Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 18 - Abra Kadabra

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


Gypsy returns from Earth 19 in pursuit of another dimension-hopping criminal - one from the 64th century, armed with advanced technology that may as well be magic by the standards of 21st Century Earth One. Calling himself Abra Kadabra, the fugitive seems to harbor a grudge against The Flash and knows far more about him than he should. Still, he is willing to tell Barry all about Savitar in exchange for his freedom...


The Flash comics of John Broome and Mark Waid. Caitlin invokes Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law. Back To The Future is name-dropped by Cisco. Caitlin's transformation into Killer Frost in the final scene resembles the transformation of dead humans into Wights in Game of Thrones.


The office building we see in the opening scene is labeled as belonging to Stagg Industries. In Season One, Simon Stagg's company was Stagg Enterprises. (Possibly he had two companies in his name? Or maybe this was changed by Flashpoint?)

Caitlin's discovery that she's been impaled on a pipe looks more goofy than horrific.

Iris can't seem to decide if she's confident in Barry's ability to save her or not. I swear that it changes from episode to episode whether she is refusing to worry about the future or is desperate to do anything to avert her fate.


David Dastmalchian proves a perfect Abra Kadabra, finding the perfect balance of smug smarm and showmanship essential to the character.

While I regret the writers' apparent need to give Caitlin a romantic subplot every season, the chemistry between Tom Felton and Danielle Panabaker in this episode is fantastic and they're easily the most convincing couple out of all the romances on the show... which makes the final scene all the more painful.


While the show generally does a fantastic job with its slow-time CGI, the sequence in which Kadabra releases hundreds of playing cards into the air as a smokescreen looks particularly well-done.

Between the tense direction, all of the ensemble performances and the pitch-perfect music, everything in the surgery scene works together perfectly.

The final scene - with its use of silence apart from the sound of the heart-monitor as Caitlin dies - is similarly powerful.

Flash Facts

The opening scene takes place at Stagg Industries' building in Central City. In the comics, Stagg Industries is the business of Simon Stagg, who was the chief nemesis of the the superhero Metamorpho.

The DCTVU version of Simon Stagg was killed by Eobard Thawne in the second episode of The Flash's first season.

Stagg Enterprises  was mentioned twice before on Arrow. In the sixth episode of Arrow's first season, Laurel Lance said they were the single largest donor to her legal clinic. In the tenth episode of Arrow Season One, a Stagg Enterprises chemical factory in Starling City was the target of one of Firefly's attacks.

First appearing in The Flash #123 (May 1962), Abra Kadabra is one of The Flash's deadliest foes. Born Citizen Abra in the far future of the 64th Century, he became obsessed with stage magic and illusion at a young age. Unfortunately, science had advanced to the point where the amusements of slight-of-hand magic were passe and Abra could not make a living at his chosen craft. Stealing a time machine prototype, Abra went back in time, armed with a variety of "tricks", to where he thought he might find a more appreciative audience. His efforts to force an audience to applaud him using mind-control technology would gain the attentions of The Flash, who went on to defeat him again and again, as Abra became obsessed with proving his power and gaining true magic powers.

After Wally West took over the mantle of The Flash from Barry Allen in the comics, Abra became obsessed with destroying the new Flash or otherwise making him miserable. This was due to Wally West being the hero who would ultimately defeat Abra at some point in The Future. This grudge has continued even into the Rebirth universe, where Abra Kadabra was the main villain of the first storyline in the Titans series.

The DCTVU version of Abra Kadabra seems true to the original comic form, save for the fact that he comes from an alternate Earth. Gypsy confirms that he's from the 64th century and that they think he has some kind of nanotechnology built into his body which allow him to perform a number of "tricks" including teleportation and telekinesis.

In what seems to be a nod to Abra Kadabra's grudge against Wally West in the comics, Kadabra has a grudge against Barry and he confirms that the two are great enemies in the future, despite this being the first time Barry has met Kadabra and the episode ending with Kadabra going to be executed. This indirectly suggests that Kadabra learned of his final fate at some point in his past and turned on The Flash trying to avert it.

