Spoilers below for viewers who aren't caught up on The Flash's latest episodes.
The Flash has already reached its Season 4 finale, and fans are somehow still in the dark about Team Flash's final battle against The Thinker, without even a general idea about how or where it could even happen. (Speedster villains allowed for slightly easier predictions in that respect.) Showrunner Todd Helbing had previously used Christopher Nolan's blockbuster Inception as a comparison point for "We Are The Flash," and he has now expanded upon that point, explaining that Barry is about to get all up inside Clifford DeVoe's head, thanks to his wife Marlize. According to Helbing:
She comes up with this idea that the only way that they can take him down is to go into his mind and find the good part that's left in him, and appeal to whatever good is left of DeVoe. At one point in his career, he was a teacher who wanted to teach people and better humanity. Once he got corrupted by the dark matter and became The Thinker, all of his humanity was swept aside. She knows though, being married to him, that there is good that's left in, or thinks that there's good that's left in him. She convinces Barry and the team that that's the only way that they can take him down. So they literally send Barry's consciousness into DeVoe's. And when he gets in there, things aren't quite as he thinks things are gonna be.
Personally, I am always pumped when The Flash goes off the beaten path and spends an episode experimenting with different concepts and settings than what we're used to. And I am pretty sure "sending Barry's consciousness into that of a seemingly all-powerful megalomaniac" counts as launching off the beaten path. It also makes the Inception inspiration all the more understandable, and I cannot wait to see the surprises waiting to be found inside DeVoe's dark matter-infused headspace.
While Inception was a rather complicated heist movie set inside multiple dream levels, The Flash's finale won't be quite so complex, with only the titular hero and the season's big bad engaging in this final (or not) showdown. (And there will be an all-around lack of Leonardo DiCaprio, as it goes every week on The Flash.) Still, we know Clifford DeVoe's mind will not be easy to figure out, especially if Barry is looking for a sign of goodwill that doesn't even exist anymore. I mean, The Thinker has been ported through several different metahumans' minds already, using the last one to reform his entire being back to how he originally looked. There's so little left of DeVoe's 1.0 that it's hard to imagine anything virtuous still surviving.
Of course, the love between Clifford and Marlize DeVoe is probably still too strong to just throw away forever in a season finale like this. And as Todd Helbing put it to EW, viewers can definitely expect to see some key emotional moments mixed in with some of the show's biggest special effects sequences to date. (And hopefully some Killer Frost resolutions to go along with the Mystery Girl reveal.) Here's how Helbing compared "We Are The Flash" to past finales.
I think it's funny, because it's bigger. The story itself is smaller, but I think there's an emotional quotient to it that is just as big if not bigger. But the special effects and the device that we use to tell the story is bigger than we've ever done before.
The Flash will end Season 4 with its mind-expanding finale on The CW on Tuesday, May 22, at 8:00 p.m. ET. To see what other shows will be around when the Scarlet Speedster is on break, head to our summer premiere schedule.