For the past three seasons, The Fastest Man Alive has faced off against combatants driven by the need to both destroy and dethrone him from that title. However, as promised by producer Andy Kreisberg, this year’s arch-nemesis will not be a speedster, but rather a thinker.
The Thinker, to be exact.
As hinted at by both season 3 villain Abra Kadabra and Savitar himself in past tense, Barry Allen’s new challenge will come from not a fleet-footed adversary, but rather one who can outthink him on a superhuman level. DC Comics fans know The Thinker as one Clifford DeVoe, a failed attorney who used cybernetic enhancements to develop both telepathic and telekinetic abilities. His mental acumen has enabled DeVoe to become a successful criminal genius, as well as worth conscription into Task Force X, or what’s better known as The Suicide Squad. However, given the series premise, there is the possibility of him acquiring these powers as the result of S.T.A.R. Labs’ original particle accelerator explosion three years prior.
The change in villain’s motus operandi also brings with it a change in agenda. The one common thread amongst the past three adversaries was the goal of utilizing and exploiting the Flash’s speed for their own respective ends. Further, the first two followed the same method. The Reverse-Flash – the stranded arch-nemesis from the future disguised as Barry’s benefactor/mentor, Dr. Harrison Wells – trained the fledgling hero to get him fast enough to break the time barrier for him to get back to the 22nd Century. Zoom – the murderous Earth-2 speedster Hunter Zolomon dying from his own speed-enhancing drug – unleashed Earth-2 metahumans to get Barry faster while simultaneously (via Timeline remnant impersonating speedster Jay Garrick) infiltrating his circle to steal the Speed Force in his system for a cure. And finally, Savitar – a deranged, disfigured timeline remnant of Barry himself – aimed to create a causal loop in time so that he would be worshipped through the ages as the God of Speed. Further, he aimed to make Barry and Team Flash pay for self-perceived rejection of him for not being the real Barry Allen.
As to what DeVoe would want from The Flash, his comic background as a crime lord may be tied to the reason for Barry Allen’s return from his imprisonment in the Speed Force. Perhaps he gained a foothold in Central City during the six-month period Team Flash endures without Barry. It would be no small feat for The Thinker to organize and coordinate metahuman activity from behind the scenes. Both Kadabra and Savitar hint that none would hurt the Flash more personally than DeVoe, so there will be cause for concern from Barry after that prophecy. However, Savitar may have inadvertently hinted at a way to stop him when he mentioned they developed a neural inhibitor for DeVoe during his lament with Barry and Iris. Questions to be answered once the season picks up again in October.
Currently, the casting call is still out for the role of Clifford DeVoe. Beyond his look as a bald man with multiple plugs grafted into his skull, producers have not revealed any prospects. However, casting directors have noted they are on the hunt for a man in his forties to take on the role of The Thinker.
Who do you believe would be a good fit for this mental marvel pitted against the Fastest Man Alive? Let us know in the comments below!