Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of The Flash. To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
One of the many things that I enjoy about The Flash is how well they utilize recurring villains. Many similar shows adopt a more typical, episodic nature and while The Flash has certainly had their bouts of baddie of the week syndrome, they also often have a streamlined, serial storyline that keeps everything tied together, and, such as with Grodd, they aren’t afraid to bring back villains that have already worked so well.
While “Gorilla Warfare” wasn’t the show at it’s best, it offered up plenty of moments that were enjoyable, and gave us a Wells that we’re more familiar with. With the big Zoom showdown last week, and the big team up, crossover event with Arrow next, it was always plausible that the episode in between was going to falter a bit in terms of sheer excitement, and, in all honesty, it does. But it also delivers on the last piece of the set up we need, as well as tying up fractions of storylines such as Barry recovering from his trauma from Zoom.
It’s an in-between episode, but not a filler one, which is more than what I had hoped.
Grodd was overall handled as well to be expected in an expanded role after his first real debut in season one. This year not only get him more ingrained in the actual storyline, we see more of him, a big deal in terms of VFX and the special effects that the CW team are able to conjure for the character, of which are some of the best I’ve ever seen the CW produce. While here and there the Grodd character looks cartoony, more often than not he’s presented as a towering, formidable foe for Barry and co., and, most importantly, Caitlin, who shares the most screentime with him. Grodd remembers from his days in Star Labs that Caitlin was always nice to him so forces her to try and recreate the particle explosion that made him in order to create more like him.
Grodd is lonely, which creates complexity in the character.
Harrison is looking to go back to his earth after the defeat by Zoom a week ago, but it delayed by Caitlin who tries to urge him to stay, saying they will have a better chance in getting Zoom and saving his daughter if they all work together. This doesn’t work at first but once Caitlin is captured, he decides to stick around and try to find a way with the others to save Caitlin. This includes donning the Reverse Flash’s suit in order to fool Grodd, hoping that the image of his “father” will allow them to extract Caitlin to safety. One of my favorite moments in the episode is when Barry, who’s been struggling with his speed all episode, see’s this version of Harrison in the suit and recovers his speed enough to race towards him and pin him against the wall before realizing what’s happening. It’s a small moment but one that once again speaks to the distrust the group built up after what Wells did to them.
Barry is riddled with all sorts of angst this week, and I wouldn’t mind seeing some sort of trauma stick with him for a few more episodes, but maybe in a subtler fashion. There is no good reason why Barry wouldn’t be completely shaken after a humiliating fight with Zoom that left him with a broken back and unable to access his speed. Seeing that Barry is low spirits, Iris tracks down Henry to come and put some hope back in his son. Henry tells him that he more than most people Barry knows understands what it means to see people who used to look up to him see him as lesser, but that Barry needs to learn to have hope in himself again in order to get back on his feet and protect the people and city he loves; to be the hero he’s been seen to be. It’s always great to have Henry back and the father son dynamic between he and Barry is always sweet, even if this discussion was a little too on the nose at points.
This all culminates in a showdown where Barry get’s to play Cisco and Caitlin’s part for once, but even after they save her they have to figure out what to do with Grodd. Harrison has the solution to send him through a portal, to a place he knows of where other apes who have been tested on get sent, giving Grodd his makeshift home and family. Barry is forced back onto his feet, into his suit and fighting crime and I loved seeing everyone actively taking part in saving the day at the end.
Meanwhile, in stealing scenes news, Cisco goes on a date with Kendra and see’s a vision of her as Hawkgirl, so that’s happening soon and I’m geeking out.
It wasn’t the most engaging episode the shows ever had, but it tied things up at set the pace for the craziness of the next episode, and I can’t wait.