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The Flash: 03x09, The Present

Shae Frierson

Updated 12/12/2016 4:27pm

We’re back, Speedsters, for the final time until next year! Go ahead, shed a tear! Are you good? Solid, because I have a present for you! It’s time for another episode of The Flash! Last week was just one piece of the incredible four-way crossover event, but here’s the gist: aliens, Cisco, anger, Wally training, Oliver bromance. If that confuses you, read this recap! Now, let’s open this glorious present and see what the mid-season finale has in store, shall we?

"The Present"

We open four years ago in the West Indies, where Julian (who we now know is Alchemy), is on an expedition. He’s writing in his journal when his team finds what they’re looking for. His partner urges him not to open the mysterious box they’ve uncovered, but he doesn’t listen, and magic is released.

Back in the present, HR is getting into the Christmas spirit, as the team searches for both Savitar and Alchemy. The team searches for Alchemy’s stone and finds a connection between it and Julian. Meanwhile, Cisco starts seeing flashes of Dante. Barry visits Julian to ask about Alchemy’s stone. Julian tells him that it’s called the Philosopher’s Stone (#HarryPotterParallels), explaining about his expedition but withholding the fact that they found the stone. Barry asks him about Savitar, and he gets shifty, dismissing him from the lab.

Present CW

After Barry leaves, Savitar contacts Julian again. At CCPD, Joe invites Cecile to Christmas dinner. Barry heads to Earth-3 to ask for Jay’s advice on stopping Savitar. Accompanying Barry back to Earth-1, Jay tells Barry that Savitar has come to challenge him and prove his own superiority. He agrees to help Barry stop him. Meanwhile, Wally and HR continue their secret training. Wally wants to tell everyone about his progress, but HR disagrees.

Barry’s efforts to gather information about Savitar prove unfruitful, and Jay (sounding very fatherly) tells him to focus on his real life while he can. At the same time, Cisco continues seeing Dante. Caitlin tells him that it’s most likely a result of his grief, and he dismisses it as his mind trying to cope. At the West house, Barry is shifty about his present for Iris. Iris tells Barry that, during Julian’s expedition, all of the other team members were killed. Barry believes that he’s connected to Dr. Alchemy.

Present CW

At S.T.A.R. labs, Jay and Barry head off to face Savitar and Alchemy. Wally offers to help, telling them about his training with HR, but the team refuses, and Joe is angry. On the streets, Jay distracts Savitar while Barry recovers the stone from Alchemy. Savitar beats Jay, almost to the point of killing him, but Barry manages to get the stone back in its power-dampening box, effectively banishing Savitar in the nick of time.

Barry unmasks Alchemy to discover Julian. In the pipeline, the Flash interrogates Julian, who doesn’t seem to realize that he’s Dr. Alchemy. Jay recovers in the infirmary while Cisco informs Barry that the box that holds the stone is literally made of nothing. Super trippy. HR faces off with the Joe, who is angry about his training Wally. Wally, to his credit, sticks up for HR before leaving in a huff.

Later, Barry realizes that Julian might not know he’s Alchemy. When Julian refuses to trust him, Barry reveals his identity, and Julian finally understands. He tells Barry that he’s been blacking out and losing time since his expedition in the West Indies. He tells him that he started seeing his sister, and she told him to find the stone. Cue me getting very nervous about Cisco seeing Dante all of a sudden. Crap. Julian tells Barry that, after his team was discovered dead in the Indies, he fled to America. Barry assures Julian that Alchemy’s deeds are not his fault.

Present CW

Back in the lab, my suspicions are confirmed when Dante reappears to tell Cisco to open the box, which he unfortunately does. With Savitar on the loose, Barry tries to fight, and Wally goes to help, against Joe’s wishes. Meanwhile, Caitlin attempts to convince Cisco to close the box. After what seems like a long time and several speedster beat-downs, Caitlin is finally able to convince him, thankfully before Savitar can inflict any real damage on Barry or Wally.

With Savitar trapped again, the team decides to use Julian to communicate with Savitar and discover his motives. HR and Joe argue about Wally again, and HR tells him that, the longer he denies Wally help with his powers, the more he’ll seek help elsewhere. The team tells Julian their plan, and he agrees to help, albeit begrudgingly. The device works quickly, and Savitar tells the team that he’s there because Barry trapped him in the future. He also gives them a glimpse of their future, stating that one of them will betray the team, another will fall, and another will suffer a fate far worse than death. Fed up with his creepy nonsense, Barry unplugs Julian.

Back in the cortex, Barry assures the team that the future Savitar predicted won’t actually happen. Since the stone can’t be destroyed, Barry and Jay decided to throw it into the speed force. Jay offers to combine his speed with Barry’s so that they’ll go fast enough to open a breach. The plan works, and Barry tosses the stone, but, instead of ending up back in the present, he’s launched five months into the future. In a courtyard, future Flash faces Savitar, who has Iris in his grasp. Before future Flash can stop him, Savitar kills Iris, and both Barrys are left stunned.

Present CW

Jay drags Barry back to the present and tells him that what he saw was only a possible future, not a definite reality. Barry is still reeling from what he saw, but Jay tells him that he can’t ever go back or make any efforts to try to stop it. He tells him to focus on the present and live his life.

Jay heads back to Earth-3, and Barry tells the team (and Julian) that the stone is gone. The team heads to the West house for Christmas, and Caitlin invites Julian, though he refuses. At the holiday party, Cisco thanks Caitlin for saving him from himself, HR gets drunk, and Barry is distracted because of his glimpse of the future. Meanwhile, Joe and Cecile finally kiss (which everyone points out), and Wally finally gets his Kid Flash suit. Julian shows up for Christmas after all with a present for Barry: his job back. Caitlin uses her powers to turn the rainy Christmas into a white one.

Present CW

As the party winds down, Barry decides that it’s finally time to give Iris her Christmas present. He takes her to an empty apartment, which he tells her is now theirs. She agrees to move in with him, and they exchange I love yous and effectively break the world’s heart as we wonder what the hell happens over the next five months.

Well, that sucked in the best way possible! I mean, holy mother of cliffhangers! Thank you, Berlanti and Kreisberg, for giving us a whole damn month and a half to ponder this possible future. So sweet of you! Seriously, though, this episode was pretty great! As much as I obviously don’t want Iris to die, I was actually glad that Savitar didn’t prove to be an easy foe. I mean I don’t want this match-up to drag on like Zoom sort of did, but that solution just seemed a little too easy.

On a happier note, I’m glad that Julian might actually be an ally now! And we’ll have loads more Kid Flash sidekick moments soon! I do have to say, as interesting as Savitar is, I’m definitely hoping for a new kind of adversary next season. I mean, how many all-powerful speedsters can there really be? Once you’ve reached the “God of Motion”, I think we’ve exhausted that storyline. But still, the show will forever be amazing.

Until next year, Speedsters, tweet us your responses and catch up on The Flash with Season 2 on DVD or Blu-ray!

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