Firestarter is the first episode of the fourth season, and the sixty-third overall episode, of the CBS series, Ghost Whisperer, originally premiering on October 3, 2008 as the season four premiere. The episode was written by P.K. Simonds and directed by Eric Laneuville, and recieved a total of 9.45 million viewers.
After being rescued by Jim from a fire at the Rockland University, Eli has a near death experience. Melinda becomes friends with Eli and soon discovers that they both have the same abilities- while she can see the dead, Eli can hear them.
- Jay Mohr as Rick Payne
- Alona Tal as Fiona Raine
- Kurt Carceres as Det. Carl Neely
- Amy Hill as Adrienne
- Russell Sams as Christian
- Fay Wolf as Marlee
- April Grace as The Watcher
- Bob Rusch as Bartender
- Jay Brian Winnick as Droning Bar Patron
The new season starts at Melinda’s house, the camera moves from their wedding picture to Melinda’s younger pictures when finally we see Melinda sitting up from under the blanket. Right after Jim gets up to, looking at her seriously. We figure it out from Melinda that they are trying to have a baby, and Jim promises that they’ll never stop trying, even after Melinda got pregnant. Jim reveals that they've ’only’ been trying for 4 months, but Melinda feels a let-down every time when it doesn’t happen. Suddenly the phone rings, a call for Jim, multiple fires at Rockland University’s office building. Melinda is worried about Professor Rick Payne’s life after the shadow thing they saw. They both get dressed and head to the scene. Next we can see the office building’s huge fire, a lot of firefighters and paramedics along with police officers are at the scene when Jim and Melinda arrive. The camera shows the paramedic is trying to bring back Fiona Raine, who will be introduced later in the episode. Melinda starts to ask around if anyone saw Rick Payne, when the professor shows up behind Melinda. They’re talking for a while when Melinda notices as Jim’s trying to bring back a guy to life. She sees his spirit but then Jim brings him back and his spirit goes back to his body. Suddenly Melinda sees another spirit, a woman standing in front of a firetruck. Before Melinda could do or say anything she vanishes. Melinda stares back at Jim, and then we can see as the other paramedics cover Fiona’s dead body.
In the next scene Jim is at the hospital staring into the guy’s room he saved before. Melinda comes in and sees the other woman’s spirit again, standing at the guy’s room’s door. Then it vanishes again. Melinda steps next to Jim, he reveals that the guy inside the room is Eli James, who is a psychology professor at Rockland University. As the camera shows his room we can see Fiona’s spirit, the dead, as Eli is talking to her with something on his eyes which protects them. Melinda goes into Eli’s room, introduces herself, and then Eli introduces Fiona Raine for the first time to both Melinda and the audience. Melinda thinks that Eli already knows that he can talk to the dead, but she is wrong, and later we will find out how he got his ability. Melinda realises that Eli doesn’t know about his ability and tells him that Fiona died in the fire at the university, just as he did, but he was brought back. Eli takes down the protectors from his eyes to see that he can only see Melinda. As he asks where Fiona is, and Melinda tells him that he was talking to her ghost we can see on Eli’s face that he is confused and terrified at the same time.
