This season of The Flash has been delivering a welcome amount of relationship growth for Iris and Barry, and this episode gets right into it. Of course, it’s incredibly awkward and painful for everyone involved, viewer included. As a relief to us all, the date is interrupted by an alert from Cisco for a very urgent development. The breach to Earth-2 has opened on its own, which could either be a terrible or fantastic problem for the team to have.
It turns out to be fantastic, as Harrison Wells arrives, with his daughter Jesse literally running behind. We learn that when they got Barry’s speed back, the explosion actually did have an effect on Jesse, and now she’s a speedster as well. Excitement for the newest speedster is felt throughout the team, except for Wally. Jealously is evident from his lackluster response, and quite a few people have taken notice.
Metahumans seem to be everywhere in Central City, as we are introduced to Frankie, a young girl living in an abusive foster home situation. After being pushed too far, her powers manifest to the point of no return and she hurts her foster father by throwing a lamp post through the window. We’re not entirely convinced she actually has control of her powers, as an interview with Joe reveals that she blacked out during the ordeal.
We take a little time to learn more about the concerns of the dads on the show. Harry is fearful of Jesse’s powers and her eagerness to emulate Barry. He pleads for help from Caitlin and Cisco to talk her out of it, but they don’t see it as a bad thing. The two see it from Jesse’s point of view and understand how exciting it is to protect the city and be a superhero.
On the flip side we have Joe, who has to play “dad cop” and talk to Wally about his shortcomings. It’s evident that he wants to be a speedster like Barry and Jessie, and to feel a sense of purpose on Team Flash that he doesn’t see in studying engineering. The talk seems to go well, but I’m not entirely convinced a supportive talk from Joe will erase the yearning to be a speedster.
Julian has been able to isolate a gene specific to the metahumans who are linked to the human husks and finds the same gene in a sample from Frankie. While the passion for his work is evident, screaming at a girl who has gone through abuse her whole life is not the way to go. He gets confrontational and hostile with Frankie, which, among the worst things he could possibly do, is around the top of the list. Through his harsh confrontation, he manages to trigger Frankie’s powers almost immediately and she goes on the offensive.
Julian escapes death thanks to Barry who is able to pull him out of harm’s way while an alternate personality named Magenta takes full control of Frankie. Instead of battling her, Barry appeals to Frankie to help calm her down before she causes any further harm. While she does escape, Barry learns that Alchemy helped Magenta come to fruition. It’s almost like Magenta and Frankie are two different people, as evidenced when Magenta approaches Alchemy. He seems to be confident that she can take control over Frankie if she continues her destruction.
Caitlin decides to give talking to Jesse a chance, and while it’s unclear whether it’s on Harry’s behalf or her own, the talk still blows up in her face. While she seems to care for Jesse’s well-being, Caitlin can’t separate her own fears of developing powers with guiding Jesse. Jesse sees the talk only as her dad telling her to stop using her powers and confronts him immediately. Harry is an overprotective dad who spent an entire season working to save her from a speedster–it’s understandable that he doesn’t want her to follow in Barry’s footsteps. On the flipside, Jesse is fully capable of being a speedster and it’s time she embraces her strength. Jesse leaves before the conversation gets too deep, leaving Wally to volunteer to be the next person to talk to her.
Wally and Jesse have a different relationship than most on the team, having more in common than anyone else. Before Wally even gets the chance to talk to Jesse, she immediately brings up his discomfort over her powers. Wally is ready to do whatever it takes to be a speedster, including jumping in front of a speeding car to jump start his engine. Lucky for him, Jesse is there to save him from his own stupidity, but even a tough lecture from Barry isn’t enough to dissuade Wally from pursuing his own Speed.
It’s time for Harry to face his own mistakes like Barry had to. Rather than push Jessie away, he has to accept her and support her in her new role. After all, they have a team to support Jesse, so Harry will not have to do it alone.
Iris’ detective prowess should never be forgotten–within minutes of visiting Frankie’s foster dad in the hospital, she realizes what would be occurring next. Magenta receives a pep talk from Alchemy, encouraging her to take out the man who caused her so much pain. She is ready to do it, threatening to bring down the hospital by throwing a tanker at it.
Barry is quick to react, but he can’t save Magenta and the hospital alone. With Harry’s encouragement, Jesse runs out to the scene. While she uses her speed to keep the tanker elevated, Barry appeals to Frankie’s personality, and he gives her an out from the situation. She isn’t evil, just in too much pain to know what to do. She accepts Barry’s support, takes control of her pain and is able to hold off her attack.
Now safe with Team Flash, Frankie is able to reveal how Alchemy gave her the power to control metal. She says that in her dreams, she’s given a taste of the power that she could have. Who wouldn’t want to be strong and take control of her situation and get out of it? No one blames her for accepting Alchemy’s help in manifesting her powers.
While they’re all listening to Frankie, Wally seems to be paying extra close attention, as he’s been having dreams of his own about the speed he so desperately wants. Instead of seeing the suffering that Alchemy brought to Clariss and Frankie, Wally sees it as a way to make his own dreams reality.
Harry and Jesse finally have their father-daughter talk, laying their feelings on the line in private. Jesse accepts her father’s faults and she now has his support to join Barry in crime fighting. He even gives her a suit like Barry’s to fight metahumans with him. This feels like a heart-to-heart that carried over from the previous season, paving the way for them to finally repair their relationship.
After the first date between Iris and Barry, I was fully content not to revisit it anytime soon, but then here we are again with Iris and Barry at a fancy restaurant. An attempt is made to make it less awkward than the first–a successful attempt that is–which earns Barry a couple of kisses before he’s called away by Joe for assistance. Just like that, it’s over–short and sweet.
Alchemy’s reasoning for giving powers to those from Flashpoint becomes more and more unclear as we revisit Clariss’ death on the Iron Heights security footage with Julian, Barry and Joe. What is Alchemy’s drive for revealing the powers to each individual? Will Frankie suffer the same fate as Clariss? Whatever is going through Barry and Joe’s mind is not made clear. If anything, they seem just as confused as we are.
Still being early in the season, this episode was surprisingly light. They dealt with Frankie’s situation with support rather than physical fighting, and were rewarded with more of an insight into Alchemy’s operation than they could’ve hoped for. Except Wally seemed to be the one to take the most from it, as his need for speed seems to increase with each metahuman we meet.