The Flash 3×13: Attack On Gorilla City Review: Pray For Grodd

This week’s episode of The Flash featured the return of a fan favourite formidable foe in the beginning of a two-part crossover event so big that it had to be spread out across two earths! But did the return of this intellectually-advanced ape live up to the hype? Or did Team Flash’s adventure to Earth-2 fall short? Review by Zack Phillips.

During the end of episode 3×12; Untouchable, Violet Beane’s ‘Jesse Quick’ ran through the multiverse to seek Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen, Keiynan Lonsdale’s Wally West, and the rest of Team Flash’s help in saving her father; Tom Cavanagh’s Harrison Wells, or as he’s commonly referred to; Harry. Jesse reveals that Wells entered Gorilla City with a team of scientists, only to be attacked and abducted by Gorilla Grodd and his army of gorillas. In discovering that Grodd is involved, Barry instantly theorizes potential ways to travel to Earth 2 and save Harry, alongside preventing the “Gorilla Attack” on the city that the newspaper headlines in the future foretold. During the second half of the season, Team Flash has struggled with the possibility of Candice Patton’s Iris West’s death at the hands of the evil speedster known as Savitar. To prevent this, Carlos Valdes’s Cisco Ramone ‘vibed’ himself alongside Barry to the future, where they were able to collect vital information regarding the events leading up to Iris’s death. One of the key events leading up to Iris’s death was the ‘Gorilla Attack on Central City’. The team believes that if they can change the events foretold in the future, Iris’s life may be spared, leading Barry to a conclusion that he needs to stop the attack from occurring in the first place.

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Barry, Cisco, Danielle Panabaker’s Caitlin Snow, and Tom Felton’s Julian Dorn travel to Earth 2 in a desperate attempt to save their friend, along with changing the future. After travelling through the breach underneath S.T.A.R Labs, the four find themselves in the heart of Africa. This scene was particularly humorous, as the audience gets the chance to see Felton’s character unleash his inner geek; the excitement surrounding a voyage to a new Earth, and an archaeologist decked out in his Indiana Jones gear. However, this scene does have some continuity errors. During the shows second season, the Flash closed all the breaches that led to Earth 2, with the exception of the breach underneath S.T.A.R Labs. The reasoning behind this decision was to limit Zooms options and paths to Earth 1. Later in the season, Cisco opened up a breach in an orphanage that was linked to a similar location on the sister Earth, allowing Zoom to cross between the multiverse through another ‘doorway’. With this logic in mind, shouldn’t the only way to reach Earth 2’s ‘Gorilla City’ be through the breach that Flash sent Grodd through in 2×08; Gorilla Warefare? The breach underneath the Flash’s headquarters should lead to the breach underneath the lab on the second Earth, but instead opened in Africa. Does this imply that running through the multiverse is similar to running through time, and if the speedster concentrates hard enough on a particular location, it will take them there? It is likely we won’t get an answer to this question, but it is an interesting
observation.

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Soon after reaching Harry’s last known location, the gorillas spring a trap on the four ‘breachers’, locking them up in cages underneath an arena. Whilst here, Grodd exercises his telepathic abilities through Harry, explaining to Barry why he lured them into the wilderness of Gorilla City. He explains that his rival, a gorilla named Solovar, plans to pass through the multiverse and destroy Central City in Grodd’s initial home; Earth 1. When Barry asked why he would spare the Earth, Grodd replies with; “Even though you sent me away, your Earth is still my home, and there are those among you who I will never forget.” This scene between Grodd and the team would come as one of the most significant and touching scenes of the episode. Unfortunately, the audience knows that he is lying. For starters, comic fans know that Solovar is a gorilla who has teamed up with the Flash and the Justice League on occasion, and that it is Grodd who wishes to wage war with mankind. Secondly, we have seen enough of Grodd in the first two seasons to realize that he wants Central City to burn to the ground, and he to rule it. However, Barry believes Grodd, and agrees to face Solovar in the battle arena.

For a comic show with a television budget, the battle between Flash and Solovar proves to be one of the most visually pleasing battle scenes in the shows history, along with some of the best CGI on any of the DCTV shows to date. The CGI Flash always looks slightly off, and the arena itself could have looked a tad more realistic. But for a scene that was designed completely on a green screen, and mostly using CGI, the scene looked stunning. Seeing Barry give his all against Solovar, the second CGI Gorilla the show has produced, was nothing short of amazing. As expected, the Flash triumphed over Solovar, but when he refused to kill the gorilla in front of the city, Grodd double-crossed the hero, and put him back in the cages underneath the arena.

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After the team discover that Grodd is the true threat, they devise a plan to escape. After much back and forth arguing between Julian, Cisco, and Caitlin about potentially killing Cisco, Barry uses Caitlin’s cold abilities to his advantages, freezing his body to absolute zero. It is worth noting that the team substituted Caitlin’s transition into Killer Frost (the outcome if she had killed Cisco) for Barry’s potential death. This season, Caitlin has struggled to contain her powers she was gifted with after Barry created the timeline known as ‘Flashpoint’, as she fears that she will become a mirror image of her Earth 2 doppelganger; Killer Frost. Once Grodd removes Allen’s body from the cell, believing him to be dead, Barry vibrates his molecules to warm his body up, freeing the breachers from their cages, and rescuing Harry. The five escape the city, but are followed by Grodd and his army of gorillas. However, Cisco opens a breach, which closes before Grodd can pass through the multiverse.

Back on Earth 1, Wally and Jesse try to work out their relationship and their next step after the team rescues Harry. She wants to stay on Earth 1 with Wally, but is afraid what her father will say once he discovers her decision. After a pep-talk with H.R Wells, Jesse decides to stay on Earth 1 with Wally, admitting to him her feelings, and explaining her odd behavior since arriving on his Earth. Once the prisoners of Gorilla City arrive back on Earth 1, the team accepts that they have successfully changed the timeline, another step in the right direction to preventing Iris’s death. H.R delivers the second-best line in the entire episode, second only to Grodd’s monologue reflecting on his feelings of Earth 1. “He’s gonna be so pissed.”

However, what the heroes of the multiverse don’t know, is that Grodd has abducted Jessica Camacho’s Gypsy, and plans to use her abilities to cross through the multiverse and destroy Central City. How he has managed to abduct a dimension-hopping bounty hunter is currently unknown, however is sure to be explored in the upcoming episode; Attack on Central City. How Grodd was able to pull it off, however, is an excellent representation of his intelligence. It’s no secret that Grodd is incredibly intelligent, but this episode illustrated the progression of the character from the first season. It is always a good thing when villains have progression, and Grodd is possibly the prime example of a villain progressing through the entire DCTV Universe. Being one of the only formidable villains to appear across multiple seasons of the chosen show, Grodd’s progression is the most accurately mapped. From a gorilla who lived in the sewers, using his abilities to take control of certain people, and barely able to speak a full sentence, to a super-intelligent ape who has devised a plan to tear Solovar from the throne, attack the city, and speak with perfect structure, Grodd proves time and time again that he cannot be messed with.

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Usually, episodes that take away from the main storyline of the show is seen as an annoyance; a distraction. Yet Attack on Gorilla City turned out to be one of the best episodes of the entire show to date, along with possibly the best episode of the season. Grodd is a villain who would make an exemplary ‘villain of the season’, however this two-part arc is definitely the next best thing. While the team may be in for more than they bargained for, the audience will be treated to an epic showdown between hero and gorilla-kind in the second part to the Gorilla City Crossover.
4.5/5.

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