The following day, Melinda is at her shop with Ned and Delia. Melinda answers Ned's question, "There’s something different about him (Eli). I don’t think he’s here for the same reasons I am." So we can see that Melinda is trying to figure out with the help of Ned what Eli is doing here teaching. And as Melinda sees Delia’s reaction she immediately says, "And I’m guessing that you’re wishing I wouldn’t have brought Ned into this." That explains Delia as a non-believer for the new audience who’ve just joined watching the series. But Delia answers really politely "No, I, I wish I knew how to participate, but it’s like you’re speaking some strange foreign language. I understand the words, but it all adds up to gibberish." We can see that she wants to believe but as she mentioned before there is a switch inside her head that keeps switching back to impossible. Melinda reveals that Fiona was one of Eli’s patients, they were caught in the fire together and Eli was revived.Later that day Melinda goes to visit Eli James in the hospital. When she gets there he is about to leave. Melinda tries to be nice with asking how he is but he strikes back at Melinda with "You’re the one with the ghost problem." Then we can see that Eli doesn’t believe in this at all, because he says "No, I’m the one with post traumatic stress. I lost a patient and in case you forgot I kinda died. It takes a lot less to make someone think you heard voices." Actually for the first time Eli doesn’t believe this as he says to Melinda "I don’t do well with your type of nut job. Bizarre beliefs, superstitious behavior. People use that to hide from their real problems." Melinda mentions to Eli, that he didn’t see any ghosts since than, and just when he says no, a ghosts girl says "That’s a lie!" Eli thinks that Melinda was the one who said it. And then suddenly Melinda realizes that Eli can’t see them. He can only hear ghosts. As the Ghost Whisperer audience calls him, Ghost Listener, while Melinda is the Ghost Whisperer. The ghost girl can’t understand why Eli doesn’t listen to her, but Melinda answers her question with a simple reason "Because he doesn’t want to believe it. Because if it’s true and he hears you, then he might be a nut job." Eli leaves the hospital quite angrily ignoring Melinda’s helping offer. Then Melinda goes to Professor Rick Payne to discuss what happened, somewhat like brainstorming. Payne gives Melinda a bunch of books that are about paranormal phenomena, myths and theories about the beyond. While they’re talking Melinda reveals that the professor is leaving for a sabbatical in a few day for some new, important find in the Himalayas. Then they change the subject back to Eli again, Melinda thinks that his power might have to do something with him dying and then coming back. "It has everything to do with that. N.D.E. literature is chock full of stories like his." says Payne, and with that we get to know that Eli had a Near Death Experience back at the university the previous day. Then the professor explains to Melinda how it all works: "Here’s how it usually works. You die, you come back to life, and in some very rare cases, there’s a thread, that connects you to where you were. A tether, if you will." he says as he shows a book called Nea can only hear them. We get another explanation from the professor: "Some N.D.E.s can see the ghosts, some can hear them, some can even smell them... Sometimes your senses got strong as your brain processes the new input, other times the thread snaps." We are starting to know more about Eli, as Payne reveals that Eli is not a favourite at the school, and a lot of people don’t like him.
With the new information we’re jumping to a new scene. To McShay’s, a bar in Grandview. We can see Eli, he is being frustrated by a bunch of ghosts. The problem is that the ghosts know that he can hear them, but Eli is trying to shut them up with trying not to listen to them. The bar tender after he can’t take more of Eli’s acting calls Melinda, who helps Eli, with fraying the ghosts. They sit down to talk. Eli reveals that he doesn’t feel his ability as a gift like Melinda does. Later Fiona comes to the bar and Melinda gets some new information as Eli and she chat with Fiona. Melinda gets to know, that Fiona doesn’t blame Eli, we still don’t what is she not blaming him for. But before Melinda could get ask further question, a detective steps into the bar, standing in front of them. He introduces himself as Detective Neely. He tells them that the police want Eli in for questioning in connection with the death of Fiona Raine.
The following day Melinda and Jim are at the police station watching Eli as he is being questioned by Det. Neely. Eli comes out and Melinda follows him outside. They are walking down the street, Melinda tries to convince Eli, that Fiona needs something from him, not to mention what he needs from her. Melinda reveals that Fiona can be the only one who can prove that Eli didn't start the fire. They sit in for a coffee and they start talking about Fiona, Eli tries to tell everything Melinda needs to know. It gets revealed that Eli was treating Fiona for general attachment issues. He was helping her dump an on-again-off-again boyfriend named Ken who’d been messing with her head since high school. Then Melinda asks the big question if Eli got involved with his patient or not. The answer of course is no, but it’s more interesting what he says after that: "But she was coming down with a classic case of transference." Melinda immediately understands it. Fiona was falling in love with Eli. Eli continues to tell the whole story of what happened two days ago at the night of the fire: "The night of the fire, I just told Fiona I couldn’t treat her anymore. She freaked. That’s why we were at my office so late. She called and said she had to see me. I told her I would refer her to one of my colleagues, she said she only wanted to see me. I kept telling her that couldn’t happen." As the story continues we can figure out how it all started. Fiona kept yelling at Eli, then smoke started coming under the door, and it was so thick that Eli felt like his lungs were on fire. That same evening Eli goes home, we can see his home full of papers and photos of his patients. A board full of Fiona’s pictures and notes Eli took through the treatments. Eli takes a glass of beer out from the refrigerator and starts to pack everything about Fiona into a box. While Eli is at home Melinda goes to visit Fiona's two roommates, Christian and Marlee. It’s revealed that they are not big fans of Eli. While Melinda talks with them we see Eli again as he is or night, he took her to restaurants and bars. As Christian said "It was obvious something was going on.". Fiona liked the attention, the drinks were free. Fiona had lots of pictures from her and her roommates, but none with her family. As Melinda continues her ’investigation’ we see Eli sitting on to the fire escape, drinking the same beer he took out from the refrigerator before. As he hears Fiona’s voice he climbs back through the window to his apartment, moving around the flat searching for Fiona. As he says her name the electricity goes out. The top of the box which held all the content about Fiona flies away. Eli takes some steps closer to look into it but Fiona lights the box on fire.Eli then pours the rest of the beer onto the papers. When the fire is out, Eli hears Fiona’s voice: "Please, please, make it stop! Make her leave us alone, or I’ll make her, like I made you."
