It's only six episodes in to the new season of The Flash, and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) has already met the big bad villain that will be tormenting him for the next year. In tonight's "When Harry Met Harry," thanks to the Council of Wells (and Tom Cavanagh going absolutely hog wild with all the Harrison Wells doppelgängers), Barry got the first name and address of the mysterious DeVoe (Neil Sandilands) that wanted him out of the Speed Force, creating a bus full of metahumans on The Flash (airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m.). But when Barry and Joe (Jesse L. Martin) arrived at the seemingly normal-looking house, all they found was a gorgeous and cheerful housewife (aka Kim Engelbrecht's henchman The Mechanic) and her wheelchair-bound but happy and not-at-all threatening husband (aka Sandilands' The Thinker looking much more normal than usual).
The look of absolute shock on Barry and Joe's faces echoed the surprise and confusion fans felt at seeing The Thinker not hooked up to his futuristic floating chair and without all those blue tattoos covering his face, as well as The Mechanic wearing stereotypical housewife garb.
Barry and Joe haven't seen these two working in their high-tech lair all season long, so they don't have the same reason for their confusion as viewers, but Barry has heard the name DeVoe uttered by two other time-traveling foes, and knows this is one villain he shouldn't underestimate. But the happy husband before him seems so innocent that he can't be the DeVoe he's heard about ... right?
Maybe this is an earlier version of DeVoe, one who hasn't yet transformed into The Thinker and traveled back in time to now. Or maybe The Thinker and The Mechanic, knowing in advance (like they always do) that Barry and Joe were coming to their door, put on very convincing disguises. Either way, this is not what Barry was expecting to find at all.
Despite not looking like an ominous threat, "Barry starts to get an inkling early that this is going to be somebody serious and we're going to want to nip it in the bud right away," Gustin tells Bustle along with a group of journalists in Vancouver. "Barry's taking it pretty seriously right away."
Before the rest of Team Flash gets on board with DeVoe being the right DeVoe targeting them, Barry "knows for sure that this is our guy and starts to become a little bit obsessed with getting him," according to Gustin.
"We start to see him unravel slightly for the first time all season, because he's been pretty put together this year," he says. "He starts to become a little obsessed with finding this guy and getting everyone to see and be on the same page as him and see that this our guy for sure. But everyone else has their doubts for a while."
Since DeVoe is not a speedster like all the other enemies The Flash has had so far, "he's something we've never seen before," Gustin says. "Things are going to take a dark turn quickly in the middle of the year."
Martin praises Sandilands' portrayal of The Thinker this season, because the "phenomenal" back-and-forth allows The Flash to showcase a smarter storyline than ever before.
"He's so smart. He keeps all of us on our toes," Martin says, sitting in the middle of the Central City Police Department set. "Suddenly we all have to jump up to his level of intellect, if we can. Joe's pretty simple when it comes to things like that but suddenly I'm like, 'I've got to be smarter than this guy.' Our interactions are like cat and mouse, teasing each other and playing very witty games with each other but there's a dark undertone to it."
As of right now, only Barry and Joe have seen The Thinker, and Iris (Candice Patton) and the rest of the team have no idea what's coming next.
"There's a lot more than meets the eye with him," Patton says, as her tiny puppy Zoë takes a little nap on her arm. "It ends up driving Barry crazy, because he thinks he knows more about this guy, that's he's not all that he's cracked up to be, or that's he's portraying himself to be. It pushes Barry to do some things that could possibly get him in trouble."
Because "Devoe is extraordinarily smart and he's always three, four, five steps ahead of Barry and everyone on Team Flash," Patton warns that they'll "have to work really hard to figure out how to get ahead of him."
"It's troubling for Iris," she says. "She thinks Barry's got to take a step back or you could end up in a lot of trouble. You can't go after people like that. There's laws. There's going to be a little tension there. Iris is going to be a little worried about how serious he's taking this DeVoe character."
Danielle Panabaker, who plays Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost, teases that this first "interaction with DeVoe gives particularly Barry and subsequently Team Flash a real drive and a real point of view as he starts to move forward with the rest of the season."
"As he starts to move forward, he can put a face to a name," she says. "He’s a man on a mission." But that mission is going to be more difficult that Barry or anyone on Team Flash could even comprehend at this stage. Carlos Valdes, who plays Cisco aka Vibe, explains that "DeVoe has this overarching plan that involves all sorts of circumstantial minutia."
"Whether the team knows it or not, they're already conducting actions that are part of DeVoe's plan and falling for his trap," he says. "So it's really more a matter of Team Flash discovering their place within what his plan is. Just when you think that the team is getting close to figuring out what DeVoe's intentions are, it goes beyond that exponentially. Viewers can expect to go on the ride of their lives." It may not be a fun ride for Team Flash, but it's sure as hell entertaining for viewers, so bring it on, DeVoe!