The Flash lost more than some continuity and another first kiss between Barry and Iris in the creation of the “Flashpoint” universe and its fallout. Since the tail end of season 2, The Flash has been a much darker and moodier show. Gone are the relatively happy and optimistic days of season 1. Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow are ticking off the boxes of fun CW superhero content much more.
The Flash in season 3 is much more in line with its introspective (and broody) big brother, Arrow. It is a tone that works for Arrow, but on The Flash, it feels out of place. However, the show finally reclaims a bit of that joyful attitude in this episode, “Magenta,” with a plot that hearkens back to the metahuman-of-the-week structure of season 1.
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Barry and Iris are having an incredibly awkward first date when it is interrupted by the arrival of two familiar faces. Harry Wells and his daughter, Jesse, pop out of the breach from Earth-2 in the STAR Labs basement. Harry hasn’t changed much; he is just as — ahem — harried and prickly as ever. Jesse, though, has new speedster powers because of the dark matter explosion that hit Wally and herself in season 2.
When Wally finds out that Jesse has powers, he goes into a self-pitying tailspin. (An impressive feat since Wally spends most of his time whining.) Wally, probably figuring out that he has done a grand total of nothing the entire time he has been on this show, worries that without powers he is useless. Joe tries to talk to his son and tells Wally that he doesn’t need to have powers to be a hero and help others. It’s a fair point, but if Wally doesn’t become Kid Flash in this timeline at some point, I’m going to get cranky. Why else bring him onto the show?
Wally apparently agrees. Wells confesses that he brought Jesse to Earth-1 for other reasons than just testing her speed and visiting the gang. He doesn’t want her to be a speedster. Everyone attempts to try to stop Jesse from being the next spandexed speedster, but they fail. So Wally steps in to talk to her.
During their talk, Wally finds out that Jesse’s powers came upon her all of the sudden when her friend was in danger. Taking the exact wrong message, Wally throws himself into traffic to try to jump-start his powers. This doesn’t work at all, and Wally has to be saved from becoming roadkill by Jesse.
Foster Girl, Interrupted
Wally trying to kill himself and Jesse using her powers to save Wally create extreme reactions in their father (and, in Wally’s case, brother) figures. Joe and Barry are all upset that Wally is stupidly trying to give himself speed by endangering himself. Meanwhile, Harry can’t stomach his daughter putting herself in mortal danger, even if it is to save others. This family angst dovetails quite nicely into our metahuman-of-the-week and episode namesake, Magenta.
Magenta is a rather awful bland villain. She is pretty much exactly like Magneto from The X-Men. The name is not that creative, obviously, but she’s nothing like Ian McKellen or Michael Fassbender. Magenta has metal-controlling powers, and she grew up abused and in the foster care system. Magenta has been “gifted” with her powers by Dr. Alchemy. The catch is that her super-powered persona, Magenta, is struggling to take control of the mild-mannered sweet foster girl she really is, Frankie Kane.
While Frankie and Magenta are not that interesting, she/they is/are an effective plot device for the episode. Magenta really wants to kill Frankie’s severely abusive and controlling foster father. This makes her a great counterpoint to the well-meaning, if occasionally overbearing, fathers of Joe and Harry in the episode with their children.
Most important, though, Magenta is really just a scared and scarred teenage girl and it allows Barry to do something different. Barry can actually save and help a metahuman rather than imprisoning them, killing them or just punching them in the face. It’s been a long time since The Flash has allowed Barry to do that, and it is a breath of fresh air. With the help of Jesse (and her powers), Barry manages to do just that. He helps Frankie conquer the evil metahuman within herself and keep a lid on her powers.
Barry takes Frankie back to STAR Labs to see the team after she has been saved. They tell her that they have set her up with a new family, one that will not abuse her. Barry and the crew assure Frankie that she can control Magenta, but they will always be there to help. Frankie then explains how she received her powers from Alchemy. Alchemy apparently came to Frankie in a dream. Alchemy gave Frankie her powers to get the life she secretly wanted, which was ridding herself of her foster father.
Since the members of Team Flash are idiots, Wally is in the room during this ordeal. Wally now knows that Alchemy gives people powers based on their desires and that Wally was a speedster in the Flashpoint universe. I think we all know what (incredibly dangerous) way Wally is going to try to get speedster powers now.
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The Women of The Flash
While Kid Flash might be a little far off, Barry does have a new sidekick. After Jesse helps Barry take down Magenta, Wells relents and gives his blessing for Jesse to become a superhero, Jesse Quick. Wells gives Jesse a new costume, which honestly looks pretty awesome, and tells her they will be sticking around Earth-1 a little bit longer. It may not be the sidekick we originally imagined for Barry, but I’m ready for a lot more Jesse Quick.
Jesse is not the only woman in Barry’s life. Barry and Iris finally pick up their date and address why their first one was so awkward. Barry tells Iris that in order for this relationship to work, they can’t treat their personal and work lives as two separate things. They need to acknowledge that Barry will always be The Flash and Iris will always be … whatever role Iris fills besides being awesome. Iris agrees, and the two kiss (twice!). Finally, forward momentum on the West-Allen relationship! It only took two seasons and some change!
What do you think? Are you excited to see more Jesse Quick? Are you happy that The Flash is finally moving forward with Barry and Iris’ romance? Do you think Wally will get his powers from Alchemy? Do you think we will see Magenta again?
The Flash season 3 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our The Flash Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of The CW)