In season 3 of The Flash
, the heroes fought the self-titled God of Speed, Savitar. Yet if any villain is worth of the deity distinction, it's season 4's big bad, The Thinker. Clifford DeVoe has been unstoppable on The Flash
. He's switched several bodies, put Barry into prison, stolen the powers of several metas and the season has just barely reached the midpoint. Yet in the episode "True Colors" the first major crack in The Thinker's armor appeared, courtesy of his wife Marlize.
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Taken Down from the Inside
DeVoe's wife has been growing increasingly worried about her husband's activities on The Flash. The discontent began when Clifford switched into the first body but it's gotten steadily more serious, coming to a head in "True Colors." The breaking point, seemingly, was when DeVoe killed Warden Wolfe, despite not being that involved in "the plan."
DeVoe has also been slowly changing his personality and demeanor on The Flash. DeVoe's metahuman-enhanced brainpower is affecting his compassion and humanity at every turn. The man that Marlize evidently loved is slowly disappearing, not only as DeVoe changes bodies (and even genders) but there's also a hardness and anger to DeVoe that was never present. The Thinker's outburst that Warden Wolfe needed and deserved to die was so unlike anything the previously demure Clifford would've done. The moment was surprisingly concerning given that The Thinker has very much been positioned as the main villain of season 4.
It's still unknown what exactly The Enlightenment is that The Thinker and his wife are planning. However, given what was revealed about both in the flashback episode of "Therefore I Am..." it can't be too malicious. Neither DeVoe or Marlize seemed like bad people, callously scientific maybe, but not truly monstrous.
Yet the more dangerous The Thinker becomes the more obvious it seems that The Enlightenment will morph into something truly catastrophic. That will be the final straw that breaks the back of Marlize's loyalty and forces her to work against her husband. DeVoe is clearly already concerned about his wife's sympathies as he drugged her at the end of "True Colors."
Something's Gotta Give
All signs really do point to Marlize being the one to chip away at The Thinker from inside his camp and that's really a twist The Flash needs. The Thinker has been a huge step up as a villain, compared to Zoom and Savitar, but The Flash is still playing its cards a little too close to its chest. The Thinker has this grand mysterious plan, but the audience has no idea how he's executing it or what the endgame is, so the mystery isn't compelling. It's overwhelming.
The Thinker is in control but it hasn't really come across in a clever way. The Flash hasn't even hinted at what The Thinker wants or why he's targeting Barry, so no matter how impressive he might be, there's no real tension to the fight. Barry doesn't know what game The Thinker is playing and neither does the audience. There's an illusion of genius with nothing to show for it.
Yet if DeVoe's wife was to turn traitor, a lot of missing pieces would start to come into place. The Flash can even keep some elements of mystery and have Marlize reveal the original plan while The Thinker goes ahead with some "new and improved" scheme.
Mystery is a great way to build interest but only to a certain point. If the secret stays hidden too long (as it did on The Flash seasons 2 and 3) then it just starts to seem like the show doesn't have any plan and is stalling for time. Marlize turning from Team Thinker to Team Flash can be the thing that links the first half of season 4, brings it altogether and marches it towards some epic conclusion.
But what do you make of Marlize? Will she really turn against Clifford? Will Clifford even let her go? What are your theories on The Enlightenment?
(Image courtesy of The CW)