The Flash: “The Fury of Firestorm” Season 2 Episode 4 Review

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Between Arrow and The Flash, “The Fury of Firestorm” was the least comfortable set-up for Legends of Tomorrow yet.

Season one of The Flash was probably the biggest live-action vehicle for C-list DC superhero Firestorm ever. That’s not necessarily a problem, but this is a difficult character to pull off, mostly because it’s technically two characters. Victor Garber fits right in with the rest of the cast as Martin Stein, the brains of the fusion-based hero. Robbie Amell’s Ronnie Raymond didn’t quite get the same treatment, with a backstory quickly strung together to give the physical half of the hero some pathos. It only partially worked. Now, Ronnie is seemingly gone, but Stein remains, and he’s having some issues controlling his abilities. This leads the S.T.A.R. Labs team to two others that seem to be a match for Stein after the particle accelerator incident.

The first is scientist Henry Hewitt. He’s cocky and driven for the wrong reasons. Naturally, his fusion with Stein doesn’t work, but it does unlock his metahuman abilities. Now he can absorb energy and shoot it back at people.

The second is essentially a superhero addition of lots of Friday Night Lights arcs. The episode opens with Jefferson “Jax” Jackson having just won a game as the quarterback of his team only to get hit by the blast from the particle accelerator. As it turns out, this wrecked his knee and he never played football again. He doesn’t believe in himself enough to be a hero.

This episode essentially felt like a backdoor pilot for a Firestorm series, which it sort of is, he’ll just be sharing that show with lots of other people showing up on Arrow and The Flash soon (if they haven’t already). But the very nature of these superhero pilots is to be predictable. Jax has the same arc that Kara does in the Supergirl pilot, which is, funnily enough, the same arc Barry had in the pilot of this very show. The hero isn’t a hero for silly reasons, then they believe in themself and stop a villain. But The Flash already had its pilot, it doesn’t need another one for another character. Is the rest of the fall just going to be backdoor pilots for Legends of Tomorrow?

Tokamak, as the villain is later dubbed, is anticlimactically defeated by the new Firestorm. Then Jax and Stein fly off to train or something. See you in January, Firestorm. Can we get back to The Flash now? Grade: C+

Some Other Thought Bubbles:

  • Barry’s opening and closing monologues were pretty difficult to take seriously. At least the latter was interrupted by a GIANT SHARK MAN!
  • Let’s talk about King Shark for a second. This is the type of supervillain you never think you’ll be able to see in live-action, a barrier The Flash excels in breaking (remember Grodd?). Better yet, how about that CGI? Great stuff!
  • There to stop King Shark is none other than Harrison Wells! Man I wish the last two minutes of the episode weren’t so rushed. Last season’s main villain took down a GIANT SHARK MAN. Another couple of beats to hit home that Wells was back wouldn’t have hurt. I was still pretty distracted by the GIANT SHARK MAN!
  • I initially thought there was nothing redeemable about Iris’s story with her mother, but then I remembered that Wally West is eventually showing up this season. If he brings to the team what he needs to, all this melodrama may be forgiven.
  • Jax quips to Stein about Titanic. Stein is played by Victor Garber who, guess what, played the architect in Titanic. I see what you did there…
  • Iris’ mother has MacGregor’s Syndrome, a fictional disease shared by the Clock King from Arrow. In the comics, it’s also shared by Nora Fries and is essentially the reason for Mr. Freeze’s existence. Greg Berlanti is just dying to get his hands on the Batman mythos.
  • One more time, GIANT SHARK MAN!

By Matt Dougherty

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