The Flash will finally bring in a big bad who doesn't rely on speed, and more information is coming out about Clifford "The Thinker" DeVoe and how he will affect things in Season 4. And it sounds like not being a speedster won't be the only thing different about the villain, as showrunner Todd Helbing was present at SDCC and said this to CinemaBlend's Nick Venable and other outlets about how The Thinker will be used in Season 4:
We've reimagined The Thinker, in a way, that he can interact with speedsters and Vibe and Kid Flash and Joe in ways that...He has a way of being involved and not being involved at the same time, is about as much as I can explain it.
Sounds confusing, but also appropriate for a villain named The Thinker. The "reimagining" aspect, in regards to how he can interact with characters, sounds like perhaps Todd Helbing is alluding to the comic book character's background, rather than specifically his genius intellect and mental abilities. It's possible Clifford DeVoe might be getting a switched identity, kind of similar to Adrian Chase's role in Arrow Season 5, and that his typical lawyer background could be switched out for something more relevant to the TV show. Like a new CSI agent to step in for Barry at CCPD, perhaps? After all, somebody has to take that position, with all the crimes Central City deals with on a daily basis.
Of course, that is just some speculation, and Todd Helbing could mean they did tinker with The Thinker a bit to make his character fit better into The Flash's Arrow-verse. (Side note: Tinker with the Thinker should be a tie-in web series.) How those changes would be introduced remains a mystery, although we do know for sure that Team Flash does use a cerebral inhibitor against him at some point, thanks to Savitar and his prescience. That would appear to confirm that the telekinetic and mind control abilities he's utilized in the past will be present in The Flash Season 4, which would make the above statement a little more clear.
The Thinker's specific set of mentally-bound skills sounds the most likely way someone can be simultaneously involved and not involved in other people's lives. If Clifford DeVoe has the ability to use mind control on members of Team Flash, it could be bad news for Barry's return, although Todd Helbing failed to mention our Scarlet Speedster at all in that comment. Does that mean DeVoe becomes a problem prior to The Flash bringing Barry back? Let's hope not, as the trailer made it look like Vibe and Wally have enough issues dealing with episodic villains, let alone getting mixed up with a big bad like The Thinker.
All answers regarding The Thinker will be revealed as Season 4 of The Flash rolls out on The CW beginning Tuesday, October 10, at 8 p.m. ET. For more on Season 4, check out Candice Patton talking about Iris taking lead of Team Flash, or read up on how Wally might be taking Barry's place in more ways than one. For more information regarding great summer programming and where to find it, visit our summer premiere guide.