The Flash (2014) s08e08 Episode Script

The Fire Next Time

1 Hasta mañana, Stan.
Have a good one.
Donna? If you're trying to scare me, it won't work.
I told you I ain't paying you a damn cent more.
Whoa! Come on, man.
That's enough.
Well, I go where I want, and I go where I need Ooh! - Iced java thank you, baby.
- Yeah.
Hey, I was thinking that we could get an early dinner reservation tonight.
Actually, um, you know what? Why don't we, um, stay in, have a quiet night, just the two of us? That feels better.
Thank you.
I'm okay.
You know, I gotta get used to it eventually.
It's just another day.
I can clear my schedule.
I'm fine, really.
Besides, things are Things are busy at CCC.
You need to be there.
And I need to get to work.
I'm just a phone call away.
I know.
Is it that bad? Huh? Sorry.
That fire just kind of weirds me out is all.
The vic's name is Stanley Mullen.
Uh, he's the manager of this local watering hole.
It's weird.
The body's burnt through, but the ground underneath isn't even charred.
Yeah, this was definitely a meta attack.
Dark matter levels are off the charts.
Well, whoever that is, they produce fire that ignores the laws of physics.
Oh man, you know, this is giving me, like, "Goodbye, Armageddon, but hello, Dante's Inferno" type of a vibe.
- Morning, Allen.
- Morning.
Find anything that can help us piece this together? Uh, no.
Not yet.
Were there any witnesses? Uh, the bartender, Donna Winters, didn't see the crime.
But she said our victim got into a pretty nasty argument last night with a recently paroled ex-convict.
Apparently, the guy had a bad temper.
Oh, and he was wearing a L.
concert T-shirt.
You know, as in the rock band.
I was gonna ask him some follow-up questions.
Would it be okay if I showed her a picture of someone - who could be our suspect? - Sure.
Donna, this is CSI Barry Allen and CCPD consultant Chester Runk.
Winters, the person you saw arguing with the victim, was this him? That's him.
That's the guy.
Jaco Birch.
I'll put out an APB.
This way, ma'am.
The Hotness did this? I thought it was all about the moolah, not cold-blooded murder.
Plus, how did he kill someone without burning half the place down? Looks like we're not the only ones who leveled up this year.
Here you go, boss lady.
This is every suggestion the bullpen brainstormed for who should be our first CC Citizen of the Week.
Nice work.
Only, this is every suggestion except the winning one.
- Rosie Levin.
- Mm-hmm.
Uh, boss, I don't think launching our first profile section on some shallow social media influencer is the way to go.
I just thought we were supposed to be the voice of the people.
I hear you.
But Rosie Levin is who the people are interested in.
500,000 of them, to be exact, and if we could bring those eyeballs to CCC, then, hopefully, people will read the stories that matter.
Is there something that you wanna tell me? Yeah.
Okay, fine.
Taylor brought this to me earlier, and I told her it wasn't right for us, and she went behind my back.
She believed in the story, and she followed protocol and made an appeal to the editor-in-chief, and I approved it.
Is that a problem? Yes! I mean, no.
I just mean if the bullpen knows they can come to you when I say no my word means nothing.
Look, you're still their boss.
But I'm also yours, and that means that sometimes we are going to disagree on the stories that we tell.
It's part of the process.
Yeah, you're right.
Of course, I Actually, you know what? Why don't you both interview Rosie? You want Taylor and me to work together? You're my supervising editor.
Go supervise.
Plus, opposing perspectives make for better stories.
And keep an open mind.
I mean, you might be surprised at what the two of you can do together.
You got it.
Whoa, whoa.
Easy with the guitars, roadies.
You're unloading the gilded weapons of true rock gods.
Come on! You gotta trust your old man, Harold! Watching a L.
concert's gonna blow your freakin' mind.
Whatever, dude.
Hey, you know I'm sorry I couldn't land the backstage passes I promised, all right? I kind of ran into a little bit of a cash flow issue.
You bribed me here with stuff you couldn't even get, Jaco? You're even more lame than usual.
I know, right? But, uh, hey, look, maybe after the show, we could grab some food, huh? I could tell you some stories about these crazy things these bands I'm working with get into.
