ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 12.6.16
Which part was the “Present?”
Were they doing a play on words and they meant “the present” as in chronologically? Like Jay said to Barry, “live in the present?” Okay then I guess. Before I get into the specifics of the review, I want you to notice three things:
- The Flash is getting darker and darker on every level.
- Even when Barry wins, he loses.
- Out of all the speedsters we’ve met, Barry is the absolute slowest.
We open with a scenario that was so reminiscent of Billy Batson until I could hardly stand it. I was yelling at the screen. In a good way, don’t get me wrong! Part of the reintroduction of Captain Marvel (many years ago) included this origin, where Black Adam kills his parents after finding an artifact. I have imagined that so many times in my head I thought they were going to at least wink at the Shazam! world.
So Ratchet Indiana Jones becomes Alchemy, blah blah blah.
Star Labs is unprofessional
Cannot stand this H.R. Puf’n’Stuf Wells. Just can. not. stand him. Cisco is seeing the Ghost of Dante Past, and we know that can’t be anything good. We also know he’s gonna fall for it, whatever it is. So the lab is all decorated and tricked out Christmassy and why? Yeah because none of them have homes except the Wests. Which would not happen with someone as hot as Caitlin, her being alone on Christmas. But anyway, can you tell I’m somewhat bored by this ep so far? Barry and Julian continue their antagonistic relationship and Barry starts putting two and two together. Jalchemy.
Cut to Earth 3 and HOLY CRAP the Trickster is all teeth and he sounds like the Joker. But WOW did they do some great special effects with Jay Garrick. That’s one character they have really redeemed from how we first met him. The fake Jay, Hunter Zoombottom I meant. John Wesley Shipp’s Jay is classy and believable as the Jay we know from the comics. Barry makes a speedsave (tho Jay didn’t need it) and they’re off to see the wizard, back to Earth 1. Also did I mention that Mark Hamill’s Trickster looks like he came from a meth-addicted chorus line rehearsal?
Jay seems to have the info on Savitar that Barry needs, BUT. The origin that Jay recounts is just so wrong. And did you notice they don’t say why or how Savitar was granted his speed? That made zero sense. This was so much less than his incredible comic origin. Read that right here if you want to see the real (and much better) story. Also. Savitar is not T-Rex Megatron. Why do they keep having him roar? So Jay lets Barry know that his speed is at a point where Savitar considers Barry a threat. Really? Could’ve fooled me. Savitar manhandles all the Flashes, every time, including this episode. But okay. We get the Flashes teaming up tho, that’s always a good thing. I wish Jay was around more often.
H.R. (I HATE him) is secretly training Wally. I don’t understand how, if he’s not a real scientist or a speedster himself, he can train Wally. That also makes no sense.
The Plot thickens
Caitlin and Cisco have a moment when they share their losses. The Ghost of Dante Past keeps showing up. We as the audience know that there’s no way this is positive, because clearly Joss Whedon writes this show now. No one is allowed to be happy. I’m pretty sure Joe’s girlfriend Cecille is gonna get dead before season’s end too. Unfortunate, because I really like her.
Oh look more scenes with Barry and Iri-*zzzzzzzzzzzzz* holy cuh-RAP they are SO. BORING. But at least Iris does some journalistic type research and helps Barry out. And then everything that happens next we can see it all coming. Barry connects Alchemy with Julian. More big Harry Potter winks with “the philosopher’s stone.” Wally OF COURSE tells what’s been happening with his secret training because no one on this show can keep their mouth shut about anything, ever.
Hi ho, hi ho, into the crap we go
Jay and Barry race off and show up as Alchemy is summoning Savitar. They split up to take the two foes, and again, just wow. Savitar is so fast his speed is like being in a hyper-tunnel. He kicks Jay’s butt literally up one side of the city and down another. Alchemy explains how he’s using the stone to restore the changes from Flashpoint and make servants for Savitar. We find out later on why that’s relevant. Savitar is just about to impale Jay, when Barry gets a rare win. Remember that he couldn’t dodge the blasts from the stone at first. Now he runs across the mystical globe, does a lightning hurl, and takes Alchemy down. Again, why didn’t he do that before now? But anyway, his closing of the box saves Jay from a gruesome death. And he finds out what we’ve known from day one, Julian is Alchemy.
Barry captures Julian, and Julian reminds the audience that Flash ignores due process by imprisoning people in the pipeline. Barry & Jay quip, Team Flash fights about Wally. And THEN…..*sigh* Barry once again, takes off his mask. He reveals his identity to Julian. HE REVEALS. HIS. IDENTITY. TO. JULIAN. Why does Barry still wear a mask? He needs to be like the Kryptonians, just don’t wear a mask. Good grief I’m so sick of Barry revealing himself like that. So again, Julian just gets over this little tidbit quite easily and suddenly they work together. Barry helps Julian figure out that Savitar is possessing him to become Alchemy.
This is not real
Cisco is having a meltdown because his dead brother keeps showing up. I have to give much kudos to Carlos Valdes for his portrayal of Cisco. He convincingly makes us believe every week that this version of Cisco is still grieving. Which leads me to this truth:
Caitlin and Cisco are clearly the most interesting characters on the show.
