“Don’t we deserve one win after everything that we’ve done?” asks Barry Allen (Grant Gustin). “Life doesn’t keep score, Barry,” replies Iris (Candice Patton) as they argue about accepting Abra Kadabra’s offer to reveal the identity of Savitar in season three episode 18 of The CW’s The Flash.
As the episode begins, Abra Kadabra (David Dastmalchian) surprises two guards at Stagg Industries and steals a piece of mysterious tech. Using what seems to be magic, he traps them in a Houdini-like case and makes it start to fill with water.
Over at S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) vibes and sees the same future with Savitar killing Iris. Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) suggests they go over what they know and Cisco says the problem is they don’t really know much except for Savitar’s prophecy with its two headline titles: “Killer Frost Still at Large” and “Joe West Honored.”
Barry, Joe (Jesse L. Martin), and Julian (Tom Felton) receive a message about a break-in and murder at Stagg Industries. As they head out to their day jobs, Caitlin calls out to Julian telling him he received a package from the Opera House. Julian tells her he got those tickets a while ago when she told him she’d never been to the opera. Caitlin starts to smile until Julian tells her to take whoever she wants and walks away. Cisco tries to comfort Caitlin, giving her moral support and telling her to give Julian some time to get over feeling betrayed after she finally revealed she kept a piece of the Philosopher’s Stone. Caitlin doesn’t think Julian will ever get over it.
Barry, Joe, and Julian are investigating the crime at Stagg Industries when Barry gets a message from Cisco that Kord Industries is being robbed. Barry races off to catch the thief. The Flash sees Abra Kadabra as he’s trying to leave with another mysterious piece of tech. Kadabra says he didn’t think The Flash would be so young and calls him by his real name, Barry Allen. Barry asks how he knows who he is and Kadabra says he knows all about him, his lady love Iris and her upcoming death, and his fight with Savitar. Barry tries to capture him but only gets a prosthetic arm instead after Kadabra uses his magic again. Gypsy (Jessica Camacho) appears, coming through a breach and hitting Kadabra with an energy blast. Kadabra manages to get up and uses a steady stream of playing cards as a shield to make his escape.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Gypsy brings Team Flash up to speed on Abra Kadabra who it turns out is a criminal from the 64th century and whose nanotechnology makes it appear as if he’s doing real magic. Gypsy reveals he’s on her top 10 collector’s list for the crime spree he pulled off on Earth-19 and all the people he killed. Cisco tries to flirt with Gypsy who doesn’t seem interested this time and only wants to bring Kadabra back to Earth-19 to pay for what he’s done. Barry tells Joe and Iris that Kadabra knows about Savitar and Iris’ death, so maybe he’s the key to them stopping Savitar from killing Iris.
In his work bay, Cisco tries vibing but can’t seem to get a lock on Kadabra so he sets up the satellite to search for anyone vibrating at a different frequency. Gypsy and Cisco talk…mostly Cisco…about the kiss they shared last time she was there and she downplays it. Sensing her coldness, Cisco asks if he’s misread her and she says she’s been busy. Just then an alarm goes off. “Great timing!” yells Cisco and he sees that Mercury Labs has an intruder. Barry, Cisco, Gypsy, and Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) race off to stop the intruder. When they arrive, they discover he’s really a hologram. It’s a diversion!
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Julian, Caitlin, and Joe are going over some evidence when Abra Kadabra appears looking for something. Joe pulls his gun and points it at Kadabra who uses his tech to make water come out of it. Joe, Julian, and Caitlin race to the storage area of the facility and Joe grabs the special meta-rifle, but Kadabra stops that too with his magic. Just as he’s about to attack Caitlin and Julian, Barry races in and places the power-reducing cuffs on Kadabra. Seems Caitlin was able to quickly send Barry a message from her phone about Kadabra being at S.T.A.R. Labs. Kadabra tells Barry if he lets him go, he’ll tell him who Savitar is. Gypsy shows up to take him away and Barry knocks Kadabra out.