Abra Kadabra's second robbery occurs at Kord Industries. In the DC Comics Universe, Kord Industries is the technologies company run by Ted Kord a.k.a. the second Blue Beetle.

The DCTVU version of Kord Industries has been mentioned several times on Arrow. According to Thea Queen, Kord Industries is one of the largest weapons manufacturers in the DCTVU. They also manufacture consumer goods, including "awesome cel phones." They are Palmer Technologies' main business competitor. The Clock King worked for Kord Industries before he turned to crime.

In considering Abra Kadabra's technology, Caitlin invokes Clarke's Third Law - "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Arthur C. Clarke was a British author, inventor and futurist, probably most famous for his novel 2001: A Space Odyssey. Along with Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, Clarke was considered one of "The Big Three" science-fiction writers of the mid-Twentieth Century.

When naming Barry Allen's greatest enemies, including himself, Thawne, Zoom and Savitar, Abra Kadabra also mentions someone with the last name DeVoe. This is likely a reference to Clifford DeVoe a.k.a. The Thinker.

Created by John Broome for All-Flash #12 (Fall 1943), The Thinker was an enemy of the Jay Garrick Flash. Clifford DeVoe was a failed defense attorney who realized that most of the criminals he represented had the skills to commit various crimes but lacked the intelligence to plan their heists efficiently or to manage an organized criminal empire. He established himself as The Thinker, organizing the small-time crooks of Central City into an organized mob. He also fought against The Flash using advanced technology - some of it stolen and some of it of his own design. Chief among this devices was The Thinking Cap - a helmet which enhanced The Thinker's intelligence and allowed him to project mental force blasts as well as control the minds of others.


Barry notes that, instead of sprinklers, every floor in the Stagg Industries building uses a halon gas system that absorbs all the oxygen in case of fire. Interestingly, the manufacture of new halon-based extinguisher systems have been banned in the USA since 1994 due to halon gas depleting ozone. Several halon systems are still in use in around the country, however, thanks to a grandfather clause that prevented existing systems from needing to be replaced. The halon systems were quite popular in libraries, archives and computer labs where a sprinkler-based extinguisher would risk damaging printed materials and electronics.

Gypsy says they think Abra Kadabra's tricks are powered by nanotechnology implanted into his body. This allows him to accomplished several different tricks, including telekinesis, holograms, explosives and teleportation.

Cisco is able to input search parameters into the STAR Labs' satellite to make it search for anyone in Central City who vibrates at a different frequency than "ordinary Earth One folk". This enables him to locate Abra Kadabra without using his Vibe powers.

Julian finds an odd particulate residue at Stagg Industries. He's not precisely sure what it's made of save that it is organic and has some metallic hydrogen properties. Presumably it's a byproduct of Abra Kadabra's nanotechnology.

Kadabra has some device which enables him to locate Eobard Thawne's hidden Time Vault in STAR Labs and to locate a glowing blue sphere hidden inside of it. This is later revealed to be a futuristic power source.

Cisco says that when Caitlin's metahuman powers activate, her metabolic rate offsets cold tissue destruction. In layman's terms, she can regenerate the damage done to her body.

It is normal for shrapnel to cavitate and displace tissue during surgery. Hemorrhaging can occur if there is too much blood loos.

