Warning: Spoilers for The Flash Season 3 finale
The Flash season finale aired this week, and it came with a cliffhanger ending that left fans wondering what could possibly happen in season 4 of the hit show. After finally discovering the true identity of Savitar, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) was stumped. How can you beat a foe who knows everything that you've ever done? This future speedster was a serious threat to Team Flash, and although they managed to take him down in the end, it didn't come without a price. Barry Allen has been swallowed by the Speed Force, leaving Wally West to become the new Flash of Central City. And while there are some things Wally can do that Barry can't, he's still going to struggle to take up the mantle of the Flash in season 4.
Of course, fans are speculating wildly about how the writers can reverse Barry's sacrifice, and bring him back to the show asap. It's hard to believe that the series would write off its main character after season 3, after all! In addition, fans have also been wondering about some of the hints that Savitar dropped about the future throughout this season. Theoretically, he knows the entire future, and he may have already given us some hints about the season 4 big bad - the Thinker.
Who Is The Thinker?
The Thinker, aka Clifford DeVoe, is a founding member of the Injustice Society in the comics, and a regular foe of Jay Garrick's Flash. Clifford is a genius, but a failure as a lawyer (his original career choice). With a bit of an evil bent to his personality, Devoe decides that he'll become a super-villain, and creates a 'thinking cap' which gives him the ability to project his mental force.
The Thinker's schtick is that he is far more intelligent than the other villains in Keystone City, and so he uses his brains to help them commit their crimes. He's a villain who likes to rule from behind the scenes, leading the criminal element and profiting from their crimes rather than getting his own hands dirty. Although he was primarily a foe of the first Flash, he has encountered Barry Allen as well when Barry joined forces with Garrick to take him down.
The Thinker has also been a name taken on by three other characters within the DC universe, but there is good reason to believe that The Flash is going to be sticking with the DeVoe version...
The Flash Setup
We can assume that it's DeVoe's Thinker that will be showing up in The Flash season 4, because he's been mentioned by name in season 3. The DeVoe name has popped up in Barry's future on two separate occasions, in 'Abra Kadabra', and again in this week's 'Finish Line'. In the earlier episode, Abra Kadabra (David Dastmalchian) is listing off the future Flash's enemies, and drops DeVoe in among the big guns:
Then in this week's episode, Savitar is the one to mention DeVoe, when he is with Barry and Iris (Candice Patton), reminiscing about things to come:
I remember everything... This is where we came up with cerebral inhibitor to use against DeVoe
That's two big mentions, and one that puts DeVoe's name on the same level as big bads Thawne, Zoom, and Savitar. This certainly feels like a big hint toward a season 4 villain, and one that means a big change for the series.
A Slow-Moving Big Bad
If speculation is correct, and The Thinker is going to be the big bad for season 4, it will be the first season of The Flash where the big bad is not another speedster. This is something that the producers had already confirmed, although they didn't drop any hints about which non-speedster could be the number one threat to Central City this year.
It's a major change, but it's not a bad one. After three seasons of Barry working to outrun his enemy, it will be nice to see someone that doesn't challenge the Flash's primary superpower. DeVoe will be a villain to challenge Barry (or Wally) on an intellectual level, not a physical one. Of course, Savitar's musings about a cerebral dampener will already give Team Flash a head start on beating this bad guy, but this still leaves plenty of room to explore something new. This will be particularly interesting if Barry doesn't return for season 4, and it is Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) who has to pit his intellect against the Thinker. Wally's intelligence hasn't had a lot of screen time since his attempts to bond with Barry over his homework, and it would be fantastic to see this side of his personality explored.
Whether it's Barry or Wally that faces him, these mentions of the Thinker are just one more sign that The Flash isn't afraid to switch things up and start to take risks - which should make for an incredible fourth season.
The Flash returns in the fall to The CW.