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TV Review: The Flash - Season 1 Episode 21 "Grodd Lives"

05.06.2015

EPISODE 21: "Grodd Lives"

SYNOPSIS: Dr. Wells sends an old friend (:ahem: Gorilla Grodd) to distract Team Flash as he continues to hold Eddie hostage and moves forward with his master plan to finally return home. Meanwhile, Barry and Joe must deal with the repercussions of Iris finding out Barry's secret identity.

RECAP (Beware of spoilers!):

Ladies and gentlemen, Gorilla Grodd has finally made his long-awaited entrance. Does anything else really matter? Yes, the King Kong references were a bit heavy-handed, and the CGI wasn’t the absolute best, but hey, this is a TV show with a TV budget. I give THE FLASH major props for even attempting the Grodd storyline. And Grodd’s scenes with Barry, especially when he held him up by the throat and caught his fist mid-supersonic punch, were badass. Grodd reminds me a little of JAWS, where the threat of the great white shark permeated throughout the entire film, but the images of the shark were limited. So was the case with Grodd, whose screen time was only a few minutes, but whose presence was felt throughout this episode (and the whole season). Our first glimpse of his empty cage came all the way back in the pilot!

Tonight’s episode proved that Barry, Cisco, Caitlin (and now Iris, filling Dr. Wells' empty spot) can get the job done without their mentor-turned-villain. And that says a lot because Grodd is not a villain-of-the-week. He means serious business and was as much a distraction for Team Flash as it was for us viewers. The final two episodes of the season (yes we only have two left!) are obviously leading up to a Flash vs. Reverse Flash showdown, and though we didn’t really get a lot of screen time from Dr. Wells tonight, Grodd did what he was supposed to do by providing enough of a buffer to allow Dr. Wells to get a particle accelerator moving again. Plus, if Grodd’s brazen King Kong-esque scaling of a building at the end of the episode was any indication, we will be seeing more of him very, very soon and it’s going to take more than Barry to defeat this guy…errrr gorilla.

Gorilla Grodd was unleashed on Central City, and this couldn't have come at a worse time for Team Flash. With Eddie still missing, Barry, Caitlin and Cisco have been working around the clock to find him and Dr. Wells. So to distract their efforts, Dr. Wells enlists one of his former lab experiments, Gorilla Grodd, to cause some major damage around the city. Before the particle accelerator exploded, Grodd was a part of a military experiment at S.T.A.R. Labs, which Caitlin and Dr. Wells were also involved in. They were trying to enhance soldiers’ cognition during battle. But, the morally bankrupt General Eiling had his own ideas about the research, and started to get carried away with the experimentation. Apparently Dr. Wells has a soft spot for animals, so he shut down Eiling’s program, and saved Grodd.  However, when the particle accelerator exploded, the serums in Grodd’s body activated, causing him to become a metagorilla. He is not only bigger and smarter than others in his species, but has the ability to control minds as well.

The last time we saw Grodd, he was making mincemeat of General Eiling in the sewers, under the direction of Dr. Wells. But when tonight’s episode begins, the banana-hating gorilla is lurking in the shadows; a masked man is doing his bidding and robbing banks. When Barry tries to break up one of the robberies, he is incapacitated by visions overloading his brain. These visions involve horrific laboratory experiments (ones that Grodd faced while in captivity). Back at the Lab, the team notices through surveillance footage that the masked man seemed to also be affected by the visions, meaning he must not be the one inflicting the damage.

At that moment, Iris walks into the Lab, telling the team she knows Barry is The Flash. She even gets to see him in his suit. Does anyone else think Team Flash needs to invest in a stronger security system? Thankfully, the plot point of “will Iris tell Barry she knows his secret”, which started the episode, didn’t last for long. She and Barry have a heart-to-heart, with Cisco and Caitlin listening in. There Barry tells her the truth about Dr. Wells' identity. He also apologizes for not letting her in on his secret from the beginning. But instead of forgiving him, Iris pulls the ultimate parent move by telling him she is more disappointed in his behavior than angry… but she eventually storms out. Not buying it, Iris.  A later Superman-esque rooftop conversation between the two reveals that Iris has come to terms with her feelings for Barry, but she can’t act on them now that she is with Eddie and he is still missing. Another reason for Barry to stop at nothing to get him back.

Iris also talks to her dad, telling him his “I just want to protect you” excuse is getting really old. She wishes she had been a part of the team the entire time so she could’ve been helping them put bad guys away instead of getting in the way. In addition, Iris brings up her relationship with Barry and calls Joe out on not telling her about Barry’s feelings for her. Maybe if she had known about Barry’s affection for her earlier, she wouldn’t be with Eddie and he wouldn’t have been kidnapped. Not the strongest argument, Iris. After all, she started dating Eddie while Barry was in a coma… would she really have waited for him to wake up? AND Eddie and Reverse Flash are related, which is obviously another big reason he was kidnapped. But after tonight’s episode, Joe promises that he won’t keep secrets from Iris any longer. Let’s see how long that holds.

