Spoilers ahead for “The Present,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash!
The short version: Barry recruits Jay Garrick to visit Earth-1 to help him face Savitar. They trap Savitar in a box and throw him into the Speed Force. Barry accidentally jumps to the future and sees Savitar kill Iris. Oh, and Julian is officially Alchemy. And it’s Christmas.
The good: Jay Garrick returns, the way Julian is handled, Kid Flash finally gets a suit
It’s been a while since we’ve seen John Wesley Shipp, and “The Present” brought him back in style. We get our first real peek at Jay’s Earth-3, and he’s even fighting his own version of The Trickster. That’s right: Shipp and Mark Hamill finally reunited (the two faced off as Flash and the Trickster in the 1990s Flash show all those years ago). The fact that Hamill would sign on to return for what added up to about a one-minute cameo made it all the better. This was a good episode, but this was arguably the highlight. Also, anyone else notice the Earth-3 Trickster is even more Joker-y than Earth 1’s?
Barry has come a long way the past few years, but he’s never too old to have Shipp impart some wisdom. It’s obvious Jay has faced a lot of these problems and seen the consequences of some of Barry’s risks during his own (lengthy) career. It only makes sense Barry would tap that knowledge from time to time.
Surprise, surprise: Julian is Alchemy. They pretty much telegraphed this reveal for weeks, and there weren’t a whole lot of twists or surprises about it. But one good thing is how we ended with Julian at the end of the episode. Logic in these superhero situations typically dictate Julian would die heroically (or tragically) after helping the gang and learning Barry’s true identity, resetting the status quo and getting Barry back to work at CCPD. But Julian survived his brainwashed stint as Alchemy (at least for now), and looks to finally have a decent relationship with Barry. Maybe there really is hope for Julian, after all?
After showing off Wally’s Kid Flash gear in the season opening Flashpoint reality, the “real” Wally finally got his suit this week. Merry Christmas, y’all. The back half of this season is gonna be crazy fun.
The bad: They put Savitar in a box? What? Indiana Julian, Cisco’s not that dumb
Having Savitar basically be a genie in a bottle (box, whatever) was a strange move. So, this all powerful speed deity is trapped in a box. By Future Barry, maybe? How did that happen, exactly? And why? Not to mention: If Savitar knows his existence is contingent on this box being open, why does he not do a better job of protecting it? It just seemed like the most random McGuffin. Then, how does throwing it into the Speed Force seem like a good idea? The dude is a speed god. If there’s anywhere he could probably escape from, it’s there. Just lock that thing up in the basement and throw away the key. Done, and done. Also, how silly was Alchemy’s commentary when he was trying to unlock all the metas? Nice of him to fill us in on his plan like that. Now that was clunky.
The big reveal of Julian’s backstory and his obsession with Savitar’s stone was an interesting reveal for the character, but how did no one make the connection until now? It apparently took Cisco six seconds on Google to tie this together. Didn’t Barry look into this guy when he magically appeared in his reality? How did that not turn up until now (aka the most convenient time possible)?
Also, a lot of the team’s problems this week consisted of Cisco being incredibly negligent and opening the box. Yes, he was tempted by his late brother, but Cisco has seen enough of this trippy metahuman stuff to know better than that. Family, or not. They hinted it could’ve messed with his brain chemistry to push him into opening it, and if that’s true, that makes a bit more sense. But, c’mon, Cisco ain’t no fool.
For the first time ever, Barry has finally traveled to the future. Much like the flash forward element Arrow used last season, this scene sets up the shocking death of Iris at the hands of Savitar — then has Jay yank Barry back before he can even process what he’s seen. Instead of waiting to see who is in the grave (like Arrow), this season on Flash we’ll be waiting to see if they can change the timeline and save Iris. Or, if it was all some type of fake out (and Barry lets this play out to trick Savitar, but somehow saves Iris, knowing what he knows).
Barry rented a (gorgeous) apartment and asked Iris to move in with him. Big steps, especially for a dude who was unemployed at the time. How, exactly, did he get approved for that lease? Can’t really put “Flash, but shhhh” under occupation on there, can you?
Savitar’s message: One shall betray, one shall fall, one shall suffer a fate worse than death. Knowing what we know, best guess is Iris falls, and Barry suffers the fate worse than death losing her? Maybe? As for betrayal, the jury’s still out on that one. Looks like we’ll spend 2017 trying to unravel that one.
Up next: Flash is off for the holidays, but returns January 24, 2017.