Warning: major spoilers await if you haven't already caught the Season 3 premiere of The Flash.
The Flash had one of the most insane finales on television last May when Season 2 ended on Barry changing all the lives in an entire timeline for the sake of saving his mom. We've had to wait five months to see how the show would handle the legendary Flashpoint story of DC Comics lore, and it got off to a hell of a start with some seriously insane moments. One of the most insane was the introduction(s) of the new big bad named Edward Clariss, who will soon go by the alter ego Doctor Alchemy.
It came as something of a surprise when the villain known as Rival Flash, who was menacing the Flashpoint version of Central City, removed his cowl and announced his name. The Flash has been known to play fast and loose with secret identities, but most speedster villains get more than half an evil monologue before revealing their alter egos. At first, Rival Flash's reveal of his real name just seemed like an especially odd beat in a strange episode.
Luckily, the ill-fitting introduction ended up making a lot of sense by the time the episode's end tag rolled around. The world seemed to have kinda-sorta-almost gone back to normal after Barry let Reverse-Flash kill his mom again...and then we got a glimpse of an Edward Clariss who hadn't become the Rival Flash from Flashpoint reality. He was risen from his sleep by the disembodied voice of Tobin Bell (Saw) and discovered strange writing being etched on his mirror:
Color me surprised! Even knowing that the classic Flash villain known as Doctor Alchemy would play a part in Season 3, I was shocked to discover that the same Edward Clariss who was speeding around Flashpoint Earth will double as Doctor Alchemy. The character of DC lore was a forensics lab director named Albert Desmond who suffered from a split personality that caused him to do evil things with his chemistry talents, but he was at no point in time a speedster.
The main clue in the Season 3 premiere that Rival Flash and Doctor Alchemy are the same person came from the fact that both are played by actor Todd Lasance, but that was certainly easy to miss given how dark the end was. And Tobin Bell's voice didn't make it very easy to pick up on the name Edward Clariss, either.
Interestingly, it appears that Barry will only have himself to blame for this new baddie. It looks like the big breaks in Clariss' personalities have been directly connected to Barry messing with the timeline. The Flashpoint switch seemed to result in Clariss' transformation into Rival Flash, and it can be no coincidence that he woke to find "Alchemy" shortly after Barry attempted to repair the timeline. Barry screwed himself over in some pretty immediate ways in the Season 3 premiere, and he'll evidently continue to feel the effects thanks to how his actions affected Clariss in this new modified timeline. Barry essentially created his future foe, and only time will tell if he'll be able to pick up the pieces without monumental collateral damage.
We didn't get to see enough of the non-Rival Flash Edward Clariss to judge what kind of man he'll be when not being woken by scratched mirror messages that presumably are only figments of his imagination, but the music is enough of a clue that he'll be very bad news for the good guys in Season 3. It seems that we won't be in for another Harrison Wells or Jay Garrick game of trying to figure out whether a person is a hero or a villain.
Doctor Alchemy is one of two big bads who will menace Team Flash in Season 3. The other will be the speedster known as Savitar. Hopefully the show will be able to pull off another epic twist in introducing Savitar as it did with Doctor Alchemy/Rival Flash. Tune in to The CW on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET to see what's next for Barry and Co. on The Flash.