WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Flash Season 8, Episode 1, "Armageddon, Part 1," which aired Tuesday, November 16th on The CW.
The Flash is back for the show's eighth season, kicked off by the exciting new "Armageddon" crossover event. This time, things are a bit different as far as crossovers go, with the heroes' union being kept on The Flash instead of extending to other shows as well. While this logically makes things more closely knit, it's undermined by how ridiculous some of the set up is.
Featuring the return of Brandon Routh's Ray Palmer, the beginning of "Armageddon" has the most hackneyed, inorganic segue into a crossover ever. This speaks to one of the Arrowverse's biggest flaws, as well as how much the shared universe has seemingly given up on a lot of things. Here's a look at how the newest episodes of The Flash signal Armageddon for continuity.
The Return of Ray Palmer
As mentioned, the first part of "Armageddon" begins with Ray Palmer coming back into the Arrowverse fray. The character had last been seen on Legends of Tomorrow, where he and his on-and-off-screen wife left the team to live a more normal civilian life. In Central City for a science conference, Ray basically invites himself over to Barry and Iris' house without so much as a warning.
This set of events is incredibly rude on Ray's part, and it fails on several levels. For one, it's just plain bad writing, as the whole setup just feels rushed and poorly thought out. In essence, the focus was more on bringing Ray back than in coming up with reason for him to be around that both made sense and felt in character. The bigger question, however, is why didn't Ray just get on the phone and call Barry beforehand to see if staying with him was cool? This lack of continuity and cohesion has long been an issue in the Arrowverse, and it's only gotten worse in the last few years.
The Arrowverse Is Dead... Long Live the Arrowverse
Initially, the Arrowverse had fairly tight continuity, but there was a reason for that. The shared universe was composed of only the grounded Arrow and The Flash, but as more and more shows were added and concepts like the multiverse and time travel were explored, things logically became ridiculous. Given how chummy and reachable everyone seemed to be with each other in certain episodes, it made less and less sense why other heroes weren't called upon for simple favors in the face of immense danger.
Some shows handled this concept well, with Arrow and The Flash particularly having a pretty good continuity with each other's events. Sadly, that isn't the case for most of the Arrowverse now, especially after Crisis on Infinite Earths. Arrow has now finished its run, and it can definitely be argued that outside of Stargirl and Superman & Lois (which both have marginal connections at best to the Arrowverse anyways), the wind has been thoroughly knocked out of the Arrowverse's sails.
The response from the shows' creators seems to be a decreasing interest in maintaining continuity and caring even less when it comes to mashing these shows up. Barry at least knew and had something of a friendship with Ray Palmer, but the other heroes planned for the event seem incredibly random to have team up with The Flash. Sadly, this may be a sign of things to come for the now moribund Arrowverse, with the once sprawling shared universe no longer feeling bothered to justify its own stories.
To see Barry team up with more heroes that definitely should have called first, The Flash airs Tuesdays on the CW, with its "Armageddon" event set to continue until December 14th.
KEEP READING: The Flash: Armageddon Introduced Despero to the Arrowverse
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