FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 3×09 – “The Present”

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The Flash (3×09) – “The
Present”
Written by:         Lauren Certo
Story by:              Aaron & Todd Helbing
Directed by:       Rachel
Talalay
We open
somewhere in India and this is either the cold open to Stargate SG-1 or a flashback to how Julian became Alchemy. Then we’re
in STAR Labs where HR has decorated to the point that somewhere someone at
Central City Power has noticed.  Gotta
give it to the Flash in the era of “Happy Holidays” they actually go all in
with the “Merry Christmas.”
So, after
the gang recaps what they have on Savitar, zilch for those of you keeping
score, Barry decides that maybe they should chase down information of Alchemy’s
magic stone.  Cisco decides to do a Bing
search (He’s saving up points for a $5 Dollar Xbox Live card!) and after he has
a creepy vision of Dante, he finds a dissertation on the rock by Julian.  So Barry visits Julian and asks him for some
information and Julian obliges him. He explains that he wasted a lot of his
father’s money but came up empty
handed in the end.  Now isn’t that just
convenient? (They call it “The Philosopher’s Stone.”  The Philosopher’s Stone!  I promised not to do Draco Malfoy jokes and
this is how they repay me?)  
Julian then
kicks Barry out but Barry plays the “one more question” card by asking about
Savitar and even though he gets a bit tense, Julian doesn’t know anything about
it. Julian would not do well at the poker tables. After Barry leaves, Julian
hears Savitar’s call and he suits up for some evil.  Meanwhile, downstairs Joe and Cecile are
flirting with each other while discussing last week’s alien stuff and the
fallout.  They then challenge each other
to an alcoholic egg nog competition.
Then it’s
over to Earth 3 for some Jay Garrick-Flash vs Trickster (nice to see you, Mark
Hamill.) 
But the day is saved by Barry, he needs some info on Savitar.  We then start to get the impression that
while Barry is busy with the TV show that all the other Speedsters have weekly
meetups at Pietro Maximoff’s Bar and Grille in the Speed Force.  Jay tells Barry that according to legend,
Savitar was the first human to ever connect to the Speed Force and if he’s
after Barry it’s because Barry is powerful enough to be a threat.  However, before he shows up he sends a
sidekick, like Alchemy, to that Earth to make it ready.
Barry goes
into obsessive research mode but Jay urges him to spend time with loved one,
Iris specifically.  Cisco is researching
how to fight Savitar but he keeps seeing Dante. 
I’m sure it doesn’t mean anything ominous.  Yeah, it’ll be fine.
At the West
Home, Barry meets up with Iris fresh off a Christmas shopping spree but after
relaxing on the couch Iris reveals she did some research herself and learned
about that dig in India Julian went on. 
Turns out everyone else was killed mysteriously, what a weird thing to
happen!  Certainly not even more ominous
than Cisco randomly seeing his dead brother all over the place!
Even more
good news!  Alchemy’s doing something
across town and it’s time for some Flash of Two Worlds action.  Jay and Barry go into action but Savitar
shows up so Jay distracts Savitar (by getting stomped down) while Barry fights
Alchemy.  Barry has a much easier time,
subduing Alchemy and securing the Stone in Julian’s little stone box.  Which allows us and the Team to learn
something cool: The Box can keep Savitar contained.  Barry also unmasks Alchemy.
Which means
it’s time to visit the Pipeline for some questioning.  So, Barry’s been through this before.  The whole, “this guy who suddenly shows up in
town turns out to secretly be my enemy” you’re not going to tread any new
ground here, pal!  Except, surprise!  Julian doesn’t know he’s Alchemy.  He has blackouts, then Savitar does things
while he’s out.
That’s
potentially something new, meanwhile Cisco has learned that the box is made out
of something he can’t figure out at all, it doesn’t yield any information to
scientific testing.  What they need is a
really good looking woman with a love of fishnets, talking backwards and
founding members of the Justice League…
Unfortunately
they don’t have that so they’re stumped. 
So let’s go see what HR and the Wests are up?  That’s right! 
Joe’s learned HR was helping Wally train so he’s gone to at least a “You
wrecked the family car on a joyride!” on the fatherly rage scale.  When Joe mentions his problems with Wally to
Barry that gives him a “Dr. House moment” and he goes to Julian to try and get
his help reaching out to Savitar through him.
