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The Flash: The Fire Next Time

“It feels like you’re asking us to believe in something impossible.”

This season is all about back-to-basics. Almost all the villains have been familiar faces, including this week’s not so villainous one, who appear only to reinforce the episode's theme. This week upped the ante by throwing in a dash of nostalgia and something the show has been sorely lacking – Barry’s singled-minded pursuit of the truth.

Many moons ago (back in season four), Captain Singh claimed he hired Barry over more experienced candidates because Barry spoke of helping the innocents rather than punishing criminals. Thanks to all the supervillains and world ending crises of the past eight seasons, there's been so much focus on the Flash that this side of Barry got lost.

It was on full display here. Jaco, an ex-con with fire meta-abilities, is in the wrong place at the wrong time and a crispified corpse is the result. He pleads his innocence to both the Flash and his son, despite believing his pleas will fall on deaf ears. But it just so happens to be the birthday of Barry’s father, Henry. A man falsely accused of his wife’s murder. Let’s just say Barry was predisposed to believe Jaco.

It’s a good thing, too. Not only does all the evidence point to Jaco, a.k.a. The Hotness’s guilt, but he doesn’t do himself any favors. His attempt to resist arrest is thwarted by the Flash. Jaco subsequently breaks out of holding and visits the sole witness that puts him at the scene of the murder. A witness that turns up dead a short time later. This is compounded by the fact that he threatens both a police officer and a social services caseworker. Jaco may be hot, but he’s not very bright.

Given all of the above, the rest of Team Flash wonders why Barry is so willing to go to the mat for this guy. Only Joe understands. And in true Papa Joe fashion, he encourages Barry to follow his gut. The episode never mentions that Joe was one of the unbelievers of Henry’s innocence, but anyone who has been watching since the beginning could hardly miss the subtext.

Barry’s quest to save Jaco from himself wasn’t the only thing happening this week. We also had the ongoing drama at the Central City Citizen. Iris may be a talented journalist, but her management skills are suspect. How can she expect Allegra to mentor other reporters when her only example is Iris throwing Allegra into the deep end of the pool on the belief she’ll swim? Not that Iris was wrong in any of her decisions or observations. If she had only taken a little time to explain her reasoning to Allegra, she might have avoided a lot of unnecessary conflict. Then again, it would have made for a much shorter episode.

In any world other than a fictional one, Taylor’s threat to destroy Allegra would have been laughable. Allegra has been with the Citizen almost since its inception and her relationship with Iris extends far beyond mere boss and employee. So why do I believe that Iris and Allegra are destined for a major confrontation of Taylor’s making?

There was a theme buried under all that plotting and character-ing. Or at least there was a discussion to be had about the efficacy or lack thereof of our justice system. I appreciate the fact that the show acknowledges its complexity. Lydia, Jaco, Allegra, and Henry’s experiences give us multiple perspectives on how much justice is found in our system. Lydia can’t find a decent job because of her record and Jaco’s past is one of the main reasons everyone is so convinced of his current guilt. Henry is proof that the system sometimes gets it wrong. And Allegra, who has had the best outcome one could hope for, still has to deal with the not so microaggressions of her coworkers.

A show based on a comic book hero may not be an appropriate venue for this discussion, but I admire the effort. I also admire the fact that for the first time in a looong time, we got to see Barry’s determination and his boundless well of hope. If there is anything I truly missed from season one (aside from Captain Cold) it’s that.

Hi there, Barry. Welcome back.

4 out of 5 iced javas

Parting Thoughts:

If Harold looked vaguely familiar to longtime CW fans, it’s because Nicholas Elia starred as Ben Braeden, Dean’s “stepson” on Supernatural.

This week’s scientific call out is Mack Gipson, Jr.

I like the fact that Cecile won’t read her client’s emotions. Boundaries.


Allegra: “These days I’m writing the headlines, not starring in them.”

Lydia: “People like you don’t see who I’m trying to be. Only who I was.”

Barry: “Sometimes people don’t get a fair shot from the justice system.”

Frost: “You know, your innocent man, Bar, is not looking so innocent anymore.”

Joe: “If your gut tells you to not give up on Birch... then for Henry’s sake, don’t.”

Frost: “Let’s hope he doesn’t do anything else stupid before we can clear his name.”

Jaco: “Science is not my strong suit. But okay, I’ll buy that for a dollar.”

Frost: “You don’t see that every day.”

Taylor: “I’m going to destroy you.”

Barry: “Happy Birthday, Dad.”

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape.

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