WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 8 of Fire Force, "Infernal Insects."
Fire Force's latest episode moves the story along at a barrelling pace by revealing two of the culprits behind the creation of artificial Infernals, and how the fire beasts are catching aflame.
Fresh from hatching a plan to install Shinra, Arthur and two of Company 5's rookie members at Company 1 to gather more evidence -- where the 5th's Captain Hibana, a newly-turned ally to Company 8, suspects the phenomenon originates -- Captain Ōbi reviews Hibana's findings on the unnatural Infernals.
Among the remains of the human victims, the woman of science discovered insect DNA, leading her to speculate that some kind of special bug was being inserted into human hosts to kickstart the Infernalization process. She's also certain that, given the artificial Infernals always turn up at incidents investigated by the Special Fire Force, a Fire Soldier is highly likely to be behind it.
Her assertion, as we soon find out, is sadly accurate. When Company 1 are called out on a mission, Shinra and Arthur are disappointed to be given nothing to do but wait outside the scene while the business-like Soldiers of the 1st obediently take care of the situation.
Spotting a civilian lingering by an alleyway, Shinra puts his hero hat on to make sure that the man is OK. On his approach, he sees an arm emerge from the shadows and -- as Hibana described -- insert an insect into the man's back. Fire shoots from his mouth as the Infernalization transformation takes hold.
Shinra chases him down the alley only to discover 1st Lieutenants Rekka and Karim lurking at the end. Tamaki also appears to inform the group that the other Infernals have been rested, while Shinra cuts Arthur short of commenting on the obviously suspect nature of the trio's location.
Instead, the Company 8 spies decide to sneak into Karim's room back at the Special Fire Cathedral later on; which gives Arthur an opportunity to swap his Knight persona for an "assassin" one, which just amounts to him wearing a hoodie and face mask. He does, however, have something far more useful than his wardrobe choices to aid their mission: miniaturized versions of his plasma sword, Excalibur; perfect for cutting through locks.
It doesn't take the boys long to discover an incriminating jar with an insect inside of it but, as soon as they find it, Karim himself appears to explain that the jar is actually evidence he himself collected. He left it in his room as bait to ascertain whether or not the three of them shared the common goal of putting a stop to artificial Infernals being created.
He also points out that, given the perpetrator -- whose arm Shinra had glimpsed -- wore the same robes as him, it could only be Rekka. The three of them resolve to find the missing Priest before he can harm any more innocent people.
Unfortunately, Rekka is indeed off harming more innocent more people at that very moment. And, more shockingly, we find out that Company 8's Tamaki is his unwitting accomplice. Tamaki, whose usually brusque behavior with her subordinates softens and melts like butter around the charismatic Rekka, rounds up a group of children and brings them to an empty warehouse, apparently under the illusion that the Lieutenant is going to perform some kind of ritual that will protect the kids from becoming Infernals.
However, when Rekka squeezes and beats his loyal acolyte into unconsciousness, she awakens with her faith -- and body -- profoundly broken. Whether or not Rekka's experiment is an attempt to vaccinate humans against spontaneous combustion is unclear. What is clear, however, is that the religious fervor with which he conducts his covert activities shield him from any guilt about every single one of his subjects dying.
Until now, that is. One child survives after his insect dosage, leaving Rekka overjoyed and Tamaki, in a last ditch effort to save the others, uses her remaining strength to activate her flames to draw attention to the warehouse.
In a fit of psychotic rage, Rekka prepares to deliver a killing blow to the girl but, right on cue, Shinra bursts through the roof -- his Adolla Burst swirling around to make him look like an avenging angel -- and takes the murderous Priest out in one fail swoop.
While the primary cause of artificial Infernal creation has been snuffed out, Rekka's mission -- to create Infernals for the Evangelist in the hopes of finding a suitable pilot light -- lives on in the viable candidate he created. Only time will tell what the Evangelist has planned for him.
New episode of Fire Force are released every Friday on Crunchyroll, and as SimulDubs on FUNimationNOW.
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