Meanwhile,
Cisco gets another visit from Dante and as bad as a potential psychotic break
can be, Dante wants Cisco to open the box so “he can be reborn.”  Cisco, of course, opens the box so Barry has
to deal with Savitar’s return by himself. 
At least until Wally decides to jump into the fight.
Caitlin,
meanwhile, has the equally difficult task of talking Cisco into closing the
box.
So, Cisco
and Caitlin whip a device to use Julian to talk to Savitar and after they
convince Julian to co-operate they get a visit from Savitar and while he
promises to make them all Kneel Before Zod he implies that much like Thawne
Barry and Savitar’s history is part of Barry’s future and he’s looking for
revenge for something Barry does in the future. 
So he gives them a taste of the future: “One shall betray you, one shall
fall and one will suffer a fate far worse than death.”
Jay and
Barry come up with a plan, they can’t destroy the stone, they can’t bury but
they can cast it into the Speed Force. 
It will require some Dale Earnhardt Jr-style drafting to combine their
speed but they would lose the box forever that way.  The plan seems to go off without a hitch but
as he casts the Stones into the fires of Mount Doom Barry is thrown out of time
and sees himself and Savitar facing off. 
To make matters worse, Savitar has Iris and he kills her.  It’s only then that Jay finds Barry and
brings him back to the present.  Barry
then learns that what he saw was five months into the future, some place he’s
never been able to go.
Barry tries
to figure out how to stop this future but Jay reminds him of the time traveler’s
paradox, that by trying to change the future he could very well make things
play out that way, before trying to convince him to put that future out of his
mind and try to live his life in the moment. 
Jay then returns home while the Team tries to put this latest disaster
behind them and celebrate Christmas with Cecile.  While Cecile steps out to talk to her
daughter on the phone Joe and HR give Wally a gift from the Team: His very own
speedster suit.  Welcome to the Team, Kid
Flash!
Julian stops
by the party to beat back his loneliness and give Barry the gift of his old job
back.  Later Barry takes Iris to show her
his Christmas gift to her, their own apartment. 
Big romantic gesture or Barry in denial of what he’s just seen? We’ll
have to wait until January to find out.
So I hope
that you might remember that I closed LAST WEEK’s review with “they are in desperate need of a great
episode at this point.  Here’s hoping
they fix that with the mid-season finale.
” 
So the first question should be, did they get that done?  I am going to say yes.  This was a great episode, it moved the plot
forward, answered some important questions, brought in some beloved friends and
gave us all new questions for the second half of the season.  Hell, they even managed some Speed Force lore
and introduced my favorite Speedster thing, the Speedster community.
The last
half of the episode is where the money is too, particularly the good old Time
Traveler’s Paradox.  Here’s the problem
with knowing the future, you don’t know how it came to be so if you attempt to
subvert that future you can unwittingly cause it.  Think 12 Monkeys.
Barry now
knows that sometime in the next five months Savitar returns and on the night he
visits Iris is murdered.  The problem is
he doesn’t know how any of that will happen so he doesn’t know which threads to
unravel and which to leave so if anything he’s now in a more dangerous place
than he would have been without that knowledge.
Bringing in
Jay was a great move, I can now say that something that originally felt like a
stunt has added a lot of opportunity and flavor to the show.  Played by Shipp, Garrick is not both a
confidant and a mentor for Barry which Barry was sorely in need of.
The downside
of a great episode is this case is the following date: January 17th,
2017.  That’s six weeks away.  That really sucks.
Things We Learned
This Week:
1)     
Savitar was not only the first speedster but
perhaps the first meta-human.
2)     
Savitar is a villain from Barry’s future.
3)     
Sometime in the next five months, Savitar will
escape the Speed Force and kill Iris.
4)     
Wally has joined the team as Kid Flash.
Three Four
Questions:
1)     
Who will “betray” Barry and is this a permanent
betrayal or an unintentional one?
2)     
Who “will fall?” And does that mean death or a
more philosophical fall?
3)     
Who “will suffer a fate far worse than death”
and what would that mean?
4)     
Can Barry save Iris?
5)     
What will Julian do with his knowledge of Barry
and the Team?
6)     
Did Alchemy awaken any of the other metas?
7)     
Who is Plunder?
8)     
Is it possible that Flashpoint allowed Savitar to
escape the Speed Force?
Just another guy on the internet.