Since I’m avoiding spoilers in this paragraph anyways, I’ll say that you Flash fans should check out the Chronicles of Cisco Tumblr. I liked their post this week that combined Cisco speed dating and hints about his character this season. Spoilers begin now.
Actually, before I jump into the summary, I’d like to apologize in advance for how snarky some of this might sound. I had a lot of issues with this episode. I know that they were just trying to get the Firestorm plotline out of the way before getting into the Legends of Tomorrow crossover event midseason, however it totally could have been done better.
We open with a high school football team following a victory. We see a young adult on way to being recruited into college as his coach says there were recruiters there that night. Suddenly we see the energy blast we recognize as the night the particle accelerator exploded. The boy tells everyone to run before he stops to help his teammate, he doesn’t make it to the safety in the tunnel and gets hit with blast from particle accelerator.
Then we jump to where we left off last week at Star Labs, where Professor Stein is reacting. Cisco proceeds to stabilize him based on Wells’s old tech. Caitlyn thinks that she can save him if they find a new host to “merge his molecules” with. Cisco jokes about finding a new partnet, comparing it to a Meta-Human dating match.
Okay, cool, so how do we do that? Are we just gonna make a Tinder app for potential meta-humans? Because I’m pretty sure merging with Stein and randomly bursting into flames sounds like the biggest swipe left of all time.
Lets set aside the morality issues, and focus solely on the compatibility issues. We have two candidates who are the same blood type, and have the same gene rearrangement brought on by the particle accelerator.
The Flash gets blood samples from both potential matches and was quick because he “may have skipped the asking for permission part.” (Seriously? You didn’t think to ask them if they’d want to be a part of this life altering science project before taking their DNA?)
Iris and Joe looking at photographs of the family together, mom included. Joe says she doesn’t have to go through with meeting her mom, but Iris insists.
Spivot tells Barry about how she found some shark teeth, following a report of a man-shark walking on land. Despite it sounding like a “bad sci-fi movie” or a “great sci-fi movie” they decide to look into it with Barry doing a test to see where the teeth originated from.
Joe gives Barry a hard time about flirting with Spivot, which Barry denies. Which of course segues into talking about Iris. Thankfully that doesn’t last long, as Barry is called back to Star Labs.
Caitlyn then fills Stein in on her plan to merge him with one of the two candidates, who are both matches. Barry asks which one they go with. (How about whichever one wants to consent to a life altering, and possible life threatening, decision?)
Caitlyn says her preference is Henry Hewitt, and lists of his credentials like a girl lists off the profile of her dream match on a dating website. Applied Physics, Bioengineering, rock hard abdominals....
Barry then asks about the other, Jefferson Jackson, who is the football player we saw at the beginning. Barry points out he has the physical attributes. He also points out that he is actually a better match than Hewitt, though Caitlyn dismisses that as “yeah, on paper”. (Seriously, isn’t she supposed to be the biology scientist in this group?)
Barry suggest meeting with both before deciding. (And, you know, it might be best to think of what those two think about this whole situation. Just maybe.) Caitlyn goes to see Hewitt, while Barry tracks down Jackson.
Ominous silhouette of Wells following Cisco.
Barry and Stein arrive at the garage that Jackson is working as a mechanic at. Stein proceeds to do a verbal “pro and con” list about his potential candidate by judging him on his surroundings. Barry introduces himself and Stein as from the “Department of Safety”. (because lying about who you are is a great way to gain the trust of the guy you’re going to ask to make a huge decision to save your life.)
Barry says they’re interviewing all the people who the particle accelerator affected, but Jackson is having none of it, saying he lost enough time to that event already. Stein says he believes he can help him back at Star Labs. Jackson says he wants none of it, explaining how he woke up in the hospital with his body wrecked and his dreams of playing pro-football gone. Barry leaves a card with their info and leaves.
Joe and Iris meet with Francine at Jitters. Francine says what every estranged parent says ‘I can’t believe what a great woman you’ve become, I’m so proud of you.’ Iris, lest trusting and most skeptical asks why she returned, and why now after so long. Francine apologizes for leaving, saying there’s more than they know. Iris tells her mother that while she wishes her well, they should continue to lead separate lives.
Caitlyn has brought Hewitt to Star Labs. Apparently she hadn’t wasted any time telling him the whole plan about the Firestorm conundrum. Apparently he’s a big fan of Stein’s work, so of course Stein is charmed right away. Barry says they couldn’t bring Jackson, because they need more time to work with him. Of course, they have no more time, because according to Cisco they’re running out of power on the tech that is keeping Stein stable.
Caitlyn jumps right into says they should just do the merge now. (Because getting to know more about this guy and his level of responsibility, trustworthiness, and morality is for suckers!) Plus, Caitlyn has already told him all the details of the Firestorm Matrix, despite Barry’s obvious surprise.
“Becoming Firestorm is a huge life change. He has to know what he’s getting himself into.” (Finally someone said it!)
“Look at that, that’s so cute, we’ll have two professor Steins if this works” – Cisco line of the night.
