The Flash (7×04)- “Central City Strong”
Written by: Joshua V Gilbert & Jeff Hersh
Directed by: Jeff Byrd
The episode opens with Iris coming home to a romantic candlelit dinner with Barry. Which is interrupted by a minor earthquake and (unbeknownst to our happy couple some more of the colored lightning) before our title sequence.
The next day, the STAR Labs team is working on helping the city rebuild while The Flash is interviewed by the not-at-all-overly-dramatic TV host that interviewed Eva. It’s mostly just an excuse for some banter between the gang. Until Caitlin takes a couple of moments to look either ill or troubled. Potentially both.
Allegra then returns to the paper to open up both editing barrels on Iris for her post-Mirror Dimension Madness story. She tries to push Iris to use her position as a journalist to speak for the people that suffered.
That night at the construction site a volunteer is confronted by a bleach blonde dude with a black leather jacket…
No, it’s the returning Abra Kadabra kicking off some sort of murder and mayhem spree! Before he turns a tool shed into some sort of stone.
The next morning, Cisco, Chester and Barry are investigating the crime scene and Barry is starting to drown in guilt and self-recrimination before he promises to cut Kadabra short because Central City has had things a little too rough.
Across town, Iris attends a support group for the people that were abducted by Eva before interviewing the people running it. They seem very helpful… in a way that leaves me suspicious. Iris may not be suspicious but she’s definitely freak so she bails out.
After some more banter at STAR Labs, Cisco detects another Kadabra attack. Barry, Cisco and Frost stop and apprehend him for ARGUS. Things get a little weird after Barry leaves and Cisco tries to talk to the ARGUS team, the agent in charge is almost certainly going to be a problem.
Things are looking up when Frost reveals that she lifted some evidence from Kadabra before ARGUS took him away but she wants Cisco to give her a check-up first. Back at the Labs, Cisco gives Frost the clean bill of health but she doesn’t seem convinced.
At ARGUS, the agents are escort Kadabra to a holding area (with a rather ridiculous contraption on his face. Looks like someone through a pair of tighty-whities over his face!) before he makes another escape. Seem he wanted to get caught since ARGUS had the three stones he’s been creating this whole time.
(I just had to look up the accepted spelling of tighty-whities… Didn’t think that would be something I ever looked up…)
He uses his tech-wand, to kick his evil plan off in earnest.
Barry tries to whisk Iris away to Monaco to make up for everything that was beyond his control that he’s still feeling guilty for (We call that the “Bruce Wayne” in the biz!) but before he can run her away word of Abra Kadabra’s escape gets to him and he rushes off to stop our time-traveling villain. Kadabra gets the jump on him and explains that he’s come back to the present day to repay Barry for everything Kadabra lost due to the Crisis.
He disappears and by the time Barry makes it back to the Lab, Cisco’s figured out that Kadabra’s made an anti-matter Nth Metal bomb. Iris finds Barry later and she tries to talk him through his problems which all boil down to him getting suckered by Not-Iris last season. (Which would send anyone for a loop for sure.) Which gives Barry a Dr. House moment to hopefully help them deal with Abra Kadabra.
At the same time, Cisco’s found out that Kadabra in the future used a device Cisco made to restore people’s Pre-Crisis memories. Which confirms what Barry’s figured out. He races out to talk Kadabra down from destroying the City. Kadabra reveals that thirteen months earlier he started having vivid dreams and after running tests he learns that they were a result of a future Flash messing with the Timeline.
Barry manages to bond with Kadabra using his pain over Oliver’s death in Crisis and Kadabra losing his family as a result of Crisis. It’s a really good tactic (and a really good scene) until out of nowhere some sort of beast shows up, takes his anti-matter bomb and absorbs the energy then beats the hell out of Barry and kills Kadabra.
Later, the gang goes over everything that happened and tried to figure what to do but with Kadabra dead and the Legally-Distinct-She-Hulk disappearing they can’t do all that much. Iris pulls Allegra aside and thanks her for her tough love editing and promotes her from intern to staff writer. The next morning she attends another meeting of the support group and tells them her story in the hopes of confronting what happened to her.
Back at STAR Labs Cisco rage quits a Fortnight session before Caitlin comes in and reveals the reason she and Frost had been feeling off all episode. It’s time for a micro-session of Good News/Bad News…
Or is it Good News/Weird News?
See the good news is Kaitlin is feeling better but that’s because her and Frost are no longer splitting a body. She and Frost have separated.
Neat trick by the writers this week. This is both a light episode and an episode where a lot of stuff has happened. Using Abra Kadabra allowed for the A-plot to be quick and easy to follow so they could use the episode to due multiple episodes worth of housekeeping and status quo establishing. I imagine if they had been able to complete season six last season instead of this season that all these new subplots could have been established in the first two episodes instead of all at once like this.
We now know, or at least can assume there’s some lingering temporal fall out from Crisis that the team will have to deal in addition to whatever happened when they reignited the Speed Force. I doubt that Kadabra name-dropping the Chronarch is an accident. In the comics, there are two Chronarchs, one a villain that exiled Kadabra from the 64th century to the past and the other ran the Time Institute so either could be a likely issue for our heroes to deal with and it is very likely they are linked to the lightning we saw at the end of the last episode and the start of this one.
Also, years of traumatic events are taking a toll of Barry and Iris individually and could be spelling some problems for their marriage coming up; Eddie’s death, Barry’s parents’ deaths, Iris nearly being killed multiple times, Barry nearly having to sacrifice himself multiple times and Nora’s erasure from the timeline no doubt leave as big a scar as Iris’ abduction and replacement so if she starts picking at one scar will she end up reopening all the rest?
That being said, they accomplished a lot but the episode felt a built like a JJ Abrams Star Wars movie: A lot happened but none of it stuck in the moment.
Things We Learned:
- Abra Kadabra returned to present day to get revenge on Flash for manipulating his life by changing the past.
- Iris has begun attending a support group after the trauma of her time in the mirror dimension.
- Kadabra was killed by some sort of incredibly strong meta-human that nearly killed Barry.
- There isn’t enough residual anti-matter to cause another Crisis.
- At some point in the future, Flash will be confronted by someone called the Chronarch.
- Caitlin and Frost have been split into separate bodies.
- Who are the people running Iris’ support group and will they be a problem for the Team?
- Is being split going to cause problems for Frost and Caitlin?
- Who or what was the meta that killed Abra Kadabra and are they related to the lightning?
- Who or what is the ARGUS Agent that Cisco spoke to and will he be a problem?
- Is Chronarch coming to present soon or are they in the present already?
- FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 7×18- “Heart of the Matter, Part 2” - September 6, 2021
- FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 7×17- “Heart of the Matter, Part 1” - July 18, 2021
- FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 7×16- “POW” - July 12, 2021