THE FLASH Review: “The Present”

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has finally given Julian Alpert (Tom Felton) some much needed character work and pathos as we are still reeling in just how big of an effect Flashpoint has had on the story so far and will continue to have. It’s Christmas time in Star City and that’s having a positive and negative impact on our heroes as Savitar is gonna be reigning havoc for the heroes.

Starting off four years in the past in Indus Valley, India we come to see how Julian has acquired the Philosopher’s Stone which Savitar uses to control his pawns as a conduit. And poor Julian is nothing but a conduit as he is literally possessed by whatever Savitar is. With an assist from Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp), Team Flash has to come together to solve the problem behind this enemy. And boy do they. But, back to Julian, now that it’s been revealed that Julian is having black outs when Savitar possesses him to become Alchemy we get to learn that Julian had a sister who he saw through the stone. We also learn that the stone is the one giving potential metahumans their powers fully manifested. Julian is not the Malfoy villain I suspected him of being for months now, he’s far more complicated. And at the end of the episode we see that the moral high ground he always took seemed to be dickish (even when justified), so I was thoroughly surprised that Julian actually wanted Barry back in the lab as a CSI. Now hopefully the writers can keep a consistency with him moving into the back half of the season.

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So Savitar is out for revenge. After channeling him through Julian we learn that he actually has known every member of Team Flash personally revealing that betrayal will happen followed by a death. When Jay suggests they trap the Philosopher’s Stone in the Speed Force, Barry accidently gets thrown into the future and the big revelation is shown in that Savitar kills Iris (Candice Patton). Heading into the back half of the season we now know that Barry will try to do everything in his power to prevent this. When he tells Jay he wants to go fix this I slapped my forehead. This guy, who created Flashpoint, has learned nothing from messing with events through time . Jay had to beat it into Barry that not only was he not supposed to not see that, but events in time are never set and can always change. The biggest question left in Savitar’s wake is who will be the one on Team Flash to be the betrayer. The other question is how can Barry fight Savitar as not only he couldn’t beat him, but Jay and Wally couldn’t either. This is a problem they’ll figure out sooner than later, as I have a hunch that Jesse Quick (Violett Beane) will show up in addition to Jay to coming back to fight.

This episode also continued Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) grief over losing his brother, Dante (Nicholas Gonzalez). Just as Julian did, Cisco starts seeing his dead brother walk around S.T.A.R. Labs telling him to use the stone. It’s very sadistic how Savitar uses the stone to prey on people who’ve lost a loved one. And with it being Christmas I felt bad as Cisco reminisces about sharing a whole bottle of whiskey with his brother on Christmas and he’d give anything to do that once more.

If there was one thing I didn’t like this episode, it was that we saw Earth-3’s version of the Trickster with Mark Hamill back as the character. His brief appearance was very humorous, but I really wished they could’ve saved this for when the Trickster could’ve been the focus for an entire episode as the scene was such a highlight of the episode. Mark Hamill deserves more than an extended cameo. Much praise has to also be given to Shipp for making Jay feel like a completely different character than Henry Allen. It’s easy as both men are inherently good, but Jay has a stronger conviction and doesn’t coddle Barry. I appreciate his straightforwardness.

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It’s also about time we get to see Wally finally be given his suit and become Kid Flash. As of now Barry needs all the help he can get. And having another Speedster around permanently can only help things in the long run. And the writers can now quit this dance of will he/won’t he be Kid Flash. For the longest time it seemed as if they had no idea what to do with Wally. Well, now they do. And let’s hope they use him to the show’s advantage. So thanks H.R. (Tom Cavanagh) for believing in the kid. We can now get to Kid Flash faster, no pun intended. Also, it seems as if they’re sticking to the comics of having Wally be faster than Barry.

This was a strong episode of The Flash that resolves most of the first half’s mysteries. Now that the villain of the week approach is out the window, I hope the writers can make Savitar a layered villain, as if there’s one thing I noticed it’s that when it’s come down to Reverse-Flash and Zoom they were pretty thinly written. Now that we have yet another Speedster as the Big Bad, they have got to come up with a way that make him stand apart from his predecessors, as we’ll be going down the same rabbit hole as before. But yeah I commend this episode for resolving the first half of the season while setting up the last half. Plus how can you not like that ending of Barry getting Iris and himself a place?

The Flash -- "The Present" -- Image FLA309a_0058b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R) Mark Hamil as James Jesse and John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Who will betray Team Flash? Will Jay and Jesse help out with Savitar? Will Iris die? And who exactly is Savitar? I’ll see you on the other side on January 24th 2017. In the meantime, happy holidays true believers!

TB-TV-Grade-A-

Season 3, Episode 9 (S03E09)
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8PM on The CW

Read all of our reviews of The Flash here. 
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A lifelong film enthusiast since he can remember, Brandon is a indie filmmaker/screenwriter and freelance critic who resides in Trenton, NJ. Feel free to hit him up on Twitter to talk movies, shows, and music (especially hip-hop) .
Follow Brandon on Twitter: @bwood0824
Keep up with all of Brandon’s reviews here.

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