Bring out the tissues, folks: The Flash's third episode of its third season, titled "Magenta," is all about dads and their children. No, not Barry Allen and his three dads (his real father, Joe and Harrison Wells) — instead, the episode explores relationships between Wally and Joe, Jesse and Wells and the villain of the week, Frankie, and her foster father John.
"Magenta" sees the welcome return of Wells and his daughter Jesse from the Earth 2 universe. After being hit with dark matter last season, Jesse's speed has finally awoken. She's Jesse Quick. The father and daughter seek Caitlyn and Cisco's help in running tests on her — but Wells quickly reveals that he wants them to talk Jesse out of becoming a super hero.
That's no simple task. Much to Wells' chagrin, Jesse has her mind set on using her new speed to help people and stop meta humans. He just wants her to be safe. By episode's end, Caitlyn convinces Wells to embrace his daughter's wishes rather than demand she heed his concerns. In a touching moment, Wells expresses his support for Jesse, accepts her as Jesse Quick and gives her a speed suit.
"I'm always going to worry. I'm always going to be cautious. I'm always going to love you." — Harrison Wells to Jesse
"Magenta" also finds The Flash settling into a new routine for season three. Dr. Alchemy will presumably awaken a new meta-human from the Flashpoint timeline each week. The Flash and friends will be responsible for taking them down, all the while putting together a strategy for defeating Alchemy himself.
This week's meta is the titular "Magenta," or as we're meet her, Frankie. Frankie is a foster child who has bounced around the system for years. She also has split personalities and thanks to Dr. Alchemy, unknowingly transforms into metal-controlling Magenta when she's mad. Think of her as a cross between the Hulk and Magneto. Fun fact: Magenta is an anagram for "a magnet."
If Wells and Jesse represent the overly attentive, loving-but-almost-smothering parent-child relationship, Frankie's relationship with her foster father John is the exact opposite. John is abusive to Frankie. He comes home in a rage one night, so Frankie brings a street lamp through the window to attack him. The episode's big climactic battle revolves around Frankie — Magenta, that is — attempting to drop a massive boat onto the hospital where John is recovering. Barry and Jesse stop her, ensuring that John can never hurt anyone again.
Finally, we get to Joe and Wally. Wally spends most of "Magenta" sulking after he sees that Jesse has speed but he doesn't. As you'll recall, they were both hit by dark matter last season. Throughout the episode Joe tries to assure him that he is good enough as is. Joe's approach to fathering Wally is by acting as "dad cop," or as Joe describes it, "firm but reassuring, cuts to the point."
He may want to rethink that strategy. As soon as Wally hears that Jesse got her speed by almost being hit by a car, he steps into traffic. Jesse saves him from dying, but not from a tongue lashing from Barry and Joe. Wally's dream of being a speedster and the conflict it causes with Joe plays nicely off of Wells and Jesse's storyline.
If you have the feeling that Joe will soon be in Wells' shoes, you're probably on target. Wally has been having dreams about being a speedster; when he hears that Frankie/Magenta also had dreams about having powers, his ears perk up. Could this mean that Dr. Alchemy will give Wally his speed from Flashpoint?
The Flash has a lot of balls in the air right now. Besides this notion of Wally getting speed, there's the issue of Caitlyn's ice powers, Clariss' mysterious prison death at the hands of a ghost and what ever the hell is going on with Julian. But stay tuned next week for, uh, Barry getting trapped in a mirror?