You aren't with the bands, Jaco.
You're arena security.
Anyone could do that.
I'm gonna go for a walk.
But but Harold Whoa.
Jaco Birch.
You're under arrest for the murder of Stanley Mullen.
Nah, I think you got the wrong guy.
What's going on? Take him somewhere safe.
Let go of me, jerk.
Hey, hey, hey! Get your hands off my son! Calm down, and put your hands behind your back.
Nobody's taking my kid away from me.
Never again! Thanks, Flash.
We got it from here.
Harold, I'm innocent.
I swear.
I'm innocent! Please believe me.
Flash! You gotta help me.
Please, I didn't do anything.
Please, I can't lose my son! Please! I didn't do it.
I swear to God I didn't do this.
- Where's mom? - What's gonna happen - to my son? - Dad! - Barry! - Dad! Harold, I didn't do anything.
I swear! I swear.
Please believe me, please! Okay, I gotta be honest.
Uh, based on this police report, I'd advise Mr.
Birch here to start thinking about a plea bargain.
I'm guessing you feel differently.
I just want to make sure they got the right guy.
Well, it seems like they do.
He had an argument with the victim hours before he was killed.
He's got no alibi.
The crime matches his powers, and the guy is an ex-con.
Who was released early for good behavior.
You know, Korber and those other officers could've been killed, too, if you hadn't intervened.
I know I I know how it looks for Birch, but there isn't any hard evidence that he's guilty.
And last night, he supposedly killed a man and then instead of laying low, he went back to work this morning? As a security guard of all things? It's just it doesn't add up.
Stranger things have happened.
I know, look, I-I've I've worked hundreds of cases like this, and I'm telling you, something about this just It doesn't feel right to me.
Okay, okay, but you know that Birch had motive and opportunity to commit this murder.
You didn't see the look on his face when they took him from his son.
He was he was begging for me to believe that he's innocent.
And you do? I'm not sure yet.
Look, would you would you be willing to meet with him to get a read on his emotions? Yes, of course, I'll meet with him.
Guilty or not, everyone deserves proper representation.
But Barry using my powers to read a client It's an ethical line that I can't cross.
Yeah, of course.
I'm sorry.
I I just don't wanna see someone go to prison for a murder they might not have committed.
So Rosie, dropping out of Cornell to become a social media influencer took guts.
What inspired you to make such a bold decision? Let's just say institutionalized learning felt like a total prison.
Trust me.
It's not.
What my supervisor means is that our readers are just so eager to get to know the real Rosie Levin.
So sorry.
Will you excuse me? Uh So sorry, I don't know what her problem is.
Uh, now why don't you take me through a typical day? Lydia.
Oh, my God.
It's so good to see you.
How are you? Look who decided to come say hi.
I haven't seen you since Iron Heights.
At least, not in person.
Then again, your face is plastered all over that news website.
CCC Media, yeah.
I work there now.
These days, I'm writing the headlines, not starring in them.
Must be nice.
So you've been working here since you got out? No, um, my first gig was cleaning out porta potties.
That was fun.
I guess this is kind of like a promotion for me.
Not that you care.
What's that supposed to mean? I get it, you're too busy to help out old friends.
You're mad because I'm a reporter now? Look, you got out, walked into a legit career.
Good for you.
Meanwhile, I busted my butt to get my GED in prison, and look where it got me.
This is just temporary.
I mean, I'm sure you can do better.
Gee, thanks.
I didn't mean it like that.
I know what you meant.
The truth is cleaning floors is the best job I can get with a record like mine.
People like you don't see who I'm trying to be Only who I was.
It makes it really hard, you know? No.
I don't know.
Not yet.
But I'd like to try and help you.
How could you possibly help me? Let me share your story with the world.
Trust me.
Before we get into this, I need to know my son's okay.
The cops won't tell me anything.
Yeah, Harold is fine.
He's with Social Services, just until they can track down his mom.
Good luck with that.
She's been in and out of his life since he was born.
No telling when she'll turn up again.
Harold's mother she took care of him while you were in Iron Heights, right? Barely.
That's why I got my act together and got the hell out of that place.
Harold, he never forgave me for abandoning him, and I don't blame him.
