It's Christmastime on The Flash but things are definitely not holly jolly. Savitar has come to town, and like the Ghost of Christmas Future, his tidings are bleak. Titled "The Present," Tuesday's midseason finale brought the Alchemy storyline to a close but blew the future of the series wide open.
(Editor's note: Spoilers ahead for season three episode nine of The Flash.)
First thing's first: Iris is potentially going to die. At the end of Tuesday's episode, Barry and Jay Garrick (Earth 3 Flash) throw the Philosopher's Stone into the speed force in an attempt to banish Savitar for good. But in doing so, Barry accidentally transports himself five months into the future. Barry and the audience see a very alive Savitar murder Iris. Future Barry runs to save her but he's too late.
This seemingly answers Savitar's prophecy from earlier in the episode. Speaking through Julian, the villainous speed god claims to know and see all. He says he knows all of the characters' destinies and with Christ-like authority reveals:
"One shall betray you. One shall fall. One shall suffer fate worse than death."
Based on Iris' death scene, one could argue Iris is the one to fall and Barry is the one to suffer fate worse than death in the form of devastating loss. But who will betray Team Flash? The mischievous HR could be a likely candidate. Even Cisco and Caitlyn's loyalty has been thrown into question this season, so maybe it's one of them? Or maybe it's Julian, who now appears to be part of the team despite ongoing issues of his own.
The mystery of Savitar's origin is also wrapped up in his prophecy. While speaking through Julian, Savitar blames Barry for trapping him in between space and time. "You did this to me," Savitar tells Barry, "You trapped me in eternity." Expect the back half of season three to reveal how Savitar went from man to multidimensional monster.
Iris' potential death sets up some big stakes for the rest of the season. Garrick tells Barry that he must never return to the future, but explains that what he saw is only one possibility. "The future isn't written yet. It might not turn out to be what you saw." Garrick says. "You need to focus on the here and now. You have to live your life." Barry takes his advice. He vows to do what he can to stop Savitar from killing Iris, but also signs a lease for he and Iris to move in together.
As previously mentioned, the episode wrapped up the Alchemy storyline. We learn years ago Julian started seeing visions of his dead sister. She told him to find the Philosopher's Stone so they could be together again. This led Julian on an archeological expedition in India to find it. He finds the stone in a small box, he opens it and unknowingly becomes Savitar's human conduit, Alchemy. Julian had no idea he's been Alchemy this whole time, as he confesses to Barry that he blacks out when Savitar takes over. Barry captures Julian early in the episode and by revealing himself as The Flash, he finally gains Julian's trust.
Meanwhile, Wally gets his Christmas wish to become Kid Flash. At first Joe and Barry are furious with HR for training Wally behind their backs. But after Joe and HR talk it out and Wally once again puts his life on the line, Joe comes around. At the end of the episode, Barry, Joe and HR give Wally a Kid Flash speed suit as a Christmas gift, though Barry doesn't look too thrilled about it.
It would be a disservice not to mention Mark Hamill returning briefly as The Trickster in this episode. He's reprising his original version of the role from the 1990 Flash series, not to be confused with the new version of the character he did in seasons one and two of this series. Hamill's scene is a loving homage to the original series.
Will Iris actually die in the future? Will Savitar's prophecies come true? Anything's possible on The Flash and we'll see when the show comes back on Jan. 24 at 8 p.m.