THE FLASH S2 E7 "GORILLA WARFARE" REVIEW! **SPOILERS!**
By Jarrett Kruse
I am still recovering from "Enter ZOOM" from last week and now The Flash producers try to knock me out with everyone's favorite telepathic giant Gorilla? Forget about "best superhero" show on TV, how about "best show" on TV period. The Flash is just that damn good and somehow they come off a five-star episode with another near perfect gem. And, a point I really want to add, is that with this season's first appearance of Gorilla Grodd, I am floored at how good the special effects are on this show. Even from last season, Grodd's appearance has improved which I did not think was possible in such a short period of time but I speak the truth. Plus it is these "bonus" special effects like ZOOM & Grodd that we are getting on top of the usual Flash-stuff, it's all gravy to me as Season Two continues on the highest note possible.
After last week's startling ending that had Barry saying, "I can't feel my legs," we knew that that angle could not work that long especially on a show called The Flash. They would have to make some really big changes to the narrative in order to make the show work if Barry's injury put him out of commission for good. With his super fast healing, Barry is getting there but is walking with a cane as he heals and is also using a wheelchair. He's not there yet and beating himself up terribly. He also keeps having these ROCKY-like mental flashbacks of his battle with ZOOM. These images of him being held up with one hand by the great beast at CCPD and in front of the city are torturing him. When you think about it, this is really Barry's first really ridiculous beatdown that he has taken but it was such a public one that you gotta think it is going to take some time recover from. Barry is broken and the viewer can relate to him considering he was entrusted with the key to Central City which he brings up later in the show. Everyone has had that feeling of, "How can I show my face again?" So to see the Scarlet Speedster experiencing this, it is humbling.
Meanwhile, Earth-2 Wells aka "Harry" as Cisco calls him is ready to head back to his Earth so that no one else on Earth-1 gets hurt. Everyone but Caitlyn is for Harry hitting the bricks but Dr. Snow insists that it is Wells that knows ZOOM the best and is therefore their best chance of beating him. While Wells mulls his decision over, Caitlyn comes to speak with him explaining that she knows that he wants to leave because of his daughter, Jesse. Then in passing, she mentions something about closing all of the breaches which gives Wells an idea---close all the breaches except the main one at STAR Labs giving them the ability to set a trap for ZOOM with only a single way to enter their world. Earth-2 Wells is growing on me for some reason and seems to slowly be becoming an ally amongst the STAR Labs crew. Still, it is hard for Barry to see the face of the man that murdered his mother everyday even though it is not actually the same man. Actually, he has handled it much better than I thought he would.
Joe and Patty are working a case that is seemingly too obvious to not be connected. Two scientists went ape and walked out of their respective labs stealing different kinds of medications that are made to enhance intelligence. Neither of the lab techs made it and it turns out gorilla hair was found at both crime scenes. Joe knows right away what that means--it's Grodd and he's back and he has to be pissed because why wouldn't a mind controlled 1500 pound gorilla not be pissed? Obviously Grodd does not speak a lot but they have done such an outstanding job with the CGI of Grodd, he is beyond formidable and downright scary when he is not calm and cuddly. And that is only for a few people, one was his master, the now dead Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne and the very much alive Dr. Caitlyn Snow.
Meanwhile, Cisco has a date with the hottest barista in Central City aka Kendra Saunders. Just as they are on their first date and on their way to see the romantic comedy classic The Princess Bride, Cisco grabs Kendra's hand gets a major vibe causing him to give a lame excuse and skip out on the aforementioned HOTTEST BARISTA IN CENTRAL CITY! I don't care what he vibed, you don't leave a girl of Kendra Saunders caliber just hanging on the street alone. However, Cisco's vision was of some kind of winged creature. It appeared to be female to me but he is not sure as he chews off Caitlyn's ear about it finally coming to the conclusion that she must be an angel. Just then, Caitlyn goes all Reggie Jackson in The Naked Gun going after the Queen and knocks out Cisco with a wicked right. It was funny to see Cisco on the floor, laid out and just like, "WTF Caitlyn??" The even tempered doc then leaves the lab but the guys see on the surveillance footage that she is being trailed by the massive Grodd. It really was not until I saw that shot of Grodd in scale at just how damn big this Gorilla is--he is enormous. So how is it that no one has seen this smart and furry guy walking around the city? He was living in the sewers but maybe he has pulled a George and Weezy. Hmmm.
