Less than 5 – Skip it, 6 – OK, 7 – Good, 8 – Great, 9 – Phenomenal, 10 – You owe it to yourself to watch this episode!
Hot on the heels of Barry’s epic beat down at the hands of Zoom, any villain would be hard pressed to compete with the level of awesome on display from last week. That being said, if you’re going to try, Gorilla Grodd is your best bet. With Barry on the mend and a massive simian telepath on the loose, who will save Central City?
Gorilla Warfare serves as the second Grodd centric episode of the series and while his potential as a major villain has yet to be tapped, this episode goes a long way in getting us there. Since we last saw him in Grodd Lives he has been hiding out in an abandoned penthouse trying to figure out how he manifested his abilities. Growing ever lonelier without Wells, Grodd hopes to create more like himself to fill the void inside of him. An army of psychic gorillas sounds terrifying but if you look at things from Grodd’s perspective his aims aren’t very nefarious at all.
From a strictly technical standpoint Grodd has never looked better. The animation is far beyond what we saw last season and his ability to emote is truly impressive. I would have never thought it possible for a cg creation the caliber of Gorilla Grodd to even appear in a network TV show, let alone star in one. It’s a testament to the artists working on Grodd that you really feel his emotional state. More so than any of the other villains on this show, Grodd has motivations that go beyond “evil” and they are rendered believable because of the impeccable CG performance.
It was also incredible to see Gorilla City at episodes end. As much as I would love to see a Grodd centric episode about how he ultimately comes into power and leads his fellows in Planet of the Apes fashion I don’t see it happening any time soon. Though I am stoked that Grodd will continue to grow stronger. Hopefully my season 3 dreams will come true and see King Grodd as the main baddie.
Moving past Grodd for the time being, the brunt of the episode focused on Barry coping with his ass whooping by Zoom. This was probably the weakest portion of the episode in my opinion. Barry getting down on himself due to a defeat is understandable considering he just had his back broken, but when you remember that he went through almost the same situation last year (albeit in a less painful manner) the entire storyline feels played out. Grant Gustin handles the material well, hitting the emotional beats one would expect after surviving such a trauma; it just felt a little “been there done that”.
Also, ending last week with a paralyzed Barry only to open the next with Barry walking around is the ultimate let-down. Draw out his recovery for at least a full episode next time or don’t injure him at all. And why didn’t Zoom steal his speed?
Having John Wesley Shipp come back to console Barry back to health was a solid decision. I’m still not convinced that him running out on Barry right after tasting freedom was the best thing to do but getting to watch the on screen chemistry between Gustin and Shipp again was worth the wait. The pair has always been strong together and once again they deliver a metric ton of feels straight to audiences.
Just a note to all of the conspiracy theorists out there, Henry Allen is totally NOT Zoom (at least I really really hope not).
Paralleling Barry’s narrative this week was that of Harrison Wells. Having lost to Zoom as well, Earth-2 Wells tries in earnest to return home in hopes that he can figure out how to save his daughter, Jessie. I really like how Caitlin persuaded Harry to remain on Earth Prime for the time being, even going so far as to threaten him by closing the breaches to his world. Which ultimately sparks the plan to send Grodd to the gorilla city (genius!). The scene in which Wells 2 imitates Thawne-Wells in order to trick Grodd into believing he was the real deal was as trippy a sequence as you can imagine. Kudos to Tom Cavanagh for playing the multiple personalities with such gusto, he truly is a great actor.
One thing to note about his scene with Grodd, Earth-2 Wells seemed to know a heck of a lot about what Thawne-Wells told him back in the day. I can’t help but wonder what else this new Harrison is hiding or if he truly is who he says he is. It didn’t seem like Grodd was sent to Gorilla City by accident, Could Wells know about his future?
Rounding out the episode was the typical romantic subplots. Barry and Patty took a step back this week in favor of giving Cisco and Kendra some alone time. His vibing came into full effect showing him both Hawkman and Hawkgirl. The significance of these revelations is probably beyond Cisco at this point but for any avid fans out there, Legends of Tomorrow can’t come soon enough.
This episode was never going to top the epic confrontation between Flash and Zoom from last week but it did come awfully close. Gorilla Grodd continues to impress visually and his character gets more and more intriguing every time he makes an appearance. King Grodd, I better see you in season 3!
Overall Gorilla Warfare gets an 8/10.
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