Saturday, April 3, 2021

The Flash, Season 7, Episode 4: Central City Strong

Now that's more like it!

This week on The Flash we finally, at long, long last, get a decent episode. Central City Strong is a welcome return to form, and gives me hope for the rest of the season. It's not perfect by any means, but compared to last week's clusterfrak, it looks like Shakespeare.

This week's episode also marks the TRUE beginning of Season 7. When the pandemic hit last year, The Flash crew was forced to go on lockdown, leaving Season 6 unfinished. When filming finally resumed months later, they finished filming the final three episodes of the dreaded Mirrorverse Saga and grafted them to the beginning of Season 7. Now that that nonsense is finally out of the way, we can proceed with a brand new, hopefully better storyline!

David Dastmalchian makes a welcome return to the series this week as 64th Century magician Abra Kadabra— who made his debut back in 2017. At the risk of getting spoilery, it doesn't seem likely he'll make a third appearance.

For months last season, Barry was bamboozled by a mirror clone who created by Eva McCulloch, and took the place of the real Iris. I predicted there was no way the show would ever fully deal with the ramifications of this substitution (i.e. Barry having sex with this duplicate). Amazingly this week's episode kind of tentatively addressed the situation. 

Of course they did so in the most inadequate and ineffective way possible, without actually delving into the problem or examining the fallout from the situation, but I'm impressed that they brought it up at all.

This episode also marks the second time in a row that Barry defeats the villain of the week now with his fists, but through the Power Of Love. Jesus wept! I'm not sure exactly what's fueling these touchy-feely non-slug fests, but enough already. It's a comic book show, not a New Age therapy session!

Lastly, this week Cisco gets a new codename, and there's a huge development in the lives of Caitlin/Frost. On with the review!


The Plot:
Iris comes home to see Barry's used his superspeed to prepare a romantic dinner for her. She mentions how he's already taken her to Maui this week (at superspeed) and brought her crepes from Paris, and says he's the most romantic husband ever. As they kiss, an earthquake hits Central City, as multicolored lightning stabs down from the sky.

The next day we see Team Flash volunteering to rebuild after Eva's attack. The Flash is interviewed by Arielle Atkins, and tells her he let the city down but is determined to make it up to everyone. Allegra notices Caitlin grimacing, and asks if she's OK. She says it's just a bad headache.

Allegra reports for duty at The Citizen, where Iris asks her honest opinion on her upcoming Mirrorverse article. Allegra basically says it stinks, as it's just dry facts and not about Iris' experience in the realm. She says a lot of people were trapped in the Mirrorverse, and they need Iris to be their voice.

That night, a lone man's working at the rebuilding site. Suddenly 64th Century magician Abra Kadabra appears, and uses his wand to spew a stream of razor sharp playing cards at the hapless man, slicing him to ribbons. Kadabra then points his wand at a nearby storage shed, shrinking it down into a small obelisk (?).

The next day Joe calls in Barry to actually do his CSI day job. He brings Cisco & Chester along with him, for reasons. Cisco examines the compressed obelisk and says it weighs 20 tons. He also detects temporal energy at the site, estimating it comes from the 64th Century. Barry realizes they're dealing with Kadabra.

Iris sits in on a Mirrorverse Survivor Support Group (!), as a man talks about being abducted by Eva. He says he won't be normal again for a very long time. Iris attempts to interview the man and his wife, but starts having PTSD and hurriedly leaves.

Elsewhere, Kadabra's creating another obelisk. Team Flash detects his temporal energy, so Barry & Cisco (who's in Mecha-Vibe mode) rush to the scene. Barry uses superspeed to nab Kadabra's wand and put power-dampening cuffs on him. Kadabra easily reverses the situation, and Barry suddenly finds the cuffs on himself.

Kadabra says he's seen Barry's future, and plans to kill him so he won't have to face the Chronarch, whoever that is. Just as he's about to blast Barry, Frost appears and freezes the magician. Team Flash calls ARGUS to take Kadabra away. Frost hands Cisco a small cube she secretly lifted from Kadabra, thinking it might be important.

Frost tells Cisco she's been having frequent headaches, and asks him to run some tests. Cut to STAR Labs, where Cisco completes his exam and tells Frost he can't find anything wrong with her.

Later at ARGUS, a lone guard's moving Kadabra to a secure cell. Suddenly Kadabra uses his magic to kill the guard and escape. He then enters a vault where ARGUS is apparently storing all three of the obelisks he's created. He uses his wand to zap them with energy.

