The Flash: 3.13 Attack on Gorilla City
The Flash went into Planet Of The Apes territory this week, picking up from the cliff-hanger that Earth 2 Harrison Wells had been kidnapped by the psychic meta-gorilla Grodd (last seen thrown into a portal to Gorilla City in season two's Gorilla Warfare). Grodd has been one of my favourite recurring villains on the show so I was immensely looking forward to seeing his return - at the start of an epic two parter no less.
Attack on Gorilla City was a little disappointing, only because the chance to revisit Grodd and an entire city of super intelligent apes was not as epic as I was expecting. The city, buried in the jungles of Africa looked spectacular on those big sweeping shots, and the image of hundreds of apes watching the battle in the arena held a certain grandeur. But the fight between the Flash and Solovar aside, the scenes were largely confined to the cages in which Barry, Cisco, Julian and Caitlin were held. There was limited use of Grodd and Solovar too; using Harrison and Cisco as human vessels to speak through and while Tom Cavanagh did a great job of capturing the Gorilla-like mannerisms in his voice, it did smack a little of limiting the CGI budget. I suspect we'll get more gorilla action when Grodd's army attacks in the next episode.
I've always found Tom Felton was just okay as Julian, but I liked his eagerness to join Barry and co on their trip to Earth 2; his glee and travelling to an alternative Earth and facing a telepathic gorilla (a nice in joke to his role in the Rise of The Planet Of The Apes movie) while wearing an Indiana Jones-style outfit was very fun. I also liked his concern for Caitlin; did anyone else not think there was a risk that she would have to use her ice powers? There was also a nice interweaving with the wider plot, Barry trying to attempt the Gorilla attack glimpsed on the headlines of the future by going back to stop Grodd. I wanted to shout at the screen that by heading to Gorilla City Barry might actually cause the future he witnessed to happen and sure enough his actions in the episode resulted in Grodd leading a huge army of armoured, axe-wielding gorillas to attack Central City in Earth 1. I also think they should have seen through Grodd's manipulations, using the defeat of Solovar to rise to power with an army at his heels. But that's what makes Grodd such a great villain; a mix of brain and brawn.
The battle with Solovar was spectacular; the white-haired ape wielding a spear and shield as he beat down the Flash in a fight to the death. It was the highlight of the episode and Barry using the 'reverse Flash' to beat the gorilla was an ingenious move. But the subsequent escape did feel a little easy and the jungles of Africa were so obviously the forests of Vancouver that it felt that the episode failed to fully realise the rich setting of the Gorilla City. I also wish that I hadn't known that this was a) a two-parter and b) they hadn't shown Gypsy in the 'previously' at the start of the episode. It dampened the ending somewhat, with Grodd using her to open the portal. I am intrigued to see why she is helping him; mind control or something else?
The Jessie / Wally sub plot was b plot filler; as with last season's trip to Earth 2 it would have been better if the episode could have kept the focus solely on the alternate Earth. However Keiynan Lonsdale and Violett Beane remain very likeable together and the addition of HR Wells as a quasi-cupid was amusing. I also loved the dismay on Harrison's face as he crossed back over to Earth 1 and found that his Earth 19 doppelganger was not an genius at all.
Overall, I really enjoyed Attack on Gorilla City; it was fun, a great use of Grodd (when he was on screen) and the fight between the Flash and Solovar in the arena was thrilling. But it did feel as if the episode was holding back too. I just hope that the story pays off with next week's Attack on Central City...