Season Two, Episode Four — “The Fury of Firestorm”

© Copyright 2015, The CW. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2015, The CW. All Rights Reserved.

By Jarrod JonesAfter last week’s visit from Captain Cold and the Golden Glider, and with Harrison Wells of Earth-2 sneaking around S.T.A.R.’s basement, it was probably time to get the matter of Professor Stein’s quickly deteriorating condition put to bed before things got really crazy. Maybe that’s why “Fury of Firestorm” feels like such a compulsory burden; with the Zoom subplot already lagging behind this early in the season, the Firestorm equation needed to be solved in order for the series to progress properly.

Franz Drameh’s pinch-hitting Jefferson Jackson fills Robbie Amell’s guest starring boots — Amell taking a powder from the show has been something I’ve dreamed of, and often — but The Flash kinda goes by the numbers in what should have been Jackson’s stellar debut. Drameh’s stupendous in the role, but it would seem that the dragging pace of this week’s installment was all mere window dressing for its top-heavy stinger of an ending. (Sweet, merciful Christmas! King Shark! Waugh!) For a show that has stumbled at times when it comes to progress (Iris’ agency as a grown-ass woman has only become evident in the last ten episodes of the series, for one), this was its opportunity to come out ahead. And it mostly succeeds, provided if you don’t put too much thought into it.

WHAT WORKED: Iris’ reaction to finally seeing Francine for the first time in twenty years was as gut-wrenching as I was expecting, and to see Iris take control of the situation by standing tall and speaking her mind was one of the episode’s best moments. (So great to see Iris own her destiny instead of jovially going along with whatever lie her best friend or father told her that day. I love what they’re doing with her character this season.) It’s not her natural curiosity that makes her want to know Francine more; if anything, it’s Iris’ tenacity as a reporter that steels her resolve to tell her estranged mother to take a hike. (And because of her investigative pluck we discovered there might be a young male West running around somewhere, which hmm…)

Detective Joe’s art of misdirection, the possibility that Francine may be lying about her sickness, and Patty’s utter inability to tell a fib… deception is what informs “The Fury of Firestorm”. And not just outright deception, Jefferson Jackson’s self-deception concerning his potential to accomplish so much more than what he’s given himself is at the forefront of this week’s proceedings. Deception has always been a key theme interwoven throughout The Flash, but this week’s episode was an exceptionally astute reminder that while these people love each other, they’re only too willing to do screwy things to protect that love (even if history has proven time and again that they should just tell the damn truth, both to themselves, and to others).

WHAT DIDN’T: I’m almost certain there were a dozen options to scrutinize the new candidates for the Firestorm matrix other than assaulting two strangers, Barry. (Speed-pricking people to steal blood samples? Bleh.) But then, that’s only the beginning of this episode’s troubles: Caitlin Snow (easily the whitest name you can ever give to a white person) seems to have a predilection to assume crummy things about Jefferson Jackson (her assumption that Jefferson didn’t “do something with his life” certainly inspired winces at DoomRocket HQ, as did her shitty “you’re not good enough” screech later on in the episode); and stashing Henry Hewitt in the particle accelerator without due process while totally bragging about it (“… we’ll keep him safe and sound in the pipeline until he agrees to keep quiet…” ) — which is not the first time they’ve done this, by the way — makes Team Flash sound like they may be enjoying their privilege a tad too much.

The writers of The Flash had to dig pretty deep into DC Comics’ archives to find the perfect candidate — and a person of color to boot — to replace Ronnie Raymond. (Jefferson Jackson, or just “Jax”, made his debut in Firestorm #1 in 1982.) Though the obvious choice, Jason Rusch, was already available to them (and recasting Luc Roderique with Franz Drameh would have been a better way to go, in my humble opinion), it seems that the producers of the show were aiming to make their new Firestorm something of a jock, which would have contradicted Rusch’s more studious origins back in Season One. Was it a lack of foresight on Kreisberg & Co.’s part? Maybe. And sticking Jefferson Jackson with Vic Stone’s New 52 origin story (which may or may not have been Geoff Johns’ idea), seems exceptionally lazy, especially for a series as innovative as The Flash. (Football player? Check. Dad issues? Double check. S.T.A.R. Labs genesis? Triple check.)

No… we won us the game.” “Yeah, but you’re 100% hero.” This show has always been pretty squishy — that CW veneer is a part of its charm, after all — but “Fury of Firestorm” laid on the schmaltz in such a hackneyed way that makes me nervous for future episodes. (Especially with Barry and Patty about to get all smoochy.) Let’s rein it in, people.

And why was Hewitt stealing power from a high school football field instead of, say, a power plant? Anyone?


Dios mio.” – Cisco. It’s nice to see The Flash not obscuring Cisco Ramon’s heritage (as much).

You prefer Celine Dion? Because I have the ‘Titanic’ soundtrack in the back.” – Jefferson. (That’s pretty funny, considering he was talking to Victor Garber.)

What kind of treadmill is that?” – Jefferson. “Cosmic.” – Cisco.

You said I can fly, right?” – Jefferson. “Damn right.” – Cisco. Give these guys a team-up episode, stat.

BEST MOMENT: King of the Sea. Yes, it’s nice to have a new Firestorm (especially one that isn’t part-Amell), but there wasn’t anything in “The Fury of Firestorm” that rose the hairs on the back of my neck more than seeing Barry get pulled face-to-face with King Shark. And though The Flash likely spent all of its King Shark budget on this one cameo, it was totally worth it; because he looked absolutely amazing. What made this stinger ending all the more wild was that he was the King Shark of Earth-2, one of several Zoom-endorsed baddies on the radar of one Dr. Harrison Wells… and my head just exploded. Now I have to go find my glasses.

EPISODE’S MVP: Jefferson Jackson. Replacing Robbie Amell with anyone was a nice step in the right direction (nepotism never did anybody any favors, with the exception of those it does favors for), especially if it means adding more persons of color in the show. I’m all for it, and Franz Drameh’s Jefferson Jackson transcends his feeble introduction into the CW DC Universe with moxie. Now there’s the potential for a Firestorm/Vibe team-up that 2015 can really set its watch to. Welcome to the DCU, Franz.

© Copyright 2015, The CW. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2015, The CW. All Rights Reserved.


– Let’s just not bring Tinder into this, Cisco.

– Henry Hewitt is more than an arrogant pain in the ass, he’s a noted Firestorm villain as well: Tokamak first appeared in Firestorm (vol. 1) #15 back in 1983, and it seems he journeyed into the great beyond in Firestorm (vol. 3) #31.

– A coffee shop is not a park bench, West family. You gotta buy something.

– Hudson University. A cute shout-out to Martin Stein’s alma mater.

– MacGregor’s syndrome? William Tockman suffered from it in Arrow, sure. But MacGregor’s syndrome boasts a dubious debut in none other than Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin. Yep, Francine caught what Alfred got.

– Barry’s “we need to keep things open” speech definitely had traces of Harrison Wells’ DNA. It would seem that the bad doctor got under Barry’s skin in more ways than one.

– Anyone else spot that ‘Keystone City’ poster in Jefferson’s garage?

– If Francine has a son, and if Joe is his father… Stands to reason we just might have the CW DCU origin for Wally West on our hands.

– One punch! One punch!

– No Jay this week. Guess he was out getting a Big Belly Burger?

– I don’t think I’ve been excited to see King Shark… possibly ever, but now I’m going to go dust off my old Superboy back issues and put some Blur on in the background.