“The Present” Review of THE FLASH S3 Ep9

THIS is what a Christmas episode should be. Just enough sappy fun to evoke the season, but not so much as to take away from what makes the series work. We see some significant reveals about the backstory of Alchemy…some serious danger…and foreshadowing of events that will have us waiting with bated breath for the next episode in late January 2017. Want to know more? Just follow us after the jump!


We learn a LOT about Savitar, the Philosopher’s Stone, and Alchemy in this episode. Where to start? Let’s go out of order and catch you up here…

  • Savitar was the first person to gain speed, becoming known in Speed Force myth as the god of motion. Even Jay Garrick has heard of him. Only speedsters can see him, and he seems drawn to any speedster who can challenge him.
  • Savitar is somehow defeated in the future by Barry Allen, who traps him “in eternity”. Savitar is here for revenge (or would it be in this case “pre-venge”).
  • But, Savitar is tied to the Philosopher’s Stone in some strange way. The stone can create metas, and has for many years according to Hindu lore. As for the box that contains it…
  • …Savitar seems to only be able to appear when the box is open. Close the stone inside the box and Savitar goes away.
  • BUT, Savitar can call to a person while trapped. He appeared to Julian as his dead sister, convincing him to look for the box in an archeological dig very reminiscent of Indiana Jones. It was through this dig that Julian became Alchemy.

Now, Julian has no memory of becoming Alchemy. He blacks out and does not realize what he’s doing. Barry (with the help of Earth 3’s Jay Garrick) captures Alchemy and unmasks him as Julian. Only after Barry reveals his own identity does he get Julian to realize what has been happening.

While everyone is in S.T.A.R. Labs, Savitar calls to Cisco through the image of his dead brother Dante. Cisco opens the box, releasing Savitar. Wally and Barry are in serious danger until Caitlin convinces Cisco to close the box again.

After that incident, Cisco figures out a way to communicate with Savitar without opening the box. Savitar tells his own story, and makes three predictions…

  1. One shall betray you
  2. One shall fall
  3. One shall suffer a fate worse than death.

It may be misdirection from the producers, but the images shown while Savitar made these predictions were (in order): Wally, Cisco, and Caitlin.

After the talk with Savitar, Jay suggests a way to end the threat. Jay and Barry run at top speed and throw the Philosopher’s Stone (box and all) into the Speed Force itself! There is a backlash of energy that throws Barry five months into the future…where he witnesses Savitar…….






Killing Iris West!


Jay pulls Barry back into the present. They talk about what Barry saw, and Jay tells Barry that this is not written in stone. Still, it would explain why we saw a change in the byline of that future Flash article last week. Barry is determined not to let that future happen…but for now…

We cut back to the West house for Christmas. This is where the slightly sappy but very happy things happen.  Joe and Cecile finally kiss. Wally (after much debate during the episode) gets a very special Christmas present…his Kid Flash uniform. Julian accepts the invitation to the West house and even brings word that Barry can have his old job back. And…Caitlin briefly takes off her cuffs and provides a little Christmas snow.

As for the epilogue…this time it’s a happy one. Barry’s present to Iris is…an apartment for the two of them to share! Barry can’t be sure of how much time they have…but he won’t waste another minute without the two of them being together.

NOTES: Before we get to this episode, a thought has hit me from the recent crossover.  The future Barry Allen’s message came from the year 2056.  Now, the future article we’ve been watching since the first season of THE FLASH has him disappearing in the “crisis” type event in 2024.  Looks like he is meant to come back from that? We’ll see…or not, but it’s still an interesting thought (to me anyway).

As for this episode…this is one of the very few “Christmas episodes” of any series that really worked for me. Usually, a show will either barely bring in the holiday spirit or else they will break every character and plot point in favor of working in more sappy moments. This show had balance, and it worked for me on every level. We still have a big bad, we still have significant developments for our characters, and we still have a HUGE cliffhanger that will have us anxiously awaiting that next episode.

MORE NOTES: I’m glad to FINALLY see Kid Flash get his uniform. It was well past time for this, but at least we know we will see him in “official” action for the second half of the season. And, seeing Mark Hamill as the Earth 3 Trickster was fantastic! Yes, he looked somewhat Joker-ish…but given Hamill’s past voice acting as the Clown Prince of Crime, that made it all the more fun.  Savitar’s prophecy was perfect as well…maybe a little over the top but still something that should cause considerable anxiety for our cast as they go into the second half of season 3. And as for that cliffhanger…we’ll find out if “preventing the future” has as many consequences as changing the past.  Should make for some great shows.

SUMMARY: I’ll give this episode a 9/10.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a….somewhat disquieting night waiting for Savitar…I mean Santa Claus.  But, that’s just my opinion.  What to YOU think? Leave your comments below!


7 thoughts on ““The Present” Review of THE FLASH S3 Ep9

  1. FLASH

    I liked this episode too. I am interested to learn if what we see is Savitar as he appears or is it a man in a suit. The CGI when Savitar is manhandling Jay Garrick is superb. As for Wally, I am lukewarm about him; not the actor, the character. He was fine in the comics, many of which I own and found highly entertaining. i.e. Dead Heat 6 part story arc – first appearance and origin of Savitar. For me, Wally has never shown the finesse Barry has in the comics. And I still cannot understand how Barry generates the Speed Force and yet remains slower than Wally. >:(

    1. Steve

      I mean…you can’t really “generate more” of an infinite source that exists outside of time. You need finite cause and effect for that. My guess is that Thawne forgot to carry a 1 somewhere when he told Barry this. Thankfully, the “generation” aspect has never been mentioned in the TV show because it remains the most contradictory part of Speed Force lore.

  2. Steve

    The show stinks at making rules for things. Powers, villains, MacGuffins…I get the sense that a good editor could have made old concepts work consistently instead of inventing a new one per episode for convenience’s sake.

    1. The Flash

      He is faster than Barry was at THIS stage when Barry was speed training. Barry was slower because he did not have a formal training session. Barry was fighting meta’s while training and did not have a number to beat.

      On the other hand, RF hindered Barry’s training. But he did teach Barry to phase through objects and make Speed mirages, and time travel. When you consider these, maybe RF was not such a bad guy after all.

  3. Golddragon71

    something occurred to me the other day while watching Legends of Tomorrow
    So Reverse Flash in Legends is Thawne after Flashpoint. He’s already killed Barry’s Mother but has not yet been stuck in the early 2000s due to his speed force connection having run out. This says to me that at some point they’re going to have to find a way to force him back to “that night” so that he can kill and take over Harrison Wells identity in order for him to become Barry’s mentor in season 1

    1. Lee H

      Yeah, they definitely need to get Thawne stranded in the year 2000 again. We know that he still replaced Wells in the current timeline, that the events of season one mostly happened.

      That being said, do we know at which point in his timeline the Thawne in Legends is from? He might be from before he killed Nora.


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