Barry has yet another stumble in his rehab and Joe and Iris realize what he needs to get over this hurdle. Enter Dr. Henry Allen fresh from a few weeks in the woods to help his boy get over this hump. I was actually disappointed when Henry split as soon as he got sprung from the clink. I was hoping that he would stick around Central City and join the STAR Labs team. And those rumors in the off-season that he was a Flash in another Earth-timeline continued to gnaw at me and I am still hoping that he shows up again as a Flash from another stream of time. I guess that is one that we will have to wait and see on but I do like that they are at least keeping actor John Wesley Shipp around for episodic situations just like this one.
Cisco and Harry are able to figure out how Grodd has eluded them and that he must be occupying one of three bell towers inside the city. Caitlyn is up from a mind-controlled slumber where Grodd is keeping the cache of stolen medical supplies and in Grodd-speak, explains to Dr. Snow that he wants "repeat of Grodd." Caitlyn does not understand but then it hits her, Grodd wants to be around more apes because he is sad and lonely and even worse, has not master now that Wells is gone. However, they have come up with a plan at STAR Labs on how to catch Grodd and it includes Harry dressing up as the Reverse-Flash which triggers Barry to throw him up against a wall until Cisco can calm him down. Obviously Barry is still not dealing with Wells-1 as Reverse-Flash. Caitlyn is giving what seems like a graduate lecture to Grodd in the tower. Before Wells enters and the rescue ensues, there is this hysterical scene where Cisco is trying to direct Wells on how to talk to Grodd. At one point he says, "Like you really love me, but you're gonna have to kill me anyway." Classic.
When Wells enters the tower, it does not seem that Grodd is buying it because Wells-1 never asked for things, he ordered. This upsets and confuses Grodd that this is not his real master. However, Harry starts to reveal some things that I am not sure if he is improvising or what but he distracts Grodd enough to get the balance of the stolen drugs injected into the giant beast enabling them all to escape. One thing is clear, as Caitlyn explains clearly, that Grodd did not mean to kill anyone and that all of these acts were the doing of Harrison Wells. One thing is for certain, Grodd is getting smarter and needs to be around other superhuman apes.
I know that the breaches on Earth-1 lead to different places on Earth-2 but not vice-versa so it gets a little tricky trying to keep track of it all. Back at STAR Labs, Wells explains that he knows a lot about which breaches go where and says he has the perfect one for Grodd. From the map he pulls up it appears to be in the rainforests of Africa but I was not a geography major, although I did take up space in college. Wells explains that Grodd will be comfortable in this new place that has Gorillas like him that were experimented on and seek refuge. The trap is set with Barry at maybe 60 percent and that is my personal guesstimate. Did I mention I hate the word guesstimate? Armed with the speed cannon and I guess they can make the STAR Labs breach mobile, they set a trap for Grodd using Caitlyn as bait. At first it does not go so well and Flash gets thrown around like a rag doll. However, like Mickey in Rocky Balboa's ear, Barry is able to get up and give the super punch needed to squeeze Grodd through the breach. Later we see the big guy come through the other side and right away I assumed that it is "Gorilla City" from the DC Comic Books. I just can't get over how much they are packing into these 43-minute episodes.
Cisco goes to Jitters to apologize to Kendra for skipping out on her so suddenly and wants to make it up to THE HOTTEST BARISTA IN CENTRAL CITY. The two kiss, and Cisco gets a serious vibe---Kendra Saunders is none other than....HAWKGIRL!! I am not caught up on ARROW so maybe all of you guys know this already but I did not and thought it was just awesome the way they are seamlessly introducing these new characters into the broad Flash narrative. You gotta be happy for Cisco. This is a big win for the little guy that usually doesn't get the girl. Next week, there is no new episode because of the holiday and I am already in mourning mode, extremely bummed as I would take a new episode over turkey any day. Turkey puts you to sleep, The Flash makes you want to stand up and cheer.