The Flash's newest season has given fans quite a lot to process, including a pretty unique Big Bad. But could the season-long conflict actually have something more going on?
As fans know, this season has seen Barry and Team Flash face off against Clifford DeVoe/The Thinker (formerly played by Neil Sandilands, now being played by Kendrick Sampson). By DeVoe's side has been Marlize DeVoe/The Mechanic (Kim Engelbrect), who has been her husband's partner in his nefarious schemes.
With the DeVoe situation being left on a pretty complicated note during the midseason finale, and the villain's master plan still a pretty big question mark, there's no telling where the season-long battle could go next. But considering how much is unknown, we couldn't help but wonder -- is there more to the Barry/DeVoe conflict that meets the eye?
Could Marlize ultimately be the mastermind behind the whole operation?
A Blank Slate
As DC Comics fans know, The Flash's version of The Mechanic already takes some canon leaps. This is mainly because the moniker is used very sparingly throughout the DC Comics world, with three fairly forgettable male incarnations of the character. The Flash has sort of reinvented the character, having Marlize be part highly skilled engineer and part doting housewife.
The latter element has manifested in interesting ways throughout the season so far, mainly in that we know next to nothing about Marlize herself. We know that she met and fell in love with Clifford while at Oxford University, and she followed her husband to Central City as he accepted a tenured teaching position there.
As fans saw in "Therefore I Am", this relocation to Central City proved to be a big deal for the DeVoes, as Clifford was given his mind powers by the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator soon after. While the episode chalks that up to a sort of happy coincidence, there's somewhat of a chance that Marlize could've known that was going to happen to begin with.
In a way, it'd be interesting if Marlize's Stepford Wives-esque persona was all an act to help convince Clifford to follow her plan. Sure, she definitely still loves her husband, but as DeVoe argues in the end of the same episode, "What is knowledge without love?"
Either way, there's just so much about Marlize's past that's unknown... meaning there's certainly opportunity to tell it eventually.
Reading Between the Lines
Another argument for Marlize being a Big Bad, or at least, knowing more than she lets on, could be in the dialogue between her and DeVoe.
The aforementioned "Therefore I Am" episode is the biggest indication of this, as it largely involves flashbacks of Marlize and Clifford. Depending on how you read certain lines, it could be interpreted that Marlize is almost responsible for Clifford being the way that he is.
"Your dream is my dream, and your passion is my passion," Marlize says, after Clifford shows his initial plans for his Thinking Cap.
"I'm nothing without you," Clifford says in response.
Sure, that could just be romantic banter. But could it indicate that Marlize is really pulling the strings in Clifford's story? At this point, that also could be possible.
Another line comes up in "Don't Run", after Clifford switches into the body of Dominic Lanse. Clifford then reunites with Marlize on a street corner, and his first words to her are, "I told you I'd stand beside you."
Again, pretty romantic, right? But it also can be read as indicating that Marlize has a great role in the operation than just a standard sidekick or doting wife, something that could manifest in a big way as the season goes on.
The Flash has always banked on some sort of Big Bad identity reveal, with all three of its speedster Big Bads eventually being unmasked. Arguably, The Flash is doing a similar verson of this with DeVoe's new body, but there's no telling how long it will take for Team Flash to find that out. (And, since the audience already knows that reveal, it doesn't really have the same impact.)
What would have impact -- or at least surprise some viewers -- would be for Marlize to really be orchestrating things, or at least be the last villain standing. It also plays on that mindset that DeVoe is always several steps ahead of Team Flash, so much so that they wouldn't necessarily suspect Marlize.
Also, to put it simply, there's somewhat of a shortage of female Big Bads in the Arrowverse. Sure, there are plenty of female villains in substantial roles, with Arrow's Black Siren (Katie Cassidy), The Flash's Amunet Black (Katee Sackhoff), and Legends of Tomorrow's Kuasa (Tracy Ifeachor) all appearing this season. But most of the female Big Bads have come from Supergirl, with Astra (Laura Benanti), Rhea (Teri Hatcher), and now Reign (Odette Annable).
To put it simply, the Arrowverse could do with more female Big Bads, whose storylines would play out in some sort of unexpected way. And Marlize could be the key to make that happen.
Ultimately, there's no telling if Marlize will end up being the season's Big Bad, and fans will just have to wait and see what her role is as more episodes come out. But the end result could be uncharted territory for The Flash, and something that fans would surely be interested in seeing.
The Flash returns on Tuesday, January 16th, at 8/7c on The CW.