The season for giving is in full swing and The Flash is no exception. As they give us season 3's midseason finale "The Present," (true to form) the more we resolve, the closer we all get as a family. The Team captures Dr. Alchemy, figures out a way to deal with Savitar, and Earth 3 brings new definition to the meaning of "Christmas ham," in the best way possible.
The show opens four years in the past with Julian, getting his Indiana Jones on, discovering the stone that gives him his power and manifests Savitar. Barry and the crew get their Arrow in the present day with some good old fashioned detective work; seems some good habits rubbed off after last week's crossover. They discover the name of the stone and that Julian is an authority on it, judging from his dissertation at least. The Philosopher Stone cannot be destroyed but putting it back in its containment box nullifies its power. Moreover, Julian is possessed when he is Alchemy so he has no knowledge of his actions and really cannot be held responsible; lucky him.
We discover what Barry did to piss off Savitar, who is not really a Speed God but is the first speedster; small relief, but it's something. It seems that in the future Barry will trap Savitar so he has come to the past to enact his revenge. This time around, Jay Garrick (Earth-3's Flash) suggests throwing the box into the speed-force itself, which might as well be the void of eternity. Here's the twist, though. After successfully throwing the stone in the box into the speed-force breach, Barry is thrown into the future - five months to be exact - where he witnesses Savitar killing Iris. This immediately vexes Barry and I have to admit that I said to myself "um, guess that didn't work." Then Jay grabs Barry and brings him back to the present.
Barry tried to obsess over it, saying I have to protect Iris at all costs, but Jay tells him that what he witnessed is only one possible future written in sand, not stone. Any choice in the future could change it, and there is no way to know which decisions change which future events. It's all a crap shoot. But one thing is certain. Savitar knows how to escape from the speed-force (although, perhaps Savitar had help with his escape; both possibilities are equally possible).
Barry needs to watch Heroes where Hiro had entire rooms dedicated to tracing different choices and their resulting timelines, spending years at it. However, with every change, the butterfly effect was too great. Usually there was only one way to achieve a desired effect, or the least undesirable effect. I also like how Jay can find Barry no matter where he is in time. We have to learn how he does that. This is like the second time he's found Barry in time with little to no effort. Me thinks something lurks here yet to be revealed.
I also think Barry has the best speedster timing ever because, for the second week in a row when Barry reaches out for assistance, he arrives in the nick of time to save the hero he's looking for from certain peril. Last week's rescue of Arrow and Spartan from Vigilante's bullets is this week's swift tying up of Trickster loose-ends for Jay (nice cameo, Mark Hamill). It's a good thing Barry knows how to disarm bomb vests; must've picked up the skill in the off-season.
Another dangerous new trend is developing - Wally running into danger as if his speed makes him invincible. No, bruh, it don't. Now, I agree you have to guide Wally because he shows no signs of slowing his roll, much less stopping. He's going to keep running into danger – running to save people, running to help Barry. He's safer doing it under Barry's supervision but he is also a certified adrenaline junky. That could lead to a lot of unnecessary risks. His abilities give him confidence which is great, but I hope he knows all the speed in the world cannot compete with fast thinking. I can't wait to see what power moves he develops on his own. But he already has two seasons of speed moves to catch up on so, my dear Kid Flash, please speed-crawl before you speed-walk.
Finally, I'd like to remark on the last minute of the episode, in which Barry gives Iris her Christmas present that I swore he forgot to purchase. Turns out it's an apartment, a really nice one if maybe a bit too nice for someone who just resigned from their job and has zero prospects lined up. Nonetheless props on the grown man move, Barry. More than anything, I hope he learns that the past is in the books and the future won't be here until tomorrow. No matter what else is going on, you have to remember to live in the present.