A Closer Look: The Flash – “The Present”

After a stellar Heroes Vs Aliens Crossover between Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow & Legends Of Tomorrow, each of the main Arrow-verse shows find themselves facing tough times in their MidSeason Finales. The Flash was up first this week and as far as Christmas episodes go, this was the most heart wrenching yet.

Sure we got some good ole cheer, laughs and familiar faces; but it was overshadowed by a lot of heartbreaking foreshadowing and warning. Any cheer given by the episode is vastly overshadowed by the anxiety we will all face heading into the Season 3 Finale in 5 months.

Who will die? Who will betray? Who will suffer a fate worse than death? Let’s take a Closer Look at this week’s The Flash “The Present” to find out and check out some of this week’s themes.

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The Meaning Behind “The Present” – Barry, Cisco & Caitlin:

Yesterday is history
Tomorrow a mystery
But today is a gift
That is why it is called “The Present”

You might be wondering why I’m quoting Kung Fu Panda in an episode analysis of The Flash. Well – besides the fact that we’re both Panda – this quote is actually the perfect way to sum up Jay Garrick’s advice to Barry as well as the meaning behind the episode title “The Present” in general.

Sure “Present” has the connotation of “gift”, which makes it perfect for the Christmas episode; but it’s also important because after seeing a dire future, Jay tells Barry to focus on the present. Now there are much more ramifications of his vision that we will discuss in the next section; but for now let’s look at this purely in terms of living life. There’s a reason Barry, speedsters and people in general should never see the future, and that is because the anxiety and fear will kill them. They’ll wonder if they can change anything or if it’s set in stone; and sometimes they’re very actions to avoid it will lead them to it – but again, that’s more a topic for the next section. If Barry is to have any chance, he must learn to enjoy the present and he does! In the end we see him buy a place of his own with Iris so that even if the worse does happen, he’ll know he spent as much time as he could with her.

Though Barry wasn’t the only one dealing with Holiday woes. While he was busy dealing with the future, Cisco was dealing with the Past as he kept seeing visions of Dante. Little did he know, these were caused by Savitar – via some unforeseen additional power – but these were still all part of his grief. Much like how this was Barry’s first holiday without his father, this was Cisco’s first holiday without his brother and he’d do anything to get him back – even if it was stupid. We heard how Julian did similarly before for his sister and – to be fair – this entire season started because of Barry doing something similar. Though in the end, it’s Caitlin who helps talk him down – just as he did her once before. And Caitlin has her own grief wondering about her powers and remembering her last Christmas with her Father. In many way, Caitlin serves as a nice center for Barry and Cisco as she’s both unsure of her past and future; but we see her make the most of things and even embrace her powers for a moment to help it snow outside just like she saw her last Christmas with her father. Will this also be her last Christmas with one of her friends? For this section, let’s enjoy the blissful enjoyment of the Present and start dealing with the Anxiety of the future…. Now.

Self Fulfilling Prophecy Or Changing Fates – Who Betrays, Who Dies, Who Suffers: 

If there’s anything watching Doctor Who and any other time travel shows have taught me, it’s DO NOT see the future. The reason is because whether it’s a fixed point or not, your actions will have been affected by it. In short, this means your actions have just as much of a chance bringing your fate to life as it does avoiding this. Hell, this has been a theme since even the days of Greek Classics like Oedipus. Many will meet their destiny on the path they take to avoid it, and Barry may very well be subscribing to that. He’s already using a bunch of circumstantial info to validate this history as the truth – ie: explaining why Iris’s name is no longer the writer of the future article. Though as always, as Barry didn’t see all of it, we don’t know. Time is forever changing and anything can happen; but for now let’s accept this turn about as fact.

That would mean that Iris is “The One Who Dies” and Barry is “The One Who Suffers”. So who is the one who betrays? As of the moment, there is evidence building for it to be either Cisco or Caitlin and we’ve explored multiple times before how each stacks up. Though since Team Flash (Cisco, Caitlin & Barry) are truly the heart of this show, I hope that whatever happens these three remain together. Even if one betrays, hopefully it’s just a one time impossible situation. Though since Savitar’s words appear to be true for Iris, does that mean the main three aren’t the only options? Could Wally be the traitor or more likely still HR. He’s gone on and on about being able to bring out potential and helping to raise his fame, so him doing this isn’t outlandish. Additionally, we got foreshadowing from the start that something about him was untrustworthy. Additionally, getting rid of HR would bring back Harry (our favorite Wells) and Jessie.

