Queen: "We raise the stakes."

King: "Someone's out of chips."
Hacker: "What the hell, man? We planned this for years, and now you're gonna kill me?"
Queen: "Of course not. Jack is."
Jack: "I'm all in."

Queen: "Ah, usually, I know when to fold them. You know $50 million... it's a lot to leave on the virtual table."
King: "And since my Queen is a psychic who knows everything you're going to do before you do it, go ahead, Flash, we call."
Ten: "Four to one, I like these odds."
Queen: "Go ahead, Flash-y, pick a card, any card."

Queen: "Your thoughts... after I read them, you reshuffled the deck."
Flash: "I guess the house doesn't always win."

On the other hand, after Ten takes out several guards with a spin kick she quips, "Jackpot!" Um... yeah, that's more of a slot machine pun than a card one.

• Apropos of nothing, here's what the Gang looks like sans KISS makeup.

• I liked the scene in which Barry asked Kristen how her mimicking powers work. Obviously he was worried she might suddenly develop superspeed by standing next to him, and realize he's the Flash. She explains that her powers only kick in when she's under extreme stress, and even then they're only temporary. I have a feeling this was a setup for a future scene, in which she inadvertently discovers Barry's secret.

• Where was Joe this week? His name's in the opening credits, but he's nowhere to be found in the episode. His absence was made all the more apparent by the fact that they awkwardly substituted Cecile into scenes which were clearly written for him. Why else would she be hanging around Barry's CSI lab at CCPD?

• So what the hell was going on in the scene between Chester & Cecile? When Team Flash asks why he's acting so mopey, he replies: 

Chester: "I have resigned as Ray's liaison. It turns out I messed that up, too. Now I'm, like, dead to him."
(Cut to Cecile, who suddenly looks stricken.)
Chester: "Oh, my God, Cecile, I am... I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have said that."
Cecile: "No. No, no, it's OK."

What was THAT about? Based on Joe's absence this week and Cecile's reaction to the word "dead," I honestly thought there'd been a time jump between seasons and he'd had been killed offscreen. I can't think of any other reason for her odd reaction.

• The Royal Flush Gang liberates a hacker from Iron Heights Prison to help them embezzle funds from various casinos. For a second I thought the hacker was played by actor Dave Bautisa!

• Apparently the show used up this week's budget on CGI Despero, because the Royal Flush Gang's "hideout" is literally just an empty exhibition hall. In fact I'm 99.9999% sure it's located inside the Vancouver Convention Center, which plays a big role in this episode.

• The best part of the episode was when Barry used his superspeed to make the Royal Flush Gang beat themselves! If only every episode of the show featured such creativity!

• You know, it might have been tougher for Barry to beat the Royal Flush Gang if Queen hadn't announced exactly how her powers worked beforehand.

• During the pointless Allegra subplot, she puts the older reporters in their place by correcting and rejecting their stories.

Whoops! I think that's actually a page of this week's script that accidentally appeared onscreen.

• When Iris interviews Ray, there's a banner behind them listing the various sponsors of the big Tech Conference. Nearly all these labs have appeared or been mentioned on the show before.

I spotted logos for STAR Labs (natch), Tannhouser Industries (owned by Caitlin's mom), Mercury Labs, Butler Empire (?), IVO Labs, Opal Thermo Labs (located in Opal City, no doubt) and Stagg Industries. It's tough to make out, but I think the center logo that kind of looks like a crown says Kord Industries. It's been mentioned numerous times on both Arrow and The Flash. In the comics, Ted Kord is secretly the Blue Beetle. 

There's also a Planet Palizzi Technologies. I don't recall ever hearing that name on the show before. As it turns out there's an Emily Palizzi Gilbert who's a staff Writer on The Flash, so I assume it's a shoutout to her.

• I was very impressed with Despero's alien form. It looks pretty damned good if you ask me, especially for a TV budget. He's definitely a MASSIVE improvement over last season's embarrassing and unconvincing Fuerza. 

Amazingly they even made the CGI Despero look like actor Tony Curran!

