Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
The conclusive battle between Sho and Shinra comes to an end in episode 23 of Fire Force. With their physical limits reaching an end, and their mental limits causing them utter exhaustion, the two brothers resolve is put on display. With the inclusion of some new problematic characters, “Smile” sets the tone for how the season will end, and determine if our hero, Shinra, will attain the answers he desperately seeks.
The episode begins with the two brothers fighting in complete exhaustion. Sho is still denying the fact that Shinra is his older brother, and dose not let up on his onslaught of attacks. Shinra continues to have Adolla Links with Sho to show him past memories of their childhood. Shinra is somehow able to travel faster than the speed of light, and reverts time to expose Sho to the traumatic experiences his older brother had to go through after being labeled a devil. Sho denies he had a past, but begins to come around when he begins to remember his own personal memories that were lost.
The turning point for Sho is when he gets a longer look at their mother, and feels the love both Shinra and his deceased mother had towards him as a baby. For the first time, the scene cuts to Sho crying, and Shinra realizes that he has his brother back! The bond between both brothers was never severed, it was only lost in the cloudy history of Sho’s memories. Shinra apologizes to his younger brother as he holds him close, promising him to never leave him alone in the dark again. As the room is filled with emotional relief, Shinra is impaled by Sho’s sword, and Haumea pops up giggling with a sinister smile.
The heartfelt reunion is interrupted by Haumea, and Yona, as she is there to finish the job and collect Shinra. Sho’s change of heart is displayed as he tries to intervene with Shinra’s capture, but Haumea uses her electric signaling power to somehow control Sho. Haumea has a menacing aura about her as she taunts Shinra, and bluntly tells him that the Evangelist are collecting Adolla Burst users to cause another Great Cataclysm. Yona is telling Haumea that they must leave, but before they can escape with Shinra, the rest of Company 8 finally shows up to defend their weakened comrade.
Haumea tries to use her pyrokinetic powers on Arthur, but it seems his plasma is able to interfere with her signal, thus rendering her powers useless, in a way. Haumea is still able to deflect and control the trajectory of the Fire Force soldiers powers, while leisurely prancing around. As Captain Obi tires to drop a pillar on Haumea, that’s right, a whole pillar, the seismic shock causes the place to shake, inducing an earthquake that is somehow cause by the Evangelist. Both Company 8 and the Evangelist escape without any casualties, but Shinra is left in critical condition and must seek medical attention.
Company 8 visits Captain Huang, of Company 6, because they seek her medical abilities to help Shinra recover. Company 6 specializes in medical recovery, and we get our first introduction to Lieutenant Hague as well. Captain Huang seems a bit reluctant to help Shinra, but after hearing the breakdown of the Evangelist from Captain Obi, she gives off the impression that she knew something bad has been going on this whole time. She doesn’t make any promises about Shinra’s recovery since he possesses an Adolla Burst, but reassures them that she will do everything in her power to help him out. It’s comforting to hear Obi’s concern for Shinra’s health as he tells Captain Huang that their team would not be the same without their spunky devil.
The episode ends with Shinra waking up three days after his surgery, and recollects about everything that happened prior. His determination to rescue his brother is fired up, and his devotion to finding the culprit responsible for his family’s misfortunes continues to grow. As Shinra looks out the windows of his recovery room, he is visited by a surprising guest, Captain Burns from Company 1. Burns is straight to the point and tells Shinra that he’s there to discuss the events of the fire that happened 12 years ago; the event that took his family away. The tension only builds up, and the answers Shinra’s been waiting for are going to finally emerge. With one more episode left in the season, it’s hard to believe the season will get a definitive resolve.
The bond between the brothers has finally reached its inescapable truth, and the spark of hope is rekindled in the heart of the viewer. Mixing the emotional clash between Shinra and Sho, and the malicious quirkiness of Haumea, the episode is given a satisfying clause. It’s always great when the introduction of a new character easily changes the tides of the battle field, while adding some depth to the story. It’s also interesting to get to see a new Company’s characters, and their brief outlook on the whole situation. Burn’s surprising entrance at the end keeps the viewer glued to their seats as we await the big reveal in the season finally of Fire Force.
The bonds between family deepens, new threats arise to begin havoc, and long awaited secretes creep into the light of the flames.