Barry returns home, where he sees Iris staring forlornly at her laptop as she tries to rewrite her story. He tells her he's rented a romantic villa for them in Monaco. Iris points out that they've traveled the world non-stop for the past week, and thinks Barry's overcompensating for something. He says he's just trying to make up for the whole Mirror Iris situation. Suddenly he gets an alert that Kadabra's escaped.

Barry rushes to ARGUS, where he finds Kadabra's still blasting the obelisks. He zaps Barry, trapping him in a constrictive metal ring. Kadabra says the Flash stole his future from him, so now he's going to take something from him. He fires at the obelisks again, and they morph into a floating sphere. He tells the Flash he's going to perform his greatest trick ever, and make Central City disappear. Kadabra then teleports away with the sphere.

Barry returns to STAR, where Team Flash reports that Kadabra's randomly teleporting all across the city. Cisco confirms the sphere is an antimatter bomb, and that each time Kadabra teleports, it's charged with kinetic energy. He says it'll be fully charged in less than an hour, and when it blows, the entire city will be wiped out— and then some. Barry says he's been tricked again and goes off to sulk by himself. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen!

Iris finds Barry and asks him what's really wrong. He says he blames himself for not realizing Mirror Iris was a fake, which is why he's been so desperately trying to make up for it with all the romantic dinners. Iris says it's not his fault, as he was manipulated by Eva. She assures him she forgives him and he's not going to lose her. Her words spark something in him, and Barry says he knows why Kadabra's threatening the city.

Cisco & Chester examine the cube that Frost found on Kadabra. It's a Martian Memory-Restorer, that can somehow recover Pre-Crisis memories. They figure Kadabra stole it from somewhere in order to remember something important.

Barry speeds through Central City and finds Kadabra at Tagaloa Plaza, whatever that is. The sphere is almost fully charged, and Kadabra says soon the Flash will understand what it's like when everything he loves dies. Barry says killing innocents won't change anything. He then activates a holographic ring, which displays Kadabra with a Pre-Crisis wife and child.

Stung by the image, Kadabra says a year ago he began having detailed dreams of a family, and eventually realized they were snippets of memories. He stole the Martian Memory Restorer from the Flash Museum in the 64th Century, and used it on himself. Once his memories are restored, he realized at some point he had a loving family. Unfortunately when the Flash did NOT die in the Crisis, that somehow changed the future and wiped out Kadabra's loved ones

Cisco tells Barry the sphere's now 97% charged. Barry then gives Kadabra a Patented The CW Pep Talk®, as he tries to defeat him not with his fists but with the Power Of Love. He says he lost someone in the Crisis as well, and has done his best to honor his friend's sacrifice. Barry says killing him won't restore Kadabra's family, as they're from a multiverse that no longer exists.

Kadabra hesitates, and says he ran millions of calculations, but none in which his family returned. Barry says his family wouldn't want him to do this, and the only way for him to heal is to face his trauma.

Kadabra stares longingly at the hologram of his family, then deactivates the bomb. He asks the Flash who his friend was, and he says his name was Oliver. Kadabra asks why Flash is helping him— especially when they're mortal enemies in the future. Flash says he hopes that can change. Kadabra says fair enough, and offers his hand in friendship.

Just then another quake hits the city. Suddenly a huge female (I think?) Behemoth lands in front of the two men. She hurls Flash across the street and into a car, knocking him out. Kadabra uses his wand to guide the sphere toward the Behemoth. She grabs the sphere and crushes it in her massive hands, somehow completely absorbing the blast. She then punches Kadabra with a superpowerful blow, killing him instantly (!).

Barry comes to and throws a blast of Speed Force lightning at the Behemoth. She shrugs off the energy, grabs the Flash and begins squeezing the life from him. Suddenly she roars in agony, then drops him and leaps into the sky.

In the wrap-up, Barry & Team Flash chill in the STAR Labs Lounge. Iris says Kadabra died a hero (!!!). Barry says he's going to find a way to stop the Behemoth before she kills again. Iris thanks Allegra for telling her what she needed to hear, and promotes her to Citizen staff writer.

The next day, Iris goes back to the Mirrorverse Support Grout and and speaks on how she was abducted by Eva and spent three months in the otherworldly realm. She says what happened to them all wasn't right, but they're not alone. The other survivors applaud her.

Back at STAR, Caitlin tells Cisco she figured out why she was having headaches. She then introduces Frost, who's somehow become a separate entity.

