By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Flash.
It was a nice change of pace to get a villain who really wasn’t a villain at all. A theme I would like to see explored more this season is that people granted powers by Alchemy, even if they are being used to fight Flash, are also victims. This is what worked for me with the character of Frankie Kane/Magenta. She isn’t bad, but Alchemy took advantage of her dissociative personality disorder and made her a pawn in his twisted game against Flash. I need to see more of this as the season goes on.
Jesse Quick and Adjusting Origins
Tonight, we got to see the return of Harrison and Jesse Wells and the introduction of the latest speedster, Jesse Quick. She’s a fairly new superhero who was only introduced by DC in Justice Society of America #2 in 1992. In the comics, she’s the daughter of Golden Age superheroes Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle. This gives us yet another example of the writers taking a character from the comics and adjusting the origin story to fit their narrative. This continues to work for me. The Flash has existed in one form or another since 1940, so there are lots of characters and storylines to potentially adapt for the show. If the writers aren’t careful, those adaptations can feel forced and sloppy. Jesse Quick is a great example of that. To keep her true to the comics, the writers would have to first introduce the Justice Society of America, something Legends of Tomorrow is already doing. Doing that properly and setting up this character would take at least a half-season. It’s better for the flow of the story to just co-opt Jesse Wells into this role.
As for tonight’s story, I liked that the writers developed a large part of Jesse’s powers off-screen. We’ve already seen Barry discover and come to terms with his powers; seeing the same thing from Jesse would be redundant. This way, we can focus on Harrison’s lack of comfort with his daughter’s new abilities and Wally’s desire to have those same powers. Now we get two characters on the same path as Barry while exploring their arcs in fresh ways. This is brilliant writing and that deserves to be celebrated.
The Speed Force
Something from the comics that hasn’t yet been explored on the show is the way the Speed Force grants speedsters their power. We know from last season that the Speed Force is a sort of sentient being that can communicate with speedsters, but we haven’t seen how the use of the Speed Force can be limited by the number of speedsters on one earth. In other words, the Speed Force is not infinite; if more than one speedster is using it then there is less speed to go around for everyone. This wasn’t an issue last season for Barry and Zoom because the latter wasn’t really a speedster, he possessed the ability to slow down time, thus appearing fast to everyone else. But the emergence of Jesse and Wally as speedsters should have a slowing effect on Barry. If the writers stay true to the comics, and in this case I hope they do, then the three of them should be noticeably slower. I’m looking forward to seeing how they deal with not being fast enough to deal with whatever problem Alchemy throws their way.
Thanks for reading!