“Magenta is another side effect from your side trip, genius… not,” comments Harry (Tom Cavanagh) to Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) after coming through a breach with his daughter Jesse Quick (Violett Beane). What? Not the Harrison Wells you expected? I am sure that we’ll see another version of Harrison Wells in the near future, but for now it’s back to Earth-2; kinda. Have no fear The Flash writers certainly have time on their side this season with newly turned metahuman, Magenta (Joey King) inflicting her rage on the citizens of Central City one moment and acting innocent the next, “So Frankie’s Jekyll and Magenta is Hyde.” A great villain to feature during an episode about repressing guilt, fear, and even sides of ourselves from others to see. We all grow up, we all change eventually, some just are affected by dark matter, a philosopher’s stone, or simply a side effect from Barry Allen messing with time. Take your pick.
“Convince my son that he’s not meant to be a superhero,” states Joe West (Jesse L Martin) after noticing Wally’s disappointment about Jesse being a speedster. After this episode it’s only a matter of time before he becomes the next Dr. Alchemy abductee (or volunteer), turned husk, and then newfound metahuman in Central City. Not even Barry Allen will be able to stop this unfortunate chain of events; he just may have even caused it. In only three episodes The Flash writers have miraculously transformed Wally West from the angst filled lost boy into a man wanting to save the world, “You know most people dream of making the world a better place, that mind of yours and that engineering talent, you could literally build a better world.” Too bad Wally’s dreams currently have him living out his Flashpoint memories as The Flash… I mean Kid Flash.
In comparison to “Flashpoint” (3×01) Barry took on a much more fatherly role to Wally’s desire to kick start his speed. The writers continue to pull on the heroic consequential thread as Barry attempts to dissuade his friend from going on a path that led to his demise in another time. Both the themes of fate and destiny are scattered throughout this episode that was filled with young heroes and villains receiving these extraordinary abilities. Meanwhile, the parents find themselves pushed to the sidelines, because the dark matter side effects - for some - are about as inevitable as children getting older. Joe plays “dad cop” to his son’s dream to become a speedster and Harry tries to get various Team Flash members to talk his daughter out of her own hero crusade. I love all the situational irony found during the Jesse and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) scenes. Killer Frost is yet another Flashpoint effect lurking in the shadows that will hopefully play out when the time is right. Barry Allen cannot go back to who he was before becoming The Flash or who he was before Flashpoint. There are just some parts of ourselves that we can’t ignore, not even Caitlin Snow.
“I was always too good at forgiving myself Allen, you were never good enough,” explains Harry to Barry Allen during their final moment on screen together. In many ways the episode pays tribute to it’s fan base’s constant teasing about the series revolving around Barry Allen messing up and then fixing the timeline. The writers also dismiss fan fears of our hero’s seemingly inevitable dark turn as he shoulders all of his responsibility, guilt, and shame alone. There’s still a genuine lightness that cracks through the surface in the show, evident during the small moments like this one between Harry and Barry. Two sides of the same coin, one responsible for the particle accelerator explosion on another earth and one caused Flashpoint. Even though both Zoom from Season 2 and Dr. Alchemy are irreversible side effects from these decisions of men; both actions created new heroes like Jesse Quick and eventually Kid Flash later in the season.
Points this week:
The Flash: Magenta (3×03) - 8.0
Arrow: A Matter of Trust (5×03) - 9.0