Sometimes, all it takes is a simple and straightforward episode to get a season back on track. While The Flash struggled in its first two episodes to course-correct from the aggravating creation of the Flashpoint universe, “Magenta” finds it footing with a cool new meta threat and the return of old favorites.
“Magenta” starts a bit slow with an awkward Barry and Iris date, before he’s called back to S.T.A.R. Labs to deal with the reopening of a breach. Through that portal, Harrison Wells and Jessie Quick from Earth-2 arrive on the scene, unchanged by the events of Flashpoint. However, in the intervening time, Jessie has become a speedster, much to her father’s chagrin.
Having Tom Cavanagh back is such a sorely-needed breath of fresh air for the show. The way Wells quickly figures out that Barry changed the timeline again, berates him and moves on is nearly as fast and smooth as The Flash stopping a robbery.
But this episode is about more than Jessie’s new powers. The team has to deal with Frankie AKA Magenta. A foster teen with an abusive stepdad, her Flashpoint counterpart was a supervillain with the power to control metal. All it takes is some interference from Dr. Alchemy and Magenta is reborn. Here though, Frankie is torn between her meta-self from another world and her own personality. It’s an interesting twist of dissociative disorder and makes for a sympathetic character.
Magenta isn’t the only character pulled in two directions. Jessie is caught between the hero she wants to be and Wells’ protectiveness. Wally is struggling with the life he has and the speedster life he desires, especially after seeing Jessie. It’s so intense that he tries to trigger abilities by walking in front of a speeding car. Not a great move there. While Wally’s issue is left unresolved for future episodes, Wells eventually comes around to support Jesse, which is great since she’s needed to help take down Magenta.
In the best action sequence this season thus far, Magenta uses her powers to raise a tanker ship, hoping to take out her foster father along with the hospital he’s in. By using such a gigantic object, the show really makes a worthwhile threat for The Flash, without relying on an evil speedster. It feels like it’s been a while since we had that. Luckily, the combined efforts of Barry and Jessie save the day, with Jessie holding up the ship through a wind funnel and Barry talking Frankie into turning away from her Magenta personality.
By the end of the episode, Wells and Jessie have decided to stick around for a while (Yay!) and Jessie even has some sweet new speedster threads. Let’s hope they both become series regulars again and that The Flash keeps moving on this much-improved track.
⦁ It’s hinted at that Wally’s desire to be a speedster may be coming from the same dreams that Alchemy used to create his meta-villains. What will his approach be with Wally and the heroic Kid Flash though?
⦁ Julian, besides generally being a dick towards Barry, seems to have some sort of problem with metahumans. He goes completely off on Frankie with accusations, triggering her switch to Magenta in the police station.
⦁ Cisco’s reaction to Magenta’s name? “Meh.”
⦁ When Joe interrupts Barry’s date and calls him back to the station, did Barry just strand Iris miles away from the city?
⦁ Next week, Mirror Master!