Episode Title: The Fury of the Firestorm
Original Airdate: 10-27-15
And I’m back on track, with the Flash anyway as it is still my favorite of the superhero shows that I’m currently watching. This episode is all about second chances and even though I’ve said this before when discussing season one, I still love how this show reminds me so much about Buffy: The Vampire Slayer in how each episode isn’t just about the villain of the week, but it also manages to have a specific subtext to it that applies to some real life issue. But the main thrust of this episode it twofold: it introduces the new second half of Firestorm who will be a part of Legends of Tomorrow, and it re-introduces the alternate Harrison Wells.
The first second chance dealt with in this episode actually has so many different second chances wrapped up inside it that it’s a second chance smorgasbord. For the last couple episodes, Professor Stein has been falling ill and the team attributes it to the fact that he hasn’t been able to merge and become Firestorm for an extended period of time and he’s becoming unstable. In their search for a suitable host, they find a couple guys with alliterative names: Henry Hewitt and Jefferson Jackson who were both pulled from the pages of Firestorm comics though we never get to hear Cisco dub Hewitt’s short-lived supervillain as Tokamak. But Jackson, or Jax was originally a High School football player who was injured during the particle accelerator explosion and gets a second chance at becoming something great as the hero Firestorm. But not only that, when he’s being recruited, Caitlin quickly decides that he’s not the best match and initially shuts him out only to eventually warm up to him and give him a second chance. And since Ronnie Raymond has died, this is also Stein’s second chance at becoming Firestorm once again. It’s a little difficult to get a feel for him as a character since he didn’t get a whole lot of screen time here. He feels a lot like Cyborg and not just because he’s Black, but he has the whole football background and the mechanic angle that it’s an easy comparison to make. It’s a little disappointing to see Stein leave the show as he has really added a lot to the team dynamic in the past few episodes, but it’s one of those obvious set ups for Legends of Tomorrow which makes it a little difficult to look past the necessity over the actual story benefits.
There’s also the aftermath of Iris’s mother who unsurprisingly has returned because she found out that she is dying. This actually felt like a very bold move for the show to make as Joe never wanted her back in their life, and in a typical show we would see Iris become the stronger person and be the one to offer the olive branch to make up. But instead, Iris follows suit with her father and shuts her mother out in a very refreshing scene. And even when she finds out that her mother is dying, she doesn’t let that fact sway her from her determination and also lets out a nice little nugget of information for those following the news and comic book connections. She finds out that she has a younger brother, possibly a half-brother who has already been cast and we will likely soon find out that his name is Wally West who will become a speedster in his own right at some point. Honestly, I hope that he becomes a character without becoming the Flash for a good long while, or at the very least not until sometime in the highly likely season 3. But we’re just going to have to wait for that one. But as for Iris’s mother, not everyone gets a fair shot at a second chance.
And we also have Barry’s second chance at potential love. Even though his relationship with Iris has been put back into the friend zone even though they both know that they are destined to be married in the potential future, he has a new love interest in Patty Spivot. They’ve spent the majority of their time together in the past couple seasons playing it extremely flirty, but it requires the urging from Joe to finally make Barry consider giving a second chance at romance, even though it doesn’t quite come to fruition in this episode. And that’s also combined with the return of Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells (as well as a very brief-but-welcome cameo from Amanda Pays), the highly likely theory is that this is Earth 2’s Harrison Wells as he definitely seems to know something about something, and Thawne’s erasure from the timeline hasn’t erased his past deeds which would still include the death of the original Harrison Wells. We do get to see him once again save Barry from an amazing looking King Shark, but that’s the teaser ending so we’ll just have to wait until next week to find out what his game might be. I imagine that there will obviously be some trust issues, which reminds me. Jay Garrick was a no show this episode, not only that but he wasn’t even referred to by any of the characters. There wasn’t really any space for him to fit in, but it still seemed just a bit odd just how absent he was. I imagine he’ll be back next week to help fill in the gaps with his version of Wells.