Let Me Be Great
Damn, Wally really can’t catch a break when it comes to unlocking his power. “Magenta” may have introduced us to the titular character, a young girl that had a slight case of dissociative disorder, with one personality having the ability to control metal (Magneto) and the other just trying to keep her shit together after harsh existence in the foster care system. This could be considered a one off episode of The Flash, if it weren’t for bringing back Wells and Jess to remind us that Barry still messed up the timeline in a major way.
I’m just gonna briefly address Magenta the character, because “Magenta” the episode only really used her as a plot contrivance. Her power was shown early as a form of defense against her abusive foster father, and again at the end of the episode when she suspended the top of a building above a hospital. A nice display of power, but this episode only served to further build the character of Alchemy on the villain front. We already knew that he was able to connect meta-humans to their Flashpoint counterparts in order to give them powers, but we still don’t have a full motive. We’re also no closer to know who he is under that Doctor’s Mask. It was clear that Magenta was having her emotions exploited more than anything else, and credit to Joey King for getting that across. It made Magenta sympathetic, thus making the final encounter with Barry more dramatic. A large part of the Flash formula is finding ways for Barry to confront non-speedsters in a satisfying manner. Doing something other than running really fast and hitting them in the head.
Elsewhere in “Magenta”, Team Flash was busy working out the differences between this timeline and the Flashpoint. Oh, and Barry and Iris attempted to have a nice date to officially kick off their relationship. I slightly understand the sentiment, but why do shows where characters have known each other for years try to force big elaborates dates, and the inability to complete them down our throats. The same thing happened on Supergirl, and it always comes off disingenuous. These people already have a relationship, there’s no need to tie it in conventional wrappings for the audience to understand there will be some difficulties. At least, in the case of this episode, they were able to work that into the framework of the new couple’s own self-discovery.
A running theme for the episode was characters being given their own agency. A bulk of that plot was given to the returning Well’s and Jesse, who now had her own speedster powers, that her dad was none too pleased about. He’d opened up the portal from Earth-2 to reconnect with old friends, only to immediately notice some differences. I love when the entire team gets together on this show, allowing for characters like Wells and Cisco to play off of one another and the deep history they all share. When Wells hammers home that he’d warned Barry about time travel, it’s not empty, we’ve seen him do it. Several versions of him, in fact. Still, Wells’ ulterior motive was to dissuade his daughter from taking on the speedy heroics of a fellow flash, but it’s hard to convince someone not to be a hero, when the only real bonds she has is because of it. Of course the speeches didn’t work, and in the end, Jesse got her own super suit, but not after having to save Wally from getting himself killed. I understand that dude reaaaaally wants powers, but his character has suffered greatly because of it. It’s one thing to make him slightly obsessive, it’s another to make him seemingly dense to the point of self-harm.
“Magenta” didn’t venture into full on, one off territory for The Flash, but the lack of a true villainous presence almost put it there. Magenta may return in a later installment, likely as an ally, but the mystery is still with Alchemy, who is clearly spinning all sorts of wheels to take Flash down. I just hope the show strays a bit from formula in the coming weeks.