• Just to refresh everyone's memory, Kadabra first appeared way back in Season 3. In his debut episode, he left the 64th Century for reasons and went on a crime spree in the present day on Earth-19. There he was pursued by Gypsy, an extra-dimensional bounty hunter and Cisco's love interest.

Kadabra fled to Earth-1, where something went wrong and he found himself trapped here. He then began stealing components from various Arrowverse tech companies, in order to build a time machine to take him back to his own era. If this all sounds familiar, it's because it's pretty much identical to Eobard Thawne's motivation back in Season 1.

Kadabra eventually built a time ship and prepared to fly it back home. At the last second Barry phased him out of his ship, leaving him stranded again. Gypsy then extradited him back to Earth-19, where he was to be executed for his crimes there.

And that's the last we saw of him till now. Apparently at some point since he either escaped Gypsy's custody, or the Crisis wiped out a good part of that episode and he never visited Earth-19 in the first place. Damn you, Crisis!

• It's been a while since we've seen the place, but... has Barry & Iris' apartment always had FIVE locks on the door? Dayum! That doesn't say much about Barry's abilities as a crime fighter, does it?

Maybe he's so busy trying to jumpstart the Speed Force that he hasn't had time to deal with petty crimes like burglary.

• Nice Attention To Detail: As Barry zips around the apartment at superspeed, we see his lightning is reflected in the windows! Cool! Kudos to the FX team for adding this little bit of realism.

• As Barry & Iris kiss, the camera pans outside their window, where we see multicolored lightning bolts striking the city. These are the same types of energy seen in last week's tag scene, and represent the four Universal Forces (Speed, Sage, Strength and Still).

These bolts of lightning are no doubt striking various Central City citizens and granting them powers— the same way Barry got his speed.

And by the way, that's not a little red man dancing there at the left of that image. It's just a weird bolt of lightning.

• This week's opening titles featured the faces of the entire cast, with the notable exception of Tom Cavanagh. I assume the producers did this in an attempt to convince us he's left the show for good. Nice try. Spoiler Alert: Cavanagh has NOT quit and will be returning soon. They're not fooling anyone.

Note that this is the first episode in the series in which Cavanagh doesn't appear in at least one scene.

• At one point the Flash is interviewed by Central City talk show host Arielle Atkins. OK, who the hell is this character? She's shown up twice now this season, and we're only four episodes in. They're placing so much emphasis on her that I feel like I'm supposed to know who she is, but as near as I can tell she was never in the comics. 

She's played by Jessica Hayles, who's performance is so stilted and bad I'm surprised it even sticks to the film. Harsh, but true.

• During the Flash's TV interview, we see this caption. Hmm... is that another way of saying, "You Have Failed This City!?"

By the way, note how the TV crew zooms in for a big ol' closeup of Barry's head. Remember how he used to vibrate his face and alter his voice whenever he appeared in public, to hide his true identity? I guess the writers forgot about that little detail. 

• My favorite part of the episode: Team Flash volunteers to help rebuild Central City after Eva's attack. They work for maybe five minutes before Cisco & Chester wander off to Jitters, and Allegra gets a call from Iris and bails, leaving Caitlin to do all the work herself. Damn Millennials!

I guess Caitlin is technically two people, so maybe she can handle the workload.

• While they're sort of volunteering, Cisco mentions that Kord Industries will be showing up for a shift as well.

Kord Industries is another Arrowverse tech company, which manufactures bleeding-edge electronics and weapons. Its CEO is Ted Kord, who's secretly the Blue Beetle in the comics.

Oddly enough Kord Industries was also mentioned in Abra Kadabra's first appearance back in Season 3.

• For over a season now Caitlin's been letting Frost control their body, in order to give her a chance to experience life more fully. Note though that when Team Flash is volunteering she's in full Caitlin mode. When Allegra asks her about it, Caitlin says, "You and I know she's reformed, but technically there's still a warrant out for Killer Frost's arrest."

Really? Since when? Frost has been struttin' around as a hero ever since Season 4. And back in Season 6's Dead Man Running, she accompanied Barry to a crime scene, and none of the CCPD officers present said a word to her.

I have a feeling this was a "reminder scene," meant to jog the audience's memory and set up an approaching plot point about Frost's legal status.

• Allegra stops by to see Iris, who's frantically working on a story about Mirror Monarch's attack on Central City. Iris says she needs to go to press with the story ASAP, because "online readership of The Citizen is down 72%!"

