Several weeks ago, before we learned Savitar's identity, Abra Kadabra teased Barry Allen, explaining that the evil speedster will be his greatest enemy. At the time, it wasn't exactly clear how true that would be. But now, Barry likely understands the horrifying truth in Abra Kadabra's words.
(Editor's note: Spoilers ahead for season three of The Flash, including Savitar's identity.)
It took every bit of 20 episodes, but Barry now knows that at some point in the future, he will turn into Savitar, making him his own worst enemy. It has also become clear why Savitar has been so difficult to stop. Since he is a future version of Barry (the Future Flash), he has lived through all of the decisions made by his younger self, and thus, can adapt accordingly.
In Tuesday night's episode, Team Flash will try to gain an upper hand by preventing Barry from forming new memories. Should that not work, though, the question will be: What else can Team Flash do to defeat Savitar? While the Future Flash appears to be nearly unstoppable, there are only three episodes left in The Flash's third season, and thus it is somewhat obvious that Savitar will soon be defeated.
Is it enough to merely beat Savitar?
Since Savitar is Barry, defeating someone like him is a bit trickier than disposing of your run-of-the-mill villain. Think about it. It is not enough to merely stop Savitar, Team Flash has to do so in a way that will prevent Barry from turning evil in the future. In other words, if Barry and team cannot prevent the event that leads Barry down the path of darkness, history will just repeat itself.
While it certainly could happen, the smart money is probably not on the writers creating a scenario where our hero is destined to become his own worst enemy. It is more likely that whatever is done to defeat Savitar will also prevent his existence entirely. This means Team Flash must stop Savitar before he kills Iris.
It probably is not worth trying to completely understand the time-travel plot holes created by The Flash, but it does appear that the catalyst for Barry becoming Savitar is the latter killing Iris. So, even if the writers want to include some pretty massive stakes and see a character die in season three, it likely will not be Iris. So, how can Team Flash defeat Savitar before he takes Iris' life?
Trap him in the Speed Force?
The most likely solution to defeating Savitar is to do what Barry has already done: Trap him in the Speed Force. Some time after 2024, many years after Savitar kills Iris, Barry is able to do just that. Barry accomplishes this feat with the help of Tracy Brand, who was just recently introduced.
Of course, trapping Savitar in the Speed Force does not remove him from existence. Savitar eventually escapes from the Speed Force and kills Iris, which cements Barry's transformation into the villain. So, how would trapping Savitar solve Team Flash's problem, specifically Iris' murder? Well, should Barry and Tracy figure out a way to do so before Savitar kills Iris, he would likely never exist.
Whether that would negate everything that happened in season three is unclear. But likely, it would probably leave Team Flash in a situation similar to the end of season one. Even though Eobard Thawne was thought to be erased from existence, the events that occurred before his demise still took place.
Will Barry sacrifice himself?
Should Barry come to the conclusion that Savitar cannot be defeated, there is another obvious, yet astronomically unlikely solution: Barry could kill himself. In season one of The Flash, Eobard Thawne is defeated, and erased from existence, when his ancestor, Eddie Thawne, shoots himself. Presumably, Barry could stop Savitar by doing the same thing.
There is, though, a massive issue with this solution: Barry would have to die. While anything can happen, it is pretty likely that The Flash is not going to kill off its main character. Of course, it is always possible that the writers could find their way out that problem by explaining that when Barry killed himself, Savitar ceased to exist, and thus Barry never had to die.
That solution would probably elicit more than a few headaches from viewers, and does not totally mesh with what happened in season one. After all, Eddie Thawne is still dead.
What about future Barry?
Assuming Barry does not sacrifice his own life and Team Flash is unable to trap Savitar in the Speed Force, the evil speedster will have to be defeated in some other way. One possibility is for Barry to stop trying to beat Savitar and rather focus on not becoming him. And honestly, it seems like a pretty easy fix.
In a recent episode of The Flash, Barry travels to 2024 in a failed effort to learn Savitar's identity. What if Barry now returned to the future and told his future self that he was going to become Savitar? Would that knowledge at all help future Barry prevent his fate? It would be a bit of a dark twist, but Barry from the future could actually sacrifice his life without long-lasting ramifications for The Flash.
If Barry from 2024 ends his own life, he would never become Savitar. Of course, if he never becomes Savitar, he would never go back in time and kill Iris. This means that future Barry would never exist, and therefore would never have to kill himself. The time loop may cause some warranted confusion, but it makes more sense than the Barry of the present sacrificing his own life.
Could the Legends help?
Since we are operating under the impression that it is Iris' death that ultimately leads Barry to become Savitar, Team Flash could turn to some friends for help saving her. It would be a bit of a cop-out to do this, but Team Flash could try and call upon the Legends to remove Iris from the timeline long enough that Savitar is erased from existence.
This is the most unlikely solution discussed thus far. After all, Legends of Tomorrow has already finished its second season, and as of now, the Legends are in some alternate version of 2017, where dinosaurs still exist. Of course, with these shows, all it takes is one line of dialogue to explain how Team Flash is able to get a message to the Legends.
The reason the Legends come to mind, though, is the message Barry sent Rip Hunter in the future. It hasn't been discussed since the "Invasion!" crossover episode, but in 2056, Barry Allen sends Rip Hunter a mysterious message saying that he is not to be trusted. While it appeared at the time that the message referred to his decision to create the Flashpoint timeline, that may not be completely the case.
The Flash executive producer Andrew Kresiberg recently revealed to Entertainment Weekly that Barry's message to Hunter will be discussed. Could it be that this discussion leads to the Legends helping to defeat Savitar? Probably not, but anything is possible.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on the CW.