“The Flash,” season 2, episode 7: Gorilla Warfare”

Courtesy of Warner Bros. TV
Courtesy of Warner Bros. TV

After last week’s brutal episode, Team Flash is now recovering after Zoom’s dreadful visit to Earth-1 Central City. As such, there are heavy consequences for the team as Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) has become incapable of walking. Slowly and surely, he learns to walk again with the help of Team Flash. But as he is recovering in this week’s episode, “Gorilla Warfare”, the team is stunned to learn that the menacing brain controlling gorilla, Grodd is back controlling people to do his bidding in Central City. With Allen unable to do much, Team Flash will need to figure out a new way to stop Grodd.

It goes without saying that Zoom’s visit to Central City severely changed the game for episodes to come. Now we find ourselves in a city where everyone has witnessed how weak The Flash is as he is unable to protect the people of the city he loves. Barry finds himself a bit depressed after his public humiliation from Zoom. And not only that but he’s pretty incapable of actually doing anything as The Flash. He learns to walk again but with hardships along the way. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Iris (Candice Patton) try their best to help Allen in this hard time. Gustin portrays this vulnerable side of Allen pretty fine. Though one setback I wish was explored more was just how much the city has changed after Zoom’s visit. Nothing other than Allen saying that he has failed the city says more on how Zoom has affected the city’s view on The Flash. I wish the show would show people outside the team reacting to the whole Zoom and The Flash debacle. And it doesn’t. I feel that that was really needed in this episode.

The episode marked the return of Gorilla Grodd. The menacing ape was shown last season and Flash even faced off with him at one point and wasn’t seen since. Having Grodd back is exciting because besides the Zoom, Reverse Flash, and Captain Cold, Grodd is the next biggest threat as a recurring villain for Team Flash. This time he’s mind controlling people to bring him serums needed to clone him. Grodd kidnaps Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) for this very reason because he needs her help to make more apes of the same intellect. This look at such an intimidating villain is also way more humanizing than before. Grodd is lonely and wants to be with other creatures like him. He’s the only one of his kind in this Flash’s universe and he is aware of that. On top of that, his facial expressions reveal just how sad and sympathetic Grodd is. I never thought a television show could make me care and sympathize for a walking, talking, villainous mind controlling gorilla but “The Flash” just did.

Also, the spectacle of Grodd appearing on screen is a sight to behold. It’s tricky for a major network television show to have Grodd because he’s all CGI. So the fact that the rest of the cast really has to interact with little to nothing in real life is impressive. I commend the special effects artists for how good they have made Grodd look because it’s honestly up there with CGI seen in modern blockbuster films.

 In light of a menacing gorilla on the loose, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) actually has a date with Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renee), the barista from a local coffee shop. As revealed throughout this season, Cisco has these freak visions that come to him whenever he touches someone or something. He has a vision of Kendra sporting majestic wings and a helmet in front of a blinding light. But with this revelation it looks like we’ll be seeing more from Renee as Saunders and perhaps her inevitable transformation into the warrior known as Hawkgirl.

The episode also saw the return of Henry Allen (John Wesley Shipp), Barry’s father. His return brought the more dramatic aspect of the episode as well. With Barry being depressed, his father’s return brought an emotional bond between the two. Henry decided to take a break to find himself again in the world because he was released from prison after being falsely accused of murder, something that was pivotal in season one. So his return brought some great moments to really bring that emotional gut punch in this episode.

Not only was Gorilla Grodd the main draw of the episode but also the role reversal of Barry and Team Flash. Many episodes have The Flash out there saving the city with Team Flash staying in STAR Labs to communicate to him from there providing support. This time, with Barry unable to do much with his damaged legs, it is him who sits back and provides support to Cisco, Caitlin, and Earth-2 Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). With Grodd kidnapping Caitlin to make more apes like him, Wells and Cisco come up with the clever plan of disguising Wells as his Earth-1 doppelganger, the man who was The Reverse Flash and the one who created Gorilla Grodd, to trick Grodd into thinking his “father” has returned. It was a great scene as Wells had to act as last season’s Wells. It was funny on screen as Cisco gave him lines to rehearse as he acts like Earth-1 Wells. It’s also impressive behind the screen because Cavanagh is playing another version of his character from last season trying to act like the character he already acted as. You follow me on that? It’s complicated, but he pulls it off, and adds more to the fact why Cavanagh is perhaps the greatest actor on the show only right next to Jesse L. Martin.

All in all, “Gorilla Warfare” provided great Grodd dosage and a clever reversal of things with members of Team Flash putting themselves in danger and a damaged Barry taking a step back. It’s nowhere as near as amazing as last week’s episode but overall a good, fun episode of “The Flash.”

Rating: 3.5 stars

 

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