Holy cow! So her paper's about to fold then, right? If she can't even get people to read her stories online, then there's no way in hell they're gonna pay for a paper copy!

I'm really puzzled by The Citizen and just how it works. Iris talks about it like it's a regular newspaper, yet she seems to be the only reporter there. There's no way in hell she could possibly be writing an entire paper's worth of articles by herself every day. Obviously it's not a daily publication.

This episode takes place over the course of three days, and all through it Iris keeps putting off writing her big Mirrorverse article. At no time does she ever mention any other stories. Does that mean The Citizen features a single story once a week?

So we've got a "newspaper" that comes out once a week, containing one article on a topic that happened days ago. Got it. Incredibly, this bizarre and unlikely business model apparently generates enough profit that Iris can not only afford to pay herself, but employ a full time photographer and an intern as well!

• Once again, Abra Kadabra's played by actor David Dastmalchian. He's no stranger to comic book projects, as he starred in The Dark Knight, Ant-Man, Ant-Man And The Wasp and the upcoming The Suicide Squad sequel/remake/reboot. He's one of the few actors to span the two major comic book movie universes!

He was also in other genre films such as The Belko Experiment and Blade Runner: 2049, and has a role in the upcoming Dune remake. On the TV front he's been in The League, 12 Monkeys, Gotham, Twin Peaks (2017) and Bird Box.

• When Team Flash finds the first obelisk, Cisco scans it and states that it weighs a whopping ton tons! Jaysis!

Keep in mind that Kadabra created this object from a small storage shed. Did this structure really weigh four thousand pounds? That seems unlikely, as it looked like two men could pick it up and walk off with the flimsy thing.

As for the obelisk, if it really does weigh two tons, then its narrow shape should cause it to punch through the asphalt like a railroad spike!

 • I am very, VERY confused by Kadabra's master plan. I watched the episode twice and I still don't understand it. I'm in good company though, as I suspect the writers didn't either.

OK, let me see if I can explain his plan. As shown, Kadabra pops up at the volunteer site, where he uses his wand to zap a storage shed. This somehow transforms and compresses it into a small obelisk made of Nth metal Valorium. He then scampers off, leaving the object where it sits (?).

Later he creates another of these obelisks. He's then captured by the Flash and hauled off to ARGUS. Once there he breaks into a vault, where THREE of the obelisks are being stored. Apparently he made the third one while we weren't looking, before the episode began.

Barry shows up, and Kadabra says he tricked him into arresting him so he'd have access to the vault. He subdues Barry, then uses his wand to merge the three obelisks into a beachball-sized antimatter bomb (???). He plans to use this bomb to completely destroy Central City.

Yeah, none of that makes the least bit of sense. The whole plan is riddled with "But why?" moments, and plot holes you could drive a container ship through.

First of all, Kadabra creates the three obelisks over a one week period. But why? Why not just make 'em all at once? Does his wand need to recharge after he makes one?

Kadabra "magically" transmutes and compresses large objects (like a storage shed) into small, super dense obelisks that weigh two tons each. But why? Why obelisks? Is there some significance to that shape? If so, it's never brought up. Is there a reason why they need to be so heavy?

Kadabra's then captured by the Flash and sent to ARGUS, where the obelisks are being stored in a vault. He reveals this was all part of his fiendishly clever plan, as he now has access to all three of the objects. But why? As we see later in the episode, Kadabra has the power to teleport! He could have appeared inside the vault any time he wanted! There was no need for his elaborate arrest plan!

Once he's found the three obelisks, he merges them into a large antimatter bomb. But why? Why does he need obelisks at all? Why not just conjure up a bomb in the first place? What is even happening in this episode?

See? Like I said, none of this makes ANY sense. It's like the writers plugged a "placeholder plot" into the script until they thought of a real one, then either ran out of time or forgot about it. It's the only explanation I can come up with for Kadabra's sloppy, nonsensical plan.

• Hey, the writers did actually remember that Barry's a CSI this week! How long's it been since we saw him do his day job? So long that I don't even remember.

• Here's a fun fact that I bet you've forgotten! Wayyyyyyy back in Pilot (the very first episode), whenever Barry would investigate a crime scene, we'd see onscreen graphics that represented his deductive reasoning powers.

Of course this visual trope was stolen directly from, er, I mean inspired by the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock films. Despite that, I thought it was a cool little touch, as it was fun to "see" what he was thinking.

