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The Irrational Explained The Origin Of Alec's 'Superpower' In Winter Return, And Now I Can't Wait For The Rest Of Season 1

 Jesse L. Martin in the "Scorched Earth" episode of The Irrational Season 1.
Jesse L. Martin in the "Scorched Earth" episode of The Irrational Season 1.

Warning: spoilers ahead for the winter premiere of The Irrational Season 1, called "Scorched Earth."

The Irrational finally returned with a new episode for the first time since back in early November, and "Scorched Earth" wasted no time in forcing Alec to face his extremely understandable fear about fire. Brought onto a case after his former doctor recruited him to come speak with young burn victim Izzy, he realized that this was a case of arson rather than accidental burning, and brought Marisa into the fold. By the end of the hour, Alec opened up his trauma from the explosion all those years ago, and why it has given him a "superpower" of sorts.

The first half of the season (available streaming via Peacock Premium subscription) gave Alec every reason to hope that he, Marisa, and Jace – who I'm still not 100% convinced is beyond suspicion – will finally solve the case of the explosion that nearly killed him two decades earlier. In "Scorched Earth,"  Alec finally admitted how much of an emotional toll the experience took on him, and continues to take. Izzy needed some reassurance about the future from somebody who had been in her position, and Alec understood her despair all too well.

Speaking with Izzy, Alec admitted that he hadn't been honest with her because he wanted to spare his own feelings, as he "didn't think that I could go through this again," and "reliving the pain and the fear and this helplessness" was easier if he just placated her with promises that it gets better. He shared:

It means that twenty years on, I still have a lot of emotional ground to cover. That's how hard it is. And I know that's not what you want to hear, but the truth is, what you're going through right now, it was the worst I've ever felt. And on top of that? The person that you were? The old Izzy? She's gone and you have to grieve her.

If Alec had stopped with this little speech, it wouldn't have been much of a pep talk to a young woman with up to sixth-degree burns on her body! Fortunately, he continued, and he found that there was a positive spin of sorts to put on the tragedy, saying that there's a "superpower" to be found. He told Izzy:

You don't have a choice. But the truth is, once I accepted that, I realized something. The worst thing that could have happened to me already happened, and in a way, that's a superpower. [laughs] It's true. I had nothing to lose. The old Alec was gone. The new Alec tried things the old Alec would never have tried. Took risks the old Alec never would have. It made me love my life again. The wonder of it all. So, if I can get through the hard part, you can too... If you can get to the other side of this, you can do anything you want.

It's not a superpower like Jesse L. Martin would encounter in his days on The Flash, but it's something! Izzy commented that she just wanted to get out of her hospital bed, and the two shared a laugh as he tried to help her up without hurting her. The episode ended on an uplifting note despite everything Alec told Izzy before he got to the part about superpowers, and I'd honestly love to see Izzy again at some point.

The Irrational was renewed for Season 2 and NBC ordered an extra episode for Season 1 to bring the total up to eleven, but the show is also largely procedural when it comes to cases, and there are plenty of loose ends with the bombing storyline to tie off in the 2024 TV schedule.

This was a very strong episode for Alec on the whole, as he kept his cool much more than anybody could have expected when the firebug locked him inside of a burning a trailer. Luckily, he escaped with little more than bumps, bruises, and a bit of smoke inhalation. I wouldn't wish cases involving fire on him on a weekly basis, but I'm going to hope to see Izzy again. Or at least get an update on her!

There was something powerful about Alec opening up in such a deeply personal way to a young woman he'd just met, and Jesse L. Martin crushed it. He was described as having a "rock star vibe" for a reason! I'm more excited than ever for the rest of Season 1. See what's next for Alec and Co. with new episodes, airing on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, following AGT: Fantasy League.