Spoilers ahead for "Attack on Gorilla City," the latest episode of The CW's Flash!
The short version: Harry was kidnapped by Grodd over on Earth-2 and Flash and the gang mount a rescue. Surprise! It's a trap. Grodd uses Flash to seize control of Gorilla City to attack Earth-1. The gang escapes, but Grodd still has Gypsy to open a breach. Can you say two-parter?
The good: The action, the effects, the characters, the twists
When Flash tackles a "big" episode, it's typically knocked out of the park. Happy to report this one was no exception. The Grodd stories have gotten bigger every year, and that culminates with the first part of a fairly massive two-parter. But just like those mysterious headlines on the whiteboard, it looks like Team Flash is falling right on the path to that deadly future. Here we learn Grodd didn't fit in too well in Earth-2's Gorilla City and basically becomes a super-smart whipping boy for the gorilla leader Solovar. Which brings us to why he lured Harry, and subsequently the Flash, to Gorilla City: He needs Flash to take out his rival so he can take control of the city.
From exploring the jungle to the epic battle in the coliseum, the action was huge and sweeping for what you can pull off with a CW budget. From lightning throws to super punches, it had it all. Yes, the CGI strained itself a bit too far at times, but for the most part it looked great. Wise move to use Grodd's mind-control ability for most of the exposition, then pulling out the FX budget for him to walk in at the end of the scene. Obvious? Sure, but it still worked fairly well. Also: Tom Cavanagh legit commits to being mind-controlled by a genius gorilla in those scenes. Dude is a thespian.
But never forget that Grodd is one shady gorilla. The big twist comes, revealing he lied to Team Flash — Solovar never wanted to attack humans, Grodd does! He's still pissed about being speed-kicked into a portal to Earth-2 and he's spent the past year plotting his all-out assault on Central City of Earth-1 (seriously, his attack plan is weirdly specific about wanting to get Central City, not so much the Earth as a whole).
Other cool things: Africa on Earth-2 isn't super-hot because there's no global warming. Can we move there, yet? Julian was actually pretty great in this episode, which was a nice change of pace. Plus, Indiana Julian was hilarious. His burgeoning relationship with Caitlin was also much less annoying, almost as if the writers decided to try to make him at least mildly likable. Progress!
The less good: The relationship drama, Barry's death fake-out/Grodd's plan
We usually go with "The bad" here, but there was nothing all that terrible. So, I'm calling an audible. This is "The less good."
Look, I'm a hardcore Wally/Jesse 'shipper. Those two crazy kids are great together, and it's a romance across the universes. But is the episode where Jesse's dad is literally kidnapped and presumed possibly dead the best time to start hashing all that out? Again, it wasn't so much that the subplot didn't work, it's just that it felt weirdly out of place in this specific episode. But anything that gets Jesse Quick back in town is a good thing.
Also, Barry's grand plan to escape from Gorilla City is pretty terrible. He has Caitlin freeze him and they pretend he just randomly died from his injuries. This is dumb on a few levels. Like, if you die of a burst appendix, you don't immediately freeze and turn deep blue. That's not how death works. Also, how did he know Grodd would take him out of the cage at all? Yeah, there's a pile of bones, but Grodd didn't stop to think this just might be a trap? Why not just leave him in the cage, just in case? That was a dumb move from a tactical, super-smart gorilla.
Not to mention the fact that Grodd goes to all this trouble to lure Cisco to Gorilla City so he can use him to open a breach, but he apparently had access to Gypsy already. So … why go after Cisco at all? Just to have two folks capable of opening breaches? And hey, if he already had Gypsy, why not just make her open a breach and jump back without all these machinations? Dude wants to go home. Just go home, and cause all the trouble you want when you get there. No, he wouldn't have an army, but it sure takes out a lot of the risk, right?
This two-parter serves up a nice little break from the larger story of Iris' future (though it's still connected thanks to the headlines), but it'll be interesting to see if they can somehow change enough to change things for Iris. We see that Grodd’s attack is coming, so even the best of intentions still failed to prevent the attack.
How the heck did Grodd get Gypsy? That seems … so random, right?
Up next: More monkeys!