The Flash “The Present” Review (Season 3 Episode 9)

Julian Albert - The Flash

In keeping with the rest of the season so far, the midseason finale of The Flash offered a number of exciting moments while also getting a bit lost in murky, depressing drama. “The Present” succeeds in propelling the season’s overarching narrative forward, but it remains a fundamentally nebulous one that’s hard to fully invest in.

Let’s start positive, though, as this episode had plenty positive going for it. For one thing, any opportunity for Jay Garrick to pop back into Barry’s orbit is welcome. Plus, the brief visit to Earth-3 gives us a rematch 20-plus years in the making, as John Wesley Shipp and Mark Hamill go at it as Flash and Trickster once again. Really, it’s just always good to see Jay; his years of speedster experience make him the one person Barry will reliably listen to when it comes to what not to do with his powers.

This episode was also a much better showing for Savitar. His armor is still a low-mark for a team that usually handles CG far better, but he came off as a true threat here, an unstoppable force of nature that Barry, Jay, and Wally didn’t so much have to defeat as survive. I was wary of a third speedster villain, but Savitar seems to represent the absolute peak of what this sort of threat can offer; I’m curious to see where things go from here.

Unfortunately, the specifics of the episode’s plot are what gum up the works a bit, as they have all year. This season has been agonizingly drawn out in regards to Wally getting to suit up as Kid Flash, so hearing Iris and Joe harp on him about it again this week was just exhausting. On the plus side, he was finally given his costume by episode’s end, so Central City can finally say it has two speedsters watching over it.

More problematic is Barry’s trip to the future, which gives him a glimpse of Iris being killed by Savitar five months from now (just in time for the season finale!). The problem is that unlike the death teased last season on Arrow, this is just a hypothetical future; Jay calls it out as much. While this will no doubt drive Barry’s actions going forward, there’s every opportunity for Iris’ death to not happen. Moreover, after all the meddling with the past Barry has done, I really hope we don’t see him actively try and change the future. He needs to have learned the lesson by this point.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!