The fourth season of The CW's The Flash has been all about the metahumans, and we're not talking about the standard situation of Team Flash having to deal with mutant bad guys. This season goes well beyond that by adding a new bunch of metahumans to the mix thanks to the machinations of The Thinker and Barry Allen's extraction from the Speed Force.
But even with new metahumans, the fourth season is going even further when it comes to superpowers. The pregnant Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) developed gestational metahuman powers, and in the upcoming episode "Run, Iris, Run" even Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton) will have her turn as a superhero. The episode, according to the official synopsis, will see her take on Barry's (Grant Gustin) speedster abilities thanks to an altercation with one of the so-called bus metas, Melting Pot (Leonard Nam), who has the ability to swap DNA from one person to another.
While Iris' speedster powers will let her suit up and fight bad guys as a hero in her own right, this season has, in addition to being about the metahumans, also been about The Thinker and his nefarious plans that always seem to be ten steps ahead of Team Flash. While The Thinker is not responsible for the creation of the bus metas -- Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) hold that distinction as they brought Barry out of the Speed Force in the season premiere -- the super-smart supervillain has a particular interest in them. He's been capturing and either killing them by absorbing their powers or absorbing their powers and taking over their bodies as well. He's already absorbed six of the twelve bus metas and shows no signs of stopping, and with one of the new bus metas being responsible for Iris' powers we have to ask: could Iris' powers be tied to the Thinker's endgame?
Almost since The Thinker's debut when it was discovered that his body was deteriorating due to the massive energy needs of his brain, fans have theorized that the villain will eventually want to take Barry's body instead. Being a speedster, Barry's body regenerates faster and would, in theory, be able to support The Thinker's brain power long-term. However, as he takes on the powers of the other bus metas, fans have also seen that the additional challenges of absorbing all that extra dark matter takes a toll as well. We saw that in last week's episode when he had to take a new body so quickly after taking over Becky Sharpe/Hazard (Sugar Lyn Beard) because it couldn't handle the dark matter load.
However, if there was a way for The Thinker to gain powers through a DNA swap instead of having to absorb the other meta, not only could he potentially avoid taking on any additional dark matter, it would allow him to not just take on even more metahuman powers with ease -- like stripping Barry of his abilities, leaving the Scarlet Speedster alive but, well, powerless to stop him. Iris' speedster abilities would play into this as she would be a living example of how well powers acquired via DNA swap worked and lasted, allowing The Thinker to plan his next move. Absorbing Melting Pot would mean taking on even more dark matter, but with the payoff of taking metahuman powers by Melting Pot's means, it could be worth it for The Thinker.
Whatever The Thinker's ultimate plan, it's starting to get more complicated for the villain to stay ahead of Team Flash. The good guys nearly beat him this last time and while the cerebral inhibitor ultimately failed, and The Thinker won another round, the near-victory is likely more than enough to give Team Flash a little more optimism and a renewed commitment to taking down the Fastest Mind Alive.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW. "Run, Iris, Run" will air on March 13.