Less than 5 – Skip it, 6 – OK, 7 – Good, 8 – Great, 9 – Phenomenal, 10 – You owe it to yourself to watch this episode!
Last week’s episode marked a season high. Everything clicked from the action to the emotional development of the story and characters. The Fury of Firestorm on the other hand is a season low. But holy crap KING SHARK (…spoilers)!
Before we get into what The Fury of Firestorm did right, let me push through everything it didn’t. As with Family of Rogues and Restoration from Arrow, this week once again puts a large emphasis on setting up the Legends of Tomorrow spin-off featuring a number of the secondary heroes coming form both shows. While the writers were able to seamlessly incorporate Captain Cold into an engaging storyline the same cannot be said for Firestorm.
The crux of this episode was the search for a new body partner for Wells due to his unstable nature. We are quickly introduced to two potential candidates; Jefferson “Jax” Jackson and Henry Hewitt (Franz Drameh and Demore Barnes respectively). The intro of the episode gives us a solid idea of who Jax is. Willing to put his life on the line for others, athletic and charismatic, traits a standard hero should come equipped with. His opening works well, his follow-up scenes don’t. I agree with the idea of introducing a different type of character into Team Flash considering that the team consists entirely of white scientists (with the exception of Joe and Iris). How they went about doing that and the type of character they chose was where things started going downhill.
Of all of the plotlines they could have chosen for Jax they decided to go with the most stereotypical. A college sports star getting thrown off track due to injury is as clichéd as it gets, then throwing on top of it the fact that he is black and can’t afford to go to school brings the backstory into even shallower waters.
The second candidate, Henry Hewitt, fares a little better in this regard. Living a pretty successful life with a job as a lab assistant, Hewitt always felt that he was meant for something greater. With Caitlin offering him the chance to become a superhero, he jumps at the chance. Unfortunately his violent nature prevents him to merge with Stein. Though the attempt does unlock his latent abilities and leads him on a rage fueled spree of destruction. He is still a paper-thin villain but at least there was a sliver of background and he wasn’t depicted as a stereotype (the first black scientist on the show!).
The showdown between Jax and Hewitt was also a major letdown. I’ve always been a fan of the portrayal of powers on the show yet here everything looked very undercooked. Hewitt simply glowed and Firestorm has never looked worse. The effects budget for the episode clearly went somewhere else this week (keep reading, I’ll tell you!).
The decision to keep Francine around after Joe and Iris’ heart wrenching talk from last week was another poor decision. Her character seemed superfluous from the get go and to then commit to her having some incurable disease just lands her in story trope territory.
I appreciated that Iris told her to get the heck out of the city, hopefully ending her time on the show. Before she left she did reveal that she had a son she kept secret from Joe (Wally West!) so her presence wasn’t entirely for naught.
As for the things that did work, they were few but they worked well. Patty and Barry continue to impress with their quirky chemistry. Things seem to be heating up between the two of them and with the coaxing of Joe, it sounds like the pair will be getting together sooner than later (which is awesome).
At the beginning of the episode Patty brings word and evidence of a new metahuman to Barry, which he shrugs off as nonsense. At first I thought this would be a fun Easter egg hinting at the existence of King Shark, a character that would need a ton of CG work if brought to life in his most iconic of incarnations. Turns out that’s where all of the effects money went as he shows up at the very end of the episode looking fantastic! It was such a pleasant surprise to see King Shark in all of his glory and not some monstrous CG mess (which given this episode could have easily happened). His scene was short but man did it go a long way in redeeming this episode for me.
The Fury of Firestorm is still a weak point for the season thus far, opting to go the route of setting up a different show instead of building the one currently on. But with some lovable awkwardness from Barry and Patty as well as an out of nowhere showing from King Shark, next weeks episode should bring the show back to form.
Oh and Barry met Wells 2!
Overall The Fury of Firestorm gets a 7/10.