As per tradition, The Flash’s 9th episode of the season is always the Christmas episode and it is aptly tilted “The Present”. The title could mean many things as it could mean the gift kind or living in the present and I think this episode was both.
I also think that this episode could have also been called Team Flash and the Philosopher Stone.
The reason being is because four years ago we see Julian on an archeological dig obsessed with finding the stone, which he does. When Julian opens the box containing the stone, it unleashes Savitar. In researching everything about Alchemy, Cisco and Caitlin discover that Julian wrote a paper about the stone that Alchemy wields. So Barry goes to Julian to explain what is the stone and also learns from him that Savitar is the very first speed God.
I am not sure if it was the intention of the writers or not to have Julian explain the Philosopher Stone to Barry but I thought it was funny. And if you don’t know why then you are not a Harry Potter fan. In case you are not then let me explain. The very first Harry Potter novel was called Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone (but in America it was called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone) and of course Julian is played by Tom Felton who played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies.
To get a help with the Savitar situation, Barry goes to Earth-3 to enlist Jay Garrick and at the same time helps him capture that Earth’s version of the Trickster (an all-too brief Mark Hamill cameo).
When the two return to Earth-1, Jay tells everything he knows about Savitar and how he always sends someone before he appears in order to gather followers. Barry deduces that it is Alchemy. When Team Flash figures out that Julian was on the archeological dig that found the Philosopher Stone, they figure he is connected to Alchemy in some way.
The team gets alerted to the stone being used and Jay and Barry speed over there to confront Alchemy. We see Alchemy and his followers using the stone to unleash the meta human powers from Flashpoint when Savitar appears. Jay takes on Savitar who beats him up pretty good while Barry takes on Savitar and eventually knocks him out and puts the stone back in the box. And just in time too as Savitar was about to kill Jay. Vancouver filming fact: The building that Alchemy was using to summon Savitar is Vancouver Science World but was build in 1986 for Expo 86, Vancouver’s world exposition.
When Barry removes Alchemy’s mask, he sees that it is Julian. So Barry places Julian in the pipeline and he denies being Alchemy. Somehow Team Flash believes Julian. Later on the Flash goes to question Julian again about whether or not he has suffered blackouts. Julian denies having blackouts and the Flash feels he is lying but Julian doesn’t trust someone in a mask so the Flash removes it and reveal himself to Julian. Gaining his trust, Julian says he is suffering blackouts and it started soon after his sister died and how she came to him in a vision and that if he got the stone they can be together again. So Julian funded the dig, found the stone, got his first blackout. When Julian found out his team died, he feared getting blamed so he fled to America.
Julian’s story of seeing his dead sister is important because Cisco has been seeing his dead brother Dante roaming around STAR Labs. Dante gets Cisco to open the box containing the stone with the promise of them being together again.
Savitar is unleashed and Barry goes to fight him. The fight isn’t going well so Wally steps in but he too soon gets taken down. Caitlin eventually talks sense into Cisco and he closes the box.
Joe is livid at Wally for risking his life and even more livid when he finds out HR was helping Wally. HR says that he decided to help Wally because he could see his potential and wanted to help harness it.
Cisco figures out how they can speak to Savitar and that is by using Julian’s connection to him via the stone. The team realize that Savitar was speaking through Julian as they have the same voice. When Cisco successfully connects Julian’s mind to the stone, Savitar emerges. From the conversation, Savitar knows about everyone on Team Flash. Savitar says that someone on Team Flash will betray them and also someone will die and someone will have a fate worse than death. Also, Savitar blames the Flash for something he did to him in the future.
The team has ruled out burying the stone again so Jay comes up with the idea to throw the stone in the speed force with Barry’s help. The two manage to accomplish that but at the same time, Barry gets thrown 5 months in the future where he sees Savitar kill Iris right in front of his future self who was unable to save the love of his life.
Jay takes him back to the present and tells Barry that he should not have seen that. Jay also tells Barry that he cannot worry about what is going to happen in the future but to live in the present. Jay also says that the future has not been written yet.
When all is said and done, we have another Christmas at the West’s. This time Cecile has joined in bringing her grandmother’s famous eggnog. HR is hilariously drunk off the eggnog, Julian decides to join the party, Wally gets his Kid Flash costume for Christmas (don’t worry Cecile wasn’t in the room) and Caitlin turns in a raininy Christmas into a white Christmas.
We end the episode with Barry giving Iris her Christmas gift and it is an apartment. Iris fears they may be moving too fast but Barry disagrees as he knows he wants her to be the first thing he sees when he wakes up and the last thing when he goes to bed. The two exchange I love you’s and seal their new living arrangements with a kiss.
So are we too assume Iris is the one to die in Savitar’s prophecy? Then who will betray Team Flash and who will suffer a fate worse than death? Can Barry change the future so none of the prophecy comes true. Guess we will find out in 2017.