John David Mazzarella ‘20/ Emertainment Monthly TV Staff Writer
Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Flash seasons 1, 2, and 3
Since The Flash came out in 2014, the character of Gorilla Grodd has had an overwhelming presence. He had an Easter Egg in the pilot, two episodes dedicated entirely to him, and has been repeatedly mentioned and cameoed is several other episodes. Now, in “Attack on Gorilla City,” the makers of The Flash give the audience one nation under Grodd.
The episode starts off with Jessie Quick (Violett Beane) informing Team Flash that her father, Harry (Tom Cavanagh), has been kidnapped by Gorilla Grodd (David Sobolov). Recognizing that a gorilla attack was prophesied in a previous episode, The Flash/Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) decides to travel to Earth-2 to save Harry. On his quest, he is accompanied by Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), and Julian Albert (Tom Felton). Team Flash makes their way through the jungles of Earth-2’s Africa, only to be apprehended by Grodd himself. While our heroes are incarcerated, Grodd reveals his motive for kidnapping Harry. Grodd wanted to trap The Flash and force him to fight and dethrone Gorilla City’s King Solovar (Keith David). With the threat of his friends’ freedom, The Flash reluctantly agrees to fight Solovar. Things go wrong when the fight results in Grodd becoming king of Gorilla City, and planning to launch an attack on Earth-1.
All the characters make this show great, however, the character that shines most in this episode is Julian. On a side note, this is the second time Tom Felton has been locked up in a cage by apes, the first being in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Lines like, “How about a sign post at the front? All trespassers will be executed. That wouldn’t be the worst idea, would it?” make Julian the best character in this episode. A blossoming romance between Julian and Caitlin is also explored. Given Caitlin’s history, Julian should invest in life insurance.
The episode, however, is anything but perfect. It’s obvious where the production crew cut corners to save time and money on animation. Scenes where Grodd is one on one with Team Flash, Grodd is replaced with Harry under mind control. The show did this before in the season one episode “Grodd Lives,” where General Eiling (Clancy Brown) speaks under Grodd’s influence. The difference between these two scenes is that in “Grodd Lives,” Grodd is in the sewers of Central City far away from the scene. In “Attack on Gorilla City,” after Harry finishes his last sentence, Grodd reveals himself showing that he was present the whole time.
Therein lies the biggest problem with the episode, the show doesn’t have the budget to do a Planet of the Apes scale epic. Just before the Flash faces off against Solovar, Cisco comments that the predicament is like that of a video game. This rings particularly true, as the entire scene looks like a PlayStation 3 cutscene. Having a CGI character occupy a real landscape can be jarring, but when a live action actor occupies a CGI environment it’s distracting. It’s impossible to believe that Grant Gustin is actually there. The fight itself between Solovar and The Flash is also bothersome. At this point in the show, The Flash has run back in time, multiplied himself by running one moment into the future, and saved the multiverse. The suspension of disbelief that a telepathic Gorilla fighting in hand to hand combat could stand as great a chance as Solovar did is pretty high.
When the plot doesn’t focus on Gorilla City, it focuses on Kid Flash/Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) and Jessie Quick on Earth-1. Throughout the episode, Jessie acts peculiar around Wally for unexplained reasons. Eventually she reveals that she’s insecure over Wally now having powers, fearing she may not be that special to him anymore. This was filler, part of the episode filmed for the sole purpose of filling the run time.
Despite the episode’s faults, it’s by no means bad. The characters are still fun, and the writing, while cheesy, still fits the reality The Flash has built for itself. It really is only the fight scene with Solovar and the melodrama between Jessie and Wally that hold this episode back. Still, these problems are big problems. Other minor problems exist but, overall, what the episode does right it does right.
Episode grade: B-