TV Review: The Flash - Season 3 Episode 9 "The Present"

EPISODE 9: "The Present"

SYNOPSIS: With Alchemy and Savitar still looming threats, Barry is unable to focus on the Christmas holiday, and especially his relationship with Iris. Determined to stop Savitar, Barry goes to Earth-3 to get advice from Jay Garrick. Wally wants to help Barry fight Savitar and reveals that he's been training with H.R., which doesn't go over well with Barry. As Cisco faces his first Christmas without his brother Dante, old wounds are reopened.

The Flash, TV Review, DC Comics, The CW, Mark Hamill, Grant Gustin, Superhero, Comic Book

REVIEW: The Flash entered tonight on a high. After a few stellar episodes in a row, last week saw the show hit a high water mark with its chapter in the four part Arrowverse crossover event. But, that episode was a standalone with a few hints about Barry's future and a tease for Crisis on Infinite Earths. That meant that tonight's mid-season finale (no new episodes until the end of January) would have to deliver on eight episodes of build-up involving Alchemy and Savitar while also serving as a Christmas-themed hour of the DC superhero series. Believe it or not, but The Flash managed to deliver on all fronts and didn't even have to stoop to a cliffhanger ending to keep us anticipating what comes next. Instead, The Flash introduced another element to the Speed Force and time travel that we have yet to explore and the potential could be catastrophic.

The episode opens with a flashback showing Julian discovering the Philosopher's Stone in India and unleashing Savitar on the world. First off, is it a bit on the nose that they have the guy who played Draco Malfoy discovering the titular object from the first Harry Potter novel/movie? Maybe it is just me. Anyway, Barry heads to Earth-3 and helps Jay Garrick stop a bomb-wearing Trickster (with an over-the-top cameo by Mark Hamill that just proves the guy needs to play a live-action version of The Joker). Barry asks Jay about Savitar and gets a crash course on the guy. Turns out Savitar was the first meta-human who had speed and he feels challenged by Barry, likely as a result of Flashpoint. Barry and Jay team up and fight Savitar who has Jay on the brink of certain death when Barry is able to wrestle away the Philosopher's Stone and put it back into it's container, locking in Savitar. They then take Julian and put him in a holding cell.

The Flash, TV Review, DC Comics, The CW, Mark Hamill, Grant Gustin, Superhero, Comic Book

Is it a Christmas miracle? Who knows, but Julian doesn't seem to know that he is Alchemy as he has been blacking out. Barry reveals himself to his former colleague to try and solve the mystery of Savitar when Cisco is tricked by the Stone into thinking his dead brother Dante wants him to open it and they can be reunited. Cisco obliges and a new fight with Savitar ensues. This time, Wally jumps in to the fray. After training with H.R., Wally's speed is higher than Barry's was at the same phase of training and they are able to distract Savitar long enough for Caitlyn to talk sense into Cisco. Cisco closes the box and Savitar is once again captured. Now, I am all for there to be a speed demon like Savitar as the primary villain but I am getting the sneaking suspicion this is going to end in another speedster foot race again.

Cisco comes up with a way to link Julian's brain with Savitar in the stone to talk to the villain. We now learn that Savitar was affected by Barry in the future and claims to know everyone's destiny and promises that one will die and another will fall. Barry cuts the link and Julian awakens, unaware of what just happened. Jay Garrick comes up with the plan to run fast enough to open the Speed Force and chuck the Stone into it for all eternity. They slingshot and Barry throws it, but a shockwave knocks him into the future. Five months from now, Barry witnesses Savitar alive and well in Central City. Holding Iris captive, future Barry runs at his love as Savitar runs a blade through her heart, killing her. Jay pulls Barry back. Barry is distraught having seen Iris die but Jay tells him speedsters should never see their own future. Plus, the future can be changed, so Barry needs to focus on living in the present instead of worrying about a potential destiny. Jay returns home to Earth-3 and the rest of the team celebrate Christmas.

The Flash, TV Review, DC Comics, The CW, Mark Hamill, Grant Gustin, Superhero, Comic Book

Enjoying everyone's company, Cisco and Caitlyn turn the rain into snow using her Killer Frost powers. H.R. gets drunk on eggnog and Joe makes headway with his girlfriend. The team give Wally his gift: his official Kid Flash uniform. Barry seems distracted by the future he saw but is surprised when a knock at the door reveals Julian. Now Alchemy-free, Julian got Barry his job at the CCPD back and joins the West clan to celebrate the holiday. Barry then sneaks Iris away and shows her the huge apartment he purchased which he also signed a lease for under both of their names. A happy Iris kisses Barry who seems to be embracing the present rather than worrying about the future. The episode ends there on a festive and happy note with only a hint of tragedy in the near future.

There was quite a bit going on in this episode but it also worked wonderfully as a mid-season finale. Barry's actions this season have changed the course of everyone's future but now knowing what lies ahead will change the present in so many other ways. It is tough to determine just how much of a threat Savitar is if he was so easy to defeat, but seeing him alive and murderous only five months away seems to show him as a very credible villain. I like that Julian as Alchemy was discarded rather quickly as Savitar is a much more interesting opponent for Barry but also gives Tom Felton a lot more to do on the show. I am not convinced that they will kill off Iris but with recent deaths on Arrow having stuck (i.e. Laurel Lance), you cannot assume that they will not change Barry Allen's future dramatically. Still, we have a ways to go before we find out who actually lives and dies, but I am glad the show is going out of 2016 much higher that it started the year.


NEXT ON THE FLASH: New episodes resume January 24, 2017

Source: JoBlo.com



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