Then they jump right into merging the two of them, with Cisco explaining the tech to Hewitt, which he says ‘seems easy enough’. Machine goes on, they touch, nothing happens. Cisco states the obvious, that they aren’t that compatible. Understandably, Hewitt is upset, Caitlyn really got his hopes up for nothing. As he’s leaving however, we get a shot of his hand glowing the way that we’ve seen Firestorm glow.
Then we see Mercury Labs, the place Caitlyn was working at until recently, where the alarms have been triggered in applied sciences. Harrison Wells just stole something, and Doctor Tina McGee recognized him on sight.
Detectives West and Spivot are the ones investigating, apparently at McGee’s own request because of West’s discretion. She tells him that the man she saw breaking into the facility was Harrison Wells. Both of them are obviously shocked. She says the only thing different about him, was that he was walking again. She gives them full access and then leaves them to their investigation.
Spivot wants to bring Barry in on the case right away, but West insists that Barry cannot hear any of it. (Look, it only took four episodes for secrets to start popping up again!) He says Barry has too much on his plate, and hearing that the man who killed his mother is back would just be too much.
Excellent. That makes one of you.
Back at the police station, Francine is waiting for Joe, who tells her immediately that she needs to leave. Both him and Iris stated they didn’t want her in their lives now. However, she has something else to tell them. She has been getting weak the last few months, doctors ran tests and couldn’t find the cause. Until they did, and she’s terminal. She just wanted to get to know her daughter before she died, and to have someone to miss her.
Then we see that Jackson finally agreed to come into Star Labs, and he’s having fun just looking around at everything. Then Barry tells him that this isn’t really about fixing his knee, and tells him about how the dark matter changed him more than just damaging his knee and other body parts. He asks if he’s like the Metahumans he hears about on the news, and they explain to him the difference.
They start to explain to him about what Firestorm is capable of, and how Professor Stein has this power, but “only during times of convergence with a willing partner.” That’s when they get down to the talk of the partnership between Stein and Jackson. He rejects it as crazy. Caitlyn points out their giving him the opportunity to be a superhero, which he says isn’t his kind of thing.
Caitlyn, who does not take rejection well, gets aggressive on the offence. Asking why he didn’t go to college even though his grades were good enough. “Is this the type of guy you are? One setback and you fold?” (Maybe emotional trauma here Caitlyn? He did have a life-altering event that took away something that was a huge part of who he was.) Jackson naturally loses his cool and walks out.
Barry attempts to calm Caitlyn.
No, no, no. New Cisco line of the night. Caitlyn says no one would reject being a superhero, then turns to Cisco and asks him if he would.
Cisco gets super awkward and says “A chance to have superpowers? Sign me up.” Followed by an awkward smile and tucking his hair behind his ear.
Barry continues to try to reason with Caitlyn, stating the obvious. That they’re asking Jackson to change his life, sacrifice what he has, and that’s not a decision to be made lightly. He says it took him a long to accept what happens to him. It’s all fruitless, however, as Caitlyn leaves chasing after Hewitt.
Then we see Barry getting back to Spivot on those teeth from the Man-Shark case. Which aren’t from a Man-Shark, just a man. She says she’s going to let this case die, and she’s got another open case anyways. He asks is it’s a case she needs his help on, and she gets super awkward, and says that “detective said definitely not”. Barry calls her on her awkwardness, but she leaves before giving anything else away.
Barry finds Joe who is brooding alone in the dark. He confines in Barry that Francine is dying. Barry asks Joe about the case that Pivot said he didn’t want him working on. Joe denies it’s that serious, and that he’d let him know. Joe asks what’s going on between Barry and Patty, Barry says she’s adorable, but she’s not Iris. Joe says you never feel the same after you’re first love, but you can’t let that hold you back.
We see Hewitt as his lab working, where he’s confronted by his boss who is feeling a little frustrated with Hewitt’s performance at work. Hewitt loses his temper at him, and lights start to flicker. Then he goes full on fire. (This is why you do thorough background checks before giving guys superhero powers Caitlyn!)
Back at Star Labs they see the report of a ‘spontaneous energy malfunction’ at Ike Meyer Technologies, where Hewitt is being investigated. Caitlyn points out that they probably activated Hewitt’s dormant powers. Stein points out that this could be catastrophic, especially without something to ground him.
Cisco points out that it will be double catastrophic considering his temper as evidence by his police record, which includes Battery and Aggravated Assault and he was sentences to court ordered anger management. (Again, thorough background checks, people!)
Stein has another episode with instability. Caitlyn is blaming herself (and she’s not the only one) for everything going wrong. Barry gives a little bit of an inspirational speech regarding potential.
Joe tells Iris about Francine’s diagnostics. Iris feels bad, but still doesn’t want to have a relationship with her. Joe tells her whatever she decides is fine, and that they should be open and honest with each other about it. (Honesty, yes!) Iris says she’s skeptical about how she only said she was dying after Iris said she didn’t want to see her.