Every second of the four years I spent in that prison, it's like he was serving time too.
And the thing is, Harold's a good kid.
I don't know what he did to deserve a father like me.
Okay, why don't you tell me what happened last night.
Stan and I got into it at the bar.
I sold him a guitar so I could buy Harold backstage passes to the L.
concert, and at the last minute, Stan decided to only pay me half of what we agreed on.
Then what happened? Sure, we argued.
And yeah, I told him this wasn't over.
But then I went home.
That's the last I saw of Stan.
Is there anybody that can confirm that? Anybody was your son home with you last night? No! He was out with friends.
So unless my vinyl collection can talk I got nothin'.
All right.
Listen, I've been around long enough to know you're about to tell me I'm screwed.
But I'm telling you, I'm innocent.
Jaco, the bartender places you at the scene moments before the crime.
Any jury is gonna see that as more than enough evidence to convict.
I won't leave my son without a dad again! Okay? You got that? I wish I had something better to tell you, Barry.
But Birch just doesn't have the pieces that you need to build a strong defense.
And all of the evidence, it's still pointing to him as the killer.
I know you didn't use your abilities in there, but what does your gut tell you? It's telling me that whether he is actually innocent or not, he definitely believes that he is.
But it's not nearly enough.
Yeah, but look, if there's any chance he is innocent, we have to help him.
What's going on? Jaco Birch just escaped custody en route to holding.
Was anybody hurt? Thankfully, no, but so much for his "I'm innocent" sob story, huh? You told the cops I killed Stan? Come on, man.
I only told them what I saw.
And when you think about it, I really didn't see anything.
Hey, you and me are good, right? I'm gonna lose my son because of you Because of what you said! Hey man, relax, I Maybe I didn't see anything! Damn straight, 'cause you're gonna take it back.
You're gonna take it all back right now! Wait, man! Please! Nothing on the satellites yet.
Keep trying.
We have to figure out where Birch is going before CCPD does.
That's the only way we'll have a chance to prove he's innocent.
I'm sorry, are we talking about the guy who just burned his way through a CCPD transport convoy? The fact that Birch ran away doesn't change the evidence.
There's still nothing directly tying him to Mullen's death.
Sure, Barry, sure, but fleeing custody is not exactly exculpatory, and I am saying that as his lawyer.
She's right, Barr.
If Jaco Birch is innocent, why run? Why did Frost run when Chillblaine framed her? Because unfortunately, sometimes people don't get a fair shot from the justice system.
Yeah, and as a former DA, I know.
I know that sometimes, it's true.
- They don't.
- Okay, but how do we know Birch isn't the same hothead he's always been? I mean, he'd be halfway across the country by now.
No, he didn't skip town Not without his son.
- And you know this how? - I just do.
Uh, guys.
Emergency dispatch is getting calls about a fire right outside O'Shaughnessy's.
What? Why would Birch go back to the scene of the crime? If it's really Birch.
Yeah, I'll find out.
I'll come with you for backup.
Holy crap.
What kind of fire is this? I think I know who this is.
Is that the witness who pinned it on Birch The bartender? You know, your innocent man, Barr, is not looking so innocent anymore.
I thought we were supposed to be working together on this.
Next time.
Right now, I am in the zone.
Thought I saw you two were back.
How's the interview go? Great.
I feel like this story is exploding out of me.
So everything went well? Yeah.
Seriously, you're gonna love what I'm doing here, I promise.
Excuse me.
I just need to get some air.
All right, well, I'll let you get back to it.
I'm looking forward to reading the finished product.
Roger that.
I got back the tomography reports from the crime lab.
Donna Winters, the bartender who died? The thermal lesions on her body match the marks on Stan Mullen's body exactly.
Too exactly.
I mean, there's no pyrokinetic meta who could replicate burns like that even if they tried.
I I I told you something about Birch's case just wasn't adding up.
Barr, we're the ones who told Birch that Donna blamed him for the first murder, and now Donna is dead.
She's dead! You have got to see how that looks, right? Yeah, but the facts are still on Birch's side.
Neither crime scene has any direct evidence tying him to it.
No DNA, no fingerprints, no witnesses That are still alive.