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As of the moment, the biggest question is HOW does the Philosopher’s Stone get out of the Speed Force. If it’s not a story component that does it, then that means it must reappear because someone take it out – leaving only 2 options: Someone with access to the Speedforce or someone who can break through dimensions. So is it Wally? Joe spoke this episode about how sometimes he blanks out. Could that be a good opening for Savitar? Or could it be Jay…. (it better not). Then again, we’ve seen Cisco blast his way into the Speed Force before. BUT WHAT IF, the one – is actually literally one. What if someone betrays the group, but then suffers a fate worse than death. Remember Savitar said “Falls” so that could mean a lot of things. What if someone takes on all three roles themselves? Whatever happens, the anxiety might still kill us before the Season 3 Finale.

In A Flash– Easter Eggs, Quotes & Other Notables:

  • Favorite Quotes:
    • “Holy Winter Wonderland” – Barry
    • “May the best grandma win” – Joe
    • “I know that every bad guy we’ve ever had has pretended to be our friend while being a lying murderous bastard…” – Caitlin
    • “Being mind punked by a speed god we piss of in the future is enough to kill your Christmas spirit” – Cisco
    • “Our grandmothers are alcoholics” – Joe
  • Following the theme of split personalities (ie: Magenta & Killer Frost) it turns out Julian also has one of sorts as Savitar controls him as Alchemy, which makes him follow his comic origin better due to the split personality.
  • With Julian now out from Savitar’s control, will he return to the role or go on to help Team Flash?
  • It turns out Savitar is a legend of the Speed Force and the first meta to be gifted with Speed. He knows of all the worlds and only seeks out those he sees as Rivals, which led him to take on Future Barry. Somehow, future Barry trapped Savitar in the Philosopher’s Stone and that is why Savitar wants revenge on Barry. It’s unclear how he can project himself and possess others, but it seems as though his existence is tied to that Stone until he’s released – which could have something to do with the number of gifted metas he creates.
  • It was great seeing a Earth 3 version of The Trickster, who besides a slight Joker-ish makeup is largely unchanged. Furthermore it was great to see John Wesley Shipp and Mark Hamil face off as Flash and Trickster again.
  • Cisco proclaiming that he and Caitlin are kind of like the Grinch this year is true in a regard because our anxiety for whether or not they’ll be ok is killing Christmas. But if this is foreshadowing, remember in the film the Grinch does end good…. Come on you two. Stay good!
  • ‘The more you deny someone ‘s potential, the more they’ll seek it elsewhere’ – wonder if these lines will come to bite anyone in the butt.
  • Last season for the Christmas episode it was Jay(Hunter) and Caitlin we were waiting to kiss. This time it was Joe and his new lady. It was even paired with a “Finally”… though I am now wondering who her daughter is….
  • Woohoo Wally finally got his Kid Flash uniform!
  • WAIT, Savitar said “Fake Wells” does that simply mean he knows this isn’t the Earth 1 Harrison Wells OR is that not the Harrison Wells of any Earth. Is that actually a full on imposter? Could this be the business partner he often quotes instead using a face fake-o-fier?

Now that traveling to the Future has been opened up on The Flash, who knows where we can go. We’ve had enough madness with timeline when only the past was changeable, but now the future too. On one hand I’m glad we have a winter hiatus because I need to rest my head. On the other hand, I wont get any rest until I know what’s coming and who we’re going to loose. So try to have a wonderful winter fellow speedsters and we’ll see you back here at the end of January when The Flash returns!

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2 thoughts on “A Closer Look: The Flash – “The Present”

  1. Cool that Julian (actor Tom Felton) finds the Philosopher’s Stone. He of course is famous as Draco Malfoy, and The Philosopher’s Stone is the original title and subject of the first Harry Potter book. And as an extra nod, his surname is Albert (Dumbledore).

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