Dr. Marlize DeVoe (née Malan) is a physics professor at Central City University. She is the estranged wife of the late Clifford DeVoe and former partner-in-crime in his secret activities as "the Thinker" for the Enlightenment. Marlize is the co-creator of the Thinking Cap and the sole creator of Clifford's other cybernetics that allow him to stay alive despite his deteriorating physiology. However, Marlize eventually realized Clifford's plan would doom humanity and that her husband lost any regard for her. They became estranged, with Marlize fleeing to their old home in England. She later returned to Central City to aid Team Flash in preventing the Enlightenment and defeating her husband. Afterwards, Marlize decided to return to her teaching job and help people like she once did.
Meeting Clifford DeVoe
Marlize was a doctoral student at the University of Oxford, where she studied robotics, engineering, and physics. Marlize spent much of her time at Oxford leading campaigns to use technology to advance humanity, including giving a speech in 2010 on its potential to eliminate world hunger. Two weeks later at a university seminar, Marlize gave a thesis on how technological advancements have changed mankind for the better, such as increasing life expectancy, and continue to do so. Clifford DeVoe, a history professor at the university, disagreed with her views, citing many technological advancements that have been used to hurt others. The two had a brief debate, both intrigued and impressed by the other. Afterwards, Clifford asked Marlize on a date, which she accepted and two began a relationship.
Marlize graduated from the University of Oxford with doctorates in Mechanical Engineering and Advanced Robotics. She then became an engineering professor at the university. At some point, Marlize also gained a PhD in Inflationary Theory and Engineering.
Marlize and Clifford's relationship progressed and they soon moved in together. However, Marlize uncovered a journal in Clifford's belongings detailing his belief of technology killing humanity and a solution that required rebooting the population's brains, much to her shock and disgust. They had an argument about this and she subsequently left Clifford.
Marlize later joined the Peace Corps and relocated to Kenya, East Africa. There, she became a humanitarian engineer developing water purifiers to help a poor village. One day, Clifford called Marlize, trying to convince her to return home, but she refused. Suddenly, a militia group arrived and attacked the village, killing dozens of people, including children, to steal Marlize's water purifier. Marlize was injured in a bomb blast but recovered. Traumatized by the atrocity she witnessed and inadvertently caused, Marlize grew to agree with Clifford's views that technology was a "cancer" and joined his efforts to enlighten humankind about this.
Path of enlightenment
Clifford and Marlize eventually married. They developed a "plan of enlightenment", in which they aimed to upgrade the "delivery system" of knowledge at the University of Oxford and change the way people think. In 2013, Clifford and Marlize moved to Central City and became professors at Central City University, where they tried to continue their plan. However, the results were lackluster, with Clifford feeling like he needed greater brainpower to handle the teaching process. Wanting to help him out, Marlize looked at Clifford's Thinking Cap schematics and developed the device accordingly. Their plan to activate the cap required greater power, and they came to believe that the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator, created by Dr. "Harrison Wells", could potentially be the answer.
Marlize and her husband went to the press conference that Wells had organized and Marlize asked him if he had truly considered every possible outcome. Wells insisted that he had and asked for her name. When he heard her surname, he guessed the identity of her husband and stated that he was "a fan of [his] work." Marlize guessed that Wells was lying and was planning for the reactor to explode to produce a greater dark matter phenomenon and knowing fully well it would be dangerous, wanted to delay their plans, as they could no longer calculate the variables of what would happen, but Clifford informed her that this outcome would be even more beneficial to their plan, much to Marlize skepticism, knowing that the amount of power released by the explosion could very well kill her husband but Clifford convinced her to try as it was the only source of power they knew could be strong enough to power the Thinking Cap. As Clifford tested out the Thinking Cap, he was hit by a wave of dark matter and a bolt of lightning, becoming a meta-human. Marlize, finding Clifford unresponsive from the impact, tried to revive him and cried in despair, thinking that her husband was dead. Just then, Clifford regained consciousness, claiming to be enlightened.
Over the months that followed, Marlize saw that her husband's intelligence had skyrocketed. He told her that he now knew the answers to all the perceivable questions that have or could ever be asked. But then, Clifford started collapsing, and when they went to a doctor, Clifford quickly deduced from the doctor's diagnosis that his brain was draining the energy of his own body to fuel itself. In essence, his intelligence was feeding off of him, and he would soon die. This caused Clifford to despair, unable to accept that even though he intended to use the power he had gained for good unlike other meta-humans, To prolong his life, Marlize helped design a special chair that would grant energy to his brain so that it wouldn't feed off of his body so much. It succeeded, but they both knew that it wouldn't last forever.
