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REVIEW: The Flash 1×21 “Grodd Lives”

Screw it, on ambition alone this episode was awesome and I really don’t care we got to see Grodd in live action and he didn’t look like complete and utter shit. It is funny watching The Flash after watching Gotham because it feels like when someone shows you a really bad video on the internet and then you find one that is really good. You just become impressed and wonder how two things in the same vein of media could be so drastically different. That was “Grodd Lives” for me, an episode that by all accounts as a Flash fan is an instant win, but could have equally gone horribly awry. This episode success is that it allows all of its characters to have some sort of moment or scene that amplifies the situation: Iris confronting Barry, Grodd being Grodd, and the ever so delightful Eobard going full ham in taunting Eddie. Each scene adds towards the endgame and manages to set us up for some real fun moving forward.

So before we get to season one’s big bad let’s talk about what is apparently the endgame for season two, Grodd. Yes, some of the more fantastical elements of Grodd’s story have been retconned, but in the end this  Grodd is truly a force that can challenge Barry on a week to week basis. At this point, Grodd is merely stronger than Barry and doesn’t quite have the full mental prowess he is known for, but he is getting there. Watching him mess around making Eiling his meat puppet and literally scaring the crap out of Joe shows just how dangerous he can be. I especially enjoyed the idea that to mess with his enemies Grodd project the pain and fear of being experimented on as it makes him a sympathetic villain on some fronts. Both David Sobolov and Clancy Brown manage to bring the menace to Grodd’s persona and I am really excited to see how he develops in future appearances. Add on the fact that Grodd took Barry down multiple pegs by reducing Barry’s speed to being a non-factor in the fight and you have some great building blocks for our villain moving forward.

While Grodd was being super fun to watch we also had some great character moments involving the team and its newest member, Iris. I love that the writers actually took the time to address the elephant in the room as to just how much the team relied on Wells/Thawne for the solutions to all of their problems. To see Caitlin and Cisco struggle to combat the superiority of Grodd was a welcome turn in there storyline just as much as their victory felt earned. We know on some level the team will be able to stand up to the weekly metas, but to see them adapt to a foe like Grodd shows that they are not entirely out of their depth without Thawne being at the helm. The mental block helmet was a nice way to combat this level of Grodd, but I truly can’t wait to see the helmet evolve and actually be a source of power for the villain.

As for Iris, thank god she finally knows and confronts everyone about lying to her throughout the season. I enjoyed that she simply did not agree with the fact everyone was hiding so much from her as well as the idea that Iris could’ve actually been helpful. You could clearly see all of the problems and gripes Iris would have as Barry rattled off all the facts we had come to learn over the course of the season. Iris’s anger and feeling of betrayal was not entirely blown out of proportion, but what really helped to cap everything was Barry taking the blame onto himself.  Barry knew full well that he had a clear choice in whether or not he should have told Iris and he chose to keep her in the dark. Luckily Barry realized the flaw in his plan but at the same time did not regret his decisions until all of the flaws were pointed out to him. Barry may be smart, but he is fairly incompetent when interacting with people, so all of his choices though flawed made sense overall.

The last part, though not entirely taking up focus in the episode was all of the Eobard and Eddie material which certainly allowed for some fun character exploration. I love how cocky Eobard is now that he does not need to hide anything as he is truly the smartest person in the room and certainly the most powerful. It was interesting that Eddie tried to throw Eobard off his game, but it was perfect that Eobard was always in control and put Eddie in his place. I will be interested to see if now that Eobard showed Eddie that Iris ends up with Barry if he has permanently altered the timeline or if this was always a fixed point. Time travel, it’s a tricky bitch.

The episode definitely lived up to it’s hype, now to see if the season can stick the ending.

Final Grade A

+Grodd

+Eobard and Eddie scenes

+The team all getting great scenes

+Iris laying out her reasoning for being angry

Extra Thoughts

-So Eobard has been building a second particle accelerator. How is that supposed to help?

-Grodd’s hatred of bananas always funny. Still hope they do the banana split bit eventually.

-Oh if it wasn’t enough hype Oliver, Ronnie, and Barry team up to fight Eobard next week, and there is a prison transfer as well. It’s just so much.

About the author

Scott Swartz