One piece of shrapnel is wedged between Caitlin's kidney and her inferior vena cava. This part of the body is surrounded by several major blood vessels. Damage to them can cause shock. There is also a tendon, which Julian has to work around.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Two guards walk through a high-tech lab in Stagg Industries.)
Guard #1: Looks like we may need to find a new job. Heard Stagg Industries may be getting bought out.
Guard #2: By who?
Guard #1: Doesn't really matter now, does it? All I know is we've got millions of dollars in tech - (gesturing to an large glass case holding some piece of technology) like whatever that thing is - that no one's using.
(Abra Kadabra emerges from behind the case, seemingly appearing out of thin air.)
Abra Kadabra: Then surely you gentlemen won't mind if I abscond with some of it?
(The two guards draw their guns as Abra Kadabra gestures at the case.)
Abra Kadabra:
This piece in particular...
Guard #2: How did you get in here?!
Abra Kadabra: Believe me, that's the least impressive of my tricks.
Guard #1: Hands up, pal! Do it now or I'll shoot! Stop!
(Abra Kadabra ignores him and walks around to the other side of the case. The guards open fire as Abra Kadabra presses his hands against the glass. With a flash of blue light, he is inside the case, which it turns out is quite bulletproof. Abra Kadabra raises his hands like a stage magician who just pulled off an amazing trick before turning his back on the guards and taking the technology. The guards stand there, dumbfounded that their shots failed to penetrate the case.)
Guard #2: How the hell did he do that?
(Abra Kadabra waves his hand and there is another flash of blue light. When it fades, the guards are inside the glass case and Abra Kadabra is on the outside, as the alarms begin to go off and red lights flash.)
Abra Kadabra: Maybe you can figure out how I did it? But I doubt you'll have time...
(Abra Kadabra snaps his fingers and turns away. As he does so, water begins to pour into the case, seemingly from nowhere. The two guards begin to panic as the glass case begins to fill up, the water rising to their waists in seconds...)

(Abra is walking down a staircase, holding a piece of technology, alarms blaring in the background, as The Flash runs up.)
The Flash: I don't think that's yours, pal.
Abra Kadabra: (surprised) Flash?
The Flash: You didn't think I'd want to come meet the newest resident of Iron Heights?
Abra Kadabra: No. I assumed that you'd show. I just didn't expect you to be so young. (grinning as he emphasizes each word) Barry. Allen.
The Flash: Now, how do you know who I am?!
Abra Kadabra: (taking a handkerchief from his sleeve) I'm from the future!
(The Flash looks at him in disbelief. As Abra speaks, he drapes the handkerchief over the technology in his other hand.)
Abra Kadabra:
You don't believe me? Let's see... uh... 2017? Hmm...how are things going with your doomed love, Iris West? Or your greatest foe... Savitar?
(Abra suddenly jerks the cloth away revealing his hand to be empty.)The Flash: You know Savitar?
Abra Kadabra: I know everything about him. And you. 
(The Flash suddenly runs forward and grabs at Abra's arm. When he slows down, he realizes he is holding a fake mannequin's arm.)
The Flash:  What the-?
(Abra waves a hand in The Flash's face and there's a bright flash of light.  The Flash is blinded as Abra runs for the door. Suddenly, a breach opens and Gypsy emerges, firing a blast of red energy which knocks Abra down as The Flash recovers. Abra stands as well, slipping some playing cards from his sleeve as he does so.)
Abra Kadabra: Gypsy. Still seeking revenge, I see?
Gypsy: I'm gonna get it this time.
Abra Kadabra: We'll see.
(Abra grins as transfers the cards from one hand to the other, fanning them out.)
(The Flash charges forward as Gypsy ducks and covers and the cards suddenly jump into the air, multiplying into a swarm of cards. Barry bats them away but by the time he gets through the cloud of playing cards, Abra Kadabra has vanished again.)

(Flash, Kid Flash, Gypsy and Vibe have Abra Kadabra surrounded.)
Gypsy: You can't out-rick all of us, Kadabra.
(Gypsy and Vibe both fire their blasts at Kadabra. The blasts go through him.)
Abra Kadabra: I think I just did.
(Abra Kadabra fades away in a flash of light, revealed to be a hologram.) 

Caitlin: (To Julian) I was so focused on not hurting you as Killer Frost that I forgot that I could hurt you as Caitlin Snow. And for that I'm very sorry. So I understand if you don't trust me anymore. But maybe you can find it in your heart to forgive me?

Caitlin: I don't need a hospital! All I need is a mirror and a steady set of hands.

