The Flash: What Really Causes "Armageddon"?

The penultimate episode of The Flash's five-part "Armageddon" event arrived tonight and with it came a lot of answers as to why Despero (Tony Curran) was so worried for the fate of the world as well as precisely why Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) seemingly turned villain to bring about the end of days. As it turns out, "Armageddon" is far more complicated than either Despero or Barry initially realized — and here's what you need to know.

Warning: major spoilers for this week's episode of The Flash, "Armageddon, Part 4", below.

As fans saw at the end of "Armageddon, Part 3," Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash (Tom Cavanagh) has a hand in the "Armageddon" situation. That much was clear when Barry arrived in 2031 and witnessed the engagement party for Thawne and Iris (Candice Patton) but just how deeply involved Thawne is came into sharp focus when Barry attempted to suit up and prove that he was really the hero. Much to his horror, in this reality he is the Reverse Flash while Thawne is The Flash, complete with his own team comprised of Barry's heroic friends.

If there's one thing you can always trust about Thawne, it's that he will grandstand and let you know exactly what he's done. When he has Barry alone, he wastes no time revealing that since he was no longer faster than Barry, he decided to just beat him another way. Thawne created his own Reverse Flashpoint, functionally rewriting reality and stealing Barry's entire life both figuratively and literally. In this new reality, Thawne killed Barry as a child so, when the clock strikes midnight, Barry will disappear from reality altogether.

While that is the villain's plan, that doesn't exactly explain "Armageddon" as arguably Thawne doesn't want the world to end. He wants to enjoy the world he's created. It turns out that "Armageddon" ends up coming about thanks to Barry's attempt to stop Thawne. Barry has one shot to undo everything Thawne has done, but he must get up to a specific speed to make it happen. Running that fast requires him to run around the globe, the force of which is enough to tear the Earth apart. Add onto the situation that Thawne gives chase, contributing to the stress on the planet, it's Barry and Thawne together that threaten to end the world — Barry in his effort to save it and Thawne trying to stop Barry from doing so.

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When Barry is successful in undoing Reverse Flashpoint, he is also successful in stopping "Armageddon". It turns out that Despero only saw a part of what was happening and left before seeing how the event played out in full. One could argue that there are a few gaps in the story there — part of Thawne's state master plan was to make Barry seem crazy, leading everyone to turn on him, thus orchestrating Despero blaming him for "Armageddon" — but anytime you end up playing with the timeline, things get a little fuzzy. What's clear, at least by episode's end, is that Barry has saved things once again and all is right with the timeline. Even Joe is alive again. How long this calm will last, however, is anyone's guess. The end of the episode reveals Thawne back in the vault at STAR Labs, unwilling to let The Flash defeat him.

What did you think about the real cause of "Armageddon" on The Flash? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.