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The Flash: Is Savitar Really Wally?

The show loves closer-than-you-think big bads, so why not?

Noel Kirkpatrick

The Flash hasn't made a secret of the fact that Season 3 would have yet another speedster villain in the mix for the team to deal with, in additional to Dr. Alchemy (Tobin Bell): Savitar. And in "Shade," we got our first look at the self-styled god of speed.

For comic books fans expecting a ripped, shirtless dude with flowing locks of great black hair and headware not unlike Kid Flash's, The Flash's Savitar may have been something of a curve ball. Instead, Savitar looked a hybrid of Ultron from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a Decepticon, with a soupcon of Sauron from Lord of the Rings added for good measure.

That Savitar is a robot-looking being of seemingly pure speed -- neither Joe ( Jesse L. Martin) or Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) could see Savitar race around Alchemy's lair, while Barry (Grant Gustin) could -- shouldn't come as a complete shock. In its first two seasons, The Flash has favored surprise big bads. While Season 1 didn't hide that Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) was up to no good, it was a mighty big surprise for Team Flash. Season 2, meanwhile, had Zoom turn out to be the thought-to-be Jay Garrick of Earth-2 (Teddy Sears). Now Season 3 is giving us Savitar like nothing in the comics and a Dr. Alchemy that hides under under a hood and a steampunk-ish plague doctor mask.

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Following the trends, Alchemy and Savitar are likely to be folks close to the team. While Alchemy's identity remains a mystery with few, if any, clues for us to go on -- though the show would probably like us to think it's Julian (Tom Felton), what with that quick line about Julian not coming into work and him also being busy with his girlfriend the same time Alchemy is trying to recruit Wally -- I'm more interested in the fact that the show has elected to make Savitar a big question mark, too.

Well, "interested" may be too strong a word. Double bad guys is fun, but after how the Zoom reveal was handled in Season 2, double mystery bad guys makes me a touch nervous. So my interest is more centered on whether or not the show can actually land whatever reveals it's building up to with this choice to make Savitar so different.

That being said, it's still fun to speculate about who -- or what -- Savitar might be. My money, at least right now, is on Wally West.

Much of this theory is really based on events in this episode, as Joe and Wally butt heads over the latter having powers. This dredges up some of the past resentments of Barry as the prodigal son/superhero, but it also feeds into Wally's own insecurities about fitting into the West family unit. This is also to say nothing of Wally's own need for speed and his frustration at Jesse (Violett Beane) getting powers and not him.

Barry and Iris's (Candice Patton) conversation regarding Iris's role on the team also adds to this mix. While Iris is a little frustrated that her contributions to the team are fairly limited, she seems to have accepted it on some level. While Wally hasn't expressed such frustrations, he doesn't work as active a member of the team as anyone else. Even H.R. repackages people's ideas to keep them brainstorming, and Iris does supply plenty of emotional support.

The Flash: Wally West is more than ready to get his speedster powers

Which leads me back to the this idea of Savitar as a robot of sorts. Imagine if, after Barry and Joe's refusal to allow Wally to become Kid Flash in this current timeline, Wally, given his engineering skills, creates a suit of armor that taps into the Speed Force, enhancing his speed gained after Alchemy's cocooning/husking/power-giving process. Things go badly, and Wally starts a march toward the dark side. It does not seem outside the realm of possibility to me. It'll likely involve some time travel and/or alternate timelines to make it all work, but, hey, that's what this show does.

Wally-as-Savitar feeds into the show's past trends, but it also taps into the season's current sense of paranoia about everything in the post-Flashpoint existence. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) doesn't trust H.R. Barry doesn't like or trust Julian. Caitlin's (Danielle Pannabaker) concerns about becoming Killer Frost are soon to be realized in what will likely be horrifying ways. Barry's created a world in which nothing can really be fully trusted, so why shouldn't we consider Wally as a potential big bad?

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

(Full disclosure: is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)