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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Editorial: Who Is Savitar?

Editorial: Who Is Savitar?

With the most recent episode of The Flash, speculation over who Savitar, the evil metal speedster, is has been kicked into overdrive, with fans debating all of the tiny scraps of evidence we've been given. In the interests of appropriately cataloging all the people it would be, here are eight possibilities for Savitar's true identity.

Do you have a suspect that you don't see listed here? Leave them in the comments, and if we get enough -- let's say, four or more -- we'll do a continuation on Sunday.

HR Wells.

I've been arguing in favour of HR for a few weeks now, and although the most recent episode has made that unlikely (why would Caitlin automatically trust HR?), I still hold that there are several key pieces of evidence in favour of it being HR.

Firstly, he and Savitar share several verbal tics: Both have a tendency towards referring to people by their full names, but make an exception for Jesse, consistently referring to her with a nickname; Savitar protects himself with a suit of armour instead of trusting in his speed, and HR is a noted coward; Savitar bigs himself up as a god, and HR has a propensity for ego-boosting.

Possibly the biggest point in HR's favour, though, is that he has a reason for wanting to become Savitar: He is the unwanted member of the team, the character who is repeatedly derided by the rest of the cast, and I think he'd positively jump at a chance to become a speedster. It'd also make sense for Wally to be shocked into catatonia by the idea that HR, his mentor, is Savitar.

Ronnie Raymond.

The most popular theory right now is that Savitar is Ronnie Raymond, Caitlin's dead husband, having been transformed into Savitar due to being trapped in the Singularity. It almost makes sense: Ronnie is someone who Caitlin would trust immediately, we know how he could have become Savitar, and he has (sort of) a motive for wanting to hurt Barry, at least when filtered through a heavy veil of crazy.

There are a few problems, though. Firstly, Ronnie hasn't appeared in-show for a while, apart from a brief stint appearing in the Speed Force, so the reveal that it's him would lack any kind of impact. But more importantly, it's been heavily implied that Savitar has yet to be created in Barry's present, and that Barry will witness his birth. If it was Ronnie, turned into a speedster while within the Singularity, that birth would have already happened.

Still, it's not difficult to see why this theory is popular: Who else would Caitlin trust so completely and so immediately?

Jay Garrick.

In this version of the theory, we've already seen Savitar's birth and haven't realised it: He is Jay Garrick, trapped in Savitar's Speed Force prison to save Wally, endlessly reliving the worst moment of his life and slowly being driven insane by it. We've been told, after all, that that's how Savitar went insane -- he was trapped in the Speed Force by Barry, which is exactly what we saw happen to Jay.

It would make some sense: Savitar is meant to be 'the first speedster' which really can only refer to three people: Jay Garrick, the first speedster of Earth-3; Hunter Zolomon, the first speedster of Earth-2; or Barry Allen, the first speedster of Earth-1.

It would also fit The Flash's pattern of having every mentor speedster turn evil: Jay is Barry's current mentor, so he's next in line to be a big bad. But then, why would Caitlin trust him so quickly? She barely knows Jay. Why would Wally be so shocked? He also barely knows Jay.

Wally West.

I admit, until this most recent episode, I didn't entertain the idea that Wally was Savitar at all -- although several people did, citing that the two of them share a certain amount of hubris, and that Savitar not only takes a certain interest in Wally but is able to perfectly predict his actions. 

Wally doesn't really fit anything we know about Savitar, though, and it would feel like a very strange way to finish off his arc.

But this episode has started to sway me slightly. After all, whoever Savitar is, his identity shocked Wally enough to make him catatonic, and there's only five people who would really do that: Wally himself, Barry, HR, Joe, and Iris. Joe and Iris are unlikely candidates, so that leaves us with three.

It's difficult to imagine Caitlin being so quick to trust Wally, though, so make of that what you will.

Cisco Ramon.

Is it just me, or was Future Cisco acting kind of evil? Lots of ominously lingering looks, almost no discussion of what it is he's been doing the last eight years, apparently monitoring things so closely that he knew the moment Barry arrived from the past, deceitful behaviour, and just in general acting very strangely.

This one isn't backed up by any evidence -- although Cisco's shiny new metal hands look a lot like Savitar's armour -- so call it a gut feeling, if you will.

A Cold War Pilot.

In the comics, Savitar was just a random, unnamed Cold War Pilot.

That's unlikely to be the case here. Next.

Barry Allen.

The second most popular theory right now is that Savitar is a future version of Barry himself. It fits, in a way: Savitar knows everything there is to know about Barry and Team Flash, and every villain who knows Savitar's identity seems to think that it's an absolutely hi-larious joke at Barry's expense.

The idea that Savitar creates himself -- killing Iris, thus breaking Barry, thus causing Barry to lock Savitar away in the Speed Force and drive him mad, only to then desire to become faster and become Savitar, before going back in time and being locked in the Speed Force, and then escaping and killing Iris -- is not only thematically fitting for the series, but also matches up perfectly with what Savitar tells us. He says, outright, that he created himself, after all.

It also fits with one other thing we know about Savitar: He is the first speedster. Depending on what world he originally hails from, that would make him either Jay Garrick, Hunter Zolomon, or Barry Allen -- and Hunter is pretty thoroughly ruled out, since he's currently Zoombie, leaving just Jay and Barry.

Most of all, though, it feels like an evil Barry plotline is what the show has been building up to all this time, so if Savitar isn't Barry, then it's probably only a matter of time before we eventually get an evil Barry as a villain.

Bart Allen.

Perhaps the most out-there of these examples: Perhaps Savitar is Bart Allen, son or grandson of Barry and Iris. Again, there's not much evidence to support this, so consider this more of an interesting what-if than anything else.

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