Unfortunately, this is the one and only episode in which it happens. According to the producers, many fans were confused by this scene, and thought Barry had the power to make the graphics appear in mid-air (!). Even more amazing, they thought Joe & Singh could see them as well.

Jesus wept. This is why we can't have nice things. 

So... if these people thought Barry's superimposed deductions were "real" and that the other characters could see them too, did they think the same thing about the credits? Did they wonder why no one noticed the names that kept popping up in front of them? "Look, Joe! There's another block of text hanging before our eyes! This one says 'Written by Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns!' What do you think that means?"

• At one point Iris attends a "Mirrorverse Survivors Support Group," for victims affected by Eva's attack on the city (which only happened a week ago). If this sounds familiar to you, that's because the writers lifted it wholesale from a little film you may have heard of called Avengers: Endgame— and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise. 

Endgame featured a nearly identical therapy group consisting of average citizens who were traumatized when their loved ones were snapped by Thanos. Hey, if you're gonna steal, swipe from the best!

I can understand why Iris was affected by her time in the Mirrorverse, as she spent THREE FULL MONTHS there. But these other citizens were abducted for less than an entire day, and now they're barely able to function. Apparently they're not "Central City Strong" material after all.

• I couldn't help but notice how the support group's participants were all very obviously social-distanced.

I can't fault the producers for this one, as due to the whole pandemic/end of the world thing, the show's currently filming under strict Covid guidelines. It still struck me as funny though.

• When Barry first confronts Kadabra, they have the following conversation:

Kadabra: "Flash! I knew it was just a matter of time."
Barry: "Bad timing for you, Kadabra!"

Get it? Time? Timing? Because Kadabra's from the future. Get it? DO YOU GET IT?This little exchange made me laugh, because it felt like dialogue right out of Batman 1966.

• Not a nitpick, but an observation. Kadabra sees Cisco decked out in his new crime fighting gear, and says:

Kadabra: "I see you're finally Mecha-Vibe."
Cisco: "Mecha-Vibe? I know he did not just name me!"
Kadabra: "Oh, I know more than just your name. I've seen your future!"

This is an example of the Bootstrap Paradox— a temporal anomaly with no discernible origin. Kadabra recognizes Cisco as Mecha-Vibe, even though he's not started calling himself that yet. Cisco then adopts the name because it's what he's called in the future.

• Why does Barry put power-dampening cuffs on Kadabra? He's not a metahuman— his abilities are all nanotech-based! 

Cisco saves the day though by saying they're special "nanotech nullifying cuffs." So I guess he quickly cobbled together some customized restraints that only work on Kadabra? He is good!

Ah, but there's more. After Kadabra's restrained, he uses his magic to make the cuffs appear on Barry's wrists, which somehow cancel out his superspeed. Wait... I thought Cisco just said they were special cuffs that nullify nano-tech. Do they negate meta powers as well? Whoops!

• Kadabra aims his wand at Barry and says he's doing him a favor by killing him now, so he "won't have to face the wrath of the Chronarch."

This line's a VERY obvious setup for an upcoming Big Bad, who'll likely appear in the second half of this season. But who or what is he?

In the comics there are two characters known as the Chronarch. The first is an insectoid alien from the 30th Century, who's affiliated with the Legion Of Super-Heroes. It's extremely unlikely he's the one being discussed here.

The other Chronarch is a highly advanced, 64th Century computer that controls every aspect of human life. It swiftly punished anyone who violated the established order by banishing them to the 20th Century (?). Naturally Kadabra (who's from the 64th Century as well) broke the law and was sent back to our time. Eventually a group of rebels came to the 20th Century and took Kadabra, as well as the Flash, back to the future, where they were successful in defeating the Chronarch.

I don't see any of that happening here on the show. Nor do I think the Chronarch will turn out to be an all-powerful computer. I'm betting they'll just use the name and come up with a new character— one who's fed up with Barry's time-altering shenanigans.

• When ARGUS arrives to haul Kadabra away, we see they fit him with some sort of high-tech gag over his mouth. But why? Every time he performs any "magic," he uses his wand. We've never once heard him recite any sort of spell.

• Cisco chats with one of the ARGUS agents, who acts suspiciously literal. At one point Cisco offhandedly remarks, "Are you for real right now?" The Agent replies, "If you're asking if I'm a hologram, I can neither conform nor deny ARGUS' use of such tactics."

Well, first of all, no one said anything about him being a hologram, did they now? So I'm taking it as fact that he is some sort of artificially intelligent solid projection.

