Fans of The Flash may have noticed that for the first time, the "big bad" of the season isn't another speedster. The change is a welcome one for fans who were tired of Barry's opponents having the same powers every year, and The Flash showrunner Todd Helbing seems to agree.
The first season of The Flash pitted the Scarlet Speedster against the Reverse-Flash, disguised as his friend and colleague Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). In season 2, Barry's main enemy was Zoom (Teddy Sears), who like Reverse-Flash, turned out to be one of Barry's friends. Last season, Barry faced Savitar, the self-proclaimed God of Speed, who was revealed to be an embittered time remnant of Barry's from the future. Season 3 also featured another villainous speedster called the Rival, who existed in the Flashpoint timeline.
In an interview with ComicBook, Helbing discussed the decision to take a different approach to the villain of the season. When asked about fans' frustrations toward multiple speedster villains, Helbing said he can "understand that feeling," and admitted a lot of effort went into developing new powers for speedster villains to keep their battles from turning into "who's faster for the entirety of a series." Helbing added that the series isn't necessarily done with speedster villains, and that one in particular, the Reverse-Flash, could "pop up now and then."
But I think it was refreshing, and it's just been a lot of fun this year not having to constantly come up with new ideas of how a speedster could pose a threat to Barry. So, it's fun, and it's new, and it's a new challenge, but I think having speedsters in the mythology of the show is never going to change.
Instead of facing off with another speedster, Barry will have to deal with a new kind of threat in the form of the Thinker (Neil Sandilands.) As the name implies, the Thinker is a villain who relies on his brain rather than a set of superpowers. As "literally the smartest man on the planet," the Thinker will use his brilliant mind to become more of a "psychological" challenge for Team Flash that's been described as "The Fastest Man Alive vs. The Fastest Mind Alive."
The comic book version of the character was a failed district attorney who built a powerful device called the "Thinking Cap" which he could use to project illusions, control minds, and lift objects into the air.
The Flash airs Tuesdays @8pm on The CW.