Marlize later walked in on Clifford completing Schubert's unfinished Eighth Symphony. Musing how she'd loved the composer's songs as a child, Marlize was surprised that Clifford studied all of Schubert's works in a single morning. She then informed him of Ramsey Deacon's incarceration in Iron Heights Prison, the first of many they'd have to find.
Shortly after, Marlize and Clifford observed Becky Sharpe. Marlize was incredulous that their plan revolved around a "dolt" but Clifford noted the mass potential of her powers. After Becky's incarceration, Marlize noted that Team Flash had found her quicker than they'd anticipated, suggesting that the team was smarter than previously thought.
When the woman found that the prediction algorithms showed that Team Flash was closing in on Clifford's identity faster than predicted, she went to confront him. He told her that it would all end with his victory which confused her but asked her to continue as she seemed to want to take the conversation by the long way. She told him of Team Flash's progress in learning about him, suggesting he had miscalculated their prowess. Clifford claimed not to be worried, having considered every variable as well as every possible way for the conversation to end. She asked how would it all end and he finished with his earlier statement that it would end with his victory. When Harry Wells and Cisco Ramon had learned of Clifford's identity, the woman warned him that they were about to have guests. When Joe West and Barry Allen arrived and rang the bell for their house, she went to greet them happily and calmly. They seemed a little surprised about their welcome but asked if Clifford DeVoe was there and she told them that he was. Telling her that they just needed to speak with him, he came to the door in an electric wheelchair.
After being annoyed with Barry's trespasses, she and Clifford sued him before Captain David Singh and Barry was suspended. She and Clifford decided to let Barry and Iris marry, since for Clifford then, love was still important.
When Barry was kidnapped by DeVoe Barry tried to convince her to stop supporting DeVoe's evil plans, but she did not listen to his advice. After Dominic Lanse was kidnapped again by Amunet Black she saw Clifford transferring his consciousness into him with disgust.
Despite being uncomfortable with DeVoe's plan, she still helped to incriminate Barry. She testified with fake tears. Outside the tribunal, Iris confronted her, to which Marlize answered that she was willing to fight for her husband and asked her if she was willing to do the same for her husband.
Barry was declared guilty. Gregory Wolfe discovered Barry's identity as The Flash and sent him to the metahuman branch to sell him to Amunet Black alongside Ramsey Deacon, Becky Sharpe, Mina Chaytan and Sylbert Rundine. Barry allied to those metahumans to escape the prison. After being cornered by Wolfe and Amunet, DeVoe neutralized Amunet, who accidentally killed some guards, and killed Wolfe and put his tentacles in the four metahumans Barry intended to rescue but was too late and after DeVoe took their powers and stealing Becky's body to hurt Barry feelings. Marlize was disgusted with the unnecessary murder of warden Wolfe and this time she calls him out. To control her, Clifford drugged her with the Weeper's tears to make her docile.
Finally tired of DeVoe's domestic abuse, his lack of interest in emotion and his willingness to do gratuitous evil acts, Marlize took the flying chair, turned on the force field so her husband could not come close to her and she used the hover chair so she can teleport leaving DeVoe behind.
After leaving her husband, Marlize went back to their old apartment in Oxford, England. However, she was eventually tracked down by Iris West and Harry Wells. She teleported out of nowhere and threatened to hurt Iris and Harry with her sword, before she realized that Harry was losing his intelligence due to his own version of the Thinking Cap. Marlize stated to Iris that she left her husband, but she also knew that he was right. Iris then criticized her pessimism and asked her what she was willing to do to save the world.
Iris brought Marlize to the Time Vault. Marlize warned Barry that DeVoe could take down all of Barry's powered allies and insisted that entering on his mind was the only solution.
Marlize then guided Barry to certain places in DeVoe's mind, which included their house and the place they had their first dance. After Barry found Ralph alive in the Thinker's mind, Marlize was shocked to see Ralph alive as well as she thought Clifford had killed all the bus meta-humans that were created when Barry exited from the Speed Force.