Despero made his comic debut way back in 1960's Justice League Of America #1, where he had a much goofier and less threatening look. He was the ruler of the planet Kalanor, and two rebels from his world contacted the Justice League to help them overthrow him. Despero incapacitated the League except for the Flash, and challenged him to a chess-like game for control of the world or something. Eventually Despero was defeated and Kanalor was freed from his tyrannical rule.

He must have a thing for chess, because in a later issue he challenged Martian Manhunter to another life or death game.

Despero's third eye was capable of mind control, creating illusions, telepathy and telekinesis. 

At some point Despero showed up with a new body— this time with his fin running down the center of his head instead of across it (which was a much better look). He was also now superhumanly strong, thanks to the Flame Of Py'tar, whatever that was, and could alter the size of his body.

It appears the Arrowverse version of Despero has most, if not all these powers. Whether they use his comic book backstory or not remains to be seen.

• After Despero appears, Ray rushes off to change into his Atom suit. As he does so, he rips open his shirt— exactly like he did when he played Clark Kent in Superman Returns.

• Despero throws Barry (seen at extreme upper left) out the window of the Central City Convention Center.

As you can see here, the building's played by the Vancouver Convention Center. The Tech Conference interiors were filmed there as well.

• Supervillain landing!

• In the comics, Despero has a third eye in the middle of his forehead. This version does as well, but for some reason it only appears when he shows Barry a glimpse of his future. ??? I honestly can't think of any good reason why his third eye isn't visible all the time. He's a CGI creation, for corn's sake! Three eyes don't cost any more than two!

• From the time I started reading comics as a wee lad I've been pronouncing Despero as "Despair-O." As in "Look on my works ye might and despair." In this episode everyone pronounces it "DES-per-o." I gotta say I'm not in love with that pronunciation, as it makes it sound like they're trying to say "desperate."

• What's going on with the crowd of bystanders when Iris & Chester arrive on the scene? They're all awkwardly crouched down, as if they're trying to act like they've been frozen in place. In fact the white-shoed woman in the center of the screen is even standing with her left foot raised, like she's in mid-step. 

Did Despero use his powers to immobilize the crowd? If so, there's no dialogue to indicate that. Plus they're all bobbing and weaving around while they're allegedly "frozen." Strange!

• Despero confronts Barry and says, "Bear witness to a coming Armageddon that you create ten years from now— one that destroys your own planet. It already happened, Flash. That's why I, Despero, have to kill you. It's how I save our world."

OK, I'm sure it'll eventually be explained later in the crossover, but for now why the hell is Despero so intent on saving the Earth? And why's he refer to it as his world? He clearly wasn't born here. Did he adopt the Earth as his home like Superman?

• Despero gives Barry a glimpse of the future, in which he becomes Evil Flash or something. You can tell he's bad because when he runs he tears the sh*t out of the pavement!

• Once the crisis is averted, Ray offers to hang around STAR Labs in case Despero returns. Barry stupidly tells him he's not needed, as Team Flash has everything under control. 

Are you fraking kidding me? OK, I get why the writers dispensed with Ray so quickly, but there's no good in-universe reason for Barry to send him on his way. Logic would dictate he round up as much help as he could possibly get to battle this powerful new threat.

Even aside from that, Ray's cheerful, upbeat presence would be a breath of fresh air on the show. Heck, he'd be a decent replacement for Cisco. Too bad the producers couldn't wait to rush him offscreen.

• Back at STAR Labs, Team Flash discusses Despero and whether he's telling the truth about Barry or not. Cecile pipes up with this gem: 

Cecile: "Well, I scanned the residual feelings that Despero left behind inside your mind, and there was no doubt Despero was telling the truth. He really did see those things."

So let me get this straight— Cecile looked into Barry's mind and found the memory of his encounter with Despero. She was then somehow able to read the thoughts of this MEMORY of Despero. 

Comic Book Science!

• This is some Heavy Duty Nitpicking, but whatever. Near the end of the episode, Chester says, "Barr, how do we beat a ten-foot-tall red alien who thinks like Grodd and punches like Fuerza?"

Red? RED??? The guy's as pink as a newborn baby's bottom!

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