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The Flash Producer Says They Learned Lessons About Writing Villains but There Is an Important Problem They Need to Fix

Neil Sandilands in The Flash (2014)

One of the biggest complaints in terms of The Flash villains prior to season 4 was that they were all speed based, therefore the only real solution to a problem was simply to run faster. Not to mention the dramatic reveals that everyone guessed 13 episodes into the season. It was something the big heads took note of and hence brought in our big bad of season 4: Clifford DeVoe aka The Thinker, whose intelligence has allowed him to outmaneuver The Flash at every turn. Tonight we will see how far along he gets in his plan to remove the collective intelligence of humanity in his master plan called “the Enlightenment.”

Producer Todd Helbing wants to continue the trend of non-speedster villains with actual gravitas to them rather than relying on twists, as he says in his interview with Entertainment Weekly:

“I think up until now, the Reverse-Flash, to me, was probably our best version of a villain, but the reason for that is because we got to know Thawne as a man. He was Harrison Wells all season, he had an easy want. It was just, “I just want to go home,” right?” Helbing told EW. “With DeVoe, we got to see this love story and this evolution of a couple and how, at one point, you see where this whole idea originated for the Enlightenment, and how technology and ideas can get corrupted, and that parallels this relationship with Marlize and Clifford. Any time you can humanize your villain, it makes it land a lot more, so it’s not so much about the powers and what a metahuman has — if they’re speedsters or not, or if they’re just this amazing computer mind that the Thinker has — but I think it’s more about telling a human story that’s gonna land with the audience. So that is certainly something that we’ve taken into account for the next season, and we are going to probably be more in that lane.”

Now, I think (lol) that DeVoe does have a lot of the makings of a great villain, especially because of the humanity he shows. His ability to think several steps ahead and account for the hubris of characters, especially E-2 Wells, and his relationship with his wife Marlize aka The Mechanic, definitely made him more interesting than Savitar. Zoom, however, remains my favorite because he beat Barry up with Reign levels of ass-whipping. It was traumatic to watch.

The problem is that if Barry and the rest of the Flash gang are going to be fighting villains where speed is not a factor, then we need to establish something important: How fast is Barry Allen?

In “Enter Flashtime” we see that Barry is fast enough to enter Flashtime and basically freeze time in order to stop a nuclear bomb that has already detonated. Yet, he’s not fast enough to stop DeVoe from killing any of the bus metas? Especially his protegee Ralph?

With any superpowered hero you have to find ways to work around the fact that they probably could defeat the villain really easily. With other speedsters, at least it challenged Barry at what he was truly good at, but when the solution to every problem is “okay, but now run faster,” it can get a little dry. But at the same time, if the only reason Barry can’t stop DeVoe is that he’s too slow to enter his pocket dimension, then we are left with the exact same issue.

Except this time, it’s unclear why Barry’s not fast enough. I’m all for non-speed based villains, but the writers are gonna have to give us a convincing reason as to why and how Barry can’t outrun the competition.

This finale tonight, “We Are the Flash,” according to SyFy Wire will end on possibly two cliffhangers: the first one finally tells us if the Mystery Girl (Jessica Parker Kennedy) is Dawn West-Allen or Danielle West or someone totally different, and her role next season.

Depending on “how the cut turns out” Helbing says we will also get a look at who the big bad is for season 5. It apparently is someone Flash comic book fans would know. I’m gonna put my money on Richard Swift aka The Shade since did have a storyline with the Fiddler (the Mechanic in our continuity)  and the Thinker. Plus, he’s a non-speed villain.

Are you excited for tonight’s finale? Who do you think the Mystery Girl is and who do you think will be our S.5 baddie?

Stay fast.

(Credit: The CW)

(via SyFy Wire, image: The CW)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.