The following day Eli as at Payne’s office with Melinda. Payne is looking at the burned notes and papers, while he is telling, that ghosts have the ability to manipulate energy, especially angry ghosts. And Fiona seems to have done it a lot like sunshine through a magnifying glass. Eli reveals that Fiona burned down the house in which she was living when she was twelve. Fiona was so young that there were never any charges. There was never any criminal record. But she was a ward of the State and it went into family service’s files, as her therapist Eli had access to those files. We get to know that that’s why she didn’t have any family pictures, because she didn’t have a family. Fiona’s parents died when she was three. The house that she burned down was her foster father’s. He was out of the house when she burned it down, but Fiona made her point, she got placed with another family. Eli still thinks that Fiona lit the fire at the university because of him. Later that day Eli and Melinda meet with a worker from foster care. Adrienne reveals that the foster father died six years ago with a heart attack. We get to know also that Fiona had no more problems with the other foster families with whom she lived after the fire, as Adrienne says "she was a good girl... ". Melinda asks what Adrienne thinks about the thought that Fiona started the fire at Rockland U. We can see from the Adrienne's facial expression that she doesn’t want to talk about her, she doesn’t want to violate patient confidentiality. But all of a sudden she says "Screw confidentiality." and tells everything to Melinda and Eli. We get to know that two other kids were living with Fiona, and they were older than she, old enough to be tried as adults. Adrienne couldn’t reveal the other kids’ names but she could tell one more thing. After the fire when she asked Fiona what happened, she zipped those lips tight. But the second the cops started questioning her older siblings she came right out and practically shouted "I did it!".
After their talk with Adrienne, Eli and Melinda go back to Fiona’s home to meet with Christian and Marlee. Marlee doesn't really believe what Melinda and Eli tell them, but Christian immediately believes everything. As he says "Every since Fi died, we’ve both had this feeling, I don’t know how to describe it, but somehow we felt her. "Christian allows Melinda and Eli to go and talk to Fiona in her bedroom, but he asks for one favor. Fiona had a CD, and he wanted to know if he can keep it, before they release the rest of her things. Melinda goes into Fiona’s bedroom with Eli behind her. Fiona appears to them but they didn’t talk for very long and the girl seems to be somewhat angry. Fiona disappears with a big smoke left after her. Melinda figures out that Fiona is covering for someone, but she think that it has to do something with the first fire and they’re trying to find out who else lived in the house. Later that day Melinda goes to the City Hall Archives to find the records about the house where Fiona lived before as a foster kid. She finds a box full of papers and finds the report of the fire. "Structure empty at time of fire. Occupants later accounted for, owner Tom Moody. Minors female, 12 years, female 16 years, male 18 years." Melinda puts everything back into the box and when she is about to leave Fiona is standing right in front of her. Fiona says "Maybe some things are better off left alone, you ever think about that?" and then looks away. Melinda follows her look and sees smoke rising up at the door. Fiona says that Melinda brought that on herself and now she has to pay the price, and then she vanishes. Melinda is left alone in the archives with the fire. Or she just thinks she is alone, because she is not.
While Melinda is struggling with the fire, we can see Eli and Rick at Eli’s apartment, through a burned note. They are discussing Fiona’s arsonist past. Rick tells Eli that he thinks that Melinda is the most amazing person he has ever met. Eli tells Rick what Christian said about Fiona’s stuff and they find odd that Christian used the word ’release’ on her stuff. Then Eli mentions that Christian kept an African Folk Music CD from Fiona’s personal belongings, and that he put her stuff into some kind of metal tub instead of boxes. Rick reveals something "It was an African custom, part of the Yoruba tradition, where possessions of someone who’s passed prematurely are set fire to that which will release their spirit." We get to know that Fiona maybe didn’t even have a boyfriend, she just had someone from whom she wanted to get away, but she didn’t know how. Whom she felt she needed to protect at the same time. They reveal that the foster brother was Christian.
