As is typically the case, The Flash season 3 is keeping the identity of their big villain under wraps. While Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and even Supergirl like to let the audience know right away who is under the bad guy’s mask, The Flash takes its time.
Unlike in previous seasons, The Flash will be haunted by two villains in season 3, Dr. Alchemy and another evil speedster, Savitar. There has not even been a single hint of Savitar so far this season but Alchemy has already caused a ruckus. Since The Flash has only cast one new (prominent) actor for season 3, Tom Felton, it has led many to assume that his character Julian Albert must be Dr. Alchemy’s secret identity. This is, to put it mildly, an awful idea.
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Writing on the Wall
The reasoning behind the “Julian is Dr. Alchemy” theory is pretty sound. The Flash has a history of casting actors who are supposed to be Barry’s allies only to reveal them to be the big bad villain all along. Furthermore, Julian Albert is a complete invention of the show. The Cisco Ramon and Joe West of The Flash don’t resemble their comic counterparts but there is some basis for the characters there. The last time The Flash created a wholly new character it was Harrison Wells and he turned out to be super evil.
There are also some behind-the-scenes reasons to speculate too. Tom Felton is a series regular for season 3 and Julian doesn’t seem to be much of a role. He’s Barry new co-worker and probably will be seen a lot but right now the character doesn’t seem to do more much more than sneer and be suspicious. Julian is Eddie Thawne from season 1 but without the love triangle or bland kindness to give him purpose.
Tom Felton is not nearly as a big a star as his fellow Harry Potter alums like Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe. However, Felton has worked steadily since the Potter movies wrapped up in somewhat prominent roles in TV and film. It seems like a step-down for him to play the third banana on a modesty rated CW show. Felton playing one of the major villains would make more sense.
The biggest clue to Julian’s apparent secret identity was in his introductory episode, “Paradox.” When Barry faces down The Rival after the latter has been gifted with super-speed by Alchemy, a mysterious figure can be seeing watching them from the shadows. In profile, the lurker looks a lot like Julian and if he was really Dr. Alchemy he would want to see how The Rival makes out in his battle with The Flash.
The Same Old Song and Dance
There is plenty of evidence that Julian could be Dr. Alchemy. Yet just because something could be true doesn’t mean it should be true on The Flash. It is so expected and even assumed that Julian is Dr. Alchemy that it would take away a lot of the character’s initial appeal if he turned out to be someone else Barry knows in his personal life.
Julian is slightly different from Harrison Wells and Hunter Zolomon in that he is not trying to openly be Barry’s friend. Still, Barry discovering someone he has been working with all along is secretly trying to destroy him as a masked villain is a not a twist anymore. It’s repetitive and dull. Dr. Alchemy has been a compelling villain because of the mystique surrounding his character and to make him someone like Julian robs him of that power.
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Dr. Alchemy being Julian doesn’t just hurt the villain’s character, it also hurts Julian. The Flash has never introduced a character who wasn’t evil that didn’t like Barry Allen. Julian has been very open about the fact that he doesn’t like Barry and vice versa. There is something new and exciting about Barry, who gets along with everyone, having this sullen co-worker who is annoyed by everything about him. If Julian turns out to be Dr. Alchemy, then he just hates Barry because he is The Flash and/or because Julian is evil. Julian having much more human and relatable reasons to dislike Barry as a co-worker is far more interesting than him just being another bad guy.
It would definitely be in The Flash‘s best interest to make Julian something more than he is right now. Julian should be more than Barry’s grumpy colleague to justify his spot on the show, whether he becomes a member of Team Flash, somehow spins off into another one of the CW’s superhero shows or he becomes a superhero in his own right. There should be more to Julian than meets the eye — it just shouldn’t be that he is Dr. Alchemy. It’s a road that has been traveled enough on the show and it needs to be closed down for serious repairs.
But what do you think? Do you think Julian is Dr. Alchemy? Do you want Julian to be Dr. Alchemy? What do you think of Dr. Alchemy as a villain? How do you think Julian fits into The Flash?
The Flash season 3 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our The Flash Facebook page for the latest updates!
(Images courtesy of The CW)