Of all the Arrow-verse shows, The Flash had the most to prove coming into its mid-season finale. The general Season 3 status quo has been mixed, at best, and the writers needed to prove there was more to villains like Dr. Alchemy and Savitar than meets the eye. This episode needed to set a strong example for the second half of the season, and for the most part, it was successful.
I’ll definitely say this for “The Present” – it takes a pretty eventful episode to make Mark Hamill reprising his role as the Trickster seem like a footnote. Apparently it’s becoming an annual tradition to celebrate Christmas with another Trickster appearance. This episode certainly shook up the formula by introducing the Earth-3 version of the villain. Hamill really went all-out despite his limited screen time, modeling this Trickster directly after Conrad Veidt’s character Gwynplaine from 1928’s The Man Who Laughs. This was the closest we’ll probably ever get to seeing Hamill playing the Joker in live-action. It was neat seeing him pay homage to Joker’s main inspiration, and neater still to see both Hamill and John Wesley Shipp reviving their rivalry from the 1990 Flash series.