So does ARGUS regularly employ holographic agents? I stopped watching Arrow after the first season, so I honestly don't know. 

• After Kadabra's captured, we see him being marched to a cell inside ARGUS. A couple things here:

First of all, ARGUS assigns ONE lone guard to escort this highly dangerous criminal to a holding facility. Would it have killed 'em to give the guy a little bit of backup? Did Kadabra arrive at noon and everyone else was on their lunch break?

Then while they're walking, the guard taunts Kadabra about the obelisks, smugly saying, "You’re still looking for the third one? It’s already here. We picked it up last week."

Wait, what? So Kadabra apparently arrived in Central City and created an obelisk a week ago, but for some reason Team Flash only detected his presence today. Which makes no sense, since Cisco detected a temporal energy spike every time Kadabra made an obelisk. Did we maybe skip a scene here?

Lastly, Kadabra kills the guard and enters a vault, where he uses his wand to transform the three obelisks into an antimatter bomb. So... where'd he get his wand? Did he stop by the impound room while we weren't looking and get it back? Or did the ARGUS guards forget to freakin' disarm him of his incredibly dangerous 64th Century weapon?

• Barry rushes to ARGUS to stop Kadabra, who conjures up a metallic belt around him that constricts the more he struggles. So... why doesn't Barry just phase out of it? There's no mention of it being some sort of super-dense 64th Century substance.

• When the thrice-cursed Mirrorverse Saga began last year, Eva abducted Iris and held her hostage in the realm. In order to avoid suspicion, she replaced the real Iris with a mirror clone that was indistinguishable from the real thing— even to Barry! He lived with her for three full months and never realized she was an imposter.

At the time I noted that Barry & Iris are a young and attractive couple, who presumably have a healthy sex life. It seemed inevitable that at some point Barry and Mirror Iris would end up having sex. It was pretty much a given.

That means technically Barry cheated on Iris— with herself (!). I said that would put a strain on even the healthiest marriage, and the fallout might even lead to a separation. 

I confidently predicted the show would never actually deal with this issue though, as realistic relationship drama just isn't The Flash's forte.

Credit Where It's Due: This week the series actually kind of tentatively skirts around the issue of Barry & Mirror Iris! We see Barry use his superspeed to whisk Iris away to numerous romantic getaway destinations, in a desperate attempt to overcompensate for his guilt regarding the situation. Conversely, Iris downplays what happened to her, doubling down on work to distract herself from facing her feelings.

At no time does the show actually STATE whether or not Barry did it with Mirror Iris, or make an effort to deal with the question. Instead they quietly tiptoe around the issue like it's a large animal they don't want to wake. But the fact that they even minutely acknowledged it at all was a HUGE surprise to me!

Of course this is The Flash, so Barry & Iris' PTSD was neatly resolved by the end of the episode, never to be brought up again.

• Barry & Iris have a heart to heart talk, in which she forgives him for the whole Mirror Iris thing. He tells her, "Every time I think I couldn't possibly love you more..." He then stops in mid-sentence, as this prompts the "Hero's Triggered By Something That Causes Him To Figure Out The Villain's One Weakness" trope. 

Barry then makes the incredibly intuitive leap that Kadabra must have had a loving family and then lost them, which is what's fueling his revenge plot.

• Earlier in the episode, Frost pilfered a high-tech doodad from Kadabra while the ARGUS agents weren't looking. She gives it to Cisco & Chester to analyze. They break open the item and discover it contains a Martian Memory Restorer, which helps people recover their pre-Crisis memories. 

Oddly enough, this unlikely piece of hardware was designed by Cisco himself. When Frost asks why he made it, Cisco says: "So Laurel Lance and Mia Queen… Okay, you know what? It’s not important!"

I think this is a reference to the fact that The CW planned on producing a Green Arrow And The Canaries series, but then nixed it at the last second. Hence Cisco's "it's not important" comment. Did I just detect a not so subtle dig at The CW studio heads?

• Team Flash figures out that Kadabra's built an antimatter bomb to blow up Central City. Cisco tells Barry, "I could use one of my Atlantean plug-ins to analyze the bomb's outer hull, determine its density and see if you can phase through its surface and disarm it."

So... apparently they have computer plug-ins in Atlantis! Good to know. 

• Cisco uses his Atlantean plug-in and scans the bomb:

Cisco: "The bomb is made of the same material as the obelisks. Pure Valorium."
Chester: "An Nth metal alloy. Not good."

