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‘The Flash’ Review: “Attack on Central City”

John David Mazzarella ‘20 / Emertainment Monthly TV Staff Writer

Warning: The following review contains spoilers for The Flash season 3.

Following Team Flash’s successful escape from Gorilla City last week, H.R. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) decides to through a party for the Earth-19 equivalent of Valentine’s Day. The party is cut short when Gypsy (Jessica Camacho) returns and attacks the team. After a brief skirmish, it’s revealed to the team that Gorilla Grodd (David Sobolov) forced Gypsy to grant him and one hundred other gorillas passage to Earth-1. The threat of a gorilla invasion is once again strong, leading The Flash/Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) to question how far he’ll need to go to stop Grodd’s invasion once and for all.

Photo Credit: The CW
Photo Credit: The CW

The episode starts off strong with the usual character interactions, the return of Grodd and Gypsy, and a seemingly mellow resolution to last week’s melodrama. As the episode continues, there is no real progression. Every action taken by the characters just leads them back where they started. Rather than a full-frontal assault, Grodd spends more time trying to cripple Central City, making the presence of his army solely for the purpose of tension. The name of the episode should change from “Attack on Central City” to “Threat of Attack on Central City.” There is no successful attack launched on Central City, leading to a rushed and unsatisfactory climax. Besides stopping weapons of mass destruction from striking Central City, The Flash doesn’t do anything. The climax is just two CGI gorillas slowly wrestling for 50 seconds.

The Flash -- "Attack on Central City" -- Photo credit:: Jessica Camacho as Gypsy -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW.
Photo: Katie Yu/The CW.

For some reason the episode decides to go into the morality debate behind killing supervillains. When Grodd’s attack is imminent Barry contemplates killing the ape. It’s through the council of Iris West (Candice Patton) and Harry (also Tom Cavanagh), he realizes killing Grodd isn’t worth losing what makes The Flash “The Flash”. It’s true the lighthearted incorruptible nature of The Flash is what separates him from other heroes, however this conflict doesn’t add anything to the episode’s plot. It also doesn’t make sense that killing Grodd would guarantee that the rest of the gorillas would stand down.

This episode also witnesses the lowest point of one of The Flash’s greatest characters: Harry Wells. The character is known for enduring extremes for his daughter, but this episode takes that trait and amplifies it to an unforgivable degree. When his daughter Jessie (Violett Beane) tells him she intends to live on Earth-1 with Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale), he implies he’s dying to guilt trip Wally into convincing Jessie into staying with him. There is a difference between being attached to one’s family, and being a jerk. This coupled with the morality debate, like last week’s Jesse/Wally melodrama, is filler which only detracts attention from a satisfying conclusion.

Photo: Katie Yu/The CW
Photo: Katie Yu/The CW

Fortunately, not every character is miserable in this episode. Riding off the coattails of the potential romance between Julian (Tom Felton) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), the episode decides to give Cisco (Carlos Valdes) some love. The episode spends a good deal of time letting the relationship between Cisco and Gypsy sprout. Overall it works, the characters have good chemistry, and the Jesse and Wally reactions to their kiss are priceless.

Overall the Gorilla City arc didn’t live up to the hype, nor the usual The Flash episode standards. That’s not to say this episode was bad, it was simply there. Aspects of the episode are bad, others are good, and the rest is just okay. The return of Savitar at the end of the episode hopefully symbolizes a return to the quality The Flash is famous for.

Overall Grade: C

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