[Review] The Flash (2014) Episode 3×09: “The Present”

No, we didn’t skip an episode – we already reviewed Episode 3×08 when it aired! And now back to our regularly scheduled recaps of CW’s The Flash.


Spoilers under the cut.

There’s nothing like a Christmas episode of a long-running series that will completely turn a writing team into total hacks for an episode. It’s the unironic embrace of tropes that would be considered lame at their best (and can be borderline offensive to some), written by people who grew up with the privilege to call this ideal.

The Flash falls prey to this, too, but at least their hackneyed attempts fall flat enough to be mockably amusing. This episode’s opening is the best example of this, where HR has decorated S.T.A.R. Labs in all sorts of tinsel and behaves like Christmas is a multi-dimensional universal truth. I really don’t believe there was malicious intent behind the idea or the execution of the scene, but to say it isn’t problematic is ignorant in this day and age.

Fortunately, this episode isn’t so heavy on the tropes as it is on the plot. Julian is unmasked as Alchemy and captured, more is revealed about the Philosopher’s Stone and how it calls to people using the voices of the dead, and we get more hints as to who Savitar really is. Oh, and Barry reveals his identity to Julian. I have my thoughts, but I believe our esteemed Executive Producer put it better than I ever could:

Jay Garrick drops by this episode (along with a cameo from Mark Hamill as a weird Trickster/Joker hybrid), but he’s quickly relegated to advice giver and not able to help with the big bad. HR training Wally is quickly revealed, and by the end of the episode, Wally is given the classic Kid Flash garb. Cisco is tempted by the ghost of his dead brother Dante into releasing Savitar. As for Barry, he’s thrown five months into the future, where he sees Savitar murdering Iris.

There’s a lot to this episode, and it’s pretty good overall. But boy, is it dense. It’s the episodic equivalent of the scene in Live Free Or Die Hard where Kevin Smith explains why the villain should be taken seriously. But I’ll leave you with this thought to close out the episode:

George Hatch is not cooler than cool on Twitter @Raeseti.

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