With the casting of Tom Felton as Julian Albert and the inclusion of the Philosopher’s Stone in this season of The Flash, it has been difficult to escape the Harry Potter comparisons that come to mind every time the Stone plays an important plot point.
Tonight’s episode, The Wrath of Savitar, had a lot to do with what happened to the Philosopher’s Stone, how it reacts to the Speed Force and whether or not it was in one piece when Barry threw it away. The revelation that Caitlin had a shard of it all along, which definitely seems to be indicative of her Killer Frost villainess persona coming to the forefront, turned out to be a very, very bad thing.
The Stone is an item heavily tied to Julian’s evil alter ego Doctor Alchemy on The Flash just as it was in the original comic books. It first appeared in 1948’s ALL-STAR COMICS #42. That’s right! The DC version of the Philosopher’s Stone has been around since the Golden Age of Comics—how cool is that?
So let’s go back to the Golden Age and start at the beginning. The Philosopher’s Stone is one of the Four Wonders of Alchemy, which are four powerful objects heavily desired (or dreaded) by DC’s magic-based characters. The Four Wonders of Alchemy are the Philosopher’s Stone, the Secret of Perpetual Motion, the Elixir of Youth and the Universal Solvent. Thus far, only the Stone has been seen on The Flash, but I am willing to bet that the Secret of Perpetual Motion at least gets a mention, if not an appearance before this season is over. It’s just too good an opportunity to bring it up when doing battle between speedsters!
Fun fact: Each of the Four Wonders of Alchemy were owned by a fellow named Galio before being stolen by a villain called Zobar Zodiak. Let’s hope Galio’s a little better about holding on to his car keys.
The Philosopher’s Stone was first created by Simon Magnus, a magician who lived in the city of Mu. Magnus was able to harness power from the Darkworld and create what was originally called the Wheel of the World, which is now known more widely as the Philosopher’s Stone. You may recognize the name Magnus and that is because Simon Magnus is the ancestor of William Magnus who is another famous DC Comics scientist known for creating the Metal Men.
What is truly special about the Philosopher’s Stone is that it can reconstruct the molecular properties of innate matter into properties of another element. Interestingly enough, the character Firestorm who first appeared on The Flash and is now a full-time cast member on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has powers to transmutate matter in the same way. This is a relatively new power for him on the show and played an important role in the “Invasion” crossover event.
Could this be a potential reason for some of the DC’s Legends of Tomorrow to make an appearance on The Flash? I certainly hope so! We’ve got to get Wally out of that Speed Force!
So, the Philosopher’s Stone was once owned by the alchemist Galio, and then stolen by Zobar Zodiak, who was a famous scientist interested in exploring the occult. However, Zobar was merely the first person to steal the Stone. After its time with Zobar, the Stone wound up in a museum for a while. Of course, if you know anything about museums in the DC Universe, you know they get broken into and robbed constantly! There was no way the Philosopher’s Stone was going to be behind a glass display case for very long.
The next person to get her hands on the Philosopher’s Stone was the Lorelei. The Lorelei is the former ruler of an extradimensional realm called Fairyland. She is strikingly beautiful in every appearance, and if you are unfamiliar with the Lorelei you should definitely look her up. She is a Golden Age villain for of The Justice Society of America, meaning that there is a chance that she could be cropping up on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow any time now!
Then the Philosopher’s Stone move on to its current owner: Albert Desmond a.k.a. Mister Element a.k.a. Doctor Alchemy! That’s right, Julian Albert is a new name that was created specifically for The Flash television show, although they did keep the “Albert” part. Albert Desmond is a character who suffered from dissociative identity disorder, which led to him taking up a life of crime and being corrupted by his more evil personality.
Here’s to hoping that Barry and the rest of Team Flash can keep their hands on the Stone and that it doesn’t cause more damage in future episodes!
Ashley V. Robinson covers The Flash as a part of the #DCTV Couch Club. You can find her on Twitter at @AshleyVRobinson and on the Jawiin YouTube channel. The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW.