New beginnings means new trouble on The Flash. In “Central City Strong,” Team Flash is rebuilding after the battle with the Mirror Monarch as Iris (Candice Patton) and Barry (Grant Gustin) avoid dealing with their feelings. And an old enemy returns to shake things up. David Dastmalchian returns as Abra Kadabra in this week’s episode of The Flash.

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CENTRAL CITY STRONG

Since Mirror Monarch left, Barry has been making a lot of romantic gestures towards Iris. It’s like he’s making up for something, but never says what that is. When they sit down for a romantic dinner and the ground starts to shake. Funny. They usually have to kiss to make the ground shake. What they don’t see is the lightning in the Central City sky. Looks a little like the night Barry got his speed back. 

Team Flash volunteers in the Central City campaign to rebuild the City. Central City Strong. The Flash appears on TV to apologize for letting down the city. He promises he will make it up to everyone. He says he believes in the city, its resilience and the people of Central City. 

Chester (Brandon McKnight) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) take a much needed Jitters break as Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) complains about a headache. Coffee is just what she needs. Allegra (Kayla Compton) checks on her and suggests she let Frost out. Unfortunately, there’s still a warrant out for Frost’s arrest, so she has to stay hidden.

HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
Allegra can't help but be honest with Iris about her latest article in The Flash

The Flash — “Central City Strong” — Image Number: FLA704fg_0002r.jpg — Pictured: Kayla Compton as Allegra — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

Iris keeps texting Allegra. She gave her intern a story to look over and Allegra hates it. She doesn’t want to tell Iris, but Caitlin encourages her to be honest. And she is. When Allegra returns to the Citizen office, Iris is excited for her feedback. Until she sees all of the red ink. Yikes! Allegra can tell that Iris pulled content from other sources. She encourages Iris to write about her own experience with the Mirror Monarch for those who also lived through the nightmare, but don’t want to talk about it.

Later that night, at one of the volunteer sites, Abra Kadabra returns to Central City. An unfortunate volunteer encountered the magician and loses his life for it. Kadabra is back to make Central City suffer. 

The next morning, Chester investigates the crime scene with Cisco and Barry. So, something fun is happening here. Cisco is taking Chester under his wing and they are the nerdiest, funnest duo ever! They find a small, but heavy structure. It weighs two tons! Barry is concerned about what this means. They don’t need another hit to the city as they are trying to rebuild. Barry won’t let anything tear them down again.

Cisco discovers temporal energy all over the crime scene. His readings tell him that it’s carbon dated 43 centuries from now. They have a time traveller on their hands and by the looks of the dead body, he’s very dramatic. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) shows them the body. There are cards on the body, indicating that their villain is Abra Kadabra. 

The team fills in Chester on who Kadabra is and that Kadabra was trying to steal tech to build a time machine. He didn’t steal anything this time. Abra Kadabra picked the wrong day to come back because Barry is ready to get rid of him. 

AVOIDING TRAUMA

Iris attends a victims meeting to interview some of the people who were kidnapped by the Mirror Monarch. They notice she has some PTSD of her own, but Iris doesn’t want to talk about it. Instead she decides to reschedule the interview and leaves in a hurry. 

Cisco and Chester scan the city for any sign of Kadabra. As soon as they get a hit, Flash is there to face Kadabra, with Cisco. They put nano-tech cuffs on Kadabra, but that doesn’t stop him. While he distracts them with talk of the future, he gets out of the cuffs and puts them on Flash. Kadabra knocks Cisco back so he can have a clear shot at Flash. See … Kadabra’s problem is he’s so dramatic. He likes to talk about what he’s going to do before he does it, giving Frost enough time to show up and freeze Kadabra’s wand.

ARGUS shows up to take Kadabra and all of the credit for capturing him. Cisco is a little salty about it, but Flash just wants to get back to Iris. Cisco tries to ask what ARGUS is going to do with Kadabra, but the man in charge deflects his questions with some very literal answers. Weird. 

Frost finds an interesting cuff that she saw on Kadabra. Before she gives it to Cisco, she needs a favor. The headaches are affecting both Caitlin and Frost. Frost is concerned, but Caity’s not. Cisco scans her brain and finds nothing wrong. He’s eager to examine the cuff with Chester though. 

THE MASTERPIECE
Iris avoids facing her trauma on The Flash

The Flash — “Central City Strong” — Image Number: FLA704fg_0001r.jpg — Pictured: Candice Patton as Iris West – Allen — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

A hot shot ARGUS guard taunts Kadabra as he leads him to a cell. He says they have Kadabra’s fancy trophies at ARGUS. There are three and that’s all Kadabra needed to hear. He uses his magic to get out of his restraints and knocks out the guard. He goes into the room where his trophies are waiting.

Barry planned to take Iris away on an overnight trip to the beach. It’s just another way for him to make things up to Iris. She’s not sure what he’s talking about, but she’s running from her feelings so it’s a great idea. And of course, they get a call about Kadabra. He’s loose in ARGUS, so Iris tells Barry to go.

The Flash shows up just in time for Kadabra to show him his masterpiece. First he restrains Flash. Kadabra says the last time they met, Flash told him to find a glimmer of light in himself. He found the light … the hope … and Flash stole it from him. The Flash can’t defeat a man who’s lost everything. Kadabra takes the three ‘trophies’ and pushes them close together. A laser emits from each trophy and creates an orb. Kadabra says he’s going to make Central City disappear. With a flick of his wand, Kadabra, the orb, and Flash’s restraints disappear. 

