(WARNING: This article contains spoilers for The Flash Season 3 Episode 20 "I Know Who You Are" below. You have been warned.)
This season of The Flash has been kinda — meh. Unlike the show's previous two seasons, this one has fallen into a bit of a repetitive hole. Flashpoint was underwhelming to say the least, and with the reveal that Doctor Alchemy was just a lackey to the real Big Bad of the season, #Savitar (another evil speedster), the show lost a few fans.
The second half of the season revolved around Team Flash trying to change the future after Barry was accidentally thrust into the future and saw Savitar murder the woman he loves, Iris West. While it was a good idea at first, it has gotten a bit repetitive, what with Caitlin Snow's constantly bringing up her #KillerFrost powers and the whole Iris is going to die thing. It kinda feels like they've been shoving it in our faces a little bit.
But it hasn't all been bad news. There have been some truly awesome moments through Season 3 and all of them have had something to do with Savitar. The self-proclaimed "God of Speed" has stood out from the previous speedster villains of #ReverseFlash and #Zoom, not just because of his cool armor (and it is cool), but because of the big reveal. While it wasn't the most imaginative of reveals, it still threw a curve ball at fans and the show's characters; not because of who Savitar is, but because of how he came to be.
So, Future Barry is Savitar, the villain of the story. I personally love this twist, especially when Savitar tells Barry that he is his true enemy.
"You thought that Thawne and Zoom were your biggest foes but... but it's me. It's always been me, Barry."
It's cool because, when you think about it, the show is essentially saying that Barry is his own worst enemy. It also gives insight into what Eobard Thawne says while he and Barry are in the Flashpoint timeline:
It's like he knew all along; and since he's from the future, he probably did!
Anyway, let's talk more about this theory I have concocted. Why would Barry go back in time to kill Iris? Even if he does go bad, wouldn't he still want to save her? I came up with this crazy theory that Savitar might just be a good guy after all. Let's have a look at what we know about Savitar.
Savitar is Barry Allen from the future, and at some point, he went back in time to acquire the philosopher's stone and was likely worshipped by the people of that time as a god. We also know from #JayGarrick that Savitar is said to have originated from Earth-1 and is believed to be the first speedster (though we know why that is). If Jay is correct, then we also know that Savitar is not Barry from a different Earth. We also learn from Jay that Savitar traveled the multiverse, taking on powerful speedsters and, after killing them, taking over their Earths.
Much like we saw in the first half of Season 3, Savitar's coming is prepared by an acolyte named Alchemy who wields the philosopher's stone and gathers followers to the cult of Savitar (please note, that Alchemy is a different person every time. Julian Albert has not been unknowingly traveling the multiverse as Savitar's herald). At some stage, Savitar learned of something done by his past self and has the bright idea to go back in time and kill him. To Savitar's surprise, he is defeated and trapped in the Speed Force.
What Time Period Did Savitar Travel To?
We know that Savitar goes back in time but not to which point, and because he is trapped in the Speed Force, we can assume that he went back — not to 2017, but to 2024! Or, roughly that time, because we know the original timeline saw Iris West write the article from the future about the Flash gone missing (as seen in Season 1) and lived long enough to marry Barry Allen. All this makes me believe that Savitar didn't kill Iris in that timeline, which also explains why Eobard Thawne wouldn't know who he is before Flashpoint. He was more of a footnote in the long list of enemies the Flash has defeated over the years.
So the first part of this theory is that Savitar went back to 2024 and was defeated relatively easily. But that still doesn't explain how he gets to the point where he kills Iris. We know that he has done it before and (apparently) wasn't happy about it, as he expresses some regret when speaking to Iris and Team Flash through Julian.
If Savitar Didn't Kill Iris In 2024, How Does He Do It In The New Timeline?
This is where things get a bit complicated. We know in the Speed Force that there isn't a past, present or future. For Savitar, we know that he can see events as they happen in the timeline, all at once. When Barry goes back in time to save his mother, creating Flashpoint, we know that Savitar saw his opportunity to escape, but what if he's just using that as an excuse to hide his true intentions?
My theory is that when Barry created Flashpoint and affected the Speed Force, Savitar saw a change in the timeline in which another evil speedster kills Iris West and, knowing that he is nothing without Iris, makes the decision to escape the Speed Force and kill this mysterious speedster, taking his place in the timeline and eventually becoming the villain.
Think about it for a moment. Savitar knows that he will be defeated in the future and trapped in the Speed Force once more, but because of Iris's death, he will stop being who he is. The timeline will change him and he may not become the God of Speed he believes himself to be. So, if he takes the place of the unknown evil speedster, he can control events and allow Barry to defeat him before Iris is killed. If Barry fails to defeat him before Iris's death, he can escape from the Speed Force again, at the same time as he did before, creating a sort of time loop in which he keeps killing Iris until Barry eventually defeats him.
Now you might be thinking: "How can he assume that Barry will eventually defeat him?" Well, that is simpler than you think. If you remember, Emo Barry didn't know who Savitar was, but an episode later, Barry figures it out and confronts the God of Speed. This means that Savitar knows that each time he frees himself from the Speed Force events will take place differently.
This theory also explains, in part, why Savitar has relied on Killer Frost in the last two episodes. He knows that she isn't as powerful as he is — even his past self — and so he sends her to kill Tracey Brand instead of doing it himself. It would also explain why he didn't just kill Tracey himself when he went to save Frost towards the back end of that last episode. The key to his plan is that if all else fails and Barry fails to prevent Iris's death, he will be defeated and captured in the Speed Force once more — until he frees himself and does it all over again!
Why is he trying so hard to defeat Barry and the others? Not only did he trap Wally in the Speed Force, he is also the reason Jay Garrick is currently trapped in the Speed Force and the reason Caitlin is now parading around as Killer Frost. Why would Savitar do this if he is actually a good guy? Why not just give himself up? Well, because the timeline needs a speedster villain at this particular point in time. As for who that original evil speedster was, we met him and he is already dead, killed by Savitar himself.
Yep! I'm saying that The Rival was the original evil speedster to kill Iris and that Savitar took his place after killing him in the second episode of this season. Why would Savitar murder a dude he can use to his advantage? Yeah, he's another speedster, but he didn't kill Alchemy or Killer Frost for failing him, and Edward Clariss definitely isn't as fast as Savitar or any of the other speedster villains. Wouldn't it look good for the God of Speed to have a speedster villain who is apart of his cult? Savitar's decision to kill Clariss doesn't really make sense. Also, Clariss is the first evil speedster to appear in Sason 3, and so far the first evil speedsters of each season have been the Big Bads. Coincidence? Perhaps not.
But Will This Actually Happen?
It would be a bold move for the showrunners if Savitar was the good guy the whole time, but I think it would be a nice change for the show, especially after Thawne and Zoom were so obviously evil. None of the other CW shows have done this so far and I think it would be a cool twist to an otherwise, meh, season.
Will they actually do it? Probably not. As cool as it would be to break the trend in terms of Big Bad motivations, it just seems unlikely that they would go down this route and would make Savitar less threatening than the show wants us to believe. Despite his awesome appearance, Savitar hasn't had the same sense of dread as Thawne or Zoom, with his only terrifying moments coming in the future when he kills Iris and when he frees himself from the Speed Force. As much as I like this theory, I just don't think it will do Savitar any favors and he'll be one of those "meh" villains.
What do you guys think, could Savitar actually be a good guy pretending to be evil? Let me know down in the comments section below and I'll see you next time!