The Flash Season 4 has broken the mold with the big bad of this season. Season 1, 2 and 3 all focused on Barry trying to outrun a speedster villain. Zoom, Reverse Flash and Savitar have proven to be powerful opponents and worthy additions to the Flash Rogue’s Gallery.
At some level, Barry Allen aka The Flash knew the weaknesses and frailties of these villains as he himself a speedster. Moreover, these villains were carrying too much emotional baggage which ultimately became the reason of their defeat. It was time for the makers of CW’s Flash to introduce a non-speedster villain who is ruthless to the core and they did exactly that.
Todd Helbing, the show’s producer had this to say to Comicbook.com:
“I think having Zoom and then followed up by Savitar, you know, I can understand that feeling. It’s because trying to reinvent, you know, like a new power for an evil speedster or what they can do … Like we can’t have it just who’s faster for the entirety of a series.”
Further, he added:
“There are certainly speedsters in the cannon of Flash that we want to explore and we want on the show and everybody… Like Reverse Flash to me personally is one of my favorite villains, one of my favorite speedsters, so I’d love that guy to pop up now and then, you know what I mean? But I think it was refreshing, and it’s just been a lot of fun this year not having to constantly come up with new ideas of how a speedster could pose a threat to Barry. So, it’s fun, and it’s new, and it’s a new challenge, but I think having speedsters in the mythology of the show is never going to change.”
The Thinker is different. He is not fast or super strong or can travel between dimensions or to the future. The Thinker’s greatest asset is his mind. With his meta-human intellect, the Thinker has managed to do what no villain of Central City could. He is the smartest man alive who will test not the physical but mental limits of Barry Allen. He is extremely calculating, manipulative and therefore more terrifying than Flash’s previous adversaries.
He is not alone in his sinister scheme, his wife aka The Mechanic is with him. Her character has been described as “the truest of true believers who’ll stop at nothing to help him implement his plan to fix humanity”. Her brilliant acting performance in the court nailed the last coffin in Barry’s murder trial.
Here’s what Todd Helbing had to say on ‘The Thinker’:
“The Thinker literally is the smartest guy on the planet, so there’s a lot of chess pieces that he’s moving around simultaneously. As we are figuring out who he is and what we 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.”
He has turned Barry Allen’s own city against him. The Flash is now in prison. Barry Allen was framed for the murder of an already dead lifeless husk of Clifford Devoe’s previous body by Devoe himself. With the Scarlett Speedster in prison, it is up to the team to protect the city.
The Thinker is now the single greatest threat to Central City. But how will Cisco and Co. stop a guy like him. Maybe they can take a clue from season 3. When Savitar visits Star Labs, he happens to mention a certain technology that was used against Devoe himself by the Flash in the future.
While Savitar now belongs to a now-defunct timeline, his words should be paid more attention to. The Cerebral Inhibitor could be used to take down the Thinker for good.
How does it work?
The Cerebral Inhibitor’s primary function is to scramble the consciousness of its target. The Thinker has always managed to stay ahead of Team Flash with his insanely precise predictions which he claims are “accurate up to the millisecond.”
His predictions are mainly based on him analyzing each and every move of his enemies and creating a character profile. Then the Thinker anticipates the best course of action his opponent will take based on his personality and mindset. For the Thinker, it is always like a game of chess.
This is where the Cerebral Inhibitor comes in. The Inhibitor, as we said, scrambles the consciousness of an individual. This leads to the character profile of the target changing drastically.
In other words, actions that one would have never even thought of doing would suddenly seem probable. The Thinker’s predictions are based on the opponent’s actions and reactions which are limited to certain boundaries. The Cerebral Inhibitor creates new boundaries.
Suddenly, the target would take decisions and do stuff that does not match his individual character profile according to the Thinker’s database.
Of course, the Thinker does not just rely on his intellect now. After realizing that his previous body won’t be able to hold on much longer, he decided to transfer his consciousness into another metahuman. Clifford Devoe is no more the guy in the wheelchair. He now has powers of telepathy.
With the new body of Dominic ‘Brainstorm’ Lanse, Devoe can telepathically anticipate his enemies’ moves. Maybe victory is getting the better of him. It was an act of overconfidence to reveal to Barry Allen that he also now possesses the power of Telepathy.
Barry may be in prison now but Team Flash isn’t. They could just have gotten what they need to finally halt the Thinker’s winning streak for good.
Like we said, the Cerebral Inhibitor scrambles one’s thoughts and introduces new and unpredictable ones. The mind reading capabilities could be the strength as well as a weakness. The Thinker could be duped into being given one set of plans via his ability to read minds.
The Team Flash would then use the Cerebral Inhibitor to scramble their heads and make a new one. Something like that couldn’t even be anticipated by Devoe himself. If DeVoe can outsmart Team Flash with his powers, surely Cisco & co could come up with a plan to take him down. They have faced much worse before.
As formidable as he appears, Devoe is not God. With the right set of tools, he could be outsmarted. The Inhibitor could be one such way for Team Flash to finally see light at the end of the Tunnel.
During the start of Season 4, it was thought that the cerebral inhibitor would be used to halt the Thinker’s brain activity and bring it back to controllable levels so that it does not kill him.
The inhibitor hasn’t even been mentioned until no this season. Perhaps, new plot twists and turns will introduce new elements to the story that will make ‘The Cerebral Inhibitor’ theory obsolete. Be that as it may, it certainly makes sense… for now. Hopefully, in the next 2-3 episodes, the cerebral inhibitor angle will be teased as this is the best way to beat ‘The Thinker’ in his own game. Otherwise, as of now the Thinker is totally in control of things.
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