This week’s episode of The Flash started off with a feeling we know all too well: waiting for something you want desperately. Though whereas Barry has waited 3 Seasons to start his romance with Iris, it seems like this Season of The Flash won’t make its fans wait for all the things they’ve wanted: Jess and Caitlin getting having powers; a route to Wally becoming Kid Flash; the return of the Harry/ Cisco banter.
This week’s episode of The Flash not only gave all this but also did it all with the beautiful writing we’ve come to expect from this series. So let’s slow things down once more – sorry Barry – and take A Closer Look at The Flash “Magenta”.
Father Daughter Dynamics – Frankie Kane/ Magenta & Jesse Quick:
Let’s see: We have an episode about Wells learning to accept his daughter’s powers while another father’s abusive nature causes his daughter to snap and seek powers… If there was a “theme” for this episode, pointing out the juxtaposition of these father daughter relationships seems to be a great place to start – especially since each kind of serve as bookend moments for the episode.
As the episode begins we find Frankie Kane, a foster child who has not only been shuffled from house to house but now finds herself in an extremely abusive household. We’ve seen how abusive fathers can alter someone’s life path before – ie: Captain Cold, Zoom, etc – and Frankie’s dad is no exception. Between her own feelings of powerlessness and her memories of Flashpoint, she is easily seduced by Alchemy’s promise of power and is not an unstable cannon ready to take her anger out on anyone who gets in her way.
On the other end of the spectrum, we find the return of Jesse (who’s name is vaguely similar pronunciation-wise to Frankie) but now with superpowers. Unlike Frankie’s dad though, we know how much Harry loves Jesse from last season. He’s overprotective to a fault sometimes, but in the end he does trust her enough to spread her wings and take on Magenta with Barry. Towards episode end, we find Harry and Jesse having a heart to heart where he embraces her and her decisions fully. With their relationship being so strong – and the themes of ‘trusting your daughter’/ ‘sins of the father’ hanging in the air – it’s only fitting that Frankie be given a second chance to live her life and try to fight against the darkness. But will she be strong enough to control her other half or will she return to Alchemy’s employ… much like some one else might soon be.
The Allure Or Fear Of Powers – Jesse, Wally & Caitlin:
If the juxtaposition of Fathers & Daughters was one focal point of this episode, then the Allure & Fear of powers was the other. And whereas Jesse does serve as the constant in this juxtaposition, it’s actually Wally and Caitlin that are up for debate. When we meet Jesse again, she’s in full control of her powers and accepts them as a way to help others. Her father might be flipping out, but for Jesse there’s not a doubt in her mind about what she has to do next. Sadly, the reactions to Jesse’s new powers – and her acceptance of them – are what sets up our next comparison: Wally and Caitlin.
On one side we have Wally from the moment he sees that Jesse got powers, he’s … well jealous. He feels he missed out and that should be him too. The dark matter wave hit them both and thus should have given them both super speed. As the episode progresses, we see him get more and more upset and even go as far as trying to kill himself in order to shock his powers into manifesting. Though it’s not his actions – or comic history – that lead us to believe he’ll eventually get his powers, but rather what is said that does.
When Barry is explaining to Harry and Jesse that Alchemy is a villain who is able to give people the powers they had in the flashpoint universe, our minds immediately travel to Wally who’s been wishing he had powers this whole time. As the episode progresses and we hear Frankie recount how she became Magenta, the evidence builds. We heard Wally tell Jesse how he dreamed occasionally of having powers, but seeing his face while Frankie says her ordeal started with dreams too shows us that maybe Wally’s dreams haven’t been just dreams – and he’s starting to think it.
Alchemy will be reaching out to him eventually and considering how Wally’s jealousy for Barry returned this episode, it’s not crazy to think that Alchemy might be able to turn him against Barry – at least for a time. We all know Wally will eventually make the right call and side with Barry and take down Alchemy, but he’s sure to be upset when he learns his other fate was kept from him initially.
So where does Caitlin fit into this? Well almost every line about Wally and Powers manifesting can be taken for her as well – past, present and future. When Wells explains that sometimes powers take a while to manifest, this applies to Caitlin and it’s confirmed by how she is still keeping her powers under wraps and secret. This isn’t something Caitlin has hid since Alternate Season 1, but rather a recent development, which is further supported when Caitlin explains to Jesse that maybe she should take it slow since she just discovered she had powers – it’s what she would do… and is doing. We’ll probably learn later this season how Caitlin got her powers or how they finally manifested. Maybe Alchemy’s powers are greater than first predicted and he can restore powers to doppelgangers as well.
Either way, what about Caitlin’s future? Will she become Killer Frost? Again, I say no and hope she will become an alternate version of the DC Heroine Ice – and this episode gives some support for this non-villainess hope. Barry explains to Magenta how a villain blames others for their problems and how they aren’t strong enough to move forward and accept who they are. Additionally, Barry also tells Magenta that even if there is a darkness inside her, she can face it and strengthen the good inside her. Both of these quotes can refer to Caitlin and remind us that she is a strong character. To make this Caitlin Snow a villain would be to undercut a lot of her strength; and whereas that happened to Earth-2 Caitlin, I’m sure Earth-1 Caitlin will rise to the occasion and overcome all of these pitfalls.
In A Flash – Easter Eggs, Quotes & Other Notables:
- Favorite Quotes: Winner – Cisco
- “Really, you guys are doing “Not” on Earth-2?” Cisco to Harry
- We installed them on everyone’s phones because we kept getting kidnapped!” – Cisco
- “Run Jesse, Run!” – Harry delivering the famous line to the new heroic speedster
- “Barry… you’re like a second daughter” – Joe to Barry
- The restaurant Barry took Iris too was the same restaurant Ray took Felicity, Iris and Eddie to in their Season 1 double date.
- It was great that this episode started off with exploring how to Barry and speedsters time moves much slower for them.
- It probably goes without saying, but it was great that last night they confirmed how the change in one Earth’s timeline doesn’t effect another’s. Harrison Wells knew immediately things were different and that helps give Barry someone else to talk to about these drastic changes.
- The “power bars” Cisco tells Jesse to grab are the super high calorie ones from Season One that they engineered so Barry would stop passing out from the accelerated metabolism his powers come with.
- Even before Jesse gets her costume at episode end, we see her wearing a Flash red jacket when talking with Wally.
- Barry’s first deed was running in a circle to stop a tornado, so with Jesse now joining Barry, having them run in a figure eight (two circles basically) was a nice way to show teamwork and how they need more now.
- Is Julian a complete heartless – and idiotic individual for yelling at who he knows to be a fragile Metahuman? OR is he actually Alchemy and knows full well that yelling at Frankie will bring out Magenta?
Next week, Jesse join the Flash fulltime in hero duties – and just in time too because he’ll be taking on the powerful Mirror Master. And if that wasn’t enough, we’ll also be getting the return of the dynamic duo of jokes – Cisco and Harry!
So stay tuned for the next episode and our next Closer Look!