THE FLASH: “The Fury of Firestorm”

Wherein we get a new Firestorm.

Dr. Martin Stein is dying, and no amount of cool future-canes Cisco can make can change it. What he needs is a new partner. A new Firestorm. Luckily for him, Team Flash has uncovered exactly two possible dark-matter enhanced candidates.

One, Henry Hewitt, is better known (if at all) to DC fans as the villain Tokamak, greatly adapted from the source material and used to frankly annoying effect. He *wants* to be a superhero, gets along with Dr. Stein, and eventually doesn’t fit the role. They cannot fuse, though he seems to inadvertantly steal some of the Firestorm’s energy for himself to use later. The second and obviously (awkwardly, ham-fistedly) correct choice is Jefferson Jackson, played by Franz Drameh, a former high school football star whose career was ended by the Accident, and wants nothing to do with Firestorm or the Flash or hero business of any sort.

So obviously, even after Caitlin snobbishly runs Jefferson (“Jax” for short) for not being “worthy” of Ronnie’s mantle or whatever, once Hewitt’s abilities become unstable, he attacks Caitlin as she tries to apologize to Jax at his place of employment. They flee back to STAR Labs just as Dr. Stein is running out of time, and of course Hewitt is attacking the stadium where Jax was originally hurt (and which seems to be surprisingly resistant to nuclear fire), and of course they defeat him without much incident.

I don’t mean to say that any of this is bad, per se, just that it’s very obvious. Part of the problem here lies in the fact that we already know Victor Garber and Franz Drameh are confirmed regulars on Legends of Tomorrow. At the very least, not knowing this would have made the tension surrounding Dr. Stein’s survival much more effective. Eventually, Jax and Stein jet off to Pittsburgh after saying their goodbyes to Team Flash (and Joe for some reason).

Anyways, I blew through the main storyline primarily to talk about the B and C stories this week, which were much more interesting. Firstly, Iris finally meets her mother, rejects her mother, asserts herself over her father, and leans that she has a brother (Wally!). Late Season 1 and early Season 2 Iris has been, if not quite relevatory, at least very good, singularly capable of carrying side plots on her own and far all the world carrying her own weight.

Secondly (and MOST, MOST importantly), Earth-2 Harrison Wells is here. First, he shows up in STAR Labs, seemingly stalking Cisco. Next, he shows up at Mercury Labs, stealing…something and being spotted by a confused Tina McGee. Thirdly, he shows up to kill King Shark (!!!), who himself literally shows up in the last 90 seconds of the episode. Barry confronts his mysterious, hooded savior, only to discover Earth-2 Wells as the episode ends.

This was a table-setting episode (for a show that hasn’t even aired yet), but it moved Tom Cavanagh back into our lives and gave Team Flash the only Harrison Wells replacement you could ever ask for.

Episode Grade: C+

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