In the five seasons of the Flash we have had Reverse Flash, Zoom, Savitar, The Thinker, and Cicada, respectively, as the main antagonists. The biggest complaint during season 3 and the Savitar debacle was “We need a villain who isn’t a Speedster!” But let’s really break it down a bit here and discuss why now is not only the right time to reintroduce a Speedster main villain into the fold but the only way they should go.
Season 1 was, and still is, the best of what The Flash has ever offered. The will they won’t they of Barry and Iris, the mystery of who is the man in the yellow suit, and the growing friendship of those within the very tight group at Star Labs. And when it really comes down to it the villain of season one wasn’t so much Reverse Flash and his use of the speedforce but more Eobard Wells and his desire to get back to the future. Yes, the main point of season one was for Barry to get faster but the real proponent in his desire to better himself was saving his mother not fighting Eobard. But just like every hero Barry gives up his own desire and finds himself preventing Eobard from returning to the future and ultimately defeating the Reverse Flash.
To this day Reverse Flash has been one of, if not, the best antagonist within the Arrowverse and has been seemingly underutilized from the Flash’s standpoint popping up here and there as a mere Easter Egg of sorts. Until this current season (5).
Season 2 introduced the idea of the multiverse as well as the possibility for many other speedsters to make their presence within the Arrowverse. Zoom was essentially a more vindictive version of Eobard. Set on bettering himself and becoming the fastest man alive he manipulates Team Flash but ultimately loses when Barry discovers a new trick…by essentially getting faster.
Season 3, if you ask me, was simply about expanding the Flash family more than anything. Bringing in Jesse Quick and Kid Flash which the writers unfortunately never figured out how to handle and eventually wrote them off the show. We were also introduced to Savitar who was predictably future Barry. But once again everything depended on Barry getting faster to defeat Savitar/himself.
Season 4 gave us our first taste of what a non-speedster Big Bad would be like and in my opinion this failed horribly. The Thinker had so much potential but much like other characters this show has introduced, and never really understood how to use, Devoe was made a mockery of and hardly capable of seeming like a real threat through the entire season.
Season 5 has given us Cicada, a crazy and threatening foe in the comics, yet nothing more than an angry uncle in the show. Is it me or have the writers somehow forgotten how to write an intriguing villain since season 1? We still have no idea where season 5 will take us, although, there are clues that Eobard/Reverse Flash has something to do with Barry and Iris’ daughter Nora being not only a speedster but in this specific year helping her father.
So, why even after four years of poor writing when it comes to the villains are people dead set on keeping the idea of bringing another speedster into the fold out of the question?
The Flash’s best villains in the comics have ALWAYS been other speedsters, Reverse Flash, Godspeed, Savitar, Professor Zoom, etc. And yes his Rogues gallery is impressive with characters like Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, and so many more you have to come back around to who his GREATEST foes have been. And in this case for the show it has been and always will be Eobard Thawne.
This current season is absolutely setting something up in regards to Reverse Flash making a triumphant return as the BIG BAD very soon. I mean come on, it’s obvious he will play a part in Crisis next season where Flash vanishes. But how could they truly capitalize on this idea?
Make the two, Barry and Eobard, have to work together for nearly the entirety of a season before pulling the rug out from under Barry. I mean I could go into detail on interesting story ideas for the Flash and Eobards relationship, some taken straight from comics and some completely original, but without a doubt returning the Flash to it’s speedster vs. speedster roots is where this show needs to go to get back on track.
We also still have one of the newer and most threatening villainous speedsters that has never been used in the show with Godspeed. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t be against the idea of the next two seasons being the Reverse Flash (again!) and Godspeed as the big bads.