The mid-season finale for The Flash has aired, wrapping up the main conflicts while setting up some pretty terrifying prospects for the second half of Season 3. We got a few answers to the mysteries of Doctor Alchemy and Savitar: It was revealed that Julian wasn't really aware of his villainous actions, as Savitar was possessing him. But the more we found out about Savitar himself, the more questions we have.
Why does he really want to kill Barry (is it because of Flashpoint)? If he's so powerful, why hasn't he completely taken over all the Earths in the multiverse? And how did future Barry manage to trap Savitar?
It seems that the latter half of Season 3 will deal with possible futures, exploring whether certain events are set in stone or whether we're interpreting them wrong. There are three things that may come to pass when #TheFlash returns from hiatus — Vibe and Killer Frost's battle, Iris being murdered by Savitar, and Savitar's ominous prophecy.
But we could see Barry run even further into the future, as he tries to work out how and why Savitar got trapped "in eternity" — and we might finally find out why the future Flash "vanishes in crisis."
Future Flash Defeats Savitar
As Savitar told Barry (via Julian), he's actually seeking vengeance for something Barry hasn't done yet.
"You trapped me in eternity. Your future self... you did this to me, Barry."
Much like the Reverse Flash in Season 1, Savitar's history with the Flash is actually in Barry's future, making him very difficult to defeat. Sometime in the future, an older Barry Allen will be challenged by Savitar, and will trap him somehow, probably using the Philosopher's Stone and that almost non-corporeal box.
Either Barry then ran back to the past, depositing the box in India — where Julian later unearthed it — or he actually trapped Savitar in the Speedforce, a place outside of linear time. Because Savitar draws his power from the Philosopher's Stone, he could have used the stone's physical presence in realtime to anchor his existence, allowing him to use Julian like a puppet.
But this doesn't really explain why Savitar is able to physically interact with the real world, and why he doesn't just stab Barry when they're fighting. Perhaps there's something holding Savitar back, and that's what he's trying to regain.
Ultimately, the answers to our questions can only be found in the future, in an event that has been teased since The Flash began.
A Mysterious Crisis
The term "crisis" is a loaded one in DC lore, as it was used in the title of two game-changing crossover arcs — Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis — and the Flash played a prominent role in both of them. Naturally, many fans assumed that the multiverse-threatening Crisis plots were being teased with the newspaper clipping from 2024 that states the Flash "vanishes in crisis".
This clipping is displayed by Gideon in the Reverse Flash's future room, which frequently appeared in Season 1 and recently resurfaced in the Invasion! crossover, when Barry noticed that Iris West-Allen's name has disappeared from the byline. After Season 3 Episode 9, "The Present", it seems this is because Savitar kills her.
Yet there's one thing that always stays the same: In 2024, Barry Allen will go missing in an event termed "crisis". It's possible that this doesn't actually refer to a future adaptation of one of the Infinite Crisis arcs, but the battle between the Flash and Savitar. By trapping Savitar "in eternity", it could be that the Flash also vanished — which means Barry could rescue and team up with his future self later on in Season 3.
If the Savitar v Flash battle does result in this newspaper clipping, it's likely the Reverse Flash will be involved somehow. After all, he kept checking that this event still occurred despite his subtle timeline alterations in Season 1. It could be that future Flash's disappearance gave Thawne the opportunity to travel back in time and kill Barry's mother — when the Flash is away, the villains shall play. With time. And people's lives.
Of course, the Reverse Flash is currently harassing the Legends of Tomorrow, as he assembles the Legion of Doom for unknown but definitely nefarious time-shenanigans. So if Thawne is involved in the Savitar v Flash battle, we might be looking at another crossover episode.
Or maybe this isn't the reason the Flash vanishes in 2024, but after three years of waiting — and considering The Flash Season 3 is dealing with the future — hopefully we'll find out exactly what this newspaper clipping means.