WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS for The Flash
It's official: The Flash has confirmed the identity of Savitar to be... Barry Allen. Well, a Barry Allen, revealed in the closing moments of the most recent episode to be one possible future for the hero speedster. It may not have been the truly shocking, Earth-shattering, out-of-nowhere twist that fans had been waiting for, but that may be due to the fact that they've been taught how to suspect everyone whenever a masked villain arrives... but never before has Barry's greatest villain been himself.
Barry put the pieces of the mystery together himself, leading to the infamous "I know who you are" teaser promising a showdown between hero and villain. But to make the reveal official, Savitar made the shocking decision to exit his suit of Speed Force armor, revealing a scarred, angered, and bitter Barry Allen (apparently in need of armor to keep his own speed from harming him, according to the science put forward in the episode). The shocker may leave some fans with mouths agape at this stunning turn of events... but others have been ahead of the game, having theorized that Barry Allen becomes Savitar in the future.
That theory was based largely on the fact that Savitar had hinted that this current timeline of the show's cast was actually ancient history to him, having seen it all before. And as he threatened Jessie Quick, added that he had lived the events of this season, too. That narrowed the number of possible candidates to the principle players, with this episode narrowing it further to those present as Killer Frost attacked. We'll blame Barry's time away from work for it taking him so long to realize that the simplest explanation for a speedster who knew what Barry would do next was that the speedster was Barry.
Barry unlocked the truth thanks to a few words from his adopted father, Joe West. Wondering what any of them would become if they didn't have the people they loved, Barry realized that if Savitar killed Iris, he would become a monster, even a villain... who would kill Iris. Granted, it's an unclear time loop at this moment. But it holds true to Savitar's previous claim that he had "created himself"... and that he was "the future Flash."
Discovering the truth of Savitar is only the beginning: how did Barry become the villain? What happened to his powers? How did he come up with this plan? And is there any way to break the cycle? Beating him unfortunately means finding a way to change the future - which The Flash has shown is easier said than done. How will Barry Allen ever get a step ahead of Savitar if that's just one more step Savitar has ahead of him.
These are the kinds of questions that the S.T.A.R. Labs crew will need to ask in the coming weeks, as fans wait to see if the TV version of the story will come to as shocking a conclusion as it did when future Barry Allen arrived in comic form. The producers of the show have teased a game-changing Flash finale cliffhanger, so with Barry Allen's future now shown to be filled with pain and villainy... just what could they have in mind?
We invite theories from the fans, since the future of Barry Allen has never seemed less certain. And if Barry's scarred future identity is really a result of his Flashpoint reality-warping, then his story may have been headed here from the show's first episode. Talk about revenge for Eobard Thawne.
The Flash airs Tuesdays @8pm on The CW.