Team Flash puts Kadabra in the pipeline and again he offers to do a trade. If they let him go free, he’ll tell them who Savitar is. Joe and Iris try ordering him to tell the truth but to no avail. Gypsy says she can’t wait to watch him die and storms off. Cisco goes after her to find out why she hates him so much.
In the medical bay, Caitlin tends to Julian’s flesh wound and apologizes again. She admits she was so focused on not hurting him as Killer Frost, she forgot she could hurt him as herself. She understands if he doesn’t trust her anymore but asks if he could find it in his heart to forgive her. Looking uncomfortable, Julian shakes his head no slightly and Caitlin leaves, telling him he’s good to go. (C’mon, how many times does Caitlin have to apologize?! Get over it already, Julian.)
Barry and Iris debate whether to accept Kadabra’s offer, with Barry thinking maybe it’s the only move they have left and Iris telling him that he will save her from Savitar, not Kadabra. She doesn’t want to let a murderer go free on the chance it might save her life.
Back in the pipeline, Joe talks to Kadabra and tells him he’ll take the deal because it’s his daughter’s life. After a few tense moments, Joe opens the door to the pipeline and pointing the meta-human rifle at him, orders Kadabra to tell him the name. Just as Kadabra is about to say it, Gypsy bursts in asking what Joe is doing. Kadabra once again slips by them.
Kadabra heads to the time vault and steals a glowing orb before catching the elevator. Joe tries to shoot him but fails and just as Caitlin and Julian arrive, Kadabra throws an explosive which knocks them off their feet and across the room. Joe is okay and so is Julian but when he checks on Caitlin, he sees she has been impaled by a pole.
Team Flash rush Caitlin to the medical bay with Iris saying they should take her to a hospital, but Cisco says they can’t because they would discover she’s a meta. Joe reminds everyone they still have a police file on a cold woman who hurt Julian. Cisco suggests they remove Caitlin’s power-controlling necklace so that her cold powers will heal her, but Caitlin says no and that she would rather die than do that. Caitlin tells Julian that she’ll guide him through her surgery to removie the shrapnel which is dangerously close to her liver. Caitlin reminds a very nervous Julian that he was a medic in the Army, but he says he never operated on anyone. Caitlin tells him she trusts him with her life.
Gypsy yells at Joe who’s left the room feeling guilty. She calls into question just what kind of cop he is, which gets him angry and leads to the two exchanging more harsh words. Cisco asks Gypsy why she hates Kadabra so much and she finally admits he killed her partner, both professional and romantic, three years ago.
Julian operates on a wide awake Caitlin who guides him along as he removes the pieces of shrapnel all while Caitlin is in immense pain. A very concerned Barry and Cisco watch from further back in the room while Iris assists Julian. (Wait! Since when does being a journalist qualify Iris to assist in a major surgery? Shouldn’t Barry be assisting since he’s a CSI and has medical training? What were the writers thinking here?) After the last piece of deadly shrapnel is removed, Caitlin asks Julian, “Can you stitch me up because I need to pass out?”
While Caitlin recovers and Julian watches over her, Team Flash start to brainstorm on how to catch Kadabra. Gypsy tells them she’s figured out what he’s stealing all the tech devices for – he’s building a time machine. “He’s trying to get back to the future,” says Barry. They realize when Kadabra opens a wormhole to time travel in his machine that’s their chance to stop him because it will appear on their monitors. When it appears, Barry, Wally, Cisco, and Gypsy head out to capture him. In a frantic race around Central City, The Flash and Kid Flash chase Kadabra in his hovering time machine while Cisco and Gypsy try to use their powers to stop him from entering the wormhole. Finally, The Flash phases himself through the machine, grabbing Kadabra and making him crash out onto the street as his machine disappears in the wormhole.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, everyone is feeling down because Gypsy is taking Kadabra back with her and they can’t talk her out of it. As she walks her prisoner in to get ready to open a breach, Barry tells Kadabra he has nothing to offer him and he needs to pay for the horrible crimes he’s committed. Barry appeals to the man he might once have been and asks him to help him out by revealing Savitar’s identity. Kadabra tells Barry that Savitar is by far the worst enemy he’s ever faced and he broke him when he killed Iris. He names a few other major enemies and mentions a name Barry and the others don’t recognize, but says he’s happy because in a way it’s like he had a hand in breaking Barry too.