Later on, Clifford entered S.T.A.R. Labs where Team Flash and Marlize were located. Clifford mocked Marlize, stating that she never should have built the hover chair without his oversight, as he felt it was one of his many miscalculations. Marlize then stated that he would have to find her and the rest of the team before heading to her husband's lair. She then stated that she could buy the team some time as she stated to Iris that they would have minutes but maybe less as the Enlightenment would eventually come close. Eventually, Clifford entered the lair and attacked everyone in it, putting Marlize down with Janet Petty's gravitational powers as well as using it on the rest of the team.
Clifford eventually failed in his plan to reboot everyone's minds when Barry exited his mind with Ralph. Before Clifford was erased from Ralph's mind, Marlize stated that Team Flash's emotional support eventually defeated him before telling him he could not understand, before finally watching Clifford get erased and Ralph coming back.
As soon as Marlize and the team went back to S.T.A.R. Labs, Clifford presented himself as a reincarnated hologram in the hover chair, stating that it was one of Ramsey Deacon's powers. Marlize then listened to her husband, as he told her that the Enlightenment would come for her and that he planned everything, especially the conversation they were currently having. Marlize then said a final sad goodbye to her husband before unplugging the chair's power source, permanently putting an end to Clifford and his madness.
As soon as the Enlightenment failed, Marlize gave Cisco and Caitlin a device that would heal Harry's mind from his brain being fried, stating to them that she has a lot to make amends for. She then talks to Barry and Iris, stating that before she was helping Clifford with his villainous plans, she really wanted to help the world. She then gave a final goodbye to them both before leaving S.T.A.R. Labs and going back to make a real difference. It is unknown what her fate is after this, but it is assumed that she eventually went back to her teaching job at Central City University.
- "A helper? Is that what you think I am? A mindless minion carrying out her master's bidding? Some sort of evil secretary? No, Mr. Allen. I am now and forever will be my husband's partner."
- —Marlize DeVoe to Barry Allen[src]
Marlize is a stern and goal-oriented woman, oftentimes getting short with her husband, Clifford during times when she thinks his plan is ludicrous. Despite this, she has also been seen being very loyal to him as his wife, caretaker and literal partner in crime. Indeed, she took great offense to Barry Allen even suggesting that she was her husband's henchwoman, or, to use her own words, "some kind of evil secretary", vehemently affirming that she is loyal to her husband absolutely.
That being said, she is shown to be uncomfortable with her husband's plan to transfer his consciousness into the body of an innocent man and then discard his older, failing body. Whether this was out of concern for her husband's safety, general discomfort at the prospect of loving her husband in an unfamiliar body, some level of moral discomfort at the prospect of murder, or a combination of all three, is unclear.
Prior to her transformation into her husband's partner-in-crime, Marlize seemed a warmer person, having a sense of humor and appreciation for things Clifford dismissed as "inane". He noted that he would be nothing without her, a claim that holds weight given how Marlize appeared to keep him grounded and perhaps still does even after both have transformed into hardened criminals.
Marlize was initially utterly loyal to her husband, even in regards to disposing of Barry Allen, as she bluntly tells Barry's wife, Iris West that she is willing to do whatever she has to for her husband, even eliminating men like Allen who are "in the way". However, after Clifford's murder of Warden Wolfe, Marlize began to show some doubts towards her husband's plans, as she did not expect him to take such drastic or ruthless measures. Recognizing this, Clifford took steps to keep Marlize docile so as to ensure her continued loyalty and keep her increasing discomfort with Clifford's crimes from making her leave him. Once realizing how ruthless and corrupted Clifford had become in his goals to the point of erasing her memories to keep her docile, she came to accept that her husband had become a monster, being left heartbroken and devastated by the betrayal. Unfortunately, Clifford would repeatedly erase her memories each time she came this conclusion, repeating a loop that she isn't even aware of. Eventually, following his casual disregard at Marlize's attempts at flirting and the murder of innocent people, Marlize ultimately chose to desert Clifford.
At first, despite choosing to leave her husband, Marlize was still pessimistic about humanity and was willing to allow the Enlightenment but despite that, she did express horror and even some concern for Harry's mind condition, which she easily recognized was the penultimate stages of Clifford's plans, and as Iris correctly pointed out, although DeVoe managed to turn her into his side, Marlize never truly lost her optimism and Iris's belief in her and quoting of her old words ultimately convinced her to help. Marlize displayed remaining love for Clifford, trying to save him rather than helping Team Flash kill him outright, but once it was proven he had no good left, Marlize sadly killed him herself. Afterwards, she came to fully regain her optimistic and desire to help humanity and parted ways with Team Flash on good terms, even creating a program capable of restoring Harry's mind.
