“The Flash” Episode 3.03 Review: “Magenta”

“The Flash” has gone back to its metahuman of the week format. Whether this is good or bad following the changes from Flashpoint is still unclear. After all, the show hasn’t yet found a way to properly develop its one-off and season-long villainous metas yet. However, it’s safe to say that Magenta is at least a step up from The Rival, whose story supposedly ended last week after being zapped by Doctor Alchemy. I’m not entirely convinced that we’ve seen the last of him quite yet.

The Flash -- "Magenta" -- Image: FLA303a_0003b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West and Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

The episode, “Magenta,” introduces Frankie Kane, a meta who can control metal. She’s after her foster dad to get back at him for his abusiveness, but she suffers from dissociative disorder that causes her to black out her memories of Magenta. This is where it gets a little bit murky though because the show doesn’t make clear whether she’s suffering from this because of the sudden powers she’s received from Alchemy, or if it’s something she suffered from before. I appreciated that Magenta did have more of a back story than some of the other metas in the past and it’s good that it somehow ties into the Alchemy plot, but it’s still too early to tell where this is ultimately going to go.

Alchemy is still not too scary and aside from being a result of Flashpoint, I hope they make his story more personally connected to Barry and the team. The consequences and fallout would be much higher this way. Julian, with all his snark, is easily suspect of being Alchemy. And although I hope it’s only a red herring–because if anyone is making Barry truly suffer for Flashpoint, it’s Julian–“The Flash” isn’t exactly subtle when it comes to its secrets and reveals.

Much more interesting in “Magenta” are the character developments. Harrison Wells and his daughter, Jesse, are back from Earth-2 because Wells wants Barry to train her. But really, it’s because he wants to (over) protect Jesse and so he recruits Caitlin to convince her not to use her powers. This only leads to a conversation filled with double-meaning about Caitlin’s own secret and icy powers. Jesse thinks having powers is awesome and fights her dad on getting out in the field. By the end, she gets her own speed suit! Better yet, training her means Barry is less likely to make any time-changing mistakes. I like Jesse on the show. She has a good presence. It also means we have another woman on the show, which is nice.

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

All the bad that’s been happening can be traced back to Flashpoint and it’s nice to know that the ripple effects continue to make themselves known. Alchemy is giving everyone back their powers who had them in Flashpoint. The question of why hasn’t yet been answered, but the fact that he’s doing so opens up the opportunity to further explore Wally’s storyline. He’s come a long way since last season and he wants so badly to help out. The only way he knows how to do this would be to become a speedster himself.

Joe: “I know you want this more than anything, but you have to face the fact that it might not happen.”
Wally: “So you think I should just let it go? Give up on wanting to help people?”
Joe: “You don’t need powers to do that. With that mind of yours and that engineering talent, you literally could build a better world.”

Wally is jealous and put out that Jesse got super speed and he was left in the dust, especially since they were hit by the same dark matter last season. Wally is desperate for powers and you can’t help but feel for him. He’s grasping onto this need and it hurts to see him struggle. That said, it’ll be interesting to see how he reacts to the fact that he did have speed in Flashpoint. Will he go to Alchemy? Will Alchemy come to him? As much as I want Wally to get his speed and join Barry on the streets of Central City, I don’t know how I feel about him getting his powers from Alchemy. The development could prove interesting if done tactfully and would put him, and by extension the West family, more at the forefront if it does happen.

The Flash -- "Magenta" -- Image: FLA303b_0026b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R) Candice Patton as Iris West and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW

Elsewhere in the episode, Barry and Iris go on their first romantic date. Well, they went on two because the first one got interrupted. The second one managed to be a lot better because they were being themselves and weren’t trying to ignore the fact that Barry’s powers are very much a part of their lives now. It’s funny because technically we’ve seen Barry and Iris go on dates, they just weren’t in a formal romantic sense. So them bridging the gap from just best friends to officially being lovers understandably calls for a little bump that’s quite simply resolved by the end of the episode. At this point, the writers have slowly and organically developed the relationship and I hope they don’t decide to mess it up with some silly or nonsensical conflict. It wouldn’t make sense in the grand scheme of things, especially since they both have been through worse. A healthy relationship being portrayed in the superhero genre is a much-needed breath of fresh air and having it play out is fundamental to the show.

I know that you think that I shouldn’t use my powers, and it’s not that I’m nothing without them. But they are a part of me now; they’re part of you. This is our life.”

Although “Magenta” has returned “The Flash” to form and is setting up the building blocks for the season, the character development is stronger than the season’s big bad and the metas of the week thus far. The Rival was dull, but at least Magenta was more interesting in terms of powers and background. There was a lot going on in the episode and the pacing could have been a bit better. As much as I love Wells and Jesse’s relationship, their scenes could have been cut back a bit in order to give more time to other characters like Cisco, who didn’t really have a lot to do this episode. Is he just over being mad at Barry? Regardless, in only the third episode, “The Flash” has a lot of possibilities to explore and has already proven a much stronger outing than the beginning of season two.

Next week, Captain Cold and Mirror Master!

Random Thoughts: 

  • I love that, even after years of knowing each other (they’ve seen each other in pajamas for goodness sake), Barry and Iris still manage to be nervous around each other in this new stage.
  • I am not going to lie and say I didn’t fear for Wally’s life when he jumped in front of that car. I knew he wasn’t going to die, but still.
  • Cisco’s judging looks while sitting at the console give me life.
  • Good cop, bad cop, dad cop. A guide to parenting by Joe West.
  • “You over share your feelings,” says Joe to Barry. This was hilarious and valid. Barry’s confused expression–poor guy didn’t get it.
  •  Wally and Jesse are cute. Why does she have to live on another Earth? #multiverseproblems
  • Wells and Jesse immediately recognized that the timeline had been changed. How? Because there is now a speed lab that wasn’t there before.
  • Iris and the rest of the team have panic buttons on their phones. I love this new development.
  • Wally is having dreams about his powers. Is this because of Alchemy? Will everyone else start to remember a little of their Flashpoint lives?
  • “You don’t think it’s a sign that we shouldn’t…” “NO!” I am here for no-chill Iris. She is just as ready as Barry.
  • Iris is using her investigative skills and researching. Looks like they’re finally trying to better incorporate this into the show!
  • I felt like Wells was channeling the ’90s with his constant “Not!” catchphrase.
  • I assume that Barry was coming back to that second date and he didn’t just leave Iris stranded miles away with no transportation.
  • “Is it?” “It is,” Barry responds mockingly using Julian’s English accent. I counted at least 6 eye rolls. I didn’t know their griping at each other was something I needed in my life until I got it.
  • Cisco and Wells’ relationship. I realized I missed it and I’m glad it’s back.
  • Alchemy reminds me of a crossroads demon from “Supernatural.” Giving people what they want… except we don’t really know what he’s getting in return. Yet.
  • “As much as it pains me to help an abusive dick like you, I can’t let you die.”
  • Magenta had magenta highlights. So unoriginal.
  • Kudos to Barry for not getting Iris an iris.
  • I wonder how they’ll continue to incorporate Wells into the season. Will he go back to Earth-2?
  • Barry should set some boundaries and not just run off unless it’s urgent.
70%
70%
Pretty Good

In only the third episode, "The Flash" has a lot of possibilities to explore and has already proven a much stronger outing than the beginning of season two.

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About Author

Mae is a Washington, DC-based film critic, entertainment journalist and Weekend Editor at Heroic Hollywood. A member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), she's a geek who loves discussing movies and TV. She is also a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. If she's not at the movies, she's catching up on her superhero TV-watching, usually with a glass of wine in hand.

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