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TV Review: The Flash - Season 3 Episode 18 "Abra Kadabra"

EPISODE 18: "Abra Kadabra"

SYNOPSIS: The Flash battles Abra Kadabra, a villain from Earth-19, who makes him a tempting offer – release him and Abra Kadabra will reveal Savitar’s true identity. Desperate to save Iris, Barry considers taking the deal but Gypsy breaches in to capture the villain for her own reasons and during the melee, Abra Kadabra manages to escape. Barry is furious that Gypsy interfered but Gypsy refuses to back down, forcing Cisco to take sides. Meanwhile, Julian is still a bit cold towards Caitlin but when she is severely injured in a battle with Gypsy, he rushes to her side.

REVIEW: One of the most frustrating elements of The Flash is the almost religious focus on the main villain of each season. First, we had Reverse-Flash and then Zoom and now Savitar. While each bad guy has had some serious moments of battle with Barry Allen and Team Flash, this focus also has reduced several bad guys from the rich history of DC Comics and turned them into one-and-done characters who don't do much aside from push the season narrative forwards to the inevitable showdown during the finale. We are just a handful of episodes away from the finale of The Flash's third season and we still do not know who the hell Savitar is. While one argument could be made that this ups the intensity of the season compared to prior years where we learned who our nemesis was and then focused on how to beat that person, this episode took one of The Flash's biggest foes and turned him into a plot device.

Played by David Dastmalchian, the great supporting actor from THE DARK KNIGHT and ANT-MAN as well as a recent turn on Gotham, Abra Kadabra has a menace and intensity lacking from many of the bad guys that have graced this show. Abra Kadabra, a time-traveling thief from four thousand years in the future, has been eluding Gypsy after murdering her partner on Earth-19 and has come to Earth-1 to steal more technology in order to complete a time machine to get back his future. Abra is a worthy opponent who requires the joint forces of Gypsy, Cisco, Wally and Barry to stop him and yet his knowledge of Iris' impending demise becomes the focal point of the episode. Abra offers Barry the identity of Savitar if he lets him free and Barry actually considers it for a while. In fact, the entire team ponders whether they should allow Gypsy to take Abra back to Earth-19 for execution of if they should pry his knowledge to save Iris.

As Barry and Iris argue over what the right thing to do is, Joe West makes the decision to free Abra to learn the identity of Savitar. Mere seconds before learning Savitar's name, Gypsy busts in and Abra disappears. The hunt is on as he blows a hole in Star Labs which results in Caitlyn being impaled by a pipe. Bleeding out, Caitlyn refuses to remove the pendant that inhibits her Killer Frost abilities and walks Julian through the surgery to remove shrapnel. She makes it through okay which also reinforces the romantic feelings between her and Julian which were hurt by the discovery that she kept part of the Philosopher's Stone. Cisco learns that Gypsy is hunting Abra because he murdered her partner/boyfriend three years prior and her focus on getting him over saving Iris hurts their romantic prospects as well. Basically, this entire hour seems to exist to further and halt the romantic entanglements on this show.

Eventually, the team unite to stop Abra which results in a massive chase through Central City. Abra, in a time machine, flies away from the various heroes. Forced to get creative, the speedsters fly and attack with Wally almost falling to his death. This affords a cool use of Cisco's abilities to create a portal that moves Wally closer to the ground and to safety. Eventually, Barry phases Abra out of the time machine which disappears. Taken into custody, Barry begs Abra to reveal who Savitar is. Barry pleads to Abra's good nature, hidden deep within, but Abra explains that in the future he and The Flash are mortal enemies but he always felt second fiddle to the big bads like Savitar. Now, with Barry pleading for her life, Abra takes some solace in knowing he can be partially to blame for Iris' death. Gypsy bids them farewell and takes Abra away. The rest of the team are left saddened by the lost opportunity they had. As Iris and Joe discuss how close they were, Barry reveals he knows what he needs to do: Barry will travel to the future to learn how to stop Savitar.

Usually, those big reveals are where our episodes end, but tonight's huge turn of events came in the extended stinger scene. Julian comforts a healing Caitlyn and they kiss briefly but he clumsily hurts her stitches. It is supposed to be cute and it works. As Julian leaves, Cisco brings his friend some Jello while H.R. arrives. Absent for the entire hour, H.R. reveals he was on a romantic getaway but I have a sneaking suspicion he may have been doing something related to Savitar. I have no proof but it seems way too odd for him to be missing with no explanation. As they talk to Caitlyn, she goes into shock. Julian returns and they try to save their friend but she dies on the table. Julian tears Caitlyn's pendant away hoping her meta-powers will help her and they do. Her heartbeat returns and her wound heals itself but then a blast of frost blows everyone across the room. As the mist parts, Caitlyn is left standing with her hair and eyes fully transformed into Killer Frost.

As far as episodes go, this hour was fun but it felt like a real waste of the potential of Abra Kadabra. I still cannot stand how The CW shows reduce great bad guys into disposable plot devices for the majority of each season's runs. Abra had the potential to be a major foe for The Flash and I hope he still returns in future episodes. By turning him into a character who holds a trump card about Savitar undermines his status on his own but I loved his face off with Barry at the end of this episode as it gave him a chance to chew some scenery witih real malice. There was a lot of time devoted here to Caitlyn and Julian's relationship which was actually more interesting than it should have been. The dynamic between those two is intriguing but feels like it is being rushed in order to fill secondary plotlines each week. The finale with Caitlyn's full transformation into Killer Frost was some of the best bits from this episode but I just hope it wasn't a lot of posturing for a quick and easy fix that brings things back to normal next week.

EPISODE GRADE:

NEXT ON THE FLASH: "The Once and Future Flash" airs April ??th - The Flash battles Abra Kadabra, a villain from Earth-19, who makes him a tempting offer – release him and Abra Kadabra will reveal Savitar’s true identity

Source: JoBlo.com

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