Who called in the ‘Smash-the-Doctor’s-Creepy-Nose-In’ man?!”
Caution: Spoiler Ahead!
“Black and White and Grey,” episode 17 from season 1 of Fire Force, has a tense feeling of despair and betrayal, but ends with a sense of hope followed by many questions. As the title of episode 17 states, not all relationships are as simple as black and white. Sometimes it’s the grey area that keeps bonds connected, even if that connection is one that is not acknowledged.
The episode begins with a brief cinematic explaining the aftermath of the Day of Cataclysm that began in the opening of episode 15. Iris narrates how, the first leader, Raffles found and used the Unsullied Flame the create the Amaterasu, which was used to return civilization back to a living state. The second half of season one is narrating the events from the Day of Cataclysm in the beginning of each episode, which is starting to provide insight to that what is really happening in the world.
Afterwards, we see Dr. Giovanni, in Vulcan’s workshop, continue to smash machines in his surrounding in the hopes that he finds the key, that Vulcan is hiding, that unlocks the true capabilities of Amaterasu. Immediately the mood is shifted from tense to relaxed as we see Shinra waking up from captivity, and gazes upon Hibana; his savior. As Shinra is soaring through the air and assists Arthur in fighting Mirage and Flail, we begin to get a glimmer of hope that Vulcan and the others are going to be ok. Unfortunately, we are shown Dr. Giovanni eventually finding the key, but just in the nick of time, Shinra makes a dramatic entrance in typical Shinra style, and smashes Dr. Giovanni nose in while saying,
That’s why I’m called Smash-the-Doctor’s-Creepy-Nose-In Man! Get away from my company’s new engineer.”
Once the opening song ends, the mood is set for an all-out brawl to begin for those inside Vulcan’s workshop, and those outside the lab. Lisa’s pyrokinetic powers make her tricky to fight since she uses the magnetic fields of objects to latch onto them, but Vulcan, with the assistance of Iris, dissolves her full strength with the multitude of his machines. Meanwhile, both Arthur and Hibana are fighting Mirage and Flail outside, until a mechanical bear head knocks Hibana out leading to some comical relief in this action-packed sequence.
As the fight progresses, we begin to see Shinra and the gang getting the upper hand, but then Shinra gets an adolla link to a new character who appears to be a high-ranking member of the Evangelist. If you are an avid watcher, you have a good guess to who the mysterious new character is. Shinra immediately recognizes his younger brother Sho, who was thought to be dead, and is filled with delight. On the other hand, Sho only has repulsive feelings towards his older brother Shinra and begins to try and capture him since he possesses an adolla burst. Even though their encounter is filled with mixed emotions, the mood of their encounter still feels positive because of Shinra’s promise to his deceased mother. As Sho is reassured by Dr. Giovanni that the key to Amaterasu is retrieved, he demonstrates his overwhelming strength to Shinra and the others. There is some tension in the air as Sho takes down his brother emotionlessly, but the mood is quickly shifted from tense to confusion as Joker emerges out of nowhere to bide time for Shinra and his friends to escape.
It is unclear why Joker decided to intervene, but without him the others would not have been able to escape Sho’s mysterious power. What is also strange is the sudden appearance of Licht, who is driving the vehicle that is being used for the escape, where did he come from? Why is he there? As they escape, Vulcan and Lisa are given a highlighted moment where Vulcan tries to offer Lisa an escape route, but she declines. We can’t help but feel that there are some strong feelings still between them, and their bond is blossoming a little more; even though she betrayed him. Hibana questions why Licht conveniently showed up and suggest he is part of the Evangelist, prying into his true motives, but he plays it off in typical Licht fashion.
Finally, after they’ve escaped, we see the team in a hospital where Shinra is reporting to Captain Obi over the phone about everything that happened, while they wait on Yu to recover from the gunshot wound he received from Dr. Giovanni previously. Based on Shinra’s tone, he sounds serious and a bit shaken, but as he talks with Vulcan about his brother, there is a sense of determination that he is going to save his brother from whatever situation he may be involved in. Back at Company 8’s base, Shinra and Captain Obi both reassure Vulcan about their team’s motives, and how Vulcan’s dream can still become a reality. In the end, Vulcan returns to his workshop to visit his father and grandfather’s grave. He lets his deceased kin know that he’s going to have to break the family promise in order to join Company 8, thus concluding Captain Obi’s search for a new mechanic.
As the episode states “Black and White and Grey,” the bonds between each character are more complex than perceived. We get to explore Vulcan’s connection to his family’s past and get a better understanding of his new family. We also get our first encounter between two brothers who share a bond only by blood. The complexities of these bonds will develop the character’s development, but we’ll have to wait and see how the gray area in these bonds make the black and white seem not so simple.
Episode 17 shows us how bonds can influence a person, and that not everything is as simple as black and white