Speaking of Eddie, he and Dr. Wells, who has started to show an affinity for eyeliner, laid low in tonight's episode. At first, Eddie is pretty combative with his captor, demanding to see some evidence that he is a time-traveler. Dr. Wells speeds over to Eddie, red eyes glowing, and tells him to shut it. But after awhile, it seems that Eddie may be on his way to the dark side thanks to some manipulation from Dr. Wells. Allegedly in the future, the Thawne name is well-respected, with politicians, scientists, and society leaders hailing from the family. But, as Dr. Wells says, Eddie is the one family member who did nothing and is pretty much forgotten. Not to mention the future newspaper, with Iris West-Allen’s name in the main story’s byline, shows he doesn’t even get the girl in the end. It seemed as though Eddie was buying Dr. Wells manipulations hook, line and sinker, giving him all the makings of a villain.

Back above ground, the masked bank robber tries to rob a large shipment of gold bars, which is being shipped from Central City to a vault in Coast City. But Barry shows up to save the day, and when he unmasks the criminal they find a zombie-like General Eiling underneath. Team Flash puts Eiling in a cell in the Pipeline, and the group uses him to talk to Grodd. As it turns out, Grodd is able to transmit neurosignals to Eiling, which allows him to communicate such phrases as, “I am Grodd. Fear me.” The team thinks if they find Grodd, they can find Dr. Wells and Eddie, so Barry, Cisco and Joe head off to the sewers, where Grodd is rumored to be living.

With only a banana (really?!), flares, flashlights and a couple of pistols, the trio didn’t really seem to pack well for their encounter with Grodd. I know this wouldn’t have helped, due to Grodd’s mind control powers, but if I knew I was going to fight a gorilla, I think I would’ve brought a gun with a bit more firepower. Along the way, they see drawings on the wall of the sewer, almost like cave paintings, which show Grodd’s evolution; he goes from writing words to complete phrases. And unfortunately for our guys, he is also getting bigger too. All of a sudden, Barry is again incapacitated due to a mental overload and Grodd captures Joe. Joe tries to fight Grodd off with his tiny pistol, but Grodd is able to control Joe’s mind and has him turn the gun around on himself before making him throw it away. After all, Grodd’s father (Dr. Wells) hates guns.

Barry and Cisco flee back to S.T.A.R. Labs, where they develop a new headset that Barry can use to prevent Grodd from getting into his brain. With his new tech, Barry quickly heads back into the sewers to rescue Joe. Cisco hacks into the sewer’s computer system and sets off a trail of steam, which herds Grodd into a tunnel exactly 5.3 miles away from Barry. As we all know, this means the supersonic punch is coming.

But the punch doesn’t work out as well as it did with Girder. In fact, Grodd is able to catch Barry’s fist mid-punch and sends him flying through a brick wall with the flick of his wrist. Unfortunately, Barry’s hard landing on the subway tracks, breaks his headset, which means easy pickings for Grodd. Using his power of mental incapacitation, Grodd turns Barry into a sitting duck for an oncoming service train. But, in one of the cheesiest scenes in THE FLASH yet, Barry is able to overcome the debilitating visions by focusing on Iris’ voice. He is then able to get a commuter train to strike Grodd, pushing him far enough down the tracks to allow him to save Joe.

With Grodd on the run, General Eiling has been freed from his trance-like state. And even though he cannot be trusted, Team Flash releases him from the Pipeline, resting on the fact that they share the same enemy, Dr. Wells.

 

STINGER: Dr. Wells finally has the key to go home, and uses it to power what looks to be a particle accelerator.

DC UNIVERSE EASTER EGGS: When Team Flash realizes Gorilla Grodd is in the sewer, Cisco mentions an alligator, which could be a roundabout tip of the hat to Killer Croc, who lives in the sewers, and was an enemy of Batman. 

COOL ALTERNATE USE OF "THE FLASH" POWERS: Although Grodd made the supersonic punch look paltry, the threat of it on any other villain is still pretty freakin’ cool.

FAVORITE QUOTE: Cisco was on fire with his movie references tonight! He dropped a line about C.H.U.D., THE PRINCESS PRIDE (R.O.U.S.), PLANET OF THE APES (“I think we know what happens when a super intelligent ape, who is pissed off at humans, escapes captivity.”) and JURASSIC PARK when the water in the sewer started to move, (“If I hadn’t seen JURASSIC PARK, I wouldn’t be nearly as frightened right now”).

 

FINAL VERDICT:

Source: JoBlo.com

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