Spoilers might fire up.
The Flash 2×04: The Fury of Firestorm deals with the remaining Professor Stein (Victor Garber) having issues with his assimilation of the FIRESTORM matrix. Apparently he was affected by the Singularity back at the end of last season and without the stabilizing presence of another compatible meta-human, he’s… prone to imbalanced episodes. To save his life (and prevent, you know, a nuclear explosion) the STAR Labs team looks for a donor… literally looking for a life-changing body-merging commitment.
That’s a lot to ask. You’re asking someone to forever be willing to a literal stranger. The search narrows a bit since it has to be a meta and there’s some particular variables that have to match. So it’s a bit hard to digest when Caitlin Snow tells the team she has located two possible candidates. I understand this is so that the plot can move. Since Cisco’s Meta-Tinder app is probably still in beta, we’ll take the meta database. The Flash goes even one step beyond by taking blood samples without agreement. I know it’s urgent, a life is on the line, etc. It’s just a little too 24 for the show.
The emotional storm in this episode is the drama going on between Iris and her decision regarding letting her mom, Francine, back into her life. Or, as it promptly happens in their first meeting, her decision to keep her lives separated. This is not something that you do lightly, and although every family show and after-school special will disagree, the solution is not always reconciliation. So when Francine comes back to Joe to let her know she’s dying, well… I was skeptic. By the time Iris comes around to talking to her mom after that bomb, she’s doesn’t just take her father’s instincts for granted. She investigates Francine West. And the resulting scene gives away more than Iris’ resolution to keep Francine away, it reveals that Joe might have a son.
The mantle of Firestorm first seems a lock with Henry Hewitt (Demore Barnes). But the guy is bad news from the start when he ignores Barry’s handshake to go talk to Stein. The merge does not happen. Hewitt is livid – chill, dude. It’s not you, it’s… No, wait. It’s definitely you. Unfortunately, the contact did awake something in Hewitt. He goes all Firestorm-like, although in a more hectic way and grounded to the floor. No flight for you.
There’s a small interim with Barry and Patty Spivot nerd-flirting with each other. Wise man West tells Barry he needs to explore outside of the love of his life in a way that he seems he’s also speaking to himself. What he doesn’t tell him is that he’s just back from talking to Dr. Tina McGee, head of Mercury Labs, who has just told him that someone broke into the building. Someone that looked like a very much alive and walking Harrison Wells.
Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh) is our underdog candidate. A young man we already saw with a bright future cut short after he took a particle accelerator explosion to the knee. Jax, as he prefers to be called, doesn’t take kindly to the idea of merging (a normal reaction). Caitlin is even very judgemental with him (kinda hated that Cait plays the bad person here). However, with the clock ticking for Stein, she regrets her choices. Even more when Cisco learns that Hewitt had a police record. Cait goes after Jax just as Hewitt catches up with her. Jax manages to knock his fiery ass down and they race back to the lab.
And so the merge happens. It’s Jax and Stein forming Firestorm. Not so bad when Jax is driving and Stein basically turns into his conscience. No wait, I changed my mind again, it’s still creepy. Anyhow, the new Firestorm helps the Flash take down the hectic Hewitt. Let’s not get too attached though. The duo has decided to take their leave. Stein knows someone who was very instrumental in helping him and Ronnie control their powers and wants her counsel. Has this interaction taken place on screen? Is Stein talking about Felicity Smoak or someone else?
The final surprise is a mixed batch. Barry decides to go to see Patty. Before he can change from the Flash, a huge hand appears in the background and takes him by the throat. It’s King Shark. He was alluded to during the show, but it’s really a shark-like CGI monster. He tells Barry that Zoom wants him dead. Well, at least that’s what I think he said. It sounded more like XUM GRUNT BLUG DLUT, but I am paraphrasing. The point is that as Patty’s bullets seem to do nothing to the abomin- (no, that’s copyrighted…) well, to the hulk- (oops, that would be a law suit for sure…) to the thing- (argh, that’s taken too…) To do nothing to King Shark. Jaws on legs gets zapped by some guy in a hoodie with a zapping gun.
Barry speeds up to face his fleeing rescuer… Who turns out to be none other than Harrison Wells. Cliffhanger. Roll credits.
- Iris West. She can play intense. I would have liked to see her acting chops a little further. For instance, drop the steel glace just slightly to show some emotion as she told her mom to leave town and never tell Joe West that he has a son. I don’t want to start with the sanctity of motherhood here, but is it necessary to be so cruel to Francine? I am not saying Iris should have handled this differently, but to show some emotion for her mother would’ve been a little less cold without losing her empowerment.
- Professor Stein will be missed. Special mention for his goodbye moments with Cisco, where he encourages him to tell his friends about his abilities.
- King Shark! We’re fucked! Oh wait, he’s down. Harrison Wells! We’re fucked again! The show jumped the shark on the cliffhangers with this one. Poor King Shark didn’t get more than a minute to be the villain. When I saw the hand, I was sure that it was going to be Grodd.
- Harrison Wells. New ally? Is he going to be accepted? Is he Earth-2’s real Harrison Wells or Eobard Thawne as well or Zoom?
- Is this going to be a case of Patty and Barry having feelings for each other and thinking that the other doesn’t care and this leading to confusion after confusion… Oh wait, this is not a sitcom. Never mind. It’ll happen when the metas stop attacking. Or during.
- So, is Joe’s lost son Wally West, aka Kid Flash? Very possibly. I’d save that for Season 3, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that storyline is just around the corner.
That will do for now.