When The Flash season 4 premieres on The CW, what is the Thinker’s motivation going to be? It’s a great question, especially since we still no so little about the character beyond that he is the season 4 Big Bad and is, supposedly, the most brilliant guy in the universe. What does he want with The Flash? Insofar as we know, he’s never met him, and judging from the fact that Neil Sandilands is playing the character, this isn’t just some alternate Barry Allen like what we saw with Savitar at the end of the third season. This is someone who is acting with their own motive in mind to presumably take down all of STAR Labs.
Speaking to TVLine, executive producer Todd Helbing does make it very clear that The Thinker, otherwise known as Clifford DeVoe, is acting out due to “something personal that he experienced” rather than some desire he has to conquer the world. He also notes that there is a huge “psychological component” to the story this time around, and that this guy is “literally is the smartest guy on the planet, so there’s a lot of chess pieces that he’s moving around simultaneously. As our team is figuring out who he is and what they think the plan is, there’s a lot of fun [as we] show the audience information and then have our team catch up to that information or surpass it. It’s a big mystery.”
Clearly, one thing that sounds very different about the fourth season immediately as opposed to some of the others is that we as a viewing public may be a little ahead of the characters in terms of what we know about the character and the story. This feels similar in some ways to what we eventually saw with both the Reverse Flash and Zoom reveals, except we may get them a little earlier and in a more dramatic way. The mystery here is more about motive than identity, given that we already know this time around who is behind the mask.
If we were to proclaim this as similar to a crime show, we’d say that the past few seasons have been a whodunit in the style of a Murder, She Wrote. Meanwhile, the story at the moment for the fourth season feels more like a whydunnit, something that was indicative of the recent (and fantastic) The Sinner on USA. It’s going to be interesting to understand where The Thinker is coming from, and why he will be willing to try and strip Central City of most of its protection and joy.
What do you think that the Thinker’s motivation could be?
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