TV Review: The Flash - Season 3 Episode 3 "Magenta"
EPISODE 3: "Magenta"
SYNOPSIS: Barry (Grant Gustin) and Team Flash are thrilled to reunite with Earth-2 Wells (Tom Cavanagh) and Jesse (guest star Violett Beane). Wells confides to Barry and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) that Jesse has all the powers of a speedster and has been saving people on his Earth. He is concerned about her safety and wants them to talk her out of using her powers. Meanwhile, Magenta, (guest star Joey King) a new meta who can control metal, terrorizes the city.
REVIEW: There is something just a little off about this season of The Flash so far. Whereas the second season quickly lived up to the debut run of the show, season three has been uneven over the first three episodes. I was underwhelmed by the premiere and pleasantly surprised by the follow-up, but this third hour feels like a filler episode. While network television series that run over twenty episodes are expected to have a couple of filler hours, it is disappointing to see it come this early in the season, something that does not bode well if the trend continues. While the episode does offer some developments between Wally West and Jesse Quick, the focus on a forgettable villain of the week does little to progress the Alchemy/Flashpoint storyline.
So, while we know that the original timeline has been compromised, it seems rather quick that everyone is already accepting of the fact. Cisco already seems to be warming back up while Iris and Barry make an attempt at a date. They agree to not discuss the Flash but things quickly turn awkward and they are dispatched to STAR Labs where a breach has been opened to Earth 2. Prepared for the worst, the team is instead greeted by Harrison Wells and his daughter Jesse who has begun to exhibit metahuman abilties that give her Flash-like speed. Wells is of course cautious of his daughter's powers and wants her to stay safe while Wally is left saddened that he was not granted speed as well despite being exposed to the same dark matter as Jesse. What follows is an hour of everyone trying to disuade Jesse from becoming a hero while Wally even goes as far as walking in front of oncoming traffic to try and kickstart his own nascent powers. Of course, nobody gets what they want and everyone ends up complaining. If only there was an actual threat to face...
In comes Magenta. Another Flashpoint foe, Magenta inhabits the body of a young foster girl named Frankie who has been dealing with split-personality disorder. The violent Magenta uses her metal-controlling ability to hurt her foster father who abuses her. At the CCPD, Frankie is interrogated when the discord between Barry and Julian results in Magenta resurfacing. Clearly, Barry feels responsible for bringing more powered people to Earth Prime and feels protective of the innocent Frankie. Magenta feels indebted to Alchemy who vows that her powers will eliminate Frankie entirely once she kills her foster father. Iris heads to meet with Frankie's stepdad when Magenta arrives and uses her abilities to lift a massive freighter with the intention of dropping it on the hospital, killing civilians with the end goal to kill the man who mistreated her. Not to diminish the plight of abused children, but this all seems like a bit of overkill.
What follows involves The Flash teaming up with Jesse who is able to use her super speed to create a propellor effect of wind to keep the ship aloft while The Flash talks Frankie back in control of her own mind. I will say that the performance by Joey King as Magenta/Frankie is one of the highlights of this episode but is unfortunately overshadowed by the poor plotting of the story. I would love for one of the CW superhero shows to focus on the actual villain threat rather than having the antagonist outsource their master plan to flunkies who fail to beat hero. In this case, Magenta never develops into an adversary that feels like a legitimate threat but one that can easily be stopped. Already, Alchemy is coming off as a bit of a cut-rate villain which is not good three episodes into a 24 episode season.
The episode concludes with Harrison Wells finally acknowleging that his fear can no longer override the life of Jesse and offers her a few days to remain in Central City and gifts her a newly designed Flash costume for her to wear as she explores her abilities. While I enjoyed seeing Wally as Kid Flash in the premiere, I am even more excited to see Jesse Quick don the mantle of The Flash. In DC Comics, Jesse was also known as Liberty Belle, has a history with multiple versions of The Flash, making her an ideal addition to the team, even if it is for a short stint. The closing scenes of the episode find Barry and Iris agreeing to not ignore their current lives as they explore a romantic connection followed by Joe, Barry, and Julian watching video of Alchemy murdering Edward Clariss in prison.
Just from the way he asks Barry about whether he has heard of Alchemy or not, I am more convinced than ever that Tom Felton will eventually be unmasked as Alchemy, revealing that his alter ego is nothing but a construct. It is way too coincidental that this new character arrived after the Flashpoint universe altered the timeline, the sole new person we have met to date. While the obvious nature of this could end up being a red herring, I would not be surprised at all if he ended up being the twist much like we had with Zoom last year. What eventually befell Arrow was a feeling of deja vu as each season replicated the structure and themes of the last, I hope The Flash rights itself sooner rather than later.
NEXT ON THE FLASH: "The New Rogues" airs October 25th - Barry continues to train Jesse and when a new meta human,Mirror Master, appears on the scene he lets her tag along. Mirror Master has teamed up with his old partner, Top, and is looking forSnart to even a score. Jesse is quick to join the chase but defies one of Barry’s orders which results in disastrous consequences.