You know what makes for a great filler episode, having a 1500 pound mind controlling gorilla return and just decide to screw with your hero, or you know any other type of Grodd based episode. Enter “Gorilla Warfare” or as I will now refer to it the stall episode before the crossover we all really want to see. Unlike last years episode seven which also saw Barry seemingly immobile and powerless, this year we had a fun and interesting villain that was meant to challenge Barry as a whole. Grodd also was a force for the team to deal with in this case rather than just Barry as he was largely sidelined for the majority of the episode. Where this episode manages to succeed is the it forced our side characters to fight back against Grodd rather than having Barry save the day entirely, and you know what it just so happened to work.
So let’s start with Grodd who was much more present in this episode than at any time during his last appearance. It was great to see him portrayed as a much more sympathetic character this time around rather than the simple murder monster we saw in last season’s “Grodd Lives”. This time he had a purpose outside of being a distraction for Eobard as he sought to create more hyper intelligent gorillas. A basic premise for sure, but the way he goes about communicating with Caitlin and how expressive the CGI was in his face this time around absolutely killed me. I was absolutely slayed everytime Grodd was just telling people he wanted a friend or a companion, he just looks so sad that you were rooting for him to get a happy ending despite being the villain of the week. Luckily, he seems to have gotten his wish in the end, but I really want to see an entire episode revolving around the fallout of Grodd entering Gorilla City.
Speaking of great performances I am still shocked Tom Cavanagh hasn’t been nominated for any type of award, especially after everything he did this week. As soon as the Reverse Flash costume came out I knew we were in for a treat and watching Wells actually get to have scenes with Grodd made everything better. I loved that Cisco had him “warm up” by performing his death speech from “Out of Time” was a nice twisting of the knife, especially when Cisco confirmed he had finally hit the right note. More so watching Wells play off of Grodd and try to convince him that he was indeed his father was a thing of beauty. Anyone else I would have feared for but Harry was able to nail who Eobard was at his core and be a manipulative bastard and betray Grodd in order to survive. Now that he is committed to finding a way to trap Zoom, hopefully the team won’t try to rush another big confrontation only to have it blow up in their faces.
As for the rest of the episode our heroes really didn’t have all that much to do. Barry’s arc was surprisingly similar to last season’s episode seven “Power Outage” as Barry was force to cope with the idea of no longer having his abilities. It was nice to see Henry pop back up but in reality he played a role that could have easily been filled by Iris or any other character. Henry at least provided a nice parallel when he spoke about having no one believe him after Nora’s trial and it seems to at least have given Barry the necessary boost to actually fight back against his self doubt. The struggle I have I have with Barry’s arc from this week was that Barry has been beaten and humiliated before, sure not to this level but he has always had a fighting spirit to say the least. For him to just give up so easily was out of character and it really left me on a sour note at least for a little while.
Similarly Cisco’s date, while adorable and natural as all heck was completely superfluous to the entire plot outside of giving us a brief look at Hawkgirl. If the date had actually been given the opportunity to play out rather than two short bursts, maybe I would have cared more about that story. As of now I could give two shits about who Cisco dates and whether or not it actually works out for him. Especially when this is probably gonna be one of the shorter relationships in tv history since Kendra is about to go time traveling all over the place. Also I am going to be honest, they should really just tell Patty about Barry being The Flash. She is a smart person who could actually be of use to the team and the longer she is out in the cold the more likely she is to become a victim of Zoom.
Overall we stalled, but in a satisfying enough way.
Final Grade B-
+Grodd was great
+Harry killed it
+Henry coming back
-Barry’s arc was a retread
-Cisco’s date was pointless
-Just tell Patty already
-Their better be an episode with Solovar and Grodd later this year.
-So Earth 2 is just The Flash if the show had way more money: Aquaman, King Shark, Gorilla City. At this point I am just expecting them to yell Alan Scott and Kent Nelson exist for shits and giggles.
-So we have had Eobard’s Flash Ring this entire time and we are just now looking into how it actually works? I am disappointed in you Cisco.