As near as I can tell this is the first time Valorium's been mentioned on the show. In the comics, it was the main component of the flight rings worn by the Legion Of Super-Heroes. As their name implies, the rings gave the team the power of flight.

As for Nth metal, it was an alloy from Hawkman's home planet of Thanagar. It had anti-gravity properties, and Hawkman wore an Nth metal belt that allowed him to fly as well.

• Team Flash detects Kadabra in Forrester Tagaloa Plaza, and Barry rushes to the scene to confront him.

As we all know by now, The Flash lovvvvves to name its streets and buildings after famous comic creators. Unfortunately I have no idea who Forrester Tagaloa might be. I couldn't find anything about the name online, and he doesn't seem to be a character from the comics, nor a writer or artist. Odd. Maybe for once they just made up a name out of whole cloth?

Anyway, take a gander at Tagaloa Plaza here. Looks pretty cool, right?

Wrong! In the cold light of day we can see it's not a plaza at all! It's literally just a dingy, nondescript street underneath a couple of elevated highways in downtown Vancouver! 

Maybe after seven seasons they're running out of unique filming locations, so they've been forced to get creative and fake one!

• Kadabra monologues to Barry about odd memories he's been having. In order to recover them, he sneaked into the Flash Museum, where he found Cisco's "archaic" Martian Memory Restorer. He then repaired it and used on himself to recover his pre-Crisis memories. A couple super nitpicky things here:

First of all, what does "Martian Memory Restorer" even mean? Is the device of Martian origin? Does it only restore Martians' memories? Or does it recover a person's memories of Martians? See what I mean?

Secondly, the Flash must be the most staggeringly popular superhero who's ever existed in the history of human civilization. According to Kadabra, the Flash Museum is still open for business in the 64th Century— 4,300 years from now! Jesus Christ!

For the record, that's just slightly less time than the Pyramids Of Giza have existed!

Even more amazing, in Kadabra's flashback (or I guess flashforward) we see the Museum parking lot is filled with early 21st Century cars! This despite the fact that they'd have rusted into nothingness over the course of forty three centuries!

Maybe the lot and its contents are part of the Museum experience? "Welcome to the Flash Museum! Before you enter, feel free to stroll through what the Ancients called a 'parking lot,' and marvel at the archaic internal combustion vehicles in which they traveled."

• During their big confrontation, Kadabra says, "You're obsessed with the future, Flash. Not now, but... ohhhhhh, you will be!"

Now that was a setup for an upcoming story arc if I ever heard one! Especially the way Kadabra emphasizes the second sentence there. 

Pretty they're laying the groundwork here for the Future Flash storyline. In the comics, Kid Flash is killed twenty years from now. This prompts the older, world-weary Barry to blame himself for Wally's death. He then begins killing all his old enemies, because doing so somehow gives him the strength to travel back in time and prevent Wally from dying.

Obviously if they're really adapting this storyline, they're gonna have to makes some significant changes. Especially since Wally's left the show to contemplate his belly button in Tibet or wherever the hell he went.

Also note that the Future Flash is completely different from Savitar, who was also an older version of Barry who went bad and started a killing rampage. Who knows, if the show goes on long enough we might get a third version of this plot! 

• Do you think maybe Kadabra's from the future? Because he only mentions the 64th Century fifteen or twenty times. It kind of seems like he might be from another time, but I can't tell for sure.

• Barry somehow accesses a pre-Crisis video of Kadabra with his wife & newborn child and plays it for him. Kadabra watches the video and says his wife's name was Amelie & son was Luca, and his name is Phillipe.

Say... Amelie? Luca? Phillipe? Those sound like French names to me! But in a recent interview, David Dastmalchian stated he was of Iranian heritage! We live in an era in which actors are restricted to playing what they actually are! Men can only play men and gays can only portray other gays! And here we have an Iranian playing a Frenchman? What's The CW trying to pull here? THIS SHALL NOT STAND! To Twitter, to express my outrage at this grievous situation!

• So after a tense standoff, Barry manages to appeal to Kadabra's humanity and talk him out of blowing up the city. Back at STAR, Allegra jubilantly shouts, "He did it! Without throwing a single punch!"

Yeah, no sh*t! This is the second episode in a row now in which Barry defeated the villain of the week with the Power of Love & Friendship. Jesus, enough with the freakin' Care Bare plots. One more episode like this and I'm gonna have to start taking insulin shots.