Caitlyn goes to apologize to Jackson, then jumps right into begging for his help. She tells him about Ronnie, who was Stein’s other half in the Firestorm Matrix before. She tells him about how he saved Central City during the singularity. It inspires him slightly, but he still denies it’s the path for him. Caitlyn says that the incident didn’t just take something from him, it gave him something as well. “The opportunity to be part of something bigger”
They’re little chat is interrupted as Jackson gets blasted by Hewitt who came for revenge against Caitlyn for what she did to him. Jackson thinks quick and knocks him over the head so they both have time to run away back to Star Labs.
Stein is in critical condition, and they don’t have a way to stabilize him anymore. This is when Jackson suddenly comes onboard and says he will become part of the Firestorm Matrix. Barry asks if he’s sure, as there is no going back. Jackson is sure.
Cisco puts on the device and merges with Stein. It works splendidly. Jackson flames up right away, and we here Stein sounding much better as a voice inside his head. Jackson is excited and ready to take it for a test spin. Good timing as there’s something happening at the football stadium where he was originally injured.
Hewitt is there terrorizing some high schoolers. Flash is on scene and Cisco cuts the power so that he can’t draw energy from the stadium. Hewitt see Jackson as Firestorm and it angers him further, saying that it should have been him. Stein tries to guide Jackson into leaning about his newfound powers. Barry states that it seems like the angrier he gets, the stronger he gets.
Caitlyn points out that while he’s getting stronger he’s also becoming more unstable. She says to make him even angrier so that way he will literally blow up with rage. Barry continues to taunt him with a little ‘catch me if you can’ with his speed.
Barry congratulates Jackson on his first superhero outing. Jackson says he had a great coach, referring to Stein. Stein says despite his initial reservations he thinks that him and Jackson will make a great team after all. “Welcome aboard, Firestorm.”
Iris joins her mother for coffee at Jitters. Iris tells her that she didn’t initially believe that she was telling the truth about being sick, but that she looked into it and found that she was telling the truth. Francine assures her that she would never lie about something like that. Iris said that it was almost enough to give her a second chance, but she was still lying.
Iris found out that she had a son, eight months after leaving her and her father. Iris both wants to know about her brother and doesn’t want her mother to tell her as she cannot trust what she says. Iris tells Francine to stay away from her, and stay away from her father. Iris doesn’t want her father to know about the boy, saying that if he found out he had a son that grew up without knowing him then it would crush him. (Yay, more secrets that won’t blow up in anyone’s faces!)
Back with the gang we hear that they’re back to locking people up in the pipeline, starting with Hewitt who is burnt out after his episode at the football field. Stein and Jackson are off to Pittsburg to meet up with a colleague who was working with him and Ronnie on their Firestorm abilities. Stein gives a warm goodbye to Caitlyn. Caitlyn gives Jackson Ronnie’s old compass.
Jackson: “You know, this whole thing is strange, being 50% of someone.”
Caitlin: “Yeah, but you’re 100% a hero.”
Cisco assures Stein that the merging should be smoother now that he tinkered with the device. Stein tells Cisco that he should share his ability, that it was a gift and not a curse.
Stein and Jackson merge and fly away. To Legends of Tomorrow.
Then we have a total geek-tastic closing. Barry gives his closing monologue, blah blah blah, fears, blah blah blah, second chances, etc. Then, as he’s Flash suited up gazing at Patty Spivot drinking coffee at Jitters, a finlike hand grabs him around the neck. IT’S THE SHARK-MAN. “Zoom want you dead!” Spivot goes out and sees the Shark-Man choking out the Flash and with little hesitation, goes in yelling for him to put his fins in the air. She unloads a whole clip into the Shark-Man to no effect. What does have an effect on him though is some type of energy gun wielded by none other than Harrison Wells. Barry and him have a face off right as the screen goes to the logo.
An ACL tear, while being a major setback, is not a complete “I’m never going to play football again” injury, just look at Adrian Petersen.
Can someone in law enforcement explain what a “sealed record” is or if it’s just an out for TV shows. The only time I’ve heard of it IRL is juvenile records.
Jefferson Jackson’s story sounds like some versions of Cyborg’s story. Though google-fu tells me he was in the Firestorm comics and not a character made for the show.
Also, when Jackson offered to play the Titanic soundtrack it was a reference to the actor who plays Stein also acting in the Titanic.
They never did say what Wells took from Mercury Labs.
Where was Jay Garrick this whole episode?
Also, why is it Barry hasn’t talked to his dad, like, at all?
And though they didn’t have Cisco name him, Henry Hewitt’s alias in the comics is Tokamak. Maybe they finally came across a name too ridiculous for Cisco to give.
Also, Shark-Man was King Shark.
MacGregor’s syndrome, the disease Francine has, is also the disease that Nora, the wife of Mr. Freeze, had. Just a fun fact I suppose.
Also, a Flash logo cookie to Nadiact1000 for totally calling the Wally West brother theory. Though the brother wasn’t named, I no longer doubt it.
Just as a weird aside, I couldn’t remember an exact quote, so I googled it because I was too lazy to find it in the Hulu video. The quotes and synopsis and fun facts for this episode were already on IMDb. Geeks are dedicated.