TRICKED AGAIN

Flash races back to Star Labs where Cisco and Chester are already looking for Kadabra. They also analyzed the orb. It’s about the size of a baseball and full of anti-matter. Enough to destroy the city. Kadabra is charging it by teleporting. The team discusses ways to stop Kadabra. Cisco has an Atlantean obelisk that might work … until he finds out it’s made of the same material. They really have no way to stop him until he detonates the bomb. 

Barry gets upset. He feels responsible, thinking that Kadabra tricked him. Kadabra wanted to be captured by ARGUS because he knew they had what he needed to make the bomb. And Barry delivered him. He keeps making mistakes and now the city will explode because he was tricked again. 

Iris comes to the lab to talk to Barry. Of all the things he feels guilty for, not knowing that Mirror Iris was the real Iris was the worst. If he had known, he could have stopped Mirror Monarch. He doesn’t think there’s anything he can do to make up for it, but he will try. Iris says he doesn’t have anything to make up for. Something happened to him, not because of him. It’s not his fault that he was tricked. All Barry can do is face his trauma instead of running from it. (Iris needs to do the same.)

Iris always makes Barry feel better and gives him clarity. Enough clarity for him to see a solution to his problems. He remembers telling Kadabra to find that glimmer of light, a glimmer of hope within him. He realizes why Kadabra wants to destroy Central City. There are a couple of ways for people to remember their life before Crisis. One involves a Martian memory restorer that Cisco found in Kadabra’s cuff. Cisco thinks he stole it in the future and his memories of his life before Crisis returned. The team thinks the answer to why Kadabra wants to destroy Central City is in the Martian memory restorer, but they don’t have time to look for it. It’s a good thing Barry already figured it out. 

ANOTHER LIFE
Cisco takes Chester under his wing on The Flash

The Flash — “Central City Strong” — Image Number: FLA704b_0063r.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Brandon McKnight as Chester P. Runk and Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

The team tracks down Kadabra and Flash speeds away to confront him. The anti-matter bomb is powering up, so they don’t have much time. Flash doesn’t try to fight Kadabra, instead he talks to him. He also displays Kadabra’s memories on the Martian memory restorer, revealing a family. 

Kadabra says he dreamt of a life he never lived and then discovered it was real when he experienced an increase in his synaptic memory cells. He was exposed to neuro temporal displacement. The kind that is created when speedsters disrupt time. He went to the Flash museum and that’s where he found Cisco’s Martian memory restorer and used it on himself. With his memories restored, he had proof that the family in his dreams were real. They were erased by what the Flash did. 

Flash knows how hard it is to lose someone, he lost a brother. And he’s trying to honor his friend’s sacrifice. He tells Kadabra that killing innocent people won’t bring back his loved ones.That past is from a multiverse world that no longer exists.  Kadabra doesn’t agree. He believes he can bring them back. And if he can’t then he will take everything away from the Flash. 

Flash knows Kadabra wants to destroy the city so people will suffer like he is. He knows he can’t kill the flash. What are the odds that destroying Central City will bring his family back? Kadabra never ran the calculations so he doesn’t know. Flash asks how Kadabra’s family would feel about him destroying the city in their name. Making other people hurt won’t erase his suffering. The only way for Kadabra to heal is to face his trauma. That hits Iris too. 

A NEW MONSTER

Kadabra turns off the orb and starts to cry. He tells Flash the names of his family and gives his real name, Philippe. He doesn’t know what to do now. Flash says the people they love never leave them. He has to that love give him hope in this world. But never forget. Now maybe the Flash and Philippe can be friends.

They start to shake hands and the ground shakes harder. A large humanoid being jumps out of nowhere and growls at Barry. It knocks Barry back, hard, leaving Kadabra to face the monster. Kadabra threatens to use the anti-matter bomb on the being, but the monster grabs the orb and absorbs its energy. The monster throws Kadabra to the side, killing him. Flash gets upset and throws a lighting bolt at the monster and the monster absorbs that too. It grabs Flash and squeezes him hard. Flash’s vitals decrease, but the monster lets him go before killing him. The monster runs away into the night. 

TIME TO HEAL
Barry is dealing with a lot of guilt in The Flash

The Flash — “Central City Strong” — Image Number: FLA704b_0203r.jpg — Pictured: Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

The next day, the team mourns their new friend Philippe. They don’t know who or what that was that attacked them, but they need to find out. The fact that it absorbed an orb of anti-matter makes Barry think it’s unstoppable. They have to find a way to stop it before it kills again.

Iris confronts Allegra about her critique of the article. It’s exactly what Iris needed to hear, but it was hard to hear from an intern. So Iris is making Allegra a full time staff writer. Barry revels in Iris’ generous nature. She helped him get through to Philippe as well because … well … Barry and Iris are a great super power together. They decide to have a nice quiet dinner at home later.

The next day, Iris goes to the victims support group. She tells them how she was kidnapped and kept in that awful place for three months. Iris is angry and sorry for herself. She wishes it would all go away, but it won’t untils she allows herself permission to feel scared, angry and sorry. They all have to face it together. It will take time, but they can do it together. Iris is now ready to tell her story in the Citizen and try to reach people on a bigger level.

Cisco is playing Fortnite when Caitlin interrupts, with something to show him. He asks if she’s still having headaches and she’s not. That’s because Frost is now separated from Caitlin. And she couldn’t be more excited. 

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Noetta Harjo
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