Warning: This article contains major spoilers of The Flash Season 3, Episode 3 "Magenta."
This week's episode of The Flash saw our favorite timeline-altering scarlet speedster go up against the powerful metahuman Magenta. But it also did so much more than that. Through various storylines and returning characters, "Magenta" took a step away from focusing on Flashpoint's gloomy aftermath and gave the series a refreshingly fun reinvigoration.
Check out this behind the scenes look at "Magenta":
Let's take a look at why this seemingly simple episode of The Flash was more important than you think, and how it came at just the right time to revitalize the show.
Life After Flashpoint
The first two episodes of Season 3 certainly divided viewers, mainly because of the show's adaptation of the Flashpoint — one of the most iconic comic book arcs in recent memory — which sees Barry Allen making cataclysmic changes to the timeline when he runs back in time to save his mother. While the event affected the entire world in the comics, the #TV series made an emphatic statement by primarily focusing on how the event affected Barry's life. And while I loved it, some didn't.
The second episode "Paradox" certainly had some brilliant moments, but it was incredibly gloomy, focusing on the severe aftermath of the event. Two consistently heavy episodes was unlike the show. The reason "Magenta" worked so well was because it finally proved that there is life after Flashpoint on the show. While the event definitely provided us with a strong story to progress with this season — Dr. Alchemy's attempts to recreate the timeline — we can finally all move on from the initial event.
After a string of seriously heavy episodes — stemming all the way back to mid-Season 2 — Magenta was a return to form for The Flash, using its overall arc to create a standalone plot which can easily be revisited at anytime. We do have Flashpoint to thank for this, and as Dr. Alchemy continues to throw metahuman after metahuman at the Flash, the event's aftermath will be a consistent presence, but with this simple episode, the show has proven that there will be life after Flashpoint.
A Throwback To Season 1
One thing we frequently observe with #superheroes on TV is the overused "villain of the week" format, in which we see our favorite superhero taking on a new villain each week without any overall storyline arc. However, back when it began in 2014, The Flash reinvigorated the template, having the new hero go up against a new metahuman in each episode, but maintained an overall arc, which at the time was Barry solving his mother's murder.
"Magenta" completely mirrored this format. While straying away from Flashpoint and seeming more like a Season 1 offering, the episode's reason for existing is down to Flashpoint's aftermath — Dr. Alchemy. It was Alchemy who gave Frankie Kane her powers, claiming that Magenta was who she was in the Flashpoint timeline. This allowed the episode to cleverly blur the lines between a typical villain of the week episode and sew in some integral plot points, including Julian Albert's suspicious questions and Alchemy's involvement with Magenta.
Furthermore, much like Season 1, the episode felt a lot more light-hearted and focused more on the internal struggles Frankie had with keeping Magenta at bay. The familial element was also a nod to the show's first season which was much more family-orientated than its second. The emotional scenes really added to the episode and Joey Kind did an amazing job as both Frankie and Magenta.
If you're a fan of The Flash, check these out:
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West-Allen Is Finally Official
Comic book fans know that each hero has their loved one. Clark Kent has Lois Lane, Oliver Queen has Laurel (Dinah) Lance and Barry Allen has Iris West. However, The Flash has had no problem filling non-comic book fans in on the identity of the future Mrs. Allen as it has repeatedly pushed the West-Allen romance as destiny since Iris West-Allen's name popped up on the byline of the future newspaper.
Furthermore, throughout Season 1 we watched the Barry hopelessly love his best friend from afar as she moved in with her partner Eddie Thawne. But it wouldn't be long until she too began to feel the same way about Barry, and she finally confessed her feelings to him towards the end of Season 2. Not to mention a few kisses that the two shared here and there before Barry would alter the timeline and accidentally erase them. But like any good love story, this represented the hero's journey towards his one true love. And during "Magenta," that love bloomed more than ever.
After two years of excellent foreshadowing and frustratingly brilliant creative choices, Barry and Iris are finally beginning a healthy relationship. This episode went to great lengths to explore how they are no longer the people they were in Season 1. These two characters have undergone immense transformations to get here and there are no longer any secrets holding them back.
Despite their initial attempt to declare Barry's superheroic life off-limits during their date, they soon embraced their current life and accepted it. For the first time, Barry and Iris are ready to face it together. In a beautifully traditional superhero moment, Barry kissed Iris before leaving their date to go do what he does best — be a hero. In that moment, it was official — West-Allen is here to stay.
Progression Of The Show's Mythos
The Flash has been commended for its uncanny ability to respectfully alter aspects of its comic book legacy but maintain the core elements to create a new but recognizable version of the story. These respectful adaptations came in the form of Eobard Thawne masquerading as Harrison Wells in Season 1, and Zoom's unique look and storyline in Season 2. "Magenta" saw the series once again continue this impressive trait with the return of Jesse — this time as a speedster.
When Jesse debuted during Season 2 as Earth-2 Wells' daughter, many speculated that she would end up getting speed and becoming like her comic book counterpart. This week finally saw that take place, and thus, The Flash's version of Jesse Quick has come full-circle and has added to the TV show's legacy. The official introduction of this iconic comic book character once again highlights that The Flash isn't afraid to tackle any of the DC universe's famous characters, and now a whole new world of possibilities has opened up for it. From an official Flash sidekick to a host of new storylines, the return of Jesse Quick has marked the beginning of a refreshing new era for The Flash.
Check out Jesse Quick in costume in the trailer for next week's episode of The Flash "The New Rogues":
With all that mind, I have no problem admitting that "Magenta" was a much-needed return to form for The Flash. While maintaining important elements of Flashpoint's aftermath as well as creating intrigue for future storylines, the episode was an enjoyable adventure that saw The Flash facing off against a super-powered metahuman. After at least ten consecutive episodes full of complicated storylines, parallel universes and alternate timelines, this episode was very much a successful case of "less is more."
"Magenta" may have seen a return to the "villain of the week" format, but it was so much more than that, adding to the show's mythology, reminding it that it could be fun and kickstarting the relationship of its headlining couple.
What did you think of "Magenta"? Let us know in the comments!