Last week on The Flash, Barry revealed his identity as The Flash to Central City Police Captain Kramer, forging a partnership between the speedster and law enforcement as well as gave her a way to contact him so that they could better help people. This week, with Goldface back in custody things are back to normal in Central City, but a new crime and subsequent investigation will lead to those closest to Barry to question his objectivity about a murder suspect while, at the Citizen Media, Allegra is given a professional opportunity that presents her with her own challenges.
With The Flash recently renewed for Season 9, Season 8 of the long running The CW series is in full swing this week, but if you missed out on tonight's episode, "The Fire Next Time", don't worry. We've got you covered with all the details from the episode with our recap, but be warned: there are full spoilers beyond this point!
It's closing time at the bar and as one of the employees locks up for the night and starts to leave, he is menaced by an unseen force: a barstool is inexplicably so hot it burns him, the jukebox starts, and then liquids start to boil before the employee is attacked by something as smoke or steam fills the room. The next day at Barry and Iris' home, she suggests dinner plans then realizes it's a significant day for him though he tries to brush it off as just another day. At the bar, Barry and Chester investigate the murder of the bar manager, Stanley, and confirm it's a meta attack, but an unusual one. Barry shows the worker who found Stanley picture of Jaco Birch/The Hotness and she confirms that's the person she saw arguing with Stanley earlier in the evening.
At the Citizen, Iris tasks Allegra with a specific profile assignment that Allegra had previously dismissed, but one of Allegra's staff, Taylor, had gone behind her back to suggest it to Iris. Iris agreed and then tells Allegra she needs to interview the subject — a local influencer — with the employee who went behind her back. Elsewhere in Central City, Jaco tries to impress his son, but fails to do so. The police show up to arrest him for murder. When the police try to also remove his son from the scene, Jaco lights up, upset that he could be losing his son again and pleas with The Flash that he didn't do anything wrong. The Flash has flashbacks to the night his own actually innocent father was arrested.
In Cecile's office, Barry gets her advice and is very clearly unsure that Jaco did the crime. There's no hard evidence that Jaco committed the crime and Barry just isn't convinced. He thinks something is wrong and asks Cecile to meet with him to read his emotions, but she says she can't cross that ethical line.
Allegra and Taylor interview the influencer, Rosie, and Allegra is very much not into it and resentful of being there. She soon leaves the table to speak with a Jitters employee she knew in prison. However, the employee, Lydia, is resentful of Allegra's success while she has been struggling with low paying menial jobs. No one will hire Lydia because of her criminal record. Allegra says she wants to help her by sharing her story with the world.
At jail, Cecile meets with Jaco who is very worried about his son. He explains he got his life together and get out of prison early for good behavior for his son. He explains that he fought with Stanley because Stanley stiffed him half the purchase price on a guitar that he was selling so he could buy his son tickets to the concert. He says he went home after the argument and insists he did not kill Stanley. Cecile later tells that Jaco doesn't have much for a defense, but her gut tells her that he believes he is innocent. Moments later, they're informed that Jaco has escaped custody. He immediately goes to confront the witness.
Team Flash also isn't sure that Jaco is innocent and try to sway Barry that escaping jail doesn't look good for him. They then get a hit for a fire outside the bar and The Flash and Frost head there. They find the burned witness, but Frost notes that the fire doesn't respond to her cold powers. At the Citizen, Allegra is excited about her story, but her employee is annoyed. Barry gets some of the reports from the scene of the second murder and says that it is identical to evidence from the first murder and it doesn't line up with Jaco as they are too exact and can't be replicated with the way Jaco' powers work. Team Flash confronts Barry and suggests he isn't thinking clearly. For Barry, this case is personal because of what happened to his dad surrounding the murder of his mother when he was a kid.
Joe pays Barry a visit at his police lab. The team is worried about Barry and Joe says he's not okay. It happens to Henry Allen's birthday. Barry tells Joe that The Hotness had the same look in his eyes that his father did the night he was arrested for a murder he didn't commit and that he believes The Hotness didn't kill anyone. Joe says that maybe Barry's seeing something that others can't because of what he went through and tells him not to give up just yet. Just then, Barry gets a message that Chester found something.
At the Citizen, Allegra gives Iris her story and she likes the story, but she's not happy Allegra wrote something other than the Rosie story. Because Allegra didn't help Taylor with the Rosie interview, Taylor's story isn't that great. Iris tells Allegra she's trying to teach her how to be a supervisor and mentor and Allegra didn't do that. She tells Allegra that she has to fix things with Taylor. At STAR Labs, Chester and Frost tell Barry he was right, the fire from the crimes are cold fusion and therefore, Jaco is innocent because his powers are different. Now it's a race against time to clear his name before he does something stupid.
Cue the something stupid. Jaco confronts the transport taking his son to foster care again. Harold confronts his dad and Jaco agrees with his son. He is a total loser and all he wanted was to get his life together. He says that he no longer cares because whatever he does, they will always think he's a killer. The Flash shows up and stops him from doing something and tells him that they found evidence proving his innocence, but he has to stop so no one gets hurt. While they're standing there, the ground starts to shake. It turns out that Jaco's powers are connected to the earth below wherever he's standing and he's causing a freak volcano. The Flash has very limited time to stop it. Jaco will have to absorb the heat and The Flash gives him a pep talk. They team up. The Flash goes underground to release the pressure by getting the water table into the magma and Jaco absorbs the heat. The day is saved. Jaco's heroic act impresses his son.
Jaco gets custody of his son, so he and his son get another chance. Allegra goes to talk to Taylor, who is snide and annoyed at what Allegra did. Taylor insults Allegra for her prison experience and then tells Allegra that she plans to destroy her. At the West house, everyone reminisces about Henry Allen in honor of his birthday. As the episode closes, Team Flash tries to figure out who the real killer was, and they use the data to try to find more victims just in case they're dealing with a meta serial killer.
The Flash airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.