SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for "I Know Who You Are," the latest episode of "The Flash,” which at the time of publication has not yet aired on the west coast.
Barry Allen is his own worst enemy. As CBR predicted in December, Savitar is a future version of Barry Allen. In "I Know Who You Are," the latest episode of "The Flash," Barry discovered that Savitar is a future version of himself when Savitar finally unmasked on screen.
Barry came to the realization at the end of the episode thanks to some puzzling statements from Killer Frost. After Savitar revealed his identity to her, Killer Frost agreed to work with him, and he let her in on a few secrets. For one, he let her know not to kill the younger Barry Allen; obviously, Savitar cannot exist if his younger self is killed, and so Killer Frost refused to strike the fatal blow even when she had Barry incapacitated.
Further, when Team Flash confronted her in an effort to rescue Cecil, Killer Frost was able to parrot Barry's words back to him before he even had a chance to say them. Though Barry was floored by that at the time, he slowly came to the realization that a past version of Savitar had been present at that moment.
As he ruminated on these events, he began to put two-and-two together and realized that everything -- Iris' death, Killer Frost, the dissolution of Team Flash -- would cause him to lose himself and become a villain. As Barry recalled Savitar saying in an earlier episode, "I am what I created," which suggests that Iris' death was a big component in the birth of Savitar.
However, the future version of Barry Allen that stepped out of the Savitar suit was nigh unrecognizable. His face was covered in scars and he was noticeably older. Since the episode ended with the reveal, it's unclear how this future Barry came to look this way.
“What’s really cool for anyone who thought that there wasn’t a plan, or we didn’t know, or we were making this up as we go, this was always where we were heading,” executive producer Andrew Kriesberg told Entertainment Weekly. “The idea that the darkest villain we could come up with was actually a very damaged version of our hero was interesting and fresh to us. We’re not only competing with all the stuff that we’ve done on Flash, but we’re always competing with everything we’ve done on all the other shows. So to have our lead actor be both the hero and the villain isn’t something we’ve done before, so that was exciting for us as storytellers.”
“It creates an interesting paradigm because Savitar has probably done as much, if not more, to hurt them as any villain they’ve ever come up against, and yet Barry has a measure of sympathy for him. It’s a really interesting new dynamic that’s certainly very different from his relationship with Wells/Thawne in season 1 and Zoom in season 2,” he added.
Starring Grant Gustin as the Scarlet Speedster, “The Flash” airs Tuesdays at 8 pm ET/PT on The CW. The series also stars Jesse L. Martin, Tom Cavanagh, Carlos Valdes, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Keiynan Lonsdale and more.