As Melinda tries to get out from the fire she finds Christian on the floor of the archives, coughing from the smoke. Melinda sees some stuff next to him, and she realizes that he lit the fire. He says that the whole idea is that if he dies they’ll find him, then they’ll know the truth. We get to know that Christian lit the fire at the university and at the foster house as well. Melinda tries to convince him to come with her to get out, but he doesn’t want to go. Fiona appears and tells Christian to listen to Melinda, but Christian falls to the floor unconscious because of the smoke. Melinda tells Fiona to find Eli and tell him where they are. Rick and Eli are just coming out of the house when Finoa tells Eli where they can find Melinda and Christian. Back at the archives, Melinda remembers the door leading to the underground. She tries to get the shelf away, so she throws away all of the boxes but it won’t move. She sits down next to Christian, waiting for help. We can see Jim coming out of the coffee shop where Eli and Melinda were sitting previously, he is talking with Eli on the phone who tells him that there’s a fire in the archives and Melinda is there too. He sits in the ambulance and goes with his colleague directly to City Hall. We can see Melinda and Christian again, still struggling with the fire. Then the Watcher woman appears again, helping Melinda move the shelf. Melinda stands up quickly, opens the tunnel door and brings in Christian, then closes the door, which protects them from the fire. Melinda sits down next to Christian, hardly breathing and still coughing from the smoke outside in the archives.
The Watcher woman is there again, with 3 other spirits behind her. She tells Melinda that they are Watchers and they are everywhere, watching the ones like Melinda and Eli. She tells her that Melinda doesn’t know the price. Melinda moves between the worlds of life and death, like her friend Eli, sometimes she comes back from one with a touch of the other. A touch of death might brush off on what Melinda touches. Then the Watchers disappear and the next we can see is outside on the street, Melinda is sitting in the rear of the ambulance with Jim next to her. Jim gives Melinda some water, and as she turns around she can see Fiona standing right next to Christian who is breathing from an oxygen mask. Right after that he is arrested and led away by two police officer.
Later Melinda goes into the police station to talk with Christian. Jim is outside with Detective Neely, talking. Eli and Melinda are inside with the foster brother. Neely says "I still don’t get it, a guy tries to kill her and all she wants to do is get him help." Jim is standing right next to him, watching through the door of the office. Melinda says everything Fiona is saying to Christian, so Fiona and Christian both can find peace. They are saying goodbye. Christian hugs Melinda, and then the camera moves to Jim as he says to Neely "What can I tell you? That’s my wife." with a light smile on his face. After leaving the police station Melinda and Eli are walking on the street, talking with Fiona. Fiona reveals everything what happened to her, we figure out that Eli had feelings for Fiona and lied to her before the fire when he said no. After they all said goodbye, Fiona crosses over into the Light. We can see Eli drop a few tears, and then he says "Man, is it always like that?" Then Melinda answers gently "No. Sometimes it’s better."
Later that evening, Jim, Melinda and Delia go to a restaurant where Ned works. We get to know that Melinda asked for chopsticks and Jim asked for low sodium soy sauce but they didn’t get that. Ned apologizes and goes back to bring some. While Ned is gone, Delia says "You know, parenting is a lot harder than it looks like." Melinda just smiles at Jim, as they are trying to have a child which Delia doesn’t know about, then Delia continues "And when you two decide to have kids, you will know what I’m talking about." Before Melinda could sip her drink she sees Rick’s car parking before the restaurant. She apologizes and goes out to talk to him. After saying goodbye, Rick promises that he will come back to Grandview and then leaves for his sabbatical in the Himalayas, and Melinda goes back to Delia and Jim.
- Fiona Rain
- The Watcher Woman
- Girl in Eli's hospital room
- 6 people in the bar
- 3 other Watchers
Altogether: 12 spirits
- This episode gathered a total of 9.45 million viewers.
- This episode marks the last appearance of Rick Payne, although he states that he will return to Grandview.
- This episode also marks the first appearance of Eli James.
- Christoph Sanders joins the regular cast from this episode onwards, being credited as a Main character.
- Although the opening presentation is the same, they changed the Jennifer Love Hewitt's shots for more updated ones. This one is used until the series finale
The ghost girl in Elis room is a cat