- Genius-level intellect/Expert tactician: Marlize is extraordinarily intelligent, gaining two doctorates and a PhD before 2013 and being a regarded professor at both Oxford and Central City University. Her talents were pivotal in aiding her husband, Clifford DeVoe, in his work as a professor and as "The Thinker". Marlize helped her husband plan the Enlightenment by monitoring the activities of Team Flash and the bus meta-humans. Her tactical skills were even enough to successfully exploit Clifford's insanity to outsmart and escape from him. Marlize's plan to have Barry Allen enter Clifford's mind using Cecile Horton's telepathic powers was vital in his defeat.
- Master scientist/Physicist: Marlize is a highly accomplished and knowledgeable scientist, particularly in physics, having earned a PhD in Inflationary Theory and Engineering. Upon transferring to Central City University, she took the position of the physics professor and effectively taught multiple classes in the subject, including "Introduction to Fluid Mechanics and Physical Thermodynamics". Marlize was also able to accurately analyze the properties of the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator and even correctly predicted it would explode. Her knowledge of dark matter physics also allowed Marlize to preserve her husband's rapidly deteriorating health with a mechanical hoverchair and even modify it to extract dark matter from other meta-humans. Marlize is also proficient in the fields of biology and chemistry; she realized Clifford was drugging her with the Weeper's tears after doing a chemical analysis of her body.
- Master of deception/Manipulator: Like her husband, Marlize was very deceptive and a convincing liar; she effectively convinced David Singh that Barry Allen was harassing her husband and even slapped Barry in order to further this accusation, resulting in the latter being (unfairly/wrongfully) suspended from the CCPD. Marlize also falsely testified in court that Barry murdered her husband, convincing the judge and jury.
- Master engineer: Marlize is extraordinarily skilled at engineering, having earned doctorates in Mechanical Engineering and Advanced Robotics during her studies at at Oxford. She also personally conducted operations in using technology to help others and became a renowned robotics professor at the university. Marlize successfully designed water purifiers, the Samurai robots, her husband's cerebral enhancer, and his mechanical hoverchair. She was integral to building the Thinking Cap that Clifford used to gain enhanced intellect and knowledge. Even with his extremely advanced intelligence, Clifford still admitted Marlize to be the superior engineer.
- Culinary expertise: Marlize is shown to have great skill in cooking, as Clifford was especially fond of her macaroni and cheese. Even Cisco Ramon, who had vibed a dinner of the macaroni and cheese, considered asking Marlize for the recipe she used.
- Expert hand-to-hand combatant: Marlize has some skills in hand-to-hand combat, able to hold her own against Iris West and soon disarm the latter of her gun. Marlize was also able to swiftly knock out Cisco and would have stabbed him if not for Gypsy's intervention.
- Katana: In emergency situations, Marlize draws a katana blade for combat. Through unknown means, a blue electrical current is emitted from the blade when in use.
- Hoverchair: Marlize stole the chair from her husband after deserting him and used it to teleport herself to England.
The Chronicles of Cisco
- (video footage)
- Out of all the primary villains' partners from , Marlize seems to be the most manipulated of all, at least after her husband resorted to drugging her and erasing her memories every time she realized Clifford had gone too far and tried in vain to escape, over and over. This is in contrast to the other "partners" to other main villains, who joined them willingly, fearfully, or not even knowing that they were being used:
- Eobard Thawne used Team Flash for his plan to return to the future until they figured out who he truly was.
- Laurel Lance/Black Siren, Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost, Ronnie Raymond/Deathstorm, Francisco Ramon/Reverb, and most of Zoom's meta-human army were loyal to him out of a shared love of destruction and sadistic violence.
- However, some of Zoom's partners were coerced into working with him out of fear, such as Linda Park/Doctor Light.
- Killer Frost joined Savitar willingly after he showed himself due to the fact that he was a future version of Barry, having a face she trusted.
- As a child, Marlize enjoyed Schubert's music, particularly his eighth symphony.
Behind the Scenes
- The character of Marlize is based on the character DC Comics The Mechanic.
- There are several characters nicknamed The Mechanic in DC Comics; Milt Cohen, Thomas Hague, and an unknown individual, being a British hero.