THE FLASH: Fury of Firestorm
The Fury of Firestorm went into full gear as we were introduced to the new half of Team Firestorm and some new developments with our other characters. Besides the return of Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), there was also the aftermath of Francine West (Vanessa A. Williams) coming back into the West family’s lives. There was a lot going on in the episode, but not all the pieces fit together nicely in a package.
The episode started with the search of Professor Stein’s (Victor Garber) new partner as the scientist was struggling with his body’s molecular structure now that Ronnie Raymond is gone. The hunt for the other half of Firestorm turned into an entertaining hour despite Stein facing certain death. The search was narrowed down to two candidates, scientist Henry Hewitt (Demore Barnes) and former athlete Jefferson ‘Jax’ Jackson (Franz Drameh). We were given a little of Jax’s back story at the beginning of the episode where we learned he was a high school quarterback at his local high school team and given a chance at a scholarship. However, he was robbed at the opportunity after the particle accelerator incident. Now working as mechanic, STAR Labs found a likely candidate to take the mantle of Firestorm.
In the present we pickup right after Stein’s collapse last week. Cisco quickly cobbles together a device to stabilize his condition. The team is on edge, knowing it’s only temporary. The race is on to find a compatible meta human to merge with the professor and share the custody of the Firestorm matrix before he dies. While the team discusses the two most promising candidates – “Jax” Jackson and Dr. Henry Hewitt, Earth-2’s Harrison Wells lurks nearby studying Team Flash. It was interesting to see Earth-2’s version of Wells appearing in this universe stalking our heroes. It doesn’t help that he is being hidden in the shadows while observing Team Flash, but he was probably aware of the reputation that his doppelganger has in this Earth. But after seeing Wells saving Barry from the clutches of King Shark towards the end of the hour, it looks like he may soon become an ally to the team. Of course it will take some time for Team Flash to get used to having him around after what the other Wells did to them. Later at the precinct Barry runs into Patty, who is embracing her role on the metahuman task force with vigor. She asks if Barry can run analysis on some shark teeth she found in connection with a possible man shark roaming Central City’s back alleys. The energy between these two is delightful. As a viewer I want to see their relationship develop faster; as a writer I hope they drag it out a bit to keep the show rich and fulfilling for as long as possible.
Drameh made a good first impression as Jax in the episode. He managed to bring some charm and made his character likeable to viewers. Drameh was able to portray the character’s sorrow and frustration of being denied a chance at greatness. It all paid off in the end as Jax was able to get a second chance at following his dreams with the help of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Team Flash. However, Barnes didn’t impress us as much as Drameh did, due to the fact that there wasn’t enough development for his character. The episode didn’t go into detail building this week’s villain. Hewitt went from an overachieving science genius into a crazed and vangeful supervillain in a few scenes. Without any actual motivations, it was hard to believe Hewlitt going on a rampage against STAR Labs. Jackson takes well to his new abilities and teams up with the Flash to quickly defeat Hewitt, who gets the code name “Tokamak”. With all the build up to finding a match for the matrix this battle seems a little anti-climatic. But the show saves its best for last — as always. Iris makes the difficult decision to meet again with Francine. Using her investigative talents she confirms her diagnosis, but finds another startling secret in her mother’s past: she had a baby boy eight months after leaving Joe which seems like the show is ready to introduce Wally West soon. We should expect to learn more about Iris’ lost sibling as the season continues.
Jackson and Stein depart to train and improve their abilities and prepare for their debut on Legends of Tomorrow. Barry contemplates how to proceed with Patty and gets a two jaw dropping shocks to cap the episode. Patty’s suspicions become startling true as a 9 foot talk shark man grabs the Flash around the neck and is only stopped by a hooded man. The episode took advantage of some great visuals, showing us more of what Firestorm can do. Hopefully, we can learn more of Firestorm’s abilities as in the comics since the show didn’t go into depth the first time around.