The fourth segment of The Flash's "Armageddon" event aired earlier this week, bringing a surprising and ever-evolving take on The CW's Arrowverse of shows. While the event has centered around the latest drama surrounding Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), it's been peppered with appearances from other DC Comics heroes and villains. Spoilers for Season 8, Episode 4 of The Flash, "Armageddon, Part 4", below! Only look if you want to know! The episode largely took place in a possible future version of 2031, where Eobard Thawne (Tom Cavanagh) had manipulated time in order to make himself The Flash and Barry the Reverse Flash.
This possible future also showcased a close friendship between Iris West (Candice Patton) and Ryan Wilder / Batwoman (Javicia Leslie), who helped each other both as civilians and in Ryan's crusade as a superhero. While talking about the problem of Barry's Reverse Flash crashing Iris and Eobard's engagement party, Ryan brought a piece of technology she thought could help — a gun that could remove the Speed Force from a speedster. As Ryan remarked, it was something her team used while up against "the lady in red."
While this could've been brushed off as a reference to Red Alice, a moniker used by Batwoman's Alice (Rachel Skarsten) in the comics, the connection to the Speed Force has made some wonder — was it a reference to Red Death?
A relatively new addition to DC canon, Red Death made his debut in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Dark Days: The Casting #1 in 2017. A member of the Dark Knights — a group of alternate multiversal versions of Batman led by The Batman Who Laughs — Red Death was revealed to be a dark mashup of Batman and The Flash. In the alternate universe of Earth -52, Bruce Wayne was traumatized by the death of his various Robins, and decided to escalate his crimefighting by harnessing the Speed Force. Bruce then absorbed his version of The Flash's powers by combining his Batmobile and the Cosmic Treadmill, and decided to suit up as the Red Death.
Red Death was previously name-dropped in a future-set Season 5 episode of The Flash, which made some wonder if and how the character could factor into the Arrowverse.
"There's small Easter eggs, there's big Easter eggs. When we were in season three, Savitar was talking about DeVoe being one of his biggest foes," former The Flash showrunner Todd Helbing previously told ComicBook.com. "We like to leave it up to the fans to try to figure out which its going to be. Who's maybe a big bad the next season, who's just a name drop. Godspeed sort of fell into the best of both worlds. We can have an episode with him, introduce him and then bring him back at some point in the future because he's a major comics villain so we would never want to do a guy like that in just one episode."
While initially, the Red Death namedrop evoked the idea of alternate versions of Batwoman's Bruce Wayne (Warren Christie) or even Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) taking on the evil mantle, the possible reference in "Armageddon" adds a whole new wrinkle to things. In this possible future, there's a chance that Red Death is either an evil alternate version of Ryan Wilder or Kate Kane, who was given access to the Speed Force. While the possible future of the episode was ultimately wiped out of existence after Barry reset reality, it still adds another wrinkle to Red Death's hypothetical or potential debut, either on The Flash or Batwoman.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.