TV Review: The Flash – “Gorilla Warfare”

This week, a hyper-intelligent psychic gorilla was supersonic-punched through a portal to a jungle city full of hyper-intelligent apes in a parallel universe. Ladies and gentlemen, The Flash!
Warning: this review contains spoilers.
Reverse HarryEven after thirty episodes of comic book craziness, sometimes it’s still hard to believe that things like a live action Gorilla Grodd are actually on our TV screens. And Grodd was very much the strongest part of "Gorilla Warfare". Not just from a technical standpoint, even though the CGI was impressive, especially for TV. Grodd was actually a sympathetic character in a way even most human antagonists aren’t. His loneliness and desire to have others of his kind was understandable, but it was his reaction to seeing his "father", Wells, that was pretty heartbreaking. The hope, followed by the confusion and anger when he realized it wasn’t the Wells he knew, and the way he was utterly crushed when Wells admonished him ("You hit father!")… It all led to a last moment of sadness when he was tricked by Caitlin and sucked through the breach. It all had me on edge, because let’s face it, it’s not wise to toy with an emotionally fragile, incredibly powerful creature like Grodd.
Speaking of Wells, Tom Cavanagh gave yet another fantastic performance this episode. He was superb as the Reverse-Flash last season, and equally skilled—and funny, too—in his return as Earth-2’s Harrison Wells. This episode, he played the latter trying to impersonate the former. In other words, he played a character who was playing a character who was an alternate version of the same character he’d already played. (Like I said earlier: The Flash!) He really pulled it off, and in doing so highlighted the differences and similarities between both versions of Wells, increasing my appreciation for his performances as both. It’s also great to see his jerk side subside as he grows closer to the S.T.A.R. Labs team. Yet at the same time he infused a hint of menace in his scenes with Grodd—just enough to keep us on our guard.
Henry AllenAs for Barry, this episode dealt with the fallout of his confrontation with Zoom, and as expected, the show slowed things down on that front. Bringing back Grodd for this episode was likely an intentional way of making up for the lack of forward plot movement during Barry’s necessary recovery phase. On one hand, Grodd feels too important to use as a mere plot device to get Barry back on his feet, but on the other, better Grodd than a forgettable minor villain. Barry went through the motions this episode, and his arc was mostly predictable. Still, it was great to have John Wesley Shipp back as Henry Allen. Barry’s scenes with his dad are always effective and emotional, and they raised up an otherwise standard plot.
Grodd will be back for sure. Just like the comics, he’s one of the show’s strongest villains. And I have a feeling throwing him in a city full of other super-smart apes after having promised him all of Central City is going to come back and bite our heroes in the behind. Gorilla Grodd hasn’t reached his full potential yet, but I have a feeling it’s going to be fantastic when he does.

Rating: 4/5 (Great)

Notes and Observations

  • Cisco’s subplot with Kendra Saunders was fun and sweet, even if it’s intended to set up Hawkgirl for Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Speaking of cute romances, the chemistry between Barry and Patty has been great this season, but he should just tell her he’s the Flash. The secrecy’s not doing them any good.
  • Oh the irony of Barry in a wheelchair instructing Wells in costume. Some would say their situation is the reverse.
  • Between Atlantis and now Gorilla City (Gorilla City! On live action TV!), Earth-2 is starting to look a lot cooler than Earth-1. It’s where all the big-budget concepts hang out!
  • Where the heck is Jay Garrick?
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