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TV Review: The Flash - Season 2 Episode 4 "The Fury of Firestorm"

10.27.2015

EPISODE 4: "The Fury of Firestorm"

SYNOPSIS: Barry and the team look for another Firestorm match for Dr. Stein. When the team meets Jefferson "Jax" Jackson, Caitlin has her reservations about whether Jax is the right match for Dr. Stein. Iris surprises Joe while Barry and Patty Spivot grow closer.

REVIEW: (Beware of spoilers!):

Last week, The Flash delivered one of the weakest outings of the series. Still better than a lot of hours on television, the episode was a noticeable dip in a show that has delivered almost every single week with a fast-paced and action packed superhero adventure. Second seasons tend to be difficult for any show, but so far, The Flash has lived up to it's potential by giving us the concept of the Multi-verse, a second Flash, and a new arch-nemesis in Zoom for Barry Allen to battle against. We have been teased with the return of Harrison Wells, something that can only improve this season. But, last week and this week have been bogged down in selling us on secondary characters making their way to Legends of Tomorrow at mid-season. First we had the reformation of Captain Cold and this week we have the reunification of Firestorm.

Victor Garber, a favorite actor of mine since his days on Alias, debuted last season as Dr. Stein. The reluctant hero, forced into a duality with Ronnie Raymond, gave us some fun back and forth last year. Robbie Amell was written out of the series which forces us this week to meet the origin of the new second half of Firestorm: Jefferson "Jax" Jackson. This hour tries to make us think the second half to help Stein's powers balance out could be one of two characters, but with Franz Drameh already appearing in the Legends of Tomorrow trailer, the cat is out of the bag. But it doesn't really matter as Drameh is a solid replacement for Amell.

Jax represents the latest character to expand the comic book diversity that DC's small screen universe has been using to great effect. A high school athlete injured in the particle accelerator explosion, Jax is the perfect unknowing superhero who is the best fit with Stein. This episode serves both as an introduction to the new Firestorm and a farewell to Stein and Jax, something that seems to happen with almost every appearance of Firestorm. This also seems to cap the arc for Caitlyn Snow as she finally puts to rest her lingering grief for Ronnie. It also affords a chance for the two Firestorm candidates, Jax and Hewitt, a showdown. Seeing two fire-powered characters seems like it could be redundant, but it is handled wonderfully here.

This episode also advances the romance between Barry and Patty Spivot. Patty is quickly becoming obsessed with meta-humans and hunts for Manshark this week. Barry tries to dissuade his love interest but things turn around quickly as Manshark ends up really being in Central City! What's more, he ends up being defeated by Earth-2 Harrison Wells whom we saw arrive at STAR Labs last week. Wells, not Eobard Thawne in his timeline, is a different man that served as Barry's mentor last year which should make for some intriguing dynamic the rest of this season.

The biggest revelation this week comes from what I considered the weakest part of last week's episode: the arrival of Francine West. The assumed dead mother of Iris gave some gravitas to some scenes last week between Joe and his daughter but it felt like a wasted plot. Well, this week Francine is front and center for the West family reunion as the family air their hostiity towards each other and demand to know why she has returned. The acting here is excellent, but it is all to introduce the big reveal: Iris has a brother. You know what this means? There will be a third Flash this season: Wally West!

Overall, I was blown away by how well this hour pulled together the various extra characters that seemed to pull last week down. I was expecting another weak outing with a focus put on everyone but Barry Allen, but this week does a great job of introducing the new iteration of Firestorm, sending off Dr. Stein, teasing both Wally West and Zoom, and giving us a new version of Harrison Wells. Manshark seemed almost like a throwaway villain which is a shame considering how cool he could have been, but I understand that some bad guys are disposable. Patty Spivot is beginning to irk me, but I guess her role is much like the Barry/Iris dynamic last year. Here's hoping they find something more for Patty to do than be a damsel in distress.

FINAL VERDICT:

NEXT ON THE FLASH: "The Darkness and The Light" airs on November 3rd: Barry learns a new breacher, Dr. Light, has come through the portal and sets off to capture her. Jay tells Barry that Dr. Light was not a threat onEarth-2 and that Barry can reason with her. However, during a fight with The Flash, she blinds him and drops some shocking news about Zoom. Meanwhile, Barry and Patty go out on a date.

Source: JoBlo.com

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