‘The Flash’ Post-Show Analysis Season 3 Episode 3: ‘Magenta’
Welcome back to Up To Speed, in which Flash TV show recappers Dylan Todd and Ziah Grace break down the latest episode of The Flash and talk about what works, what doesn’t, and where the series might be headed.
This week, Barry goes on two dates that last a combined time of five minutes, Wally’s gotta go fast, and Harrison Twells returns! It’s Up To Speed. “Magenta” was directed by Armen V. Kevorkian and written by Judalina Neira and David Kob.
Ziah: Hey Dylan, it’s great to be back on the Flash beat. Twells is back, and all is right with the Up To Speed world, am I right?
Seriously though, I loved this episode. We got the return of Earth 2 Harrison Wells and Jesse Quick, who have been sorely missed, very little of Alchemy’s dumb face, some genuinely sweet romantic moments with Barry and Iris, and multiple interesting subplots getting advanced. It’s a spoopy miracle.
Dylan: You know how I love spoopiness. It’s my favorite.
Ziah: So, let’s start small. Barry’s dating Iris now, and even though Flashpoint didn’t actually erase their icky “raised together and call the same guy dad” pseudo-sibling vibe, it reads a lot better when they stop talking about how much Barry’s been in love with her since he was 10. Anyway, the flower surprise and Tom Felton’s Julian just being a jerk about leaving early was an easy delight for me, how’d you feel about this?
Dylan: Oh man, Barry is the most tryhard date in the history of dates, eh? First with the flowers, then the fancy-a restaurant, then the “can’t stop crimes” rule. Dude is very over-eager. Too over-eager?
Ziah: Dude is thirstier than Sandman. Did Iris even say she wanted a no-powers night, or was Barry just real interested in… “taking it slow”?
Dylan: I hope they put you in jail for that one, Ziah. A real bad jail that is under another jail. And both of those jails are also in Heck.
Ziah: Well, we should get into the episode proper. So, this week Barry learns just how much he’s wrecked with the timestream as Jesse’s got superspeed, Wally’s full of envy, and a preteen villain by the name of Magenta is wreaking havoc on her dad. Dads are just the worst, aren’t they?
Dylan: Jesse finally gets speed powers! Finally. I sure did love Harrison Wells reading Barry the Riot Act on time traveling. Barry needs more people telling him how he is doing dumb things like all of the time. Although that is sort of our job, so maybe they shouldn’t? Stop trying to take our jobs Earth-2-ers!
Ziah: We should build an interdimensional wall.
So, as happy as I am to see Earth-2 Harrison Wells again, he was weiiiiird this episode. Almost Tweaker Wells. Twells for short, maybe? His over-concern for Jesse made sense, but his penchant for shouting “not” was just bizarre, man. Maybe Flashpoint (I can’t believe they’re calling it that) made it so that Earth-2 takes place in 1998?
Dylan: The dream of the '90s is alive on Earth-2. As far as Wells being weird, I didn’t notice a huge difference. He still has the most inscrutable phrasing of any character on television.
Ziah: Well, yeah, but didn’t he seem a little excitable this episode? I was starting to wonder if he was on Tocaine (that’s Earth-2 cocaine).
Dylan: SMDH J/K I love it.
Ziah: So, let’s talk about Magenta. Is she called Magenta because they didn’t know how to spell magnet and didn’t have autocorrect in the past, or what? Any backstory on this?
Dylan: Yeah, I have no idea. I’m wondering if it’s a goof on Magneto? It’s very silly, either way. But at least she has pink hair? I looked her up after last week’s teaser, and apparently when George Perez originally debuted her in DC Sampler #2, she was named Polara, which, uh, is way too close to Magneto’s sometimes-daughter over at Marvel, Polaris. So yeah, it sounds like it was probably a nightmare to name her. Never create a magnet superhero, kids.
Ziah: It would be George Perez that would debut a pink-haired multiple personality disorder supervillain.
Dylan: It was 1983. It was a different time, Ziah, y’know? Nixon was in the White House, the situation in Vietnam was boiling over, the Beatles were off with the Maharishi, and a generation let loose their love at Woodstock. Age of Aquarius and all that stuff. Read a book much?
Ziah: I’ve read three books in my life, Dylan: See Spot Run, Horrible History: The Measly Middle Ages, and Anna Karenina, and I don’t feel the need to keep going.
