Time-Travel Tips from The Flash’s Armageddon

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Armageddon is upon us, and I’m here to say, “Bring it on!” The five-part Flash television event, which wraps up tonight with its climactic chapter, has been a breath of fresh air. Due to the pandemic, we haven’t been able to see our favorite Arrowverse heroes together in a long time and I’ve missed it. In some ways, that delay might have even been a good thing because it allowed us to have some breathing room after the epic “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover. Let’s face it—how do you follow that? Still, breathers aside, seeing my favorite DCTV characters in one place was a reunion I desperately needed.

Of course, nothing about this reunion was traditional, and not just because Frost and Chillblaine have poor bathroom etiquette. This superhero get-together took place in 2031, where Iris and Thawne are a couple and Barry is public enemy number one. I suppose that’s a future that should make me upset, but I was excited to see Ryan Choi back and apparently operating as the Atom. Plus, we got to see our new Batwoman interacting with the other heroes of the Arrowverse for the first time. And what’s this about her and Sophie being married? I know this is an alternate future, but could all these status quo changes be a hint at things to come?

All this talk about time travel and the future reminded me of something a teacher told me years ago: when people imagine themselves as time-travelers they are very cautious about doing something that will mess up their future, but they never consider how their actions right now in the present could be doing the same thing. In other words, maybe we should all imagine ourselves as time-travelers so we get better about thinking of that. A little more consideration now and again could keep us from messing up our own future. Just be considerate about it, and for Beebo’s sake, don’t be like the folks from DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. (Everyone is always making jokes about Barry messing up the timeline, but let’s be real, the crew of the Waverider has been so much more chaotic.)

I was reminded of this time-travel lesson as I watched Chester and Allegra last week in “Armageddon, Part 4.” Both of their lives were altered by Allegra’s decision to run after spending the night with Chester. As a result, they spent ten years apart, pining for one another in separate continents. It takes the intervention of Alex Danvers to bring the two of them together, but it didn’t have to be this way. Think about all the time they wasted being unhappy. How different would the last ten years of their lives have been if Allegra and Chester had been honest with each other in the first place? We can’t blame this one on Thawne messing up the timeline—it’s all them.

Of course, now that Barry has undone Thawne’s Reverse-Flashpoint, Chester and Allegra have another chance to get it right. Does this mean we’ll see the same events pan out, or will the future take another path? If there is one thing the Arrowverse has taught us, it’s that the timeline is very malleable, so Chester and Allegra might become a couple, or maybe they’ll wind up with other people. And that’s if they even survive the events of this season. Remember, nothing in life is guaranteed, which is why it’s important to listen to your heart. That would have made things different for Chester and Allegra, and it definitely was a game-changer for Barry and Iris.

Consider the moment where Iris had her gun drawn on Barry. As far she knew, Barry was the Reverse-Flash—the man who had killed a number of her friends over the years. Luckily for Barry, Iris listened to her heart, and she knew something wasn’t right. She shot Thawne, allowing Barry to restore the proper timeline. Had she not done that, Barry would’ve been erased from the timeline, Iris would’ve been Mrs. Eobard Thawne, and most of our favorite heroes would’ve stayed dead. This is a case where the fate of the universe relied on Iris’s ability to listen to her heart, and thankfully, she’s gotten pretty good at that over the years.

The Reverse-Flashpoint timeline of 2031 may have been erased, but it could still serve as a hint to the future of the Arrowverse. Over on Batwoman, Ryan and Sophie still have a lot to work out, but maybe there are wedding bells in their future. As of now, Ryan still hasn’t met any of the other DCTV heroes, but seeing her so chummy with them in this timeline means we could have a bright future ahead. The funny thing is, when Barry and Ryan do meet for the first time, he’ll already be familiar with her! We also have Ryan Choi in that group, which makes me wonder how many times Batwoman and the new Atom deal with name confusion. Imagine Chester calling for Ryan, and the two heroes have to figure out who he’s asking for. I have a stepbrother that shares my first name—I can feel their pain.

Thanks to his speed, and the love from his wife Iris, Barry was able to restore his future. It’s my old teacher’s lesson made real. (Well, TV real, at any rate.) We may not have super-speed, and we may not be married to Candice Patton, but we still have the power to change the timeline. Every action we take effects our future, from what we eat for dinner, to what we do with our careers. In some cases, the only effect on our future may be a stomachache, but other times we could lose ten years of our lives to heartbreak like Chester and Allegra. Either way, use your power responsibility and hope you don’t bring on an Armageddon!

The Flash’s five-part season premiere event, “Armageddon,” concludes tonight at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW. Looking for the latest on the Scarlet Speedster? Visit our official Flash series page!

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, “Gotham Gazette.” Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.

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