Just three episodes away from the season finale, this Tuesday's episode of the CW hit superhero series 'The Flash' has finally revealed to the audience the identity of this year's central antagonist - the monstrous-looking and frighteningly fast speedster Savitar. As he stepped out of his armored suit in the final minutes of the episode, the self-proclaimed god of speed who was so intent on destroying Barry Allen's life has shown himself to be none other than Barry himself, albeit from a future time. This revelation is bound to have profound effects on the show's status quo, and with only three episodes left to wrap up the plot, it is a mystery how these effects will play out in such a short amount of time.

Future Flash's motivations remain a mystery

Though the concept of dual identities has been one of the central themes of the season with characters like Killer Frost and Dr. Alchemy, the show has yet to make clear how the Scarlet Speedster could transform into a murderous psychopath with a penchant for megalomania. A popular fan theory suggests that Barry's plunge into villainy is the result of a tragic loss that he is busy working to prevent - a loss caused by Savitar himself, likely to ensure his own descent. Nonetheless, the production team has remained discrete. According to EP Andrew Kriesberg in a recent interview with Entertainment Daily, Savitar is a "heavily scarred" version of our hero, but the how and why is an ongoing mystery to be revealed in the upcoming episode, and presumably the rest of the season.

Was the hype worth it?

While many fans were surprised by the reveal, as seen by numerous reactions on Twitter, others were quick to catch on to what has become a formulaic feature of the show - the mysterious evil speedster of the season, revealed to be one of the heroic characters. Despite the producers and the cast both claiming that, unlike last year's Hunter Zolomon or the previous season's Eobard Thawne, this particular reveal would be a true shock.

Comics-savvy fans were quick to pick up on the hints as early as episode seven, where Savitar claims that Barry is "the past, whereas I am the future(,) Flash". By the time this week's episode finally rolled out, the season has given fans enough hints for the "future Flash" theory to gain staggering popularity among fan circles.

Some critics have even gone on to claim the twist was "disappointing", which is by no means an invalid complaint after three consecutive such twists.

What this may mean for season 4

With fans and critics alike being less than satisfied with the current season's direction, perhaps the 'Flash' crew is willing to shake up its formula for next year. During PaleyFest - a television festival in Los Angeles that featured many other CW series - Kriesberg revealed that season 4's villain will not be a speedster.

Whether this move will breathe new life into the series remains to be seen, but in either case, the conclusion of the Savitar plotline may be the major deciding factor in the show's continued popularity.