Okay I can help educate you on Albert Desmond and Dr. Alchemy. Yes back during the silver age Dr Alchemy was evil (weren't all villains in comics back then?) Though that was the 50's and as the years went on Alvin was created and yes he was a personification of Albert's Alchemy alter and was in fact evil, but then Alvin was defeated and Albert had to embrace his other alter. Eventually we get to the 2000's of Wally's run and Albert/Dr. Alchemy REALLY just wants to be left alone to read. (Part 1)
(Part 2) From what I gather is Alchemy just wants to be left alone and to read his books in peace. He’s literally in Iron Heights just so he can have a quiet place to read. He can summon the Philosopher’s Stone no matter where it is so he could break out if he wanted to. He just doesn’t. As for the show, this isn’t the first time they have erased a disability of a character and it’s getting really annoying and tiring. It’s ableist because they erased it and went with possession and mind control.
(Part 3) I can see that doing possession would have been a good choice and to not have Julian with the disorder, but it still would have been interesting if they had gone the route of DID. Alchemy wouldn’t have to be evil. He could have been a worthy ally against Savitar. Sorry for this long thing ^^“ I like explaining Dr. Alchemy and everything to people so this got a bit long.
Don’t apologize for writing a long thing, I love learning more about characters! I dig the trope of villains in prison who no longer have any interest in escaping or anything and just wanna do their innocuous hobby like reading.
I definitely see how using things like possession and mind control to interpret a character and erase their disabilities is ableist and gross.
My initial take on this was honestly that it was better for Julian to be possessed / mind controlled because after seeing how hurt people were by how Frankie / Magenta was handled, I didn’t want something like that; the trope of the evil alter is tired and awful and harmful.
It didn’t occur to me Dr Alchemy didn’t have to be a villain because of how the show set everything up; Dr Alchemy gave power to metas who then proceeded to hurt people; he was the villain for the team to find and defeat, and through whom they would learn about Savitar.
But in retrospect, if we scrap all of that and started this storyline over, there was definitely a way to make Dr Alchemy an ally. He could even still be creating metas, with non-evil intentions, like giving people their full potential or something. That could actually have been a dope way to introduce more metas that aren’t criminals AND aren’t on Team Flash. (they must exist! why won’t the show acknowledge them!) Some of them of course would still have turned into villains-of-the-week cuz the episodes need conflict, but like… (oh gods I’m getting completely carried away into this not-evil Alchemy, please forgive my ramblings)
I mean, the police would still have been investigating the strange husks, so that would still be a thing. Julian would still have no idea he was Dr Alchemy until someone told him.
Team Flash could still be hunting for him because??? who??? is making these new metas??? and unleashing them on the city??? And Wally would still go to him, to find him and to become a speedster, and the team would still freak out and track him down (but not quite in time to stop him from becoming a speedster ofc) and… I’d have to watch that episode again to go into details. Hell I should rewatch the whole season and think about this, I haven’t retained the events well enough to expand on how it would all go down from memory.
Got a little off track there, so back to the issue. I guess the question that I still have is, between bad & harmful representation or no representation at all, which is worse? I’m not sure there is really just one answer.
My own experience with erasure is limited to my sexuality. When I try to decide if I’d rather have a bisexual character that’s a shitpile of harmful stereotypes, or a canonically bisexual character whose sexuality is being erased, I think I might prefer erasure, probably because I feel it’s easier to bring visibilty to an issue than it is to break the stereotypes ingrained in people’s heads. But that’s a personal opinion, and your mileage may vary.
(I am not talking about my sexuality because I think it and DID are comparable, or because I want to make this about me, but merely because I want to think about the issue in a way I can personally relate to so that I can find what my own perspective is, and what it’s based on)
TL;DR: There was definitely a better way to handle Julian / Dr Alchemy’s character, that isn’t ableist representation of a disorder AND isn’t erasing said disorder, by making him an ally against Savitar.
Thank you for sharing and for explaining all these things about the character to me!