The Flash, Season 3, Episode 9 “The Present”
All those happy vibes generated by last week’s crossover event on <i>The Flash</i> seemed to go back to Earth-38 with Kara Danvers, because Barry and the gang were back to their mopey selves, just in time for Christmas.
Some of it felt genuine like Cisco celebrating his first holiday without his brother, but you would think that somewhere in there they would be radiating the kind of confidence that comes with beating back an alien invasion.
Much like with last week’s Supergirl mid-season finale, The Flash seemed like it was in a hurry to finish off several stories that have been brewing all season and move on to the next thing. While that next thing is pretty significant and will influence every choice Barry makes in the upcoming months, Team Flash did capture Dr. Alchemy, and find a way to put Savitar at bay fairly easily.
The problem with structuring an episode to serve as both climax and setup is that it can fail to serve either piece very well. In the case of The Flash, the climax of the first half of the season served as a speed bump for the setup from Barry’s grim vision of the future. I’m not sure if having that extra episode that the crossover used would have helped, and it was too much fun to think of casting it aside.
So Julian went from hunted bad guy, Dr. Alchemy, to probationary member of Team Flash and newly doomed love interest of Caitlin Snow in a few minutes. Wally went from being secretly trained by HR on the side to getting his own costume by the end of the episode. We also get a vague, menacing prophecy that puts everyone on edge.
As with any Flash episode this season, it had its adorable moments. The trip to Earth-3 and special appearances by John Wesley Shipp’s Jay Garrick and Mark Hamill’s Trickster are always a welcome sight. The rapport that Wally and HR have established as the team’s black sheep is great. HR drunk on eggnog was funny. Knowing that Joe was probably getting laid for Christmas was heartwarming in its way.
However, it was all overshadowed by what Barry saw when broke another law of speedstering and he was thrust into the future when he chucked the Savitar in the Box into the speed force for safekeeping. (There’s got to be a better way of getting rid of your unwanted villain cartons than littering.)
While in the future, Barry sees a showdown between himself and Savitar where Savitar kills Iris. Despite assurances form Jay that the future is not set in stone, Barry is totally wrecked by the development since 60 percent of the reason why he became The Flash was to get in Iris’ pants. While that big apartment he gave her as a gift will go a long way toward that end, the vision also creates an enormous secret between Barry and Iris. Given Barry’s penchant for histrionics when it comes to people he cares about and his inability to keep a secret, it doesn’t look like The Flash will be getting back to its optimistic roots any time soon.