Gorilla Grodd or King Kong? Barry struggles to be a hero. And 80’s nostalgia abounds!
In the aftermath of last week’s run-in with the velvet voiced villain Zoom, Barry has limited use of his legs due a broken back (Zoom apparently taking a page out of the book of another DC Comics villain, Bane). This is, of course, a dire situation for The Flash, who’s main superpower is running very, very fast, until you realize he can do everything else at super speed, too. Including, but not limited to, thinking, punching, and wheeling a chair (were it not electric).
Which leads to the episode’s first reference to the last season: Barry Allen moping in a wheelchair looks an awful lot like Eobard Thawne (pretending to be Harrison Wells) moping in a wheelchair. The implication being that Barry has it in him to be his own worst villain, beyond Reverse Flash or Zoom.
Cisco the Playboy
On a lighter note, Cisco has a date with future superhero, Kendra Saunders – Princess Bride references abound. But soon, Cisco vibes on Kendra, seeing an armored hero with glorious wings, and panics his way out of the date. The vibe seemed to be Kendra as Hawkgirl, but Cisco insisted it was a man so…Hawkman. We know both are joining the universe in time for Legends of Tomorrow. No matter who Vibe saw one thing is clear: this was an incredible missed opportunity for Cisco to awkwardly call Kendra an angel and be generally cute. Disappointing, Cisco.
Return of Grodd
When Joe West’s meta-unit finds multiple scientists beaten to death against, it becomes quickly clear that Gorilla Grodd is back. And from there, at least one viewer began chanting “Gorilla City” over and over under his breath for the rest of the episode.
This time Grodd is given an emotional arc when he kidnaps Caitlin Snow with the hope she’ll help him create more sentient gorillas. Aw, he just wants a family! Caitlin feels sympathy for the giant ape, at which point it became immediately clear why she was wearing that strange white jump suit.
Flash Family Time
While Grodd searches for a family, Barry has some quality time with his own. His physical therapy is not coming along at the rate any of Team Flash hoped, so Joe takes the time to have a Flash Dad Talk!™ with Barry.
It becomes clear that Barry’s issues are psychological rather than physical, worried he can’t live up to the status of a hero. So, this episode, one dad isn’t enough. Iris West calls upon Henry, who has apparently been fishing for five episodes.
Henry has more success with the Flash Dad Talk!™ , teaching Barry the lesson that even when no one else believes in you, you still have to believe in your self. It’s a solid lesson and gets the Flash back on his feet (sorry pun) for another Grodd showdown.
Goril-la Ci-ty! Goril-la Ci-ty! (Everybody now!) Goril-la Ci-ty!
With Barry sidelining himself, Dr. Wells #2 has taken on an active role in helping with the giant gorilla in the room. First, Harrison dresses as Reverse Flash to trick Grodd into thinking he’s his father (and rub salt in our wounds over Wells #1’s betrayal last season). Touched by Caitlin’s King Kong affection for the creature and reeling from the “Grodd, I am your father” failure, Wells and Cisco devise a plan to send Grodd through another breech to “the closest thing he can have to a home”. (Oh god, it’s here. Gorilla City is here).
The Flash speed punches Grodd through multiverse and the ape comes out the other side in a jungle village situated proudly in the shadow of a large cliff shaped like a Gorilla. It’s here Flash fans! Assuming this village is filled with other sentient gorillas, Gorilla City is a reality. In the episode’s context, this is a happy ending in which Grodd not only gets to live, but also may just get the family he has been looking for. But as fans of the comics know, Grodd’s history would lead us to believe that he won’t assimilate into Gorilla City’s culture, but rather will conquer the society for his own gain.
Wally West Incoming
When all is said and done, Barry sits down with his two dads. Since it has been several episodes since Henry was around, Joe is deflated by Barry’s affection toward his blood father. Joe and Iris make reference to Barry not being his “real son,” leading us fans in the know to froth at the mouth shouting “Where’s Wally?”
We know Wally West is eventually coming to the show, but the scene does a great job foreshadowing how the characters will react. Joe is going to take it quite hard it seems.
Cisco the Gallant
The episode bookends Cisco’s date with Kendra, having him bring a peace offering in apology. While Cisco and Kendra are incredibly cute and his digital projector with Princess Bride would certainly win my heart, the scene is interrupted by Cisco getting vibes from a kiss (an appropriate phrase). This time his vision of Kendra is clear and we get a solid preview of Hawkgirl, Cisco (and the audience) is duly impressed. But Cisco quickly recovers from his vision by winning over Kendra’s heart (and all of ours with it).
Going forward it seems two things are certain: Dr. Wells #2 seems to be a solid team player, and Wally West will severely shake up the lives of Team Flash.