Barry: I have nothing to offer you. No reprieve. No escape from what you're facing. You've done some terrible things. But you are still a man. You have a family. Friends. People you care about. Somewhere inside of you there must be a glimmer of hope. It's that part of you that I'm asking... I'm begging... help me save her.
Abra Kadabra: The Flash. Begging. (grinning wickedly) See, here it is. In the future, you and I have been enemies for years. Oh, there have been others, of course. There was Thawne. Zoom. DeVoe. But none of them hurt you like Savitar. He truly broke you. I have to be honest, I was always a little bit jealous. But now... it's like I get to kill her too.
(Abra Kadabra grins with mock cheerfulness as he glances at his handcuffs.)
Abra Kadabra: If you'll excuse me, I have my execution to attend.


Stagg Industries/Enterprises - first mentioned in 102 - is seen. The company is apparently in danger of being bought out.

Julian and Caitlin apparently stopped dating in the wake of 315 and the revelation that Caitlin had stolen a piece of The Philosopher's Stone.

Abra Kadabra's powers allow him to block both Cisco and Gypsy's ability to "vibe" his location.

Earth 19 does not have satellites capable of analyzing the vibrational frequencies of people across an entire city. Cisco offers to set Gypsy up with something similar to the STAR Labs set-up.

Cisco refers to the last time he worked with Gypsy and her kissing him in 314.

Abra Kadabra's third robbery is at Mercury Labs, which was last mentioned in 223 after Zoom stole a magnetar from them.

Mercury Labs does not exist on Earth 19.

Abra Kadabra claims that Savitar was the first speedster and that Barry didn't find a way to stop him until after Savitar killed Iris. He also claims to know Savitar's true name.

Julian served as a field medic during his time in the Royal Army. He never performed surgery, however.

Gypsy confirms that she was dating her former partner and that Abra Kadabra killed him three years earlier.

Gypsy theorizes that the technology Abra Kadabra is stealing is being used to build a time machine.

Cisco confirms that all the components Kadabra had been stealing were similar to what he used to build Eobard Thawne's Time Sphere in 123.

Cisco says the only thing he never understood about the Time Sphere was what it used for a power source. This is revealed to be the blue sphere that Kadabra stole from The Time Vault.

Cisco now has such fine control of his powers that he can create a portal to catch a falling Kid Flash and open a second one to let him land safely closer to the ground in a matter of seconds.

Barry is now able to phase through a moving vehicle, grab a figure inside of said vehicle and phase himself and said figure out the other side of the vehicle while - all while in mid-air!

Cisco tells Gypsy that he's not sure how he feels about her in the wake of her refusal to let Abra Kadabra walk - even for a little while - so that they can learn about Savitar's identity.

Gypsy returns to Earth 19 with Abra Kadabra.

Julia says his stitch-work may leave Caitlin with a scar on her stomach. Caitlin says she was never much for wearing two-piece bathing suits anyway. The two of them apparently make amends, with Julian kissing Caitlin.

Barry decides to go into the future to find out information on who Savitar is.

Strawberry Jell-O is Caitlin's favorite flavor.

HR spent the last two days in a romantic tryst with a woman namdd Rhonda.

Lime Jell-O is HR's favorite flavor.

Caitlin's heart stops shortly after HR returns. She flat-lines in the rush to save her and Julian removes the necklace holding her powers in check. Her heart restarts shortly after that and her scar heals. The episode ends with Caitlin's hair and skin having turned white amd her unleashing a blast of ice, having seemingly finally changed into Killer Frost.

Untelevised Adventures

Gypsy refers to Abra Kadabra having killed before on Earth-19 three years earlier and again more recently. It was three years earlier that Abra killed Gypsy's partner/boyfriend.

The Fridge Factor

Powerfully acted though it is, it cannot be denied that Caitlin's injuries here do little but provide angst for the men in her life (especially Julian) and that her becoming evil because of her powers is a load of bull poop.

Again, Iris has no role in this episode but being saved and inspiring Barry.

The Bottom Line

Easily the strongest episode of the season to date and one of the best episodes of The Flash ever.

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