The Flash: Central City Strong review S7 E5

Welcome back Flash! Central City Strong felt like the return to The Flash that was must-see CW TV. For the most part…

Last week was basically the conclusion of Season 6 so I was fine giving them a pass for the underwhelming payoff. Central City Strong marks the unofficial start of this season then and it largely didn’t disappoint.

Show runner Eric Wallace helmed the series strongest arc in years with the buildup to Crisis on Infinite Earths last year. it’s not that shocking then that this episode was so strong as it also dealt with superhero trauma.

With WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Solider, superhero trauma seems to be the rage now. That’s because it’s so effective.

Heroes have all these incredible powers, but it’s meaningful to see them go through the same kinds of pathos of normal people.

The flash central city strong review - iris

Central City Strong found Flash, Iris and the city trying to recover from Mirror Monarch’s attack. Gee, maybe someone should have made her stand trial and get brought to justice for her invasion instead of going back to the Mirror Verse. Thanks Barry.

In fairness, Barry is nursing a special kind of guilt for not recognizing Iris was a mirror dupe for so long. He’s overcompensating by whisking Iris away on fantastic trips and lavish romantic gestures.

Iris is struggling herself as she’s not ready to face the trauma of being kidnapped for three months.

There’s a support group for folks who got sucked into the Mirror Verse, but that seemed like Eva only started taking people away for a very brief period of time — not the months Iris spent in the Mirror Verse.

In addition to this subplot, Iris finally gets to go back to her default subplot at The Citizen. While I’m not the biggest fan of all 800 members of Team Flash being on every episode it did feel weird not to have Kamila back this week if for no other reason than to be the reason Iris decided to participate in the support group.

Chester is now working with the police department too, which is fine, but I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Cisco and Chester geeking out together so much.

Abra Kadabra is back and super homicidal as he’s planning to detonate an anti-matter bomb. And throwing out insults to Cisco like calling him Mecha Vibe. Cisco’s humor was deeply missed in the back end of Season 6 and this is an encouraging sign that at least he’ll be fun again.

The flash central city strong review - abra kadabra

In the future Abra Kadabra found one of Cisco’s memory restoration devices, which set up a hilarious never mind meta joke about the aborted Green Arrow and The Canaries spin-off.

Kadabra remembered a family he never knew and he (probably rightfully) blamed Barry for surviving while they died during Crisis. This led to a nice exchange that reinforced The Flash is at its best when it wears its heart on its sleeve.

Barry talks Kadabra down and they make peace. I guess Barry is just gonna forget the volunteer Kadabra killed then…? No problem, some dodgy CGI character comes in and absorbs the anti-matter bomb before killing Kadabra,

Granted, Kadabra can use future science tech to return, but I HATE how often this show kills off classic Flash villains. The not-at-all Hulk beast grabs Flash to smash him apart before reading the script and realizing it can’t kill the main star off in episode 6.

That’s all I’ve got in terms of why the beast just rolled out instead of killing Flash like it did Kadabra.

Iris gets her nice moment by speaking at the support group with Allegra there for moral support instead of Barry. See? It’s possible for married couples to hang with other people occasionally. Giving Iris a job and characters that are in her orbit was such a smart move.

The flash central city strong review - Cisco and Chester

In our post credit scene, Caitlin reveals her splitting headaches are over as she and Frost are now separated. I feel like The Flash is better than this kind of gimmicky subplot, but I’ll let it play out.

A few questionable decisions aside, Central City Strong felt like a return to form with most of the elements that have made The Flash the superhero show on The CW.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Photo Credit: The CW

Want to read the inspiration for this arc? Check out The Flash: The Secret History of the Speed Force on Amazon.