In case the title of tonight’s episode didn’t clue you in, this hour features the one and only Gorilla Grodd. One might suspect that the idea of a super-intelligent, telepathic meta-gorilla would be a tough sell to audiences and a real beast to wrestle with in the writer’s room, but man did they pull it off. Not only did Grodd pose perhaps the greatest challenge to The Flash so far (second only to Reverse-Flash himself), he also managed to tug on the heartstrings of the viewers at home. That’s no mean feat.
Grodd has been teased in name and in shadowy reveals all season, but the abused animal of General Eiling’s military experiments has finally been unleashed. It would have been easy to set Grodd up as the “Villain of the Week” like most of the episodes have done this season, but it was a far cleverer tactic to use Grodd as the mind behind General Eiling’s string of high-powered robbery attempts. It gets even more meta when we realize that Dr. Wells/Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash is the mind behind the mind of Grodd. I’m sure we’ll see more of their villainous team-ups in episodes and seasons to come.
So let’s talk about Grodd. While I welcome you to share your reaction in the comments below, I was very pleased with how The Flash presented one of its title hero’s greatest adversaries. The visual effects for the massive gorilla were better than they had any right to be, even if they suffered a little bit in direct light or slow-motion action sequences. And while his imposing presence was enough to put the fear of Grodd into anyone (including poor Joe, who’s terrified of even “regular gorillas”), his psychic powers were even more impressive. His telepathic blasts of pure fear, conjured up by his memories of torture at the hands of Eiling, managed to both subdue The Flash temporarily and to win some sympathy from the audience. The truly terrifying aspect of Grodd is that he nearly bested our hero, and he’s just getting started.
Now, onto some other interesting bits from tonight’s hour. It seems that General Eiling and Iris have joined the “I Know Barry Allen Is The Flash” club, which all seems to work out for the best in the end. Eiling may serve as a potential ally against Wells and his Legion of Zoom, even if he is a slimeball. The more important part of this story is Iris’ inclusion into Team Flash. Now that she’s up to speed on all the goings on (which also includes the facts that Dr. Wells is The Man in Yellow, has kidnapped Eddie, and had previously killed Mason Bridge), perhaps she’ll be a bit more integral to the weekly escapades. Hey, she already managed to get through to Barry when he was all shell-shocked and about to get run over by a train, so that has to count for something.
And then there’s Dr. Wells himself. (How should we refer to him from now on? People on the show still say Wells, though I’m partial to Eobard.) Not only does he love climbing up and down that ladder of his (Where are they, anyway?), he loves torturing his ancestor Eddie even more. Eobard is proud to come from such a distinguished family in the future, a family whose only non-noteworthy name on the tree is Eddie Thawne himself. Eobard particularly loves to reveal the fact that Eddie will even manage to lose Iris to Barry in the end, a splinter that’s sure to twist its way through the captured cop’s mind.
I love that this world exists, a world which is so crazy to begin with that a talking, super-intelligent, psychic gorilla is relatively normal. And I especially love just how excited Cisco gets about the new comicbook prospects each and every week. He’s definitely the audience’s stand-in and I love him for it; now we just need to find him a geeky, movie-loving girlfriend.
In tonight’s stinger, Wells tells Eddie that he has “the key.” But what is the key good for? Apparently powering up another particle accelerator, or perhaps a circular track that will allow The Flash and Reverse-Flash to run round robin in a fun time-travelling relay race. The good news is that we’ll find out soon since there are only two episodes left in the season! The bad news is that there are only two episodes left in the season.
Rating: ★★★★ Very good
Iris: “Hi, Barry. Or should I say, The Flash.”
Will S.T.A.R. Labs please spring for a security guard, or at least some new locks!
That ice cream truck bit was too strange to not be from the comics at some point, right?
General Eiling: “Eiling. Bad. Caitlin. Good.”
Grodd: “I. Am. Grodd! Fear me!” Barry: “What is a Grodd?” … “Oh, Grodd is a gorilla.”
Cisco: “I think we know what happens when a super-intelligent ape who hates humans escapes captivity.”
Joe: “I can’t believe I’m down here looking for a supernatural gorilla. I’m terrified of regular gorillas.”
Grodd: “Grodd. Hate. Banana.”
Wells: “Eobard is a distinguished name from a distinguished family.”
General Eiling: “Don’t get your tights in a twist.”
Eobard Thawne: “Time to go home.”