The Flash: The Present Review
The CW’s The Flash: Season 3, Episode 9: ‘The Present’ had a lot to make up for in the midseason finale after having a rough start this season. The reaction with viewers regarding the third season has been mediocre and the show needed to pick things up and show that prove that Dr. Alchemy and Savitar aren’t what they seem. This week’s episode needed a boost to keep us engaged and look forward to the second half of the season. Thankfully, the episode truly delivered with an outstanding character drama and a few twists and turns to keep things afloat.
Before we get in on what happened during ‘The Present’, it was so good having Mark Hamill back as The Trickster. Even though this was the Earth-3 version of the villain, Hamill really went out of his way to portray such a wacky character and it was worth it. The actor also paid homage to The Joker in a way with his makeup and his persona on this version of The Trickster. This may be as close as we can get to see Hamill play The Joker on screen. It was cool to see Hamill and John Wesley Shipp together reviving their enmity towards each other like the 90s Flash series.
However, we only got to see a little bit of The Trickster throughout the episode. Hamill brings so much fun to the role and yet we didn’t get enough of him. It felt unnecessary to have him on the episode since he had little screen time, but it did help having Shipp around. This may have been the most we’ve seen Shipp in the series and it was great that we got to see more of him as Jay Garrick. Shipp played the role perfectly just like his Earth-1 counterpart Henry Allen. He had that natural charisma and allure that just made him a good fit as the older speedster.
What is also great is that Shipp comes off as a different person when he plays Jay as opposed to Henry. He has the same essential morality, but there’s a firm superiority to Jay as well. It’s also obvious that there’s some uneasiness between Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Jay. Barry is looking for some advice from Jay even though he’s not actually his father. We can also see that Jay is trying to get use to mentoring the young superhero. Fans have been dissatisfied with the way Jay Garrick was portrayed last season, so this new season, in a way, kind of made up for that.
Things definitely picked up with Savitar and Alchemy as we got to learn more about these two mysterious villains. This was certainly the last time we will be seeing Alchemy. Having Julian (Tom Felton) as Alchemy was an obvious guess and would’ve been handled better if the writers took Julian in another direction instead of being one of the baddies. However, they did manage to preserve Julian’s charm by revealing that he was never in control of what he did as Alchemy. He was nothing more than a chess piece for Savitar to make his return to the world to defeat Barry. With Savitar out of the picture temporarily, Julian can go back to playing the frenemy of Barry with the two working together in the crime lab again. It should be fun to see these two butt heads again during the second half of the season.
Savitar still remains a weak villain this season and the show hasn’t fixed some big problems with him. Savitar’s character design still needed some improvements and his agenda was much too similar to Zoom’s and Reverse-Flash. The new season needs to move away from evil speedsters going after Barry because this whole game of seeing who’s better is getting quite old. The pacing with the Savitar arc did increase after the God of Speed possessed Julian. His voice is more menacing than his actual appearance and that says a lot about the handling of this villain. We got to learn more about Savitar’s motives and his agenda against Barry. It turns out that he isn’t a god as he claims, but someone from Barry’s future who wants revenge against him. Seeing that he knows just about everyone on Team Flash, our guess is that someone on the team may turn out to be Savitar.
It was a great tease of things to come when Savitar addressed what will be coming for them in the future. With Flashpoint in the backseat for now, the second half of the season seems to be leaning towards fate and whether it can change. Seeing a possibility that someone on the team will die gives us a reason to stick around until the final episodes of the season. It will be interesting to see if Barry can change the fate of a loved one or if it is already written.
Cisco (Carlos Valdes) had so much happening in this episode, especially as Savitar tempted him to open the box after seeing his dead brother. This was a nice change of pace for Cisco as he was mainly the comic relief of the series. It’s a nice change to see as Cisco is still in mourning and not getting over what Barry has done.
The way the episode ended was really sweet. As we are entering the holiday season, it was nice to see that even the Wests like to celebrate as well. We even see H.R. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) getting drunk at the party. Even Julian comes to bring in the holidays with them. Especially Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) using a bit of her powers to bring a white Christmas was a nice touch. Barry also gave Iris (Candice Patton) a holiday present by showing her their new place. Even Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) gets his new suit, meaning we may get to see him and Barry teaming up to protect Central City.
‘The Present’ brought the Savitar storyline to a conclusion and things are looking positive so far as 2016 comes to an end. The writers got to display Garrick and Barry’s in action together. It also added some more intensity into both Alchemy and Savitar. Savitar has some work that needs to be done before the writers can bring him back. Things are looking bright this season and we hope the quality of the series come back to its former glory.
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