This The Flash review contains spoilers.
The Flash Season 2 Episode 4
So, for the second week in a row, The Flash shows us exactly what it can do with a large cast and the rules of a universe that are now more firmly in place each week. “Family of Rogues” was very much a “Classic Flash” kind of episode, dealing primarily with the core of the show and its roots in the solo comic book hero world.
“Fury of Firestorm” on the other hand, is an “expanded universe” episode, one that is a major piece of the Legends of Tomorrow puzzle. Normally, I might say that as a bad thing. I’ve cautioned both The Flash and Arrow about falling too deeply in love with setting up crossovers, because while I’m thrilled they exist in the same universe, I’d prefer they put the best show they can on the air each week instead of getting cute with reminding everyone it’s one big universe.
There was nothing to worry about, though, because “Fury of Firestorm” handled all of this about as elegantly as one could hope. It felt reasonably self-contained, it moved at least one key storyline forward, and it did feature a disposable villain of the week, the structure of the episode didn’t really follow the kind of structure you normally associate with episdoes like that.
With all that in mind, let’s welcome Franz Drameh to this world, and get ready to see more of him on Legends of Tomorrow. Jax seems charismatic enough, although he’s saddled with some really dreadful expository dialogue throughout the episode (“You mean I’m one of those metahumans I keep hearing about on the news?”). I realize he’s likely going to be the audience POV character on Legends of Tomorrow, but we already have enough of those on The Flash.
The other shortcomings are Firestorm related, as well. For one thing, let’s hope they finally design some kind of actual costume for him by the time we get around to Legends. The Firestorm special effects are really great (in fact, this whole episode looked particularly slick), but it’s brought down by how awkward and ordinary the character looks on screen. Furthermore, the “farewell to Firestorm” at the end of the episode was identical to the one we saw at the conclusion of season one’s major Firestorm two-parter. It felt a little lazy.
But back to the good stuff. The rehabilitation of Iris West continued nicely this week, and the Francine West story is compelling enough, despite my misgivings about a few elements of it (mostly surrounding Iris’ memory of events of her childhood). Of course, the bombshell she dropped will change the dynamics of the show as we move forward, but we’ll get to that.
It’s nice to see, though, that after all her problems last year they’re strengthening Iris at the same time they’re pulling Barry in another romantic direction. Barry’s chemistry with Patty Spivot is legit, and that’s a relationship that absolutely should blossom. We know Barry and Iris eventually end up together, but there’s no need to rush it or play the “will they/won’t they” game. It’s irritating, and this show is too good for that.
Now, let’s get to some other fun stuff…
Who the Hell is Harrison Wells?
I have absolutely no clue what the hell is going on with this, but I love it. Is anyone annoyed that they’re playing the Harrison Wells mystery game again this year? I’m certainly not, and I feel it’s something that could backfire if they aren’t careful.
But hey, it was an excuse to see Amanda Pays as Tina McGee again, so that’s a bonus.
As for Harrison’s heroic actions at the end of the episode, well, that’s best saved for…
– Let’s just get to the elephant…erm…shark in the room. Yes, that was King Shark. You know, King Shark of “I’m a shaaaaaark!” fame. Read Secret Six by Gail Simone and a host of talented artists. It’s amazing. King Shark isn’t in much of it, but when he is, he’s a good time.
I don’t know how I feel about making King Shark from Earth-2. Not because I’m any kind of purist about these things, but just because it feels like kind of lazy shorthand for any metahumans that don’t already fit the overall narrative of the show.
On the other hand, holy moley, did he look frakkin’ amazing, or what? Forget Grodd, this was a tremendous piece of visual effects, one of the very best the show has ever pulled off!
– Wally West, well…I’ll get into more detail on him when the time comes. As no surprise to anyone, though, Wally is almost certainly going to become very, very fast on this show.
In the comics, though, he was Iris’ nephew not her brother (or half-brother as he might be here), but the age difference and the years apart from each other might allow for her to take on that kind of more authoritative role in his life than “big sister” might ordinarily entail.
– We’ve seen the “cosmic treadmill” at work on the show plenty of times already, but this is the first time anyone has ever referred to it as such by name.
– Henry Hewitt was indeed a Firestorm villain, going by the name of Tokamak. His basic energy projection abilities remain in place, although his origin (as with most metahumans on this show) were considerably different.
– Jefferson Jackson is far more like the comic book version of Ronnie Raymond with his football background and more irreverent attitude. He’s less of an overall lunkhead, though. TV Ronnie was way more considerate and smart than his more jock-y source material.
– During that “farewell to Firestorm” sequence, it’s revealed that they’re off to Pittsburgh. In the comics, that’s where Ronnie Raymond and Professor Stein first met.