The Flash: “Grodd Lives” Season 1 Episode 21 Review

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The characters nail it right on the head when they called the events of the episode a distraction. But when that distraction is a giant telepathic gorilla, there’s not much to really complain about.

If there’s three villains a pure Flash adaptation would have to have it’s Reverse-Flash, Captain Cold, and Gorilla Grodd. The first two, not too difficult. But how do you do justice to a supervillain that doubles as a gorilla? Telepathy, horror movie tropes, and some improved CGI will certainly do the trick.

Grodd has been a presence throughout the season, but never like this. The hairy behemoth stole the show in the appropriately titled “Grodd Lives.” When a masked man trying to steal gold turns out to be General Eiling under mind control by Grodd, Caitlin and Cisco immediately know this has something to do with S.T.A.R. Labs’ resident gorilla before the particle accelerator exploded.

With the gorilla referring to Wells as “father,” Team Flash, which now includes Iris (more on that below), hopes finding Grodd means finding Eddie. This led to the wonderfully constructed scene in the sewers, where Grodd messes with Barry and Cisco’s heads and takes Joe captive.

Once they track him down again, we’re treated to the rare Flash vs. villain fight. Throughout most of this first season, Barry typically either discovers a new aspect of his powers to defeat the villain, or uses his speed to hit them just in time to save whoever. It was great to have Barry try the supersonic punch only to fail. The ensuing fight used both Flash and Grodd’s abilities in an exciting way, making for a good even match between a superhero and one of his greatest enemies.

But what truly saved Barry in the fight was Iris, who uses their connection by simply talking to Barry to focus him enough to get Grodd out of his head. “Grodd Lives” was easily one of the best Iris episodes to date. If you ignore the ridiculous way she found out Flash’s identity in last week’s episode, there was some pretty solid drama here. Her and Barry’s fight was emotionally charged in a lot of ways this series hasn’t pulled off as well in the past. You really felt that there was a long history before this defining moment of their relationship.

Iris fighting her dad was a little more annoying, falling into a lot of the same melodrama issues that Laurel and Detective Lance get wrapped up in on Arrow. But it got wrapped up nicely enough.

More rewarding was how quickly she stormed into S.T.A.R. Labs and joined the team without anyone really questioning her. Iris joining the team could certainly make for a great second season dynamic, assuming Wells is no longer a part of it.

So when it comes down to it, “Grodd Lives” was about a gorilla and a girl. If it weren’t for a superhero managing to keep them very separated, this could have been DC’s own King Kong. Still, the episode was a lot of fun and made some big character moves for Iris. It may have done little to advance the main story with the Reverse-Flash, but it’s hard to complain when one of the Flash’s greatest, but also most difficult villains was done justice. Grade: B+


Some Other Thought Bubbles:

– In the few scenes Tom Cavanagh had this week, he certainly started talking like the Reverse-Flash we know from the comics.

– It took The Flash all of one season to do away with the secret identity business. Arrow only finished that this year. Neither way is better than the other, but I’m glad Flash is taking a different route and we won’t see many of Arrow‘s identity arcs repeated over here.

– With just two episodes left, it looks like Arrow and Firestorm will be joining the fight next week!

– This early version of Gorilla Grodd was clearly still developing his brain. Here’s to hoping he becomes as smart as he does in the comics over the course of the series. I did love the whole banana moment though.


By Matt Dougherty

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