Episode 303 “Magenta”
Written by Judalina Neira & David Kob
Directed by Armen V. Kevorkian
‘Tis but a functional episode with a Functional Villain to perform a function so that the heroes can function in a certain way. This ep, we get a new speedster, the return of Harry, and one step closer to revealing the big twist.
We come back to our Villain of the Week format, this time with Magenta (Joey King) playing the part of “metahuman with a grudge” — but at least she’s not holding it against Barry (Grant Gustin), for once. Instead, Frankie has it out for her foster father, an abusive man who’s written so over-the-top ugly that we all sympathize with Frankie. John gets what he’s got coming to him: a traffic light pole through the window.
It doesn’t kill him, though. So it sets up our final confrontation at the hospital. More on that in a moment.
Meanwhile, Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) brings his daughter Jessie (Violett Beane) over from Earth-2 because she’s got speed. And boy, does she have speed! She could very well be faster than Barry. And all of the tests in the Speed Lab — wait, you’ve never been in here before? Barry’s been time travelling again, hasn’t he? — show that she’s hale and hearty. Except Harry doesn’t want her to use her speed, doesn’t want her to be a hero. He’s a father, and he worries about her constantly.
He tries to get Cisco (Carlos Valdes) or Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) to talk Jessie out of using her speed. Cisco, already out with his Vibe powers, says he’s the last person to talk to Jessie, so Harry turns to Caitlin. They’re gal pals, right? (Are they? With this being post-Flashpoint… )
So Caitlin, who secretly has powers now, talks to Jessie about being careful, because “If I suddenly had powers, I’d take it slow.” Jessie, of course, sees this for what it is: her father putting everyone up to talking her out of putting on a cape. This, understandably, makes her angry.
(Side note: what if the speed lighting was like a mood ring? You know, color change depending on how you feel? Nah…)
(Side note 2: Nice to see Harry immediately pick up on the altered timeline based on a couple of snippets of dialogue, and the subsequent “I told you so” moment.)
In the midst of this family drama, another family drama is playing out as Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) mopes around because he didn’t get speed powers from taking a hit of dark matter. Same as Jessie, see, so he should have powers same as Jessie, see. So when she tells him her powers got jump-started because she almost got hit by a car, he figures “same as Jessie, see” and steps out in front of a speeding truck.
Look, I know where this is headed. Wally’s going to connect with Alchemy and get his powers. Julian (Tom Felton) and Barry are going to identify a husk belonging to Wally, and Barry’s going to freak because Joe (Jesse L. Martin) is going. to. freak. out. and what do we tell him? How do we tell him? Hey, Cisco, no worries, we already have a name for him…
In the meantime, Magenta has gone back to Alchemy with complaints to the management that Frankie is still with her, and she wants things to be better. Alchemy says that in order for Magenta to completely expunge Frankie, she’s going to have to do something Really Bad. Like Kylo Ren Bad.
So Magenta decides to flip a cargo tanker over and toss it at the hospital.
Fortunately — well, not for her, really — Iris (Candice Patton) is at the hospital talking with John when the tanker heads that direction. Pushing her
Superman Emergency Signal Watch so Team Flash knows her location, Iris gets John to the exit just as Magenta hits the parking lot. Nobody’s going nowhere.
So Flash, Cisco, and Harry figure he can keep the tanker from falling onto the roof of the hospital by running in a figure-eight pattern and be a propeller. Only now he’s stuck running a figure-eight pattern on the roof.
This is where Magenta has fulfilled her role as Purely Functional Character, as her actions mean Harry has to finally bow to the inevitable and let Jessie be Jessie, let her be the hero and go help Flash. “Run, Jessie. Run.”
It’s a nice moment for Harry and Jessie, and it rolls back most of last season when Harry was obsessed about keeping his daughter safe to the point where he was willing to help Zoom steal the Flash’s speed in order to get her back. Harry’s finally moved past that point, and recognizes that he can’t be that over-protective father anymore. It speaks to a little bit of growth in the character.
Harry even points out how he and Barry are opposite sides of a coin. “I was always too good at forgiving myself, Allen. You were never good enough.” Harry’s always been able to rationalize any of his actions by claiming as his goal protecting Jessie. But she’s grown up to the point where he can’t protect her like he wants. And he finally realizes it.
Just as Barry and Iris realize that any kind of relationship they have will have to include the Flash in the middle of it. Because that’s who Barry is now. In the bookends for the episode, we get a disastrous date, and we get a not-so-bad date.
But where did Barry leave Iris? Is that Coast City?…
The Flash airs Tuesday nights at 8/7c on The CW.