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‘The Flash S03E09: The Present’ Review

This week’s episode of The Flash brings us back to the Savitar storyline. We learn a lot more about Julian in the process. The episode opens with him in the Indus Valley four years ago. He’s the one who found the stone that Savitar comes to life through. The team also finds out about the dissertation he wrote on the stone, which they call the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter nod much?). He plays a big role in this episode, but there’s a bit more than that to unpack.

Photo: The CW
Photo: The CW

Mark Hamill makes another appearance as the Trickster on Earth 3, where the real Jay Garrick lives. It’s hard to not wonder if his appearance will amount to anything in future episodes. It is an odd placement since he really doesn’t have anything to do with this week’s story at all. But, moving on, Jay Garrick comes with Barry back to Star Labs to help take on Savitar.

It’s already clear to the audience that Julian is Alchemy, but what we didn’t know was that he blacks out when he’s Alchemy and has no knowledge of what he does. Barry and Jay go after Alchemy and Savitar together. Jay takes on Savitar and Barry gets to the stone in time to get rid of Savitar. Barry reveals himself as Flash to Julian, so now yet another person knows, in order to gain his trust. As it turns out, he’s been blacking out for the last four years and has no idea what he’s done.

Cisco has a bit of a dilemma in this episode, too. He sees Dante around the lab and has a conversation with him. Dante tells him to open the box that the stone is in and, of course, he does. Caitlin talks him into closing the box before Savitar kills Barry and Wally, who instinctively runs to help Barry. Once this is done, they sync the box to Julian’s mind to contact Savitar. The team decides that throwing the box into the speed force is the only way to get rid of it. When Barry and Jay go to do so, Barry ends up in the future and sees Savitar kill Iris. Once Jay pulls him back, they talk about it and decide that the future isn’t set in stone and it could just be one possibility.

Photo: Katie Yu/The CW
Photo: Katie Yu/The CW

The episodes ends with the Christmas party at Joe’s. Caitlin invites Julian, who ultimately decides to show up and brings Barry the gift of having his resignation letter back. Wally gets his suit as a gift from the team. This scene as a whole is a reminder of how things were in the previous timeline. We don’t see Cisco be angry with Barry this episode and despite the new HR and Julian as additions, things are finally getting back to normal. Plus, Barry getting him and Iris an apartment is a scene you don’t want to miss.

Focusing on flaws has never really been a main point in my reviews, but there are some things to note in this episode. The CGI was not great when Savitar is throwing Jay around. We have four different speedsters in this episode and it’s starting to feel like a bit too much. It would be great to see some variety. Obviously, there will be more of Savitar if he in fact does come back in the future. However, this was a solid midseason finale.


  • Can we get some new big villains that aren’t speedsters?
  • Iris still isn’t doing much other than being related to or in a relationship with speedsters.
  • HR training Wally has given him something useful to do.
  • Yay to Joe and Cecile!

Favorite Lines

  • “Are we about to be the grinches this year?” – Cisco and Caitlin talking about losing people
  • “I know that every bad guy we’ve ever had has pretended to be our best friend while being and evil, murderous bastard.” – Caitlin

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