The harsh reality of life is that sometimes it doesn’t go the way you plan it. Events happen that you may or may not like, and important decisions have to be made. Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) voices over in the beginning of this episode that “You can either embrace the change and move forward, or fight it and be left behind.” In the “The Flash’s” fourth episode, “The Fury of the Firestorm,” we see the cast making these types of decisions that can make or break each of them.
With that message aside, this episode primarily focused on Firestorm, the flame-powered metahuman that consisted of Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Ronnie Raymond’s (Robbie Amell) bodies fusing together. But as known before, Raymond is no longer alive, and without his other half, Stein’s health is slowly deteriorating. It is up to Team Flash, Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), Cisco Ramone (Carlos Valdes) and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) to find another suitable half for Stein to live with.
This episode introduced Jefferson Jackson (Franz Dameh), a 4.0 high school student and star quarterback, who takes the mantle of becoming the next Firestorm. Although much younger than Team Flash, Franz Dameh as Jackson proved to be very likable and sympathetic. He was affected by the particle accelerator explosion and had his dreams of becoming a pro football player taken away and is now stuck working as a garage mechanic. On the other hand, we had Henry Hewitt (Demore Barnes) as an egotistical bioengineering graduate who was less than stellar. It turns out Hewitt is incompatible with Stein to become Firestorm and gets upset about it. He ends up receiving a part of Firestorm’s powers that makes him very angry and goes after Team Flash. With what he was given, Barnes did a decent job. But his “villainous” transformation definitely felt a bit rushed and didn’t quite convey a good motive to go after Team Flash, and thus his villain aspect fell flat and weak.
On the more grounded side of things, the West family dilemma once again brought a more dramatic aspect than the usual flashy effects fare for “The Flash.” I felt before that it wasn’t necessary for the West dilemma to develop in previous episodes, but it definitely proved to be much better this time around. After Joe’s (Jesse L. Martin) revelation to his daughter Iris (Candice Patton) that her mother Francine (Vanessa Williams) is still alive but abandoned the two when Iris was only a baby, Iris finally gets to talk with her about the situation. Iris hasn’t had many shining moments so far in season two, but her talk with Francine is definitely a big step forward as her acting chops were really on point here. Williams also vividly portrays a very hurt mother, as Iris actually pushes her away and doesn’t want to see her again.
On the lighter side of things, there comes the dynamic between Allen and Patty Spivot (Shantel VanSanten), Joe’s new partner in the Central City Police Department. There’s a spark between them from their increased flirting over the last few episodes, but Allen doesn’t notice it. Allen reveals to Joe that Spivot is simply not Iris, the woman Allen really loves. Allen will always have a soft spot for Iris and is not sure if he’s willing to take a leap with someone else.
Another game changer from this episode comes from revealing that Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) from Earth-2 is in Earth-1. This is due to one of the 52 wormhole breaches found in Central City Team Flash is aware of. Joe is tipped off of the sight of Harrison Wells at Mercury Labs stealing a piece of equipment. It’s known to everyone that Harrison Wells is no longer alive in Earth-1, so it shocks Joe that Harrison Wells has been spotted, considering the circumstances that happened with him in season one. Harrison Wells is what made season one of “The Flash” so good. His motives, his personality and his wisdom all made him a great character, and now we have a vastly different interpretation of the character in season two. It’ll be really exciting where it’s going to go from here with the “multiverse” aspect of season two.
Throughout all the problems the cast faced in this episode, one thing is apparent: a second chance at something is opening up. None is more apparent than Jackson having the chance of being something more than a garage mechanic. He had his future taken away but now he’s given a second chance to do something else: to save the people of Central City from metahumans. With the West Family it was Francine who wants a second chance at being Iris’ mother again. With Allen, there’s a second chance at love with someone else. Even Wells, albeit not the same one, now has a second chance to be in Central City.
At the end of the episode, Barry voices over that “Our fears can play tricks on us making us afraid to change course, afraid to move on.” When we get past our fears though, there’s always second opportunity waiting. If a possibility shows up in front of you, it’s best to face it, be brave and take that one chance, just like Jackson’s leap of faith in becoming Firestorm or Francine embracing Iris for the first time.
“The Flash” may be a fun TV show filled to the brim with over-the-top special effects with its courageous superheroes and rampant supervillains, but it’s not afraid to deliver a heartwarming message to its audience. It’s something I’ve always appreciated in a number of episodes featuring Allen’s voiceover that conveys it. Behind what seems to be a silly television show, there lies something deeper than you think.
Rating: 3.5 stars