Back in the medical bay, Caitlin wakes up with Julian by her side and holding her hand. He goes on and on about how strong and brave she was and she tells him he did the hard part. “Are you going soft on me?” asks Caitlin and Julian says yes as he bends forward, kisses her softly, touching her wound and making her wince. He apologizes and Caitlin smiles.
Later that night, Iris and Joe are at his house and Joe confesses he feels helpless to save her and it’s killing him. He talks about being scared she would die in her sleep when she was a baby so he would stay up and watch over her. Barry enters telling them he knows how to save Iris. He says he’s going to travel into the future to learn what they need to know to stop it from happening. (Oh yeah, great idea! Because traveling to the past and the future has worked out so well for Team Flash so far…sigh.)
The last scene finds Cisco bringing Caitlin some green jello and she asks where the strawberry jello is. He admits to eating all of it. H.R. (Tom Cavanagh) shows up asking why Caitlin is in bed and she tells him it’s a long story. Cisco gives H.R. grief about disappearing for two days and advises him to tell someone next time. H.R. laughs as he leaves and Caitlin says to Cisco that he was worried about him. Cisco asks her never to tell H.R. that and she begins to say, “Cross my heart and ho…” but never finishes her sentence as she passes out.
Caitlin begins seizing and Cisco yells for help. Julian and H.R. rush in, asking what happened. They all start working on her with Cisco giving her oxygen because she has stopped breathing and Julian doing chest compressions. Caitlin’s vitals tank and she flatlines. Julian tells H.R. to charge the defibrillator and shocks her but nothing happens. Julian instructs H.R. to turn it up all the way and tries again. Still no change. The three men keep trying but Caitlin’s status remains the same. “C’mon, Caitlin!” pleads H.R. as Cisco begins to cry. Finally, Cisco, Julian, and H.R. realize nothing is working. “She’s gone,” says an upset H.R., with Cisco devastated and crying and Julian looking like he’s in shock. Refusing to lose her, Julian rips off her power-controlling necklace while Cisco yells, “No! She didn’t want that!” “I don’t care. I’m not going to stand here and watch her die,” answers Julian who bends down and holds her hand, telling her to come back to them.
Suddenly, Caitlin’s vitals return and quickly grow very strong as her wound disappears. She lets out a cold breath and opens her eyes which are now crystal blue. Cisco says her name and a blast of frost knocks them off their feet and across the room. Cisco looks up and as the cloud of cold frost parts, he sees Caitlin – now changed into Killer Frost – standing up and walking over to them.
The Flash Season 3 Episode 18 Review:
Suspenseful, heartbreaking, and ultimately tragic, season three episode 18 titled “Abra Kadabra” brings the worst prophecy of Savitar’s to fruition by the shocking and emotional death of Caitlin Snow and her rebirth as the evil Killer Frost. It’s clear now that Caitlin is the one Savitar was talking about when he said, “One shall suffer a fate worse than death,” because Caitlin warned Cisco, Julian, and Barry she would rather die than take off her necklace and become Killer Frost.
The stand-out performances in this episode belong to Danielle Panabaker and Carlos Valdes as Caitlin and Cisco. Danielle’s performance as Caitlin while she’s being operated on is incredible, capturing perfectly the unimaginable pain and fear her character is feeling as she guides Julian through the surgery. Carlos displays such heartfelt emotion in the last scene as he’s struggling to save his best friend’s life. The look of loss and devastation on his face is so powerful. (It had this critic teary-eyed.)
With Caitlin’s worst fear coming true and Savitar’s identity still unknown, it’s not looking good for Team Flash’s chances on stopping Savitar from killing Iris. Even worse, it seems that the heart and soul of the team, Caitlin, is gone for good…or is she?!