When this show started, it had a lot of science. A lot of real world science, like forensics. That added to the wonder of watching Barry do what he does. And we saw a lot of that since Joe West was the “audience” character. Since then, the supporting cast has emerged as the true stars. Thawne as Wells, Caitlin, and Cisco have actually given us the best character moments in all three years. Think about it. That’s kind of bizarre to me, how Barry, Iris, and Joe aren’t nearly written as strongly, and this is a show about The Flash. I even feel like Jay Garrick holds my attention better when he speaks.
So Cisco, as we knew he would, believes his apparition hermano. And Transformer Savitar shows up. Okay Savitar didn’t have these kinds of powers in the comics, but okay.
It all comes out
Savitar again begins to trounce Barry around like a rag doll. And he’s so fast, Team Flash can only see Barry being buffeted. So of course Wally jumps in it. And gets his butt kicked just as fast. So it’s Caitlin to the rescue, to talk Cisco into closing the box. Which he does. The speedsters should’ve both been killed and would’ve been if they didn’t have main character powers. They try to pull a reverse Killer Frost here and all “you did the same for me” crap, but we all know it was Barry that pulled Caitlin out of her Killer Frost persona.
Somehow Fake Wells convinces Joe about Wally and once again people on this show change their minds after one conversation. They pull a spiritual intervention with Julian and evil voice Savitar shows up. And HOLY COW it’s the most interesting scene all episode. Savitar possesses Julian and tells them all what this is about. He says:
“Hello Barry. It’s been a while. [Barry: Savitar.] None of you are on your knees. It’s a smart move to bow before a deity. [Barry: You’re not a god.] To be a god you just have to make people believe you are. [Iris: No one believes in you.] You should, Iris. I hold the power of life and death over all of you. [Caitlin: How do you know so much about us?] I know you, Caitlin. Cisco. Joe. Wally. The fake Wells. I know your fears, I know your weaknesses, I know you better than you know yourselves. I know your destinies. One shall betray you. One shall fall. One will suffer a fate far worse than death. This is the knowledge I have of you. About your everlasting damnation. [Barry: Who are you?] I am the future, Flash. [Barry: What do you want from us?] Everything! Everything you took from me I want it back! And I’m gonna take it back. Then, I will destroy you. [Barry: Why haven’t you already? If you’re all powerful, why don’t you just go ahead and kill us all now and be done with it? ‘Cause you can’t.] You did this to me. You trapped me in Eternity. Your future self, you did this to me, Barry! And now the age of my revenge rises. My freedom is at hand. You will feel my wrath! The Wrath of Savitar!!!!”
There is so much in that prophesy, I can’t even. And now we know what the rest of the season is going to look like. Best scene all episode, I kid you not. Also Barry’s future self sure seems to anger everybody he touches, yeesh.
Did it work?
The stone. So Jay figures out that the stone is the key, and comes up with a plan. Except it’s the wrong plan. Jay says to throw it into the Speed Force. Which is “Eternity itself.” Um, dude WERE YOU LISTENING TO SCARY VOICE MAN? This is how Savitar gets trapped in the comics. And how he comes back. *shudder* So anyway, Barry learns to borrow speed from Jay (a trick that only Wally learned in the comics) and off the stone goes. We SO haven’t seen the last of that thing.
And then….? Barry gets thrown into the future. (Wink to Carmine Infantino.) And Barry gets to witness Iris being impaled by Savitar. What are the chances? But anyway, it’s awful. Iris gets stabbed and dies in Barry’s arms. *sigh* WHY does this show feel the need to be so sad all the time? Barry gets back, and Jay gives a (very good) lecture about why speedsters don’t time travel to the future. And really shouldn’t time travel at all. Iris no longer writes that future story because she’s dead.
The Future isn’t Written Yet
That’s the same thing Yoda said to Anakin. And we know how that turned out. This is going to turn out exactly the same way. Everything that Savitar said is gonna happen, and it’s gonna be so sad it’ll be impossible to describe. *sigh* Also, I really hope that Caitlin isn’t falling for Julian. Just no.
So, it’s a very West Christmas Charlie Brown. Barry and Iris are snuggly. Joe and Cecille have their NogOff. With lots of rum and kissy face. Which everybody watches, PERVERTS. Fake Wells is drunk as a skunk and HE. IS. SO. FREAKING. USELESS. Wally gets all Kid Flash’d up, and Joe acts like he was always on board with the idea. Julian shows up, Barry gets his job back. And I sure hope that Caitlin isn’t falling for Julian. Carolers (with studio reverb on their voices) are singing. Caitlin frosts up the place and she’s Storm now? Barry reveals his present to Iris and it’s a freaking apartment. So living together. So in love. Love confessions and tongue hockey. Yah ’til she croaks in a few episodes.
This episode made me realize yet again that The Flash is constantly changing in terms of quality. The episode wasn’t bad, BUT. It just set yet more dark tones and foreboding for the future. Barry is now going to be obsessed with stopping Iris’ imminent death. But all of Savitar’s prophetic words are going to come true. I just wish there was some light at the end of these adventures. The Flashes in the comics have always been lighter and happier heroes. Well, we’re going to keep watching to see how it all plays out. Also, I’ve been thinking about who they’re going to feature as a villain next year, and it will probably be?
See you after Christmas break, Flash fans. Don’t forget to pick up the comics below.