“Central City Strong” Review of S7E4 of THE FLASH

Mirror Master/Monarch is back in the mirror dimension, but the scars are still there. Scars in the landscape of the city, and scars left by trauma in those who survived. Dealing with trauma is a big theme in this episode, as we watch how Barry and Iris (along with so many others) deal with the aftermath. We get a returning villain, with trauma of his own and a desire to take down a rebuilding Central City. Wanna know more? Follow us after the jump!

SPOILERS AHEAD – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

NOTE: This review is posting before THE FLASH airs in the Pacific Time Zone USA. If you haven’t seen the show yet, STOP HERE and come back after watching the episode. You’ll be glad you did!

Without going scene for scene, let’s talk instead about trauma and how some of the characters are dealing with it.

  • Barry carries the guilt of not recognizing the fake Iris sooner. He’s overdoing the “I’ll make it up to you” with all sorts of gifts and trips around the world for Iris. But, it doesn’t take away his feelings of guilt, and of letting Central City down by not stopping Mirror Monarch sooner. His coming to terms with things plays into the resolution of the big battle of the episode.
  • Iris is pushing all her feelings down. Allegra calls her out on it, as Iris is trying to ignore her own pain while attempting to write an article about what others are going through. Iris goes to a Mirrorverse Support Group at first as a journalist, and not a survivor. It’s not until late in the episode that she realizes she needs to face her own trauma. She joins the support group, realizing that healing takes time – and it takes facing the trauma in a setting that is supportive.
  • Abra Kadabra is back and determined to destroy Central City. He wants to take away everything dear to Barry in order to pay him back for an unknown situation. It turns out that Abra/Phillipe lost the happy family he had prior to CRISIS. When he learned that they were real, and that they were wiped out of existence when Barry didn’t die in the CRISIS, he came back to destroy the city out of revenge.

In the end, it’s the memories of the family he lost that pulls Kadabra from the edge of destruction. Barry was able to talk him down – and Abra was able to face the trauma of losing his family. More on the way that battle wrapped up in a moment, but first,

A new foe comes on the scene. It is powerful enough to absorb antimatter and even Flash’s lightning! This creature kills Kadabra (who died a hero trying to protect Barry), and easily defeats Flash before leaping out of sight. More on that for sure in a future episode.

We end with the resolution of a subplot from the episode. Caitlin, and again as Frost, is experiencing terrible headaches. Scans are not able to determine the issue. But, we learn the result – Caitlin and Frost are now TWO separate people!

NOTES:

  • The “battle” with Kadabra ended with Barry talking him down, no punches thrown. It’s carrying forward the “big heart” theme we’ve seen in earlier episodes. While it was a bit over the top, it still worked to push forward the them of dealing with trauma. Which brings me to…
  • I’m glad to see an attempt at a realistic portrayal of survivors of trauma. It was an attempt – not a full success as the healing process was speeded up quite a bit. But, in the script it was pointed out several times that this is a process, that healing doesn’t just happen quickly, and that there is help. Glad to see that.
  • Kadabra gives a new nickname to Cisco. “Mecha Vibe”. That works for me, and seems to work for Cisco.
  • This is two weeks in a row where the resolution depends on the bad guy turning good. I don’t think this is a trend, and certainly the outcome for Kadabra wasn’t good at all. Still, I’m okay with this for now, as we are still waiting for the Big Bad of the year (if it doesn’t happen to be that creature who showed up at the end).
  • Separating Frost and Caitlin should be interesting – it’s a surprising twist.  

SUMMARY: This episode was a night to wind down from the big bad of last season. Kadabra’s return gave us an opportunity to explore the issues of trauma, both for Kadabra and for the survivors of the Mirrorverse. I’m still waiting for the full energy of this season’s storyline to hit, but this was still a solid effort, and I’ll give this episode an 8/10. Of course that’s just my opinion. What do YOU think? Leave your comments below!

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