- "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
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.
A flashback is shown, taking place in a camp in India years ago. In one of the tents is none other than Julian Albert Desmond 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 Three and enlists the help of Jay Garrick after helping him capture the Earth Three Trickster from blowing up his city.
Back on Earth One 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 the 1990s The Flash TV series have appeared on-screen together while (technically) reprising their roles of The Flash and The Trickster respectively.
- The previous mid-season finale episode also featured Mark Hamill.
- In the title of the episode, "present" has a double meaning: it references the Christmas gifts given during the episode, as well as Jay asking Barry to focus on the present time, 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 Grinch's this year?" is a reference to the Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas (or its film adaptations).
- 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; however, it later washes up on shore elsewhere to be found again.
- In this episode, it is revealed that Alchemy's stone is called the Philosopher's Stone. The Philosopher's Stone is a mythical artefact 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).
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