Barry, you gotta admit Birch has motive and the more emotional he gets, the stronger his powers are.
Like, you know, earth-shattering.
Thank goodness he wasn't in a bad mood today.
That doesn't make him a killer.
Okay, look, we know that you're just trying to do the right thing here.
We do, but Barry, we can't help but wonder if just maybe you're not thinking clearly about this case.
Oh, so that's it.
You've already decided you're giving up on him.
We're just looking at the facts, man.
So am I.
The two exact fire signatures makes me think Birch is not our guy.
Chester, could you please at least take a look at this, and see what you can find? Yeah, okay.
Look, I know you all thought Birch was guilty from the start.
No, we haven't.
That's not true.
Each of us have been trying to help him from the beginning.
But then Birch ran off.
He was just trying to protect his son.
I mean, what about other suspects? There are none.
Both victims worked at O'Shaughnessy's.
Maybe they owed somebody money or pissed off the wrong person.
I get Birch is a known fire meta and an ex-con.
That also makes him the perfect fall guy.
Okay, now you think he's being framed? I'm saying it's possible! Look, Birch is the freaking Hotness and a bad guy.
It feels like he's changed! Not to us, and honestly it feels like you're asking us to believe in something impossible.
Yeah, I am! 'Cause if anyone had when I was a kid, my dad wouldn't have gone to jail.
Barry Barry, honey.
Look, we're sorry.
We we we weren't thinking.
Look, here's the deal.
I believe Birch is innocent.
So with or without your help, I'm gonna do everything within my power to clear his name.
That looks familiar.
Been what, seven, eight years since I've seen this board? Except the last time, it was covered with photos of a different man.
Cecile told me what happened.
The team is worried about you.
No, they don't have to be.
I'm fine.
No, you're not.
They don't know what today is.
I do.
February 1st Henry's birthday.
I remember when he was turning 45, and your mom threw that surprise party.
The whole block showed up, and you were baking cupcakes for weeks, and when the big night came, before he could even take off his coat, the pager went off.
They actually needed him.
- He had to miss his own party.
- And you were disappointed.
Of course.
But you understood.
He was helping save people's lives, right? Yeah.
But Henry, he was crushed.
He was worried that he was missing all these moments with you and your mom.
But I told him, "Those cupcakes might be stale now.
But you'll have more birthdays for both of them.
" Oh, there were.
That was the last one before it happened.
- Barry! - Dad! Stay out of the house! Barry! Joe, the look in my dad's eyes that night It was the same look in Birch's eyes when they arrested him.
Look of an innocent man desperate not to lose his son Begging someone to believe him.
And you do.
Yeah, I do.
I just keep thinking about all the time my dad lost.
All the birthdays we spent, separated by plexiglass.
I can't let Birch and his son go through that if he's innocent.
I don't know.
Maybe the team's right.
Maybe I'm making something out of nothing.
You think maybe I've had blinders up this whole time? Maybe.
Or You can see something they can't.
Look, what you went through, I wouldn't wish on anyone.
But what it did, was it gave you the ability to believe in the underdog when no one else is willing to.
So If your gut tells you To not give up on Birch Then for Henry's sake, don't.
Not yet.
So what do you think? I think the lede is in the second graph, not the first.
But besides that, it is a very engaging and beautifully written article.
I think it's going to open a lot of eyes.
Seriously? You like it? Yes, I do.
But Allegra, as strong as that article is, that's not what I assigned you.
I know, but I have a unique insight into Lydia, and me connecting with this story so much is what's gonna make it connect with our audience.
Agreed, but I wanted you to make this special, and to help support a colleague.
There's some decent writing in Taylor's article, but it's all surface.
There's no context.
There's no examination of Rosie's influence on young women.
Allegra, you could've made this story so much better if you had helped her like I asked you to do.
Iris, I'm so sorry.
The interview with Rosie wasn't going anywhere.
So you abandoned it? I followed my instinct.
I thought that's what you'd want me to do.
What I want is for you to learn how to be a supervisor.
That's why I'm trying to teach you how to mentor her.
Instead, you did just the opposite.
But I have an obligation to our readers to publish the best articles that I can, and your profile on Lydia is amazing.