So what's up with these touchy-feeely Kumbaya resolutions? Did the show's budget get cut, and they can't afford to film fight scenes? Or is it yet more fallout from Covid? Maybe they don't want actors in close fighting quarters while they're trying to social distance?

Whatever the reason, for the love of god could we have Barry take just one swing at a bad guy next week? Heck, at this point I'd settle for him tripping the villain!

• After Barry & Kadabra kiss & make up, they're suddenly attacked by a twelve foot tall female Behemoth.

I'm pretty sure this creature isn't a run of the mill meta, but is a manifestation of the Strength Force, created by the multicolored lightning we saw at the end of last week's episode and the beginning of this one.

The fact that she's completely unaffected by a blast of Barry's Speed Force Lightning all but confirms this theory. She's invulnerable to his Speed Force because she's powered by an elemental power as well.

Visually the Behemoth looks a lot like Rampage, a powerhouse meta created by John Byrne during his 1980s Superman run. She's most likely supposed to be Fuerza though. 

In the comics, Alexa Antigone was an anarchist from the South American nation of Corto Maltese. She became a conduit of the Strength Force, which gave her the power to fight against her corrupt government. She initially clashed with the Flash, but later on they became pals and teamed up occasionally. I'm assuming something similar will happen here on the show.

A lot of people online are knocking the Behemoth, claiming she's the worst-looking CGI character they've ever seen. Eh. I admit she's nowhere near as convincing as Gollum, Caesar or Thanos. But you've got to remember, there were armies of artists who spent months or even YEARS working on those characters! The Behemoth here was likely animated by a couple of guys in a week. Considering the constraints they had, I think she turned out pretty well!

• The Behemoth attacks Barry and knocks him into next week. The now saintly Kadabra then turns on the Behemoth and says, "Stand down, beautiful. Or I’ll use every ounce of this antimatter bomb to blow you to kingdom come."

WHAT? Thirty seconds ago he was gonna detonate the bomb and erase Central City from the map! Wouldn't using it against the monster destroy the town as well?

Oh, but it gets better! The Behemoth then grabs the bomb and squeezes it so hard it explodes! But everything's OK, because somehow she's able to absorb all the antimatter energy from it. Again, what the hell is happening on this show?

• The Behemoth eventually gets tired of Kadabra's crap and kills him. She then grabs Barry and begins crushing the life out of him with a big ol' bear hug. Back at STAR, Team Flash watches in horror, as they wring their hands helplessly.

You know, it's too bad that Barry doesn't have a team of superpowered colleagues who can teleport instantly and help him out here. He should really look into hiring some partners.

• At the end of the episode, Team Flash sits around in the Lounge and mourns the death of Abra Kadabra (???). Barry says Kadabra was just trying to heal like the rest of them. Even more preposterously, Iris chimes in and says, "He died a hero."

Wha...? She must have some new definition of the word "hero" that I'm not familiar with. Kadabra killed at least two men in this episode, as well as several others in his first appearance. He even went on a murder spree on Earth-19 back when it still existed, which prompted Gypsy to chase him across dimensions.

Once again, based on the number of killers that Team Flash has allowed to go free over the years, murder doesn't seem to be a crime in the Arrowverse. A villain can slay as many innocents as they want, but as long as they feel bad about it later they're free to go on their merry way.

• Unlike most shows, The Flash has always operated more or less in real time. If an episode happens on May 4th, then it will generally air on that actual date. At the beginning of each season they usually even comment on how three months have passed since we last saw them.

In this episode, Iris mentions that she was trapped in the Mirrorverse for three months. The entire blighted Mirroverse plotline lasted an interminable twelve episodes, which works out to exactly three months!

She also says it's been one week since Eva, aka Mirror Master, aka Mirror Monarch, attacked Central City. Iris was first pulled into the Mirrorverse way back in Marathon, which originally aired on February 4, 2020. Three months from that date would take us to May 4th. Add a week to that, and that means this episode is taking place sometime around May 11, 2020!

For the first time since it began, The Flash is now way BEHIND the real world, as the characters are all still stuck in the Hellscape of 2020!

• At the end of the episode, Caitlin reveals that she & Frost have somehow become separate entities. Apparently this was the cause of the headaches she had all through the episode. 

Fortunately the writers spared us the scene in which Caitlin divides in two like an amoeba. They also wisely declined to explain where she acquired the extra mass to create a perfect physical duplicate of herself. Don't worry though, as I'm sure we'll get a perfectly logical bullsh*t comic book science explanation for it next week. 

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