The Flash: 2.04 The Fury Of Firestorm
Like last week's Captain Cold-centric episode, The Fury Of Firestorm was another episode laying the groundwork for Legends Of Tomorrow; it's a theme continuing over on Arrow with Sara Lance's resurrection too. Though the clever thing about both shows is their ability to build on this growing universe without seeming superfluous to the main show. And fortunately this week's episode was a lot more fun than the slightly dull Family Of Rogues, setting up the introduction of Franz Drameh's Jefferson 'Jax' Jackson as the new half to Firestorm ready for the spin-off.
The only fault the episode made was focusing on Jackson's accident during the Star Labs reactor explosion in the pre-credits sequence. When Team Arrow narrowed down their choices for Ronnie's replacement it was obvious that Jackson would become the man to merge with Dr Martin Stein and become the new Firestorm; it just depended on why Demore Barnes' Henry Hewitt didn't. Accident or something far more horrific, the episode went with the latter and in a surprise twist the good-natured scientist was revealed as a man with a sealed criminal conviction and incredibly violent temper. It was a nice twist to have Caitlin turn Hewitt into the latest Metahuman villain Tokamak, the Firestorm device 'activating' his dormant powers and turning him into one of Firestorm's greatest villains from the comics.
And after a lot of back and forth, with some heavy soul searching for Jackson and Stein hovering near death it all came together in a thrilling final battle on the high school [American] football pitch where Jackson's dreams of a college scholarship were dashed. Firestorm was a great addition to the show and I am really glad they have brought him back as mark II, even though - for now - it means we've lost the brilliant Victor Garber on The Flash in a regular capacity as Stein and Jackson headed off to train with their new powers (and get ready for Legends Of Tomorrow.
Outside the spin-off and Firestorm main plot there was a lot of subplots bubbling along nicely too. Patty Spivot continued to be a welcome addition to the show, building on that electric chemistry with Barry Allen and working with Joe West to hunt down a 'shark' metahuman (More on that in a moment). While the reappearance of Harrison Wells adding another level of mystery - is he an ally or villain? The second season has managed to give Tom Cavanagh at least one appearance per episode to justify his main character inclusion but it hasn't felt out of place. Until now he has been a mystery only audience members have been tracking, though that is certainly sure to change given the way the episode ended.
One sub plot I am not enjoying however is the return of Iris's mother. It smacks of trying to give her something to, but considering they have established her as a news-hungry reporter (albeit in a very short space of time) and brought her into the inner circle this really doesn't seem necessary. Perhaps this is a way to keep Barry and Iris apart while the show explores his relationship with Patty but is rather twee, uninspiring material - even her dying smacks of pulling on the emotional heart strings.
Possibly my favourite moment was that ending. I wasn't quite sure what to expect when Patty began talking about a shark metahuman but its surprise appearance, wrapping its huge hand around the Flash was brilliant fun. It looked amazing too; it was even better than that [loan[ shark demon that was hanging around in season six of Buffy The Vampire Slayer a few years back. And Wells saving him was an even bigger twist, making an exciting tease for next week.
The Fury Of Firestorm was a fun, thrilling episode that re-established the Firestorm dynamic ahead of Legends Of Tomorrow and inadvertently created a new villain in the process. The shark metahuman was a fantastic cameo and Harrison Wells' return is sure to shake up the dynamic moving forward. Just a little less of Iris's dying mother next time please; sure the show can find something better for Candice Patton to get her teeth into?