Warning: This article contains major spoilers of The Flash Season 3, Episode 5 "Monster."
Ever since Tom Felton joined the cast of The Flash Season 3 as CSI specialist Julian Albert, we have all been speculating about what role his character would end up playing. Due to Felton's previous villainous role as Draco Malfoy in the Harry potter films, we instantly assumed that his character would be evil, so much so that many of us were practically convinced that Albert was Season 3 big bad Dr. Alchemy.
However, this week's episode of The Flash — appropriately titled "Monster" — seemed to suggest otherwise. And it went to great efforts to prove its point, effectively asking us the whole episode "who is Julian Albert?" before finally revealing that to us in the final act. Here is exactly how "Monster" confirms that Julian Albert is not Dr. Alchemy.
We Finally Know Who He Really Is
On the surface, Julian Albert may be a nasty arrogant bully who is impossible to work with — which is great material for a villain. However, "Monster" taught us that underneath his hard exterior, Julian really is just a good-hearted lover of science who is desperate to make a difference in the world, struggling to keep up with all the metahumans. In fact, he's so desperate to make a difference, he even alluded to the fact that he perhaps wanted metahuman abilities.
And he wasn't just moping, he actually said some truly thought-provoking things, especially when it came to how most metahumans wasted their powers on bank robberies and hurting people. And this highlights the complete contrast between him and Dr. Alchemy, who is busy giving the evil Flashpoint metahumans their powers back.
Moreover, the episode revealed Julian's backstory and how he was actually the heir to a rich fortune of "old money," but that he didn't care for that lifestyle and wanted more from it. In this moment, we realized that this man wasn't a villain. He was just misunderstood. Despite his best efforts to avoid an emotional moment, it ended up freeing him of his burdens — somewhat — and highlighted that he was never Barry's enemy. In fact, he was just an ally in disguise.
And the biggest indicator came when he thought he had shot the kid responsible for the monster attack. The way his face quickly dropped in realization of what had almost happened just proved that he wasn't capable of murder, unlike Dr. Alchemy who had no problem murdering Edward Clariss. Albert may have been narcissistic, pessimistic and verbally abusive at times, but this man is not a villain. He's a good-hearted man who wants to do right by Central City and is angry at this brave new world full of metahumans.
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His Relationship With Barry
Many of us thought that Albert's combustible relationship with fellow CSI Barry Allen was proof that he was secretly Dr. Alchemy. After all, if you're an enemy of the Flash, you may as well make yourself an enemy of his true identity too right? And as "Monster" began, we were watched as Julian and Barry's professional relationship sank even lower than ever before, due to Albert carry tales back to Captain Singh.
So while Barry — and we — hated Julian even more for this, Iris and Joe pleaded with him to "see things from Julian's perspective," effectively pleading with us to do the same. And surprisingly, the pair's working relationship took a complete turn over the course of that one day and gradually got better each time they interacted. Their final scene together when Julian opened up proved how far they had both come in that one day.
But the most important aspect of it was that, despite everything that had happened, Barry finally empathized with Julian, and their one brief moment ended up resolving the animosity between them. Despite having the chance to finally rid himself of Barry in the lab, Julian told him he could stay. Just as Albert's backstory made him seem all the more human and proved that he was not the bad guy, this solidified it.
And in a surprisingly touching moment, Barry reached out and asked his forlorn adversary if he wanted to grab a drink. And Julian also did something we didn't expect and accepted the invitation. Both Barry and Julian did something they never would have dreamed of, and they are both all the better for it. And while I'm on it, I have to commend Grant Gustin and Tom Felton who both did an amazing job on this moving moment.
Although we originally refused, when that moment came, we were all seeing things from Julian's perspective. And there's no way that perspective involves secretly being a creepy villain in a black hood. Alchemy wants to punish the Flash, while Julian and Barry may have just end up having one heck of a bromance — it's The Flash, stranger things have happened!
Could He Become A Future Member Of Team Flash?
Barry wasn't the only one that Julian Albert seemingly had a vendetta against. "Monster" highlighted Albert's uncertainty regarding the Flash as the CSI specialist wasn't a big fan of the scarlet speedster. That was until the Flash saved the city and stopped him from accidentally shooting the young boy responsible.
That moment didn't just highlight how wrong Julian had been about his outlook toward metahumans, it provided him with a moment to reflect on the good that the Flash does and what could have happened if he wasn't fast enough to stop that bullet. It allowed Julian to recognize his own hubris and correct his way of thinking. This one day didn't just make him rethink his relationship with Barry, but also with the Flash.
But this raises the question: Will Albert ever discover that the two are actually the same person? We have all been eagerly awaiting this moment. And now that we're pretty sure Albert isn't Dr. Alchemy it proves that he doesn't already know the secret, and increases our anticipation for the eventual reveal. As Albert proved himself to all of us this episode, it makes us wonder if he will end up assisting the Flash on his missions. Every other good-hearted individual who knows his secret has ended up becoming a member of Team Flash at least once, so it's inevitable that Albert will join the scarlet speedster in his fight against metahumans.
"Monster" was an enlightening episode of The Flash as it truly revealed what kind of person Metahuman CSI Specialist Julian Albert really is. Despite theories that he may have secretly been the big bad Dr. Alchemy, this episode proved that they couldn't be further from the truth. Albert may be nasty and possess a not-so-sunny disposition but his intentions are far from evil.
"Monster" finally allowed us to see behind the anger and what we saw was not a villain. It was a misunderstood hero who was lost in the world of metahumans. And now that he is finally being honest about his life, he actually made a friend in Barry Allen. Where the character goes from here is another question, but after this week's episode, I am more certain than ever that Julian Albert is not Dr. Alchemy.
Is Julian Albert beginning to grow on you? Let us know in the comments!