Review: "The Present" is The Flash's Best Episode Yet of Season Three

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 - 1:03PM
DC Comics
The Flash
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 - 1:03PM
Review: "The Present" is The Flash's Best Episode Yet of Season Three
The first half of The Flash's third season has definitely been a thrill, as Barry and his team have dealt with the effects of Flashpoint, discovered the existence of the speed god, Savitar, and most recently, warded off an alien invasion. Now that the Heroes vs. Aliens crossover is officially over, The Flash is finally done dealing with extraterrestrial threats and is officially going back to those of the extra-dimensional variety. In the midseason finale, entitled "The Present," the team uncovers the identity of the mysterious Dr. Alchemy, and three speedsters go toe to toe with Savitar, the god of speed.

In "The Present," Barry, Cisco, and the team discover an article written by Julian Dorn about an Indian myth that involves a so-called philosopher's stone with abilities identical to the gem Dr. Alchemy's been using to create metas. With the knowledge that the stone is connected to Savitar's power, Barry and the team resolve to take it from Alchemy during his next ritual. Jay Garrick lends a hand by distracting Savitar during the battle, and Barry succeeds in taking the stone from Alchemy and subsequently locking Julian in one of the meta holding cells back at STAR Labs. There it's revealed that Julian has been blacking out and has no memory whatsoever of being Dr. Alchemy, and that he was essentially possessed by the stone.

Meanwhile, the stone starts to have the same effect on Cisco, as an apparition of his dead brother tries to convince him to free it from its case. When the stone is sealed, Savitar is unable to move around freely in the physical realm, but when Cisco lets it out again, Savitar returns. This time, Barry, Jay, and Wally ward off the speed god's attacks until Caitlyn is able to convince Cisco to seal the stone again. When the team realizes that the only way to get rid of Savitar is to get rid of the stone, Barry throws it into the speed force. However, some kind of rebound effect occurs, sending Barry five months into the future, where he witnesses the death of Iris at the hands of Savitar. When Jay Garrick pulls Barry back into the past, he tells him that the future isn't totally set, and the team gathers together for a Christmas party to cap off the episode.

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"The Present" is undoubtedly one of the best episodes of The Flash's third season. It delivers a huge payoff to both Dr. Alchemy and Julian's arcs, and having Barry witness what could very well be the death of Iris West is an amazing way to set the stakes for the rest of the season. Likewise, all of the Dante drama was the perfect buildup for Cisco's choice to free Savitar upon seeing his brother's ghost, and Julian is likewise becoming a more complex character and is a welcome addition to Team Flash. Despite the darkness in the episode, the writers also manage to keep things lighthearted as well, with HR injecting the show with a bit of levity with his musings on Wally's training and his drunken Christmas party ramblings. 

The Flash has had an amazing start to its third season, even if it hasn't exactly managed to capitalize on the effects of Flashpoint. Still, the show is just as full of heart, humor, and spectacle as ever, and with the potential death of a major character being foreshadowed in the midseason finale, there's no way DC fans could ever want to miss what's coming next.

The Flash will return to the CW in early 2017.
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The Flash

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