At the end of Episode 16 of “Fire Country,” Sharon tells Manny that it is possible that Jake started the Drake County fire because he was the only one there while the others were at Station 42. He might be the arsonist that Assistant Chief Erika Snow and her team are looking for. “Fire Country” Episode 17 deals with the events of a single day but involves a lot of revelations including the answer to whether Jake is the arsonist. If not Jake then who? And then why does all the evidence point at Jake? Let’s find out.
When Jake asks Vince how he deals with secrets, the latter doesn’t get what the former means. Jake is hiding something but cannot handle it and is looking for someone to tell him how to cope with it. Vince later overhears Sharon speaking to Manny about Erika Show, who is pursuing the serial arsonist and has Jake as the primary suspect [thanks to the Drake County matter]. He tells Sharon that maybe Jake is the arsonist. After all, he set fire to his own house as a kid. Sharon believes that Jake couldn’t have done it. He is a great firefighter and no less than a hero.
The Assistant Chief arrives at Station 42 and informs everyone that the serial arsonist is one among them. It will be their job to notice any uncanny behavior by anyone on the team and flag it. The Wallace Development fire, the Hill fire, and the Drake County fire were all the arsonist’s doing and that person is roaming among them freely. After Erika leaves, Sharon asks Jake in front of everyone about his visit to Drake County the day the fire started. Jake doesn’t say answer and is rather shocked that they are doubting him. That’s when the alarm goes off. Their discussion will have to wait.
Station 42 receives 2 calls at the same time. Vince takes the commercial lodge fire and sends Jake for a medical emergency. Jake realizes that Vince is trying to bench him although he doesn’t say it. Vince, Gabriela, and Eve arrive at their location i.e. a 2-story commercial lodge whose first floor is on fire. A kid, Danny, is stuck in a room on the second floor and they have to get him out before the fire reaches his room. As Vince and Eve are planning to evacuate Danny, Colin, who was supposed to be off-shift, comes rushing. He is in his regular clothes and tells them that he was nearby so came to help.
A Trauma Down Memory Lane
Back at the station, Sharon hands Erika a list of the firefighters who were off-shift in the timeline the latter wanted. As she had suspected, Jake’s name is there but his reason for absence is missing. Sharon makes it clear that what her firefighters do in their off-time isn’t her business. Meanwhile, Jake is back from the medical emergency. Bode meets him at the station and asks him why he was at Drake County. Jake replies that he can’t tell him even though he wishes he could. There is something he is hiding. But why? Later, Bode Leone is spoken to by Erika who tells him that it was Jake who started the fire back when he and Bode were kids. Bode is taken aback.
Colin and Eve make their way inside the house in their suits and with the hose, putting off the fire as they head upstairs to Danny’s room. Gabriela makes her way through the window via a ladder into Danny’s room as well. She is about to bring Danny out when gunshots are heard from somewhere inside the house. The flames have hit some kind of ammo. Vince orders everyone to get out immediately. Danny is freaked out and shaking and isn’t able to move. Gabriela informs him about Danny and Vince tells her to seal the room and wait while he sends a breathing apparatus for Danny. Gabriela puts it on Danny and rushes out. Danny’s mother tells Vince that there’s more ammo inside which means they have to hurry and bring Danny out. She also reveals that Danny witnessed his father’s death which is the reason why he had that strong reaction to the gunshots. He has PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder). The only way to bring him out is from the inside. The fire has also spread to the bushes nearby so Vince calls for Three Rock.
Erika shows Sharon proof that the arsonist is a firefighter who customized a drip torch for his disastrous motives. The forensics have recovered a fingerprint from the drip torch that was found at a scene. The drip torch belongs to a batch of 8 that were issued to Station 42. Sharon looks up the footage to find out if possible who the person in-charge of engine checkouts was when the drip torch went missing. She has the serial number of the drip torch. So she might be able to find something out based on the date of issue 18 months ago. Fortunately, she does. Unfortunately, the person she sees on the screen is Bode.
The sun has set. Three Rock has arrived at the commercial lodge and is taking care of the vegetation fire. Bode and Jake are talking when Jake tells him that he has no idea how Erika Snow found out about the childhood incident. Bode asks him if he told it to anyone else and that’s when Jake realizes that he did, to Colin. He asks Colin about it, who nods. He was just trying to help in the investigation just like his “father” did and clear all their names. Colin apologizes to Jake but he is angry and walks away without saying anything. Bode hears this whole conversation and something strikes him. He later asks Manny to look up Colin O’Reilly, son of Cal Fire legend Kirk O’Reilly.
