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THE FLASH “Magenta” Review

By on October 19, 2016

Pictured: Joey King as Frankie Kane -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW

By Justin Carter

After a two parter set to establish the new status quo (or rather, the new old one), this week’s episode of The Flash takes it slow in terms of the overarching plot for the year in favor of something much more straightforward, which thankfully also means the return of Tom Cavanaugh back in the role of Harry. After a few months back in Earth-2, he and his daughter Jesse have returned with big news: she’s a speedster!

Her dormant powers have now kicked in after being hit with dark matter late last season, and it’s a big deal for several of the characters, all of whom have their own feelings on it. Harry and Joe look at her and see a new problem that could end in death; Caitlin views her as an ideal of what she could be if and when her ice powers start to become more prevalent (her dancing around having powers while trying to impart advice to Jesse is hilarious); Wally is jealous that his friend has powers while he’s coming up empty, and Barry is just along for the ride, mostly.

The dynamic between the different characters and how they interact with Jesse is both interesting and nuanced. While it’s totally understandable for Harry to be dialed up to 11 in “protective dad mode,” I was also able to see Jesse’s argument in terms of his opposition to having her gender play a factor into it. There’s likely more to Harry’s side that has him so gung ho about keeping his daughter out of trouble, but until that information is revealed, all we have to go off of are the conversations between the Wells’, and Violett Beane and Cavanaugh do a good job at not making the conflict between them seem genuine. Season two largely used Jesse as a prop and plot device, so it’s nice to see her just bouncing around with energy and enjoying her speed. Unfortunately, her entire being also puts a whole lot of insecurity on Wally, to the point where he decides to jump start his powers by stepping in front of a truck because hers came when she nearly got hit by a car.

It’s not easy seeing your friends succeed while you’re not really progressing, and that holds especially true with superheroes. Watching Wally deal with his insecurities stings, because he should have them after all that happened in Flashpoint, something that he’s starting to remember himself. Joe’s reassurances that he can be a hero without powers by way of his engineering skills is appropriately heartwarming (it’s not every day a superhero show takes the time to emphasize science and smarts to people of color), and here’s hoping that he takes that to heart. Eventually, Wally will become Kid Flash again (more than likely at Alchemy’s hands), and it will be interesting to see how he applies his engineering skills to his newfound powers.

Jesse is thankfully the least troubling thing that Team Flash has to deal with this week, as Alchemy takes on a new person to give their Flashpoint powers back to after the Rival failed last week. This time around, it’s the metahuman Frankie Kane, a teenage girl living in an abusive home and who has a split personality and who controls metal. Her Magenta personality takes over whenever she blacks out, at which point she puts her foster father in the hospital with a street lamp.

It’s definitely iffy territory to get into for the team, and credit to Barry for instantly shutting down Harry’s claims that she was faking having another personality. While no one would blame Frankie for getting rid of a scumbag, she’s also not in her right state of mind when doing so, and the Magenta personality is using her anger as a way to shut out Frankie out and take control of their (?) body. Fortunately, it’s Barry’s optimism that wins the day after he manages to convince Magenta to spare her foster dad from being crushed by a tanker.

It’s optimism and love that made The Flash such a delight when it first came out, and it’s great that it’s getting back into that mentality. Even with the threat of Alchemy looming on the horizon, here’s hoping that the team sticks to that when it all hits the fan.

Additional Notes

  • Jessie finally gets a costume of her own at the end of the episode, but the angle isn’t good enough to get a complete look at it. Good thing they’re sticking around for the next few days, so we can see it in action.
  • Barry and Iris have two dates at the start and end of the episode. The first one goes about as well as expected (read: badly), but it goes much better with the second. Maybe now the show will show us that the two of them belong together besides just saying so.
  • The new timeline has some perks: STAR Labs has a Speed Room for the speedsters, along with a panic app that lets the others know when one of them gets kidnapped.
  • Next week: the Mirror Master!

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