I think it's gonna start an important conversation.
So We're gonna go with it.
But next time, please run any changes this big by me first.
And another thing: I want you to talk to Taylor.
You're her immediate boss, so it's up to you to fix this, not the other way around.
Chester, what'd you find? You were right.
Yeah, check this out.
So I cross-referenced the heat signature from O'Shaughnessy's to the one in the alleyway from the second victim like you asked.
Guess what I found.
Both signatures produced an anomalous heat effect created by non-composites reacting to hydrogen isotopes Nuclear fusion.
What you're describing is cold fusion.
But Birch's powers come from absorbing heat, not nuclear fusion.
Meaning He's innocent.
Yeah, we get this data to CCPD, you can clear his name.
Okay, Chester, put everything you have on a drive.
I need to get this to Captain Kramer fast.
I need to find Birch.
Let's hope he doesn't do anything else stupid before we can clear his name.
Harold, I know this is tough.
But we're gonna find you a place to stay.
I'm here to make sure your transition is as easy as possible, okay? Whatever.
I'm used to Jaco being a screwup, especially since he got his powers.
I want my son! Now! Harold, get out of the car.
Get down on your knees with your hands above your head.
I'm not letting you cart my son off to a bunch of strangers.
Harold! Birch, I said get down.
Why won't you leave me alone? CCPD scanners have Birch at Hastings Avenue and Nicola Lane.
Oh, man.
Satellites just picked up a city vehicle at the exact same spot.
It's a social services SUV.
He's trying to get his son.
Barry, CCPD still doesn't know that Birch is innocent.
If he tries to take his kid by force We have to stop him.
Before he does something he'll regret.
Birch, listen to me.
No, you listen.
I just want my son.
Now get out of my way.
Wait, wait.
No, wait.
Harold, stay back.
She's right, son.
It's too dangerous.
I'm not scared of him.
Look, Harold.
I know how bad this looks.
But I swear, I'd never hurt anyone.
What's wrong with you? You get that you're a total loser, right? I am.
A total loser.
Have been since the day I was born.
Thought having powers would change all that, but all that did was make things worse.
And now they turn the only good thing in my life against me? My own kid All I wanted when I got out of Iron Heights was a clean start, to get my life together so we could be a family! - This is your final warning.
- Who cares? No matter what I do, you'll always think I'm a killer, and now you wanna take my son away forever? Well, I won't let you! You can't keep me from my family, Flash! No one's taking Harold away.
I know you didn't kill anyone, Birch.
Your lawyer found evidence to prove you're innocent.
But you have to stop what you're doing before anyone gets hurt.
All right? Oh, come on.
I'm not doing anything.
It's not what you're doing.
It's what you already did.
Officer, get them to safety! Thanks for the save! Birch, your heat abilities, they're connected to the earth beneath wherever you're standing.
Uh, yeah, science is not my strong suit.
But yeah, okay.
I'll buy that for a dollar.
He means emotionally.
Ooh right.
Chester, can you scan for thermal activity below us? Yeah, yeah.
Merry Mack Gibson Jr.
Kay, there's a volcano's worth of magma erupting beneath the city's lower crust.
When Birch was upset, he must've absorbed so much heat from the planet's core that he opened up a lava channel.
Flash, if you can't stop this in the next 30 seconds, Central City's gonna turn into Mount Doom.
Officer, get them back! Flash, you gotta do something.
I know this is all my fault.
You and everyone in this city, my son, he can't die because of me.
You gotta save him.
No, you have to save him.
Look, I've got an idea.
If it works, there's gonna be a huge release of pressure forming beneath us.
When that happens, I need you to absorb the remaining heat.
I've never done anything like that before.
You can do this.
I know you can.
Hey, ten seconds.
Time to ride or die, people.
Let's rock.
Where'd he go? I I don't know, but I'm detecting new activity right under the surface.
50 meters down.
No, no, wait.
90 meters down.
110 meters.
120 meters.
Whoa, hey, Flash is doing his thing underground, y'all.
So get ready.
Yeah! Yes! Yes.
Yes! You don't see that every day.
Not that I'm complaining, but how'd you do that? I phased into the water table under the city then released it directly into the lava channel.