Fight Fire With Fire
Danny’s mother reveals that Danny hasn’t come out of the room for 3 years. As impossible as it sounds, it is true. The trauma of his dad’s death has taken a huge toll on him. Jake requests Vince to let him go and talk to Danny and try to bring him out. He has been in the situation before (as a kid) and he knows how Danny is feeling, even if a little bit. Vince permits him.
Manny looks up Colin’s name on the internet and finds out that Kirk O’Reilly never had kids. So Colin isn’t Kirk O’Reilly’s son. In fact, the guy’s name might not even be Colin. He brings this information to Bode, who had already anticipated that Colin is lying. They then notice a truck on fire nearby in the woods. As Bode approaches it, the car explodes, knocking him down. He pulls himself up without much hurt. They find a drip torch on the ground that must have gotten thrown off during the explosion. But who would have a drip torch in their personal vehicle? Probably the same person who has accelerants too which would have led to such an explosion. Bode thinks that the truck belongs to the arsonist. Manny decides to have the Arizona license plate run through the database and see if he can find the owner of the truck, courtesy of a friend at the Sheriff’s department.
Jake heads inside the burning lodge, followed by Eve and Colin. The fire has reached the second floor and parts of the ceiling too. Jake manages to persuade Danny to leave the room but gets stuck when a part of the ceiling collapses. Colin and Eve bring Danny out and he is attended to immediately. They then head back in to help Jake.
‘Fire Country’ Episode 17: Ending Explained – Who Is The Serial Arsonist?
Sharon has already arrived at the scene and tells Vince that there’s real evidence against Jake, who’d deliberately overlooked a missing drip torch that was later discovered on a scene. This is hard evidence. They need to convince him to come out clean so that they can get a lawyer for what’s to come. That’s when Bode approaches them and tells them that Jake is being set up. He brings Sharon to the burned truck that was full of accelerants and drip torches. Manny shows her the ID of the owner of the car that he received from the Sheriff’s department. The name of the guy is Alex Shawcross. The face is Colin’s. A few minutes later, Sharon gets a call from Erika who tells her that they have found a match for the fingerprints from the drip torch. They aren’t Jake’s but of a guy named Alex Shawcross. The moment of truth has arrived. Colin O’Reilly AKA Alex Shawcross is the serial arsonist. Erika sets out for the lodge after Sharon tells her that she has evidence at the scene.
Jake has been trying to figure out an alternate exit route. He finally manages to break down a wall with his axe and make his way out of the lodge safely. As soon as Eve and Colin come out, Manny cuffs Colin, who pretends that he has no idea what’s going on. He is just a random guy who set fires and destroyed properties and risked the lives of so many people only to join Cal Fire by taking up a different identity just to convince himself that he is a hero. It breaks Jake to realize that he shared his biggest secret with such a guy. Tears roll down his eyes. The cops arrive and take Alex away. Alex’s arrest doesn’t change the fact that his team, which was supposed to have his back, had accused him. Later on, at the Station, Jake opens up to Bode about why he was at Drake County. He was there to see his brother from another mother who was the woman Jake’s father left him and his mother for. The fire he lit at his home was a cry for help so that his father would return to him. It didn’t work. It was perhaps shame that prevented Jake from telling this truth to the others all this time. He breaks down in front of Bode saying that he feels alone. Bode reminds him that he has a brother in him and always will.
“Fire Country” Episode 17 ends on a somber note. Jake is hurt by the way the people who he considered his family turned their backs on him just because of what he did when he was a kid. His pain is justified, and perhaps only Bode can understand him because he has been through the same. Riley’s death was on him, and he had no way to make people believe that he didn’t do it because all the evidence pointed toward him. Manny isn’t wrong to assure Sharon and Vince that Jake will forgive them, but they also have to make it up to Jake.
The pain Jake feels is justified but it is also understandable why he was being suspected by everyone. Hiding the truth and expecting people’s trust don’t go hand-in-hand. If he had told at least one person about why he went to Drake County, he would have saved himself the pain. It is completely fine to want your people to trust you especially when your bond is so strong but when relationships are on the verge of being compromised and you know that your truth can save them, it is your responsibility to say it. As tough as it is to hear and admit, Jake is partly responsible for how he is hurting.