This week’s episode of The Flash brought the show back to basics. It was equal parts crime fighting and personal character development. Instead of the alternate timeline theme that engulfed the first two episodes, we saw Team Flash focus on defeating another metahuman that is terrorizing the city.
The villain of the week? Magenta, a troubled and bipolar teenager who was given metal-manipulating powers by Dr. Alchemy. What I liked about her character was that she wasn’t really looking to terrorize the whole city. Her motivation was to get back at her abusive foster father, she just so happened to threaten an entire hospital’s worth of people in the process. Unlike most of the villains we have seen in the show, Magenta (Joey King) has some depth to her character. She is battling an internal conflict and truly doesn’t want to be evil. In the end, Barry was able to channel her true self, stop her, and restore the peace in Central City (for now that is). The influence Dr. Alchemy had over her really shows his strength and abilities. What’s really scary about him is the way he can stay under the radar while still being able to wreak havoc on Central City.
Where this episode really exceeds is with its main characters. This week we saw the return of Dr. Wells and Jesse from Earth-2. Oh, and do you remember Jesse’s run-in with dark matter last season? Well, it turns out it made her into a speedster as well. Wally, however, is still left without any powers. This is the root of all the conflict this week.
Wells, acting as an overprotective parent, hates the idea of his daughter having powers and seeks the help of everyone to convince her not to use them. This causes a strain between Wells and Jesse because all she wants to do is help people like Barry, no matter the risk. Their feud is ultimately resolved, though, when Barry needs help stopping Magenta and Jesse’s speed is the only thing that can do it. Wells realizes this, prompting him to recite the rather cringe-worthy line, “now run Jesse, run.” Besides that, though, I’m glad Dr. Wells is back. His absence from the first two episodes was definitely noticed, and it just didn’t feel like The Flash without him.
Their return, however, wasn’t a happy homecoming for everyone. Jesse’s new powers brought out some major jealousy from Wally who was also hit by dark matter last season. Watching her run laps around him really hurt and only made him want powers more. He even went as far as stepping in front of a moving truck hoping it would spark his inner speedster. Both Joe and Barry took notice and were able to talk him into getting over it, but something tells me he’s not. After all, we know Wally will eventually become Kid Flash. The real question is how? Will he succumb to the powers of Dr. Alchemy and create a problem for everyone else, or will he get his powers in a more positive way? For me, this is something I’m really looking forward to finding out.
Aside from a few bad one-liners from various characters and the awkward romantic relationship between Barry and Iris, one they are clearly trying to force, this was a solid episode. Magenta was a refreshingly complex character (in fact I could have used more of her) and the return of Wells and Jesse was nice to see. Dr. Wells really is crucial to the lovable chemistry Team Flash has. This week felt like an episode from when The Flash was at its best in season one which bodes well for the rest of the season. The biggest questions remaining involve both Dr. Alchemy and Julian. They’re both quite intriguing and the more we see them the more I wonder who they really are. And as for Wally? Well, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.