The Flash: Gorilla Warfare review

Grodd returns with "Gorilla Warfare." Here's our review of The Flash season 2 episode 7.

This The Flash review contains spoilers.

The Flash Season 2 Episode 7

A little bit of a comedown was to be expected after “Enter Zoom,” an episode that nearly exhausted my monthly quota of superhero TV review superlatives. But if “Gorilla Warfare” is considered a step down, well, holy moley, I don’t even know if I can process what The Flash is really capable of this season. It’s a lot, though.

Not only does “Gorilla Warfare” not feel like a forced diversion after the absolutely bonkers climax of last week, it also manages to do something that no episode of The Flash season 2 has quite succeeded at so far: tell what is essentially a season one style story without losing sight of what’s making season two special. “Family of Rogues” was a damn good episode, for example, but it kinda felt like a season one outtake, didn’t it? You can’t say that about “Gorilla Warfare.”

It’s also a better Grodd episode than his proper intro in season one, “Grodd Lives.” Probably because, well, we’ve already accepted the psionic gorilla into our living rooms, so it’s off to the races this time around. But while Grodd felt like a bit of fun for the fans in season one, he still boiled down to a “villain of the week.” His return here gives him (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) an arc. I never expected to see Grodd in the first place, let alone see him used quite like this.

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And that’s another thing: Grodd looks a hell of a lot better this time than he did last year…and he was still an impressive creation then. The way Grodd has been handled overall is pretty elegant. The “less is more” approach with Grodd not only makes sense from an effects budget standpoint, but it’s been deployed in a way that actually serves the story.

I’ll leave the gorilla train in a minute, I promise. But can we also commend the show for not taking us into skeevy bestiality vibes with Grodd’s need for Caitlin? The whole thing was more Bride of Frankenstein than King Kong, despite Ms. Snow’s faintly Fay Wray outfit.

Barry’s temporary paralysis could have just served as a convenient way to take him off the board this week, but it gave us a more interesting crisis of faith than we’ve seen from him in the past. Even though he’s “back” at the end of the episode, there should still be repercussions for that beating he took at the hands of Zoom, though. This show would be smart to not wrap this up so neatly.

But Barry’s little crisis (and I know, I shouldn’t keep using “crisis” in relation to Barry Allen, lest we all get nervous…or hopeful) also gives us an excuse to spend some time with Dr. Henry Allen. Anyone else find this convenient, especially after the intensity of last week? 

I wrote extensively about the potential identity (or identities) of Zoom in another article, but I’m really coming around to the idea that Zoom is Earth-Two Henry Allen. Why? Because it’s simply the most heartbreaking option. Everyone loves John Wesley Shipp in general (you do, right?), and I have a particular attachment to his portrayal of Barry Allen on the original Flash TV series. Having good ol’ Henry, recently vindicated, here to dish out “get ’em, slugger” platitudes to Barry is nice and feelgood…and will make the unmasking and tragic motivation of a Zoom that much more of a kick in the gut.

(ahem) Assuming, of course, I’m right.

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Who the Hell is Harrison Wells?

Tom Cavanagh switching back and forth between different versions of his Harrison Wells performance was just entirely too cool. He’s just been this show’s secret weapon “in many ways” hasn’t he?

Like I said last week, I’ve pretty much ruled him out as a villain this time around. But then again, the ease with which he “became” the original Harrison/Eobard makes you wonder. It’s too easy to point the finger at him, which means we probably shouldn’t, but then again, that’s exactly the kind of misdirection they played us with all during season one anyway. I love this show.

Flash Facts!

– If you just want some fun Grodd facts detailing his hairiest schemes, then this is the article for you. 

– Your eyes did not deceive you, that was your best look yet at Hawkgirl in this universe. The thing is, we still don’t know whether Ms. Saunders is already having past life issues and sprouting wings, or if that’s simply a vibe of what’s to come. Either way, it’s pretty cool, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what Ciara Renee has in store for us here and on Legends of Tomorrow.

– Henry Allen was camping in Granite Peak National Park, a place that only exists in the DC Universe.

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– For real, a Grape Ape joke? That’s impressive, even for Cisco. That put the theme song right in my head, and now it can be in yours, too.

– We’re going to get a Flash ring. Holy moley, we’re going to get a Flash ring!!! Storing the Flash costume on a mannequin or whatever it is they’re doing hasn’t felt quite right. Why not embrace the full-on crazy of storying a costume in a ring that Barry can then just leap into as it decompresses on contact with the air? And speaking of full-on crazy…

– Gorilla City here we come! The whole episode, I was thinking up Gorilla City excuses. Caitlin will teach him how to make more like him! Nope. The extra drugs in his bloodstream from their double cross will allow him to make more like him! Nope.

No, instead, Gorilla City already exists, except only on Earth-Two. Now, purists might take issue with this. To them I say, don’t be foolish. We just saw Gorilla freakin’ City on our televisions. From a story standpoint, using Earth-Two’s longer association with wacky metahuman activity allows us to leapfrog all of the “how did a Gorilla City happen in the first place” nonsense. 

But don’t forget: this is now a world with dimensional portals all over the place. Who’s to say that Gorilla City can’t be transported wholesale to a rainforest on Earth-One? And since it’s in a jungle, who’s to say that the super-intelligent gorilla population would even notice? Or that they weren’t involved?

Anyway, I don’t think we’ll get to Gorilla City until season three, or ever, but aren’t you just happy it exists?

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Mike Cecchini has a sudden craving for bananas. Let him know if he missed any big DC Comics references in the comments or on Twitter.

Rating:

4 out of 5