That stopped a meltdown, but not the massive heat exchange that was being released One I couldn't stop, but I knew Birch could.
Otherwise, everybody within a ten block radius Would've been fried like a bananas foster in the French Quarter.
Mark and I are goin' to Mardi Gras next year.
Wait, so saving hundreds of lives Try thousands.
Saving that many lives is what I just did? Yeah.
Looks like you're the father Harold deserves after all.
You okay? You used your powers again.
I know.
- I know, I - To save us.
Thanks, Dad.
I love you.
I love you.
Okay! Social Services is on their way with Harold.
They should be here any minute.
I can't believe they're actually letting me have custody of my son.
That evidence you found saved my ass.
Plus, Harold is almost 18, and Judge Hankerson let him decide where he wanted to be.
And you know with his mom being MIA as always? You and Harold are getting another chance A real one, this time.
It's all because of you two.
And The Flash.
Yeah, but you're the one who told him not to give up on me.
- I'm just really grateful.
- Oh, yeah.
Thank you.
If there's ever anything I can do for you, just let me know.
Just be there for Harold.
You okay? I will be.
Hey there, kiddo.
Come on.
Dinner is on me.
We got a lot to catch up on.
Barry, they are gonna be all right.
I guess the real question is are you? Come to gloat? No.
Kind of the opposite.
I guess you saw the first article for our new profile section.
You mean yours? Taylor, I know how this looks, and I wanna apologize.
Yes, Iris loves the Sanchez story, but we are running your piece on Rosie Levin next week.
And our audience deserves to read it.
So tell me what did I do to deserve getting stabbed in the back by my own supervisor? Iris assigned you to help me, not run me over, which is exactly what you did.
I didn't mean to, and you're right.
I shouldn't have done that.
I just I got excited, and I guess I felt like Lydia's story was something our readers needed right now.
And that's how I felt about my story.
Iris did too, until you called in a favor with the boss.
Guess you learned that in prison.
You're right.
I got lost in a great story You stole my byline! Taylor, we are still publishing your article.
Because Iris is a journalist with ethics.
Something you are clearly lacking.
Good to know.
I messed up.
I said I'm sorry.
It won't happen again.
But I am still your supervisor.
So I'm hoping we can get past this.
Okay? I'm gonna destroy you.
Yeah? Shouldn't we be toasting with champagne? Mm-mm.
Plain, old light beer.
That was Henry's favorite.
I used to give him hell about it.
I'd say, "You're a doctor.
You should have better taste," and he'd laugh, and he'd say, "Oh, I'll drink something more expensive when you buy it.
" Do you guys remember when Henry filled in on Dad's softball team? Oh, my gosh.
What a disaster.
What? What happened? Well, even as a kid, I knew that you're not supposed catch a ball with your face.
Oh, no! No, really? Yeah, right in the nose.
Good thing, as a doctor, he was able to reset it himself.
Hey, baby, you okay? Yeah, no, it's It's just nice to hear everybody remember him this way.
What do you remember the most? Oh, little things mostly.
Um, he never made me clean my plate at dinner, even when all I'd eat were carbs, like mac and cheese or those Hawaiian dinner rolls.
Mmm I kept asking him to read me the same bedtime story over and over.
It was the one about the hippo who went to school and made cookies for everyone and then became their friends.
I can see how ridiculous that must have been now.
Well, I'm sure he enjoyed it.
Mostly, I just remembered being loved.
I still miss him.
Every day.
And that is okay.
Well, um, happy birthday, Dad.
So if Birch didn't kill those two, then who did? I've checked every fire-based meta-human in here.
Everyone's either still at Iron Heights or alibi'd up.
So what do we do now? I know what Joe would say.
No suspects? Then shift your focus to where it matters the victims.
But Stan and Donna were different ages, races, and genders.
But they both worked at O'Shaughnessy's.
So the killer's a disgruntled employee? Or they were chosen at random, and we're still missing something.
What are you thinkin'? Chester, the cold fusion data we pulled off the bodies Could your program those variables into the satellites? Sure.
What am I looking for? More victims.
If there's a meta serial killer out there, we need to find them Before somebody else gets hurt.

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