WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 9 of Fire Force, "The Spreading Malice."
Fire Force's previous episode revealed that artificial Infernals were being created when insects burrowedinto humans and identified one of Company 1's top Lieutenants, Rekka Hoshimiya as the mastermind behind the recent spate of incendiary incidents. Even more shocking, Rekka also roped Company 8's Tamaki into his scheme, who thought the children she was bringing her idol were being used for Infernalization inoculation.
When the truth came out, Rekka quickly turned on his loyal partner in crime, beating her senseless. Thankfully, Shinra comes bursting onto the scene just in time to stop him landing a final, and probably fatal, blow, which is where Episode 9 picks up.
Shinra thinks his hero job is done, but it turns out that Rekka can't be so easily beaten. This is just as well for viewers, since once the morally bent Priest gets back on his feet the two engage in one of the show's best battle yet. Rekka, a third-generation pyrokinetic like Shinra, channels his Ignition Ability through his arms, which he combines with flurries of kicks and strikes.
Given that Shinra primary uses his flaming feet, and the duo hold nothing back. Shira's previous battles against Infernals have been wild scraps fought out in the open, while his face-off against Hibana turned into more of a war of words than anything else. This encounter finally gives us a chance to see what the budding Fire Soldier can really do against a worthy opponent.
Using the confined but roomy space of the warehouse perfectly, Shinra propels himself through the air with the acrobatics of Spider-Man combined with the rubbery endurance of One Piece's Luffy. Overwhelmed by the sheer speed and force of his opponent, all Rekka can really do is block Shinra's superheated kicks with his "hot arms."
Before meeting defeat once and for all, Rekka takes the time to deliver a classic villain monologue once he identifies Shinra's Adolla Burst as being just what he's been looking for in a subject to bring to his boss: the mysterious Evangelist. Their plan is to literally watch the world burn, returning human souls back to the great Sol and transforming the planet into a new star.
When he mentions the brainwashing of children as the perfect agents for their cause, Shinra puts two and two together and surmises that this must have been the fate of his younger brother, who we discovered a few episodes back to have survived the fire that destroyed the brothers' childhood home and killed their mother.
The infant Shō had been presumed dead, but the presence of Captain of the 1st, Leonard Burns on the scene, coupled with growing suspicion about the 1st's integrity, led Shinra to become convinced that the Special Fire Force's leading unit might be harboring his lost sibling.
This is all the information we get out of Rekka, though, as once captured and encased in ice by Lieutenant Karim, he's assassinated by two cloaked figures dressed in all-white priest robes. Perched on a rooftop across from the warehouse, the pair consider their next moves, but when Karim makes it clear he knows their location, they decide to make a stealthy escape rather than risk revealing anything about themselves to their targets.
In the warehouse, Karim lements the loss of the man he clearly considered to be a brother, while renewing his pledge to Shinra to work with Company 8 and ensure the Evangelist is brought to justice. Tamaki, meanwhile, still shaken from her ordeal, is given a fairly light punishment by Captain Ōbi for her part in Rekka's crimes.
And, where was our resident Knight King, Arthur in all this? A a cryptic teaser after the credits shows the teenage swordsmith traveling through some kind of raging sandstorm. Assuming that he's not about to star in his own Lawrence of Arabia spinoff, we'll have to wait until next time to find out what he's been up to.