THE FLASH Season 1, Episode 21 'Grodd Lives'
With The Flash’s first season getting rapidly closer to concluding, here we get to finally see some ample screen time for a long-standing Flash villain. Enter, Gorilla Grodd.
We’ve seen glimpses of Grodd, the super-smart, super-strong, psionic gorilla, throughout this season, but here he gets to step out of the shadows and take centre-stage. As alluded to in earlier episodes, Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) is an almost father-like figure to Grodd, which is perfect for when you’re a time-travelling rogue who needs a timely distraction. Whilst Wells holds Eddie (Rick Cosnett) captive, he looks to throw The Flash (Grant Gustin) and Co. off his scent by having Grodd take Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) hostage. If things weren’t bad enough for Barry Allen, Iris (Candice Patton) is now on to him. Yes, she knows that Barry and The Flash are one and the same.
Now Iris West has been the character who is the most unlikeable in the show by this point, and Grodd Lives only furthers how badly the character is being handled. This is a woman who has always been the love of Barry Allen’s life and someone who, in the future as it currently stands, will go on to become Iris West-Allen. The problem is, there is so little that is likeable about the character at this stage, which makes it hard to think why Barry would be holding even the smallest of candles for her. And now she has the hump because Barry kept his superhero alter-ego from her, which only further makes her come across as a needy teenage who simply has to know everything about everybody and who comes across as highly selfish and self-centred. When she finds out that dad Joe knew about Barry too, she then blames him for Eddie being missing. Her logic is that if she knew all about Barry then she wouldn’t be with Eddie in the first place, as such not putting him in harm’s way.
On the Eddie front, he’s now fully aware of just who Harrison Wells is, as in Eobard Thawne, a relative from the future. Pushing his buttons even further, Eobard drops the bombshell that whatever happens… Eddie does not end up with the girl. In a move akin to Palpatine manipulating a young Anakin Skywalker, Eobard shows Eddie the future “Flash Missing” newspaper piece that’s written by one Iris West-Allen. We wondered if a Wells reveal or an Iris/Barry happening would give Eddie a push to the dark side, and there’s now certainly enough fuel in place to light that particular fire if the show chooses to go in that direction.
Flipping back over to Grodd, the hulking gorilla is introduced here after a zoned-out, possessed General Eiling (Clancy Brown) turns up in Starling City. The S.T.A.R. Labs crew quickly establish that The General is being controlled psionically by Grodd, and so The Flash and his team go searching the sewers for Mr. G. Grodd. In an amusing moment, it’s decided that it’s a wise move to take a banana down to the sewers in the hope of winning over this gorilla. Unfortunately, Grodd doesn’t play that shit and instead we get some scenes reminiscent of something from The Relic, with the team creeping around dark and dank sewers as the tension mounts. Joe ends up being taken by Grodd, and then the psionic gorilla brilliantly showcases his powers by taking control of Joe and having Detective West turn his gun on himself. Back in S.T.A.R. Labs, with Iris now firmly in with the team, a plan is hatched to get Joe back from Grodd, although Barry needs some funky headgear to block out Grodd’s attempts to get inside his head. But again, where there is Iris, there’s head-scratching characterisation. This time, as well as being an apparent expert on Grodd, she is massively pissed off because The Flash, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) are unable to instantly stop a genius-intellect gorilla with the capability to control the minds of those who oppose him. Yeah, because taking down such a foe is as easy as ordering a takeaway pizza from Just Eat. Luckily Barry manages to root around in his fancy red suit and find his nuts, eventually calling out Iris for being a bit of an arse in how she is approaching all of this. Finally! Maybe now he’ll also realise that the all-round awesome Linda Park was a far better fit for him than the future Iris Allen-West. Think about it Barry, that name doesn’t have to end up hyphenated. We’re just sayin’…
With his snazzy new helmet in place, The Flash tracks down Grodd and lines up a supersonic punch of massive proportions to talk down the hulking gorilla. Only problem is, Grodd literally stops The Flash dead. Oops. With the helmet (and gloves) now firmly off, Grodd starts to prod around the mind of Barry Allen, freezing the Scarlet Speedster in his tracks… and conveniently on the tracks of an on-coming train. Then, in a moment akin to Jesus stepping out of a barn to become the saviour of mankind, Iris West, dare we say it, has a use! Yes, we were just as shocked as you, loyal Starbursters. Using her dulcet tones, Iris literally talks Barry out of the way of the train, which leads him to vanquishing Grodd and rescuing Joe. In a double-whammy on the Iris front, this is then followed up by a great, genuine-feeling emotional chat between her and her daddy dearest.
Grodd Lives was another memorable episode of The Flash, particularly as we finally got to see how the show is going to handle Gorilla Grodd himself. It’s remarkable to think that we’re at a point in time that a show is able to do a character such as Grodd so well, something that would have been deemed impossible in previous years. Additionally, the show itself has set up Grodd as a huge threat to The Flash, and it looks as if he’ll be going all King Kong in the future. But as well as Grodd, there’s the ever-looming threat of Reverse-Flash. Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne has now made it clear that he’s apparently on his way home, and there will most definitely be a final butting of heads with the Scarlet Speedster along the way. What’s more interesting is how the show plays their Eddie Thawne card from here on out. Mocked by Eobard for being the only Thawne who does nothing with their life, then made aware that his current beau is going to end up married to Barry Allen, that could just be enough to put quite the chip on the shoulder of Eddie.
With two episodes remaining in its first season, The Flash is certainly coming together for what’s promising to be an explosive finale.