- "You can't worry about what may or may not lie ahead. Besides, it's Christmas; a time to be with the ones you care about."
- —Jay Garrick to Barry Allen
"The Present" is the ninth and midseason finale episode of the third season of , and the fifty-fifth episode overall. It aired on December 6, 2016.
|With Alchemy and Savitar still looming threats, Barry is unable to focus on the Christmas holiday, and especially his relationship with Iris. Determined to stop Savitar, Barry goes to Earth-3 to get advice from Jay Garrick. Wally wants to help Barry fight Savitar and reveals that he's been training with H.R., which doesn't go over well with Barry. As Cisco faces his first Christmas without his brother Dante, old wounds are reopened.|
- Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash
- Candice Patton as Iris West
- Danielle Panabaker as Dr. Caitlin Snow
- Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon
- Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West
- Tom Cavanagh as H.R. Wells
- Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West
Special appearance by
Special guest star
- Nicholas Gonzalez as Dante Ramon
- Danielle Nicolet as District Attorney Cecile Horton
- John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick/The Flash
- Andre Tricoteux as Savitar
A flashback is shown, taking place in a camp in India years ago. In one of the tents is none other than Julian Albert writing in his journal. He writes about the search of the artifact known as the Brahmastra or Philosopher's stone, how even though he has faith it exists, he is losing hope of he and his team ever finding it. Just then, a woman in his search party tell him they finally found it. They take out the box sealing the artifact and despite the woman's recommendation to wait, Julian opens it, screaming at the stone he found inside.
Barry is too focused on taking Alchemy and Savitar down to enjoy the holidays. He goes to Earth-3 and enlists the help of Jay Garrick after helping him capture the Earth-3 Trickster from blowing up his city.
Back on Earth-1 Barry and Jay find Alchemy, and with Jay distracting Savitar, Barry defeats Doctor Alchemy and closes his box containing the Philosopher's Stone, which gives meta-humans powers and allows Savitar to appear. Barry apprehends Alchemy after discovering his secret identity is Julian.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry and the others discover that Julian blacks out when he becomes Alchemy and that he obtained the box when he took an expedition to India in an attempt to resurrect his deceased sister. Cisco starts seeing visions of Dante, who encourages him to open the box to bring him back to life.
Cisco does so, which summons Savitar to S.T.A.R. Labs to fight Barry and Wally. After Cisco closes it with Caitlin's persuasion, they communicate with Savitar through Julian, as Doctor Alchemy is Savitar's vessel.
Savitar tells Barry that he's responsible for imprisoning the villain in the future and that one of his teammates will betray him, one will die, and one will suffer a fate worse than death.
Barry and Jay throw the box into the Speed Force to get rid of it, but in the process, Barry is thrown 5 months into the future, where he witnesses Savitar killing Iris, unable to stop it. Jay drags him back to the present.
At the West Christmas party, Wally receives a Kid Flash costume from the team after H.R. tells Joe to stop holding Wally back from his potential, Julian gives Barry his job back, and Barry buys a new apartment for him and Iris to live in.
- This episode is the first time two alumni (John Wesley Shipp and Mark Hamill) from have appeared on-screen together, while technically reprising their roles of The Flash and The Trickster, respectively.
- The episode's title has a double meaning: "present" both references the Christmas gifts given during the episode, and Jay advising Barry to focus on the present, rather than becoming obsessed with his glimpse of the future.
- Julian's full name is revealed to be Julian Albert Desmond. In the comics, Dr. Alchemy's real name is Albert Desmond.
- When Joe and Cecile kiss, Iris says "finally", echoing the previous mid-season finale episode when Hunter and Caitlin kissed, prompting Cisco to say "finally".
- The scene where Cisco asks Caitlin "Are we about to be the Grinches this year?" is a reference to the Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas and its film adaptations.
- In this episode, it is revealed that Alchemy's stone is called the Philosopher's Stone. The Philosopher's Stone is a mythical alchemical artifact featured in many stories, including the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the film version of which starred Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy (though the title was changed to Sorcerer's Stone for its release in the United States).
- When it's suggested the team bury the Philosopher's Stone, Cisco quips "Uh-uh, Jumanji" referring to the film of the same name about a dangerous magical board game. At the end of the film, the game is tossed into the sea to be rid of it, but later washes up on shore elsewhere to be found again.
- When on-set photos of Hamill as the Earth-3 incarnation of the Trickster first appeared online, a couple of months before broadcast, fans speculated that he might be playing a version of Joker instead.
- When Barry travels to the future, he finds himself on Infantino Street. This is a reference to Carmine Infantino, the legendary comic book artist who co-created Barry Allen (the Silver Age Flash) with writer Robert Kanigher in 1956. Infantino designed the speedster's sleek red and yellow costume.
- Moreover, this was also the name of the penultimate episode of this season, referencing the events to unfold on the very same street.
- The flashback begins in the Indus Valley in 2012 at a desert campsite, with Julian writing in his journal that it's been 6 months since he "arrived here in India". Although the country was named after the river, since the Partition of India in 1947 nearly all of the Indus flows through Pakistan; the only exceptions are the upper reaches of the river in India (and China), which are very high up in the Himalayas.
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