The Flash has changed the intro again, which was a good switch. He doesn’t sound like he’s frantic to the point of breaking like he did in the first episode, but that’s understandable. Barry hasn’t fixed everything, but he’s at least realizing he can’t. I’m so glad Jay spoke with him about that as part of the ongoing series of “CW heroes get told to get their act together” by their nearest and dearest. This week’s episode is titled “Magenta.”
Barry has yet another run-in with his office mate, Julian, who continues to be a dick, giving Barry a hard time over when he leaves by literally two minutes. I have a theory about him, but I’ll get back to that later. Barry finally escapes the office and has a not-so good date with Iris. They’re both trying too hard in all the wrong ways. I think they’re both relieved when they get paged to STAR by an alert from Cisco.
The alarm this time is a breech opening in the STAR Labs basement, that none of them have anything to do with or any control over. Fortunately, it ends up being harmless this time around. Harrison Wells returns, asking for help. Jessie has manifested speed powers of her own, which has Wells worried and Wally envious. I guess it’s a bad event if your name starts with W.
Things get even more tense when Barry comments he’s never seen the Speed Lab they bring Jessie to for testing, and that’s enough for Wells to realize Barry’s been mucking around with time again.
In another part of the city, there’s the set up for a bad domestic abuse scene. A man named John comes home and yells at his wife and daughter. Of course, this isn’t a normal crime show, so you know there’s a surprise coming. The daughter is Frances Kane, who has both magnetic powers and a split personality. Things don’t go well for the father.
In the comics, Frances Kane was the girlfriend of Wally West for a while, from his late Kid Flash days to the beginning of his time as Flash. The histories are roughly similar, except in the comics, she thought she was possessed. Eventually she got her powers and mind under control and became an ally of both Flash and the Teen Titans.
Barry and Iris have a stilted talk about their date. I can understand wanting to do that, but may discussing superpowers when you have a secret identity while you’re standing in the middle of a hallway in a public building isn’t the best choice? Iris is following up on the bizarre events about the “man who was attacked by a lamp post,” which is more or less what Frankie’s powers did. Joe is trying to interview Frankie about what happened, but she can’t remember. She says she’s been having blackouts off and on.
Julian proves he’s not just a dick to Barry. After a few smug conversations, Julian works out Frankie is the metahuman in question. He then brilliantly provokes her while they’re in the middle of the police station with no safeguards in place. Barry changes to Flash and saves him, but you have to wonder if he wasn’t at least a little tempted to let him get squished by the giant metal plaque Frankie wrenched off the wall with her powers.
At STAR Labs, Jessie’s new powers are being tested. Cisco and Caitlin both think she’s doing fine, but Wells wants more tests. He eventually admits he’s stalling, and he was hoping the STAR crew would help him talk her out of using her powers. Wells’ overriding worry has always been about his daughter, so I get it, but he really needs to chill out.
One of the themes of the episode is awkward conversations. Aside from Barry and Iris’ date, and Julian’s extremely questionable interview technique, Joe talks to Wally about his not having powers and other ways he could help people. Not a bad idea, but again, maybe not in the police station? Caitlin, at Wells’ request, tries to talk Jessie down about the power idea, and it goes badly. And in a different bad conversation, Frankie, in her persona as Magenta, finds Alchemy and gets goaded further down the dark path. Jessie and Wally talk about powers, and Wally does something amazingly stupid that gets both Barry and Joe pissed off at him, deservedly so.
After Wells and Barry have a mutual pity party, things get bad. Magenta decides it’s time to finish off her step-father. Now, the guy’s death might not be a bad thing, considering he’s such a pathetic excuse for a human being, but Magenta’s really into overkill. Dropping a tanker ship on a hospital is a bit extreme. Flash goes to stop her and is having problems. Wells finally accepts the inevitable and tells Jessie to go help him. Between them, they stop the ship, save the hospital, and talk Frankie back into control.
Interviewing Frankie afterward, they wrap things up well. She doesn’t remember what she did as Magenta, but Flash, Cisco, and Caitlin give her a new home and suggestions for how to fight Magenta off if she comes back. She vaguely remembers having dreams of another life in what we know is the Flashpoint timeline, and that Dr. Alchemy said he could give her want she wants: power.
Jessie and Wells have their own talk and patch up their recent differences. Wells admits he was wrong trying to hold her back, and even has a costume for her. They’re going to stick around on this world a while to get her trained. I really wonder what their lives are like back on Earth 2 that they keep disappearing for long periods of time and it doesn’t seem to cause them problems. He calls her Jessie Quick again. In the comics, Jessie Quick is a speedster, but there she’s the daughter of Golden Age heroes Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle.
Iris and Barry try another date, which goes better this time. But he takes off when Joe calls him to work. Now, this is after Barry whisked her off somewhere at speed, which makes me wonder where the heck she is and how she’s getting back. Barry was called back to see video that Joe just got. Joe, Julian, and Barry watch Clariss getting beaten to death in his cell, presumably by Dr. Alchemy. Julian makes a few snide comments and wanders off, leaving confusion in his wake.
What I liked: It’s about time Jessie got her powers. I’m glad Wells is on his way to accepting them. It’s good to see Barry and Iris trying to date, even if it’s with clumsy, lumbering steps forward. It was interesting seeing Magenta in live action. Cicso not really being impressed with Magenta’s chosen name was amusing.
What I didn’t: Wally’s being a dumb ass. I get that he wants powers, but I suspect he’ll be a dupe/unwitting slave of Dr. Alchemy before the season’s over. They really need to be a lot more careful with the whole secret identity concept. And I can’t stand Julian. At all.
I’ll give this one a 3.5 out of 5 and see where they go with some of their ideas.
I mentioned an idea about Julian. I’m wondering if he’s Dr. Alchemy. On the one hand, it seems too obvious. On the other, he and Alchemy are both major new parts of Barry’s altered life and both seem to have it in for Barry/Flash. I’m almost hoping I’m wrong about this.