Barry Allen's time of reckoning hasn't arrived quite yet, but its threat looms over "The Flash" Season 3. In the Season 2 finale, Barry went back to the night his mother was murdered and saved her, changing history and creating what is known as the Flashpoint timeline. Even though he tried to restore the original timeline, he and his friends face an altered reality where Caitlin Snow has metahuman powers, Cisco's brother Dante is dead and Joe and Iris' relationship has suffered some turbulence. While his team has come off worse for wear, though, Barry's only comeuppance has been the addition of an uppity new labmate named Julian Albert (Tom Felton) -- but Julian may ultimately be the key to Barry's Season 3 downfall.
When Season 3 began, Julian Albert seemed to appear out of nowhere. Before Flashpoint, Barry was the CCPD's sole forensic scientist, but Julian is now a fixture within the department and he has a rather complicated relationship with our hero. The two have come at odds several times already, though they smoothed things out a bit in the most recent episode, where we learned that Julian doesn't hate metahumans in and of the fact that they're different, but rather because they waste their superhuman talents. Julian doesn't want to stop metahumans; he wants to be one. As Barry points out, Julian is a little jealous, but -- in the end of the day -- he just wants to help (or so he says). The end of the episode found the two labmates going out to grab a drink together, in what could be the beginning of a friendship.
And this is what could come back to bite Barry in the end. The audience knows who Cisco, Caitlin, Joe, Iris and Wally were before the Flashpoint timeline, so we can see how they've changed; the same can't be said for Julian. So who, exactly, was Julian Albert? What led him to the CCPD and, specifically, to Barry's lab in this timeline? Perhaps, in the other timeline, he was metahuman -- and, if that's the case, could Doctor Alchemy restore his powers? Worse, would he (rightfully) blame the Flash for his never being a metahuman in this new timeline? What if Julian Albert becomes Savitar in response to Barry's meddling?
Of course, that's a lot of hypotheticals, so let's look at the facts. Julian is, so far as we know, something of a blank slate, but -- though we have nothing to compare him to -- he's revealed some key information about himself. For one, he wants to be a superhero. He also grew up as an heir to a fortune, which was subsequently lost, though he didn't reveal quite how. He considers himself the black sheep of the family; he was the one looking for insects to study in the backyard while everyone else mingled with high society. As such, he feels as though he needs to be the top of his field and has subsequently worked very hard to become the best he is at what he does, sparking some organic rivalry with Barry, the CCPD's golden boy.
If Julian Albert does become Savitar, it will assuredly be a departure from the comic book version of the character. However, Julian has some key aspects of the character. Introduced in 1995's "The Flash" #108 by Mark Waid and Oscar Jimenez, Savitar was a Cold War pilot from a third world country whose close encounter with the Speed Force left him with super speed. Shortly thereafter, he became obsessed with being the fastest person on Earth and stole other speedsters' speed -- including Jesse Quick's -- in order to accomplish that. "The Flash" will likely cut out the Cold War aspect of Savitar's origin and make him a bit more modern (though that would leave the question of Savitar's ambiguous race up in the air). Between Julian's obsession for knowledge and his drive to be the best, then, there's just enough of a base there for Julian to take on the Savitar mantle, especially where Doctor Alchemy appears to be handing out superpowers.
Additionally, Barry's guilt has been a recurring aspect of Season 3. Since the season premiere, he has continually tried to fix the changes to the timeline; so far, he has meddled in Joe and Iris' relationship and tried to remedy Cisco's new attitude. Making Julian a metahuman -- and a speedster, in particular -- would be a natural progression of this theme, especially if Flashpoint is involved. That is to say, Barry would be the source of Julian's frustrations; it would be his fault that the course of Julian's life was altered forever. Further, if Julian became a villain, Barry would be personally responsible for Central City's latest scourge.
This would also make Savitar a unique villain in a sea of other sinister speedsters. Over the course of the first two seasons, "The Flash" pit Barry against Reverse Flash and Zoom. While Reverse Flash was something of a personal villain, having killed Barry's mother, it's hard to say whether or not Barry is directly responsible for his creation. That is, Reverse Flash had it out for Barry, but Barry did not do anything to him personally, which means that Barry is not at fault outside of simply existing as the Flash. When Reverse Flash arrived, Barry had no idea what hit him, because he had not yet done anything worth retaliation. In Season 2, Zoom had this evil bent hardwired into him. He didn't need a reason; he just killed at random and loved to watch the terror spread. If Julian becomes Savitar, then, Barry may find himself personally responsible for creating his latest foe; he could be directly tied to any evil act committed by Julian's hand.
Further, Julian becoming Savitar would set up a nice parallel for Wally's own speedster journey. In "Shade," Wally will begin to remember that he was, in fact, a speedster in the Flashpoint timeline. Watching Wally struggle with this -- and hopefully becoming the hero fans know and love -- would set up a nice contrast for Julian choosing to misuse his own abilities. Savitar could very well become the anti-Kid Flash, a dark reflection of what Wally could have become if he had not followed in Barry's footsteps.
By developing Barry and Julian's friendship, "The Flash" could be setting Barry up for a fall. After all, Savitar would become an extremely poignant and perhaps sympathetic antagonist if Barry's selfish actions sent him down villainous path. In setting up Savitar this way, the show would differentiate him from its various other speedster villains, and Barry would finally be able to put a face to the corruption of his original timeline.
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.