Dylan: Yeah, you probably got all the bases covered there. I only read books about stars, wars, and Star Wars, because I am A Cool Person.
Ziah: So, Wally’s 1000% going to get his superpowers from Alchemy, right? We’re all clear on this? It’s either that or keep trying to jump in front of cars, which, TBH, is what I’d do if the only speedsters in my life were my dumb adopted brother and my Earth-2 crush. Dude’s living a tough life.
Dylan: Also, as we’ve discussed, this is a CW show, so every hero has to have a support network of similarly-powered heroes to roll around with. Like how Arrow has Green Arrow and Red Arrow and Purple Arrow and Diggle and his goofy helmet.
Ziah: I think he’s called Spartan, after the manly men who stood around in Visionary Director Zack Snyder’s masterpiece, 300. Man, whatever happened to that guy? It really seemed like his career was going to take off after adapting that Frank Miller comic about a bunch of guys fighting for unclear reasons.
Dylan: I will not have you passive-aggressively mocking Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, AKA The Weirdest Dang Superhero Movie Since Blankman. Show some respect, son.
Ziah: It’s no Hobo With A Shotgun, Dylan, so whatever, man.
Dylan: Never heard of it. What’s it about?
Ziah: It’s basically Rutger Hauer playing Wild Dog, and it’s great. Speaking of, doesn’t Green Arrow have Wild Dog now? Wild Dog. Man. What a world we live in.
Dylan: Wild Dog and Ragman, Ziah. We’re one season away from Geo Force and Captain Carrot at this point. But seriously, Wally needs to maybe think through his decisions a little. Make a list of “pros” and “cons” before you go stepping out in front of pickups. That’s just sort of good advice in general. Except dude, what if he gets hit by a radioactive car and gets the proportional strength and speed of a car? “Wally West: Car-Man” has a certain ring to it. Call me, Hollywood. Callmewood.
Ziah: If it weren’t for those pesky comic books, I’d honestly think we were heading that way. The street racing, the fasting and the furiousing… it was all leading up to this!
Dylan: Wally V. Pickup Truck: Dawn of Car-Man.
Ziah: Now that is a movie I would watch a three-hour cut of, even if a later Blu-ray release will come out with an extra hour of footage that somehow makes it make sense.
Aaaaanyway, I’m really digging the way they’re setting up the repercussions of Flashpoint, even though the Flashpoint comic continues to be a boring, bad, no-good idea that everyone should forget as soon as possible. There’s actual subplots! Multiple ones per episode even! Caitlin’s hiding her powers, Wally’s trying to get his, Tom Felton is just straight up being Draco, it’s really fun.
Dylan: One of the benefits of this show being in its third season means we don’t have the usual “mini-pilots” that would usually take up the first few episodes of the previous couple of seasons, where they they front-load the season with self-contained episodes that go out of their way to state and restate the premise of the show. I’m also holding out hope that the writers have figured out how to pace out the Big Bad --- in this case, Doctor Alchemy --- over the course of the season, because man, I was so tired of Zoom by the ¾ mark of last season, I could have spit. Spit, I say!
And hey! We got a villain that didn’t wind up dead at the end, even if the resolution boiled down to “Barry and also Jesse ran really fast!” Progress!
Ziah: Well, Barry also used his experience having a mental breakdown in a foster home (?) to talk Magenta out of her mental illness which was… better than murder!
Also, Twells said “Run, Jesse, run.” When did this become a gosh-danged catchphrase, Dyl-Dyl T-Bone? It’s just quoting Forrest Gump, AKA the worst 1994 movie.
Dylan: Harrison Wells: '90s Fanboy --- confirmed. Just wait until he shows up in JNCOs, a long-sleeves thermal layered under a Spin Doctors T-shirt and a chain wallet.
Ziah: Ugh, only '90s scientists will remember the particle accelerator explosion, huh.
Dylan: It was a different time, Ziah. The '90s were all about sock hops, malts at the soda shop, drag racing for pink slips out near Dead Man’s Curve, Marty McFly inventing rock & roll music. You wouldn’t understand.
Ziah: You’re acting like a Rubik’s cube, I don’t understand you, and I’m uncomfortable that you started talking like this.
Dylan: You’ll get used to it. Not!
Ziah: And we’ll see you next week, flashers!