Season Two, Episode Seven — “Gorilla Warfare”
By Jarrod Jones. Barry Allen is in kind of a jam. Yeah, he’s generally perplexed over some kind of pickle — he is a superhero, after all — but after last week’s horrific battle with Zoom, the Scarlet Speedster has found himself at his lowest, both physically and spiritually. That’s saying something, considering Barry’s lost two of his closest friends, places himself personally responsible for opening up the Singularity to the Multiverse, and is still attempting to make things right within Central City. Barry needs guidance. Good thing he can always count on his two dads.
Henry Allen is back this week to offer Barry the love and support he gets from Detective Joe in abundance, and he’s come packing with a level of perspective that could only come from an Allen. (That poor family.) Meanwhile, Grodd has returned (!!!), looking to expand his ever-burgeoning smarts (and the number of Earth-1’s intelligent gorillas to at least two). But Grodd’s as lost as Barry, and wouldn’t you know it? He just wants to talk to his dad, too. (But… that would mean… oh, no way!)
WHAT WORKED: Just when we thought that The Flash had gone and blown its entire CGI budget for 2015 with that amazing King Shark cameo, here comes Grodd. The Prime Primate has undergone a slight makeover from his last appearance in Season One, and I have to say… he looks amazing. His ruby-red eyes evoke feelings of exhaustion and angst while his cracked lips show that Grodd probably hasn’t been taking very good care of himself. Which makes his last-minute visit to a certain jungle town all the more poignant. (And possibly, with the implications all in place, more than a little frightening.)
The Flash flips the script on the Barry and S.T.A.R. dichotomy by sending Cisco and Wells-2 out in the field while our hero sits in the lab staring pensively at a computer screen, and it works. Putting Barry on the other end of the action means our hero has to step back from the episode’s spotlight to give room for his amazing supporting cast to shine. And while I love any chance for Cisco and Wells-2 to get in precious bonding time, there’s a flip side to having The Flash primarily sit an episode out. (See WHAT DIDN’T.)
WHAT DIDN’T: I don’t know if Grant Gustin made some kinda deal with the showrunners (maybe if he ran an “X” amount of screentime he could take a week off?), but just because The Flash suffers a debilitating injury doesn’t mean he gets to hide off in the corner for most of the episode. Barry’s state of self-doubt never really took hold this week — sure, we see him struggling with what Zoom did to him, and Harry pays a visit for some brief fatherly advice — but when it came time for it to matter, the episode couldn’t stick Harry’s crucial “Run, Barry, RUN” moment. (Everyone deserves to have their “Run, Barry, RUN” moment.) I love this show’s ‘Dad chats’, but “Gorilla Warfare” just didn’t make enough time for them to resonate.
“Puny human… I… am… Grodd.” – Grodd.
“There’s no such thing as a Birdman, Cisco.” – Caitlin. Um, Dr. Snow, I beg to differ.
“He upgraded from a bachelor pad to a penthouse like a baller.” – Cisco, concerning Grodd.
“Father doesn’t ask… Father TAKES.“ – Grodd.
BEST MOMENT: Father and son. Grodd’s back, and yes, he’s killing people, but he’s still a damn animal that just needs some tender love and care. So Caitlin’s been knocking herself dead trying to placate the gorilla while the S.T.A.R. kids cook up some kind of plan to get her home. Who do they send in? Wells-2. In a Reverse-Flash suit to boot. So his ruse doesn’t exactly work — Grodd has become far too intelligent to be patronized — so Wells-2 goes deeper into character; or does he reveal his true colors? Whatever it was, when we watched Tom Cavanagh stare down a giant telepathic gorilla, his sinister glee was palpable enough to make us nervous.
EPISODE’S MVP: Dr. Harrison Wells of Earth-2. Yeah, again. Wells has had his head stuffed right up his own rear for most of this season: he’s a tough guy to know, he’s an even harder fellow to work with, and if every single character hanging around S.T.A.R. had half the chance, they would cold-cock that guy right to the ground. Yet, when it came time for him to step up and prove his quality, Wells-2 did as such with reverence and respect for his colleagues of consequence. (His scene with Cisco recreating the right timbre in his voice to fool Grodd into thinking he was Wells-1/Thawne was only funny in that it was so unnerving.) Tom Cavanagh might be my favorite actor working in television right now.
– Aw. Barry was playing wheelchair donuts all by himsewf. 🙁
– If you’ve been reading up on our Flash recaps, you know I’m rather suspicious of any Henry Allens running around the series. (As yet, we only have the one.) But one thing that brings me down from a DEFCON 3 to a DEFCON 4 is that our Henry is still wearing his wedding band. It’s a sweet reminder that Henry Allen is the most kindest, most patient man on Earth-1. (HOWEVER: this could have been Earth-2 Harry — in secret, Zoom — playing games with our emotions. I remain ever vigilant.)
– So Cisco is a Cameron Crowe fan? Or maybe a John Cusack fan? One thing’s for certain: you can play Peter Gabriel during The Flash any old time you want, show.
– Still no Jay this week. The heck is going on with that guy?
– Det. Joe wistfully sighs about never having a “son of his own” in front of Iris. Sure, it’s rude, but it reminds us that there’s another male West out there, and his time is coming.
– Hawkgirl sightings this week: 2. Legends of Tomorrow beckons.
– Gorilla City? GORILLA CITY. *hyperventilates into brown paper bag*
– How can such a place exist, even on another Earth, you ask? Simple: all you need is one (1) alien spacecraft to crash land in an area heavily populated by gorillas, have said gorillas get curious around the detritus, gain vast intelligence (and telepathy), and bam — Gorilla City. (It happened, all right! In Flash vol. 1 #106!)