< Is The Flash's Savitar...
Finally the identity of Savitar has been revealed on The Flash and -- surprise, surprise -- it was Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) all along. Not the Barry you see week-in and week-out, though. Instead this is Barry from at some point in the future when he's gone completely evil, has a bad attitude and a burn on his face to match.
To be completely honest, the idea that a future version of Barry is the evil speed god Savitar seems a little far-fetched, even for this show. That said, it's about time The Flash embraces the true villainy of its leading hero.
For three seasons, the CW show has gone out of its way to show Barry jumping around in time, changing past events with little regard for who it will impact in the future. The events of Flashpoint, which kicked off Season 3, were all about Barry saving his mother and breaking the world in the process, even though he knew that changing the past was a horrible idea.
To have the show acknowledge what is, at its core, the villainous behavior Barry exhibits far too often is refreshing. Of course, given what viewers have seen him do in the first three seasons, it also seems a bit easier to swallow that this man who has often acted in his own self-interests to the detriment of others could become so incredibly evil that he vows to even destroy himself.
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What does this mean for the future, though? That's where things get tricky because The Flash has made even more a mess of it's own timeline than usual. Savitar said earlier in Season 3 that he created himself and in killing Iris (Candice Patton), he may be doing just that -- setting Barry on the path to ultimately becoming a villain. However, that must merely be the beginning of Savitar's origin. After all, in The Once and Future Flash Barry traveled ahead in time and convinced a very dejected version of himself to welcome his team back with open arms to save Central City. At what point then does it all fall apart once again for the Scarlet Speedster?
What we can tell based on the Savitar reveal is that at some point in the future, something horrible happens to Barry that leaves his face scarred and his spirit broken. At that point, he took on the Savitar mantle and armor, deciding it was time to wreak havoc on his own past life. In doing so he kills Iris, aligns with Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) and makes things generally miserable for every single member of Team Flash.
Though perhaps it goes deeper than that. What if, upon creating the Flashpoint timeline at the beginning of Season 3, Barry created an alternate version of his own timeline, allowing Savitar to torment him as penance for breaking time the way he did?
It's a tricky situation, given how little the conventions of time travel make sense on The Flash sometimes. Making a point of having Savitar live Barry's life -- including the battles with Savitar -- creates a time loop. How could Savitar possibly be both the protagonist and antagonist? And furthermore, given the emotional destruction the death of Iris has on Barry, why would he bring that on himself?
When Savitar said he created himself, he wasn't kidding. The problem is doing so makes very little sense at this point. Still, at the very least, The Flash is trying something new. There's been a number of speedster villains so far but this is the first time Barry has had to face something as scary as himself, hellbent on ruining his life in every possible way.
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Hopefully they will stick the landing with this one and Barry will learn some important lessons along the way -- and stop screwing with time once and for all, including tinkering with the future. Who knows if even that will be enough to rewrite what's to come, though? In the meantime, take comfort in the fact that next year's villain won't be a speedster.
Then again, at this rate it will probably be Killer Frost. But that wouldn't be so bad, would it?