The Flash: Grodd Lives review

Gorilla Grodd comes to Central City in "Grodd Lives." Evil talking gorillas with psionic powers rule. Here's our review of The Flash...

This The Flash review contains spoilers.

“I am Grodd…Fear me.”

Well, The Flash did it. They did the impossible. They pulled off Gorilla Grodd on a TV budget. And it was pretty good.

That’s right, “Grodd Lives” is pretty good. Pretty damn good. But it doesn’t scale the heights (get it? Y’know, like King Kong? I’ll…ummm…I’ll get my coat) of some of this season’s other highlights. Whatever. I’m not complaining. Because there was just a giant evil gorilla on my TV.

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Grodd is cool and all, and I’ll get to more of that in a minute, but he actually isn’t the highlight of the episode. That honor goes to Candice Patton as Iris West. If she wasn’t in the superhero love interest hall of fame already, she damn well better be after tonight.

It’s not just that Ms. Patton gives a great, utterly believable performance when she finally goes ahead and calls Barry out on all of the bullshit. It’s that in one scene, the entire “secret identity” trope is taken to the cleaners, kicked the curb, tossed in the trash, and whatever other cliches you want to throw at it. It’s destroyed.

Man of Steel touched on it, refreshingly making Lois Lane not a total moron. But I don’t think the consequences of literally an entire cast of characters lying to one other character has ever really come crashing down like this.

Think about it like this: the audience takes it for granted that we’re in on everything, and we know things that many characters don’t, right? But on The Flash, a couple of points aside, pretty much every single regular character has been in on everything, too…and has been for awhile. Everybody except Iris.

Now, since it’s already been demonstrated that Iris isn’t stupid, you can understand why she’s pissed off. Now that we know she knows, watching Barry lie to her face was kind of irritating. And it exposes the sheer lunacy of cops lying to other cops about how one of their own has vanished (“personal time” my ass). Anyway, this is how ridiculous the whole secret identity thing looks when we watch it play out (and fall apart) in real time. That’s kind of great.

I do feel they cheated us a little bit, though. One of the problems with this episode is that, other than the Eddie/Wells stuff, a lot of “Grodd Lives” felt like it should have taken place around mid-season. Part of that comes from my suspicion that there should be more fallout from Barry coming clean to Iris. Instead, we got a kind of trite “things are cool now” ending with the two of them (sorta). 

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Also, could Barry confronting Iris about her feelings for him have possibly come at a more inappropriate moment? Her boyfriend and her Dad are at the mercy of a superpowered maniac genius from the future and a giant freakin’ gorilla with brain powers (respectively), and Barry pulls the “feelings” card? C’mon, show…you’re better than this. That was some Smallville nonsense right there.

Okay, anyway, enough about all that. Let’s talk about Grodd.

The Flash did Grodd on a TV budget as well as could be expected. Bringing in General Eiling as Grodd’s proxy for daytime/outdoor action was a clever way to get around some of those limitations. Mostly keeping Grodd in the shadows during the sewer scenes helped, too.

For the most part, though, it didn’t look like they had anything to hide. The CGI Grodd looked pretty good, especially when we were mostly dealing with his face. There were a couple of dodgy moments when he was in action (the bit where he runs at the camera to confront Barry kinda suffered), but this is a pretty big deal special effect for the CW. We’ve come a long way from half-assed shadow Darkseid on Smallville, for example.

It was neat that Grodd thinks in Clancy Brown’s voice, too. And it’s also nice that they didn’t just wrap things up with Grodd this episode. Will he show up again before the season ends? I wouldn’t count on it. I suspect this was a big headache for the special effects team. But I wouldn’t count this gorilla out, either. There’s always season two.

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Flash Facts!

– Look, there’s nothing I can tell you right here that you can’t learn even better by clicking here and reading: The Prime 8: 8 Moments that Prove That, Grodd Damn It! That’s One Awesome Gorilla!

– okay, Eddie theorists. Let’s talk. There are two schools of thought: Eddie is going to be a supervillain…or he isn’t. 

Do you buy Eobard’s spiel about Eddie amounting to nothing? Or is he just trying to motivate him so that Eddie becomes all he can be? He might also just be basically arming a supervillain bomb to go off once he goes back…to the future, Marty! (sorry, I was channeling Cisco there for a minute)

Mike Fact!

The second comic book I ever owned was The Flash #336…featuring Grodd on the cover. I have every issue since then (and a bunch before it, too!).

Rating:

3.5 out of 5