Hey remember that giant talking gorilla in the sewers? Yeah, that’s Grodd and he’s here to make life difficult for The Flash in the wake of Eobard Thawne’s (Tom Cavanagh) escape.
Let’s bitch it out…
‘Grodd Lives’ is bound to be a fan favourite because it features one of the more popular villains in The Flash lexicon. After all, who doesn’t love a giant talking psychic gorilla? Grodd more than lives up to his multiple teases, terrorizing Barry (Grant Gustin) with psychic attacks, kidnapping Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and generally acting all badass. Is the CGI perfect? No, especially in the action sequences or when Grodd is fully lit, but that’s forgivable given the budgetary and television production time constraints, as well as the difficulties of I don’t know, animating a freaking gorilla.
Unfortunately Grodd is not the episode’s main priority. That honour belongs to Iris (Candice Patton), who at the end of the last episode finally learned the truth about Barry / The Flash. As a result ‘Grodd Lives’ is concerned primarily with catching up the lone member of the cast who was still in the dark on some fairly important intel (Everyone, including Rick Cosnett’s Eddie, already knew The Flash’s identity! Wells is evil and killed Barry’s mom! Mason’s dead!) It would be a lot for anyone to process, so it’s understandable that Iris is disappointed and angry at most everyone for the duration of the hour. The problem is that Iris isn’t the…how to say this…most sympathetic character on the show, which means each time she throws a hissy fit or storms out on someone, it doesn’t so much endear her to us as it does remind us of how much of a pain in the butt she is.
Take, for example, her confrontation with her father before he is abducted and nearly forced to commit suicide by Grodd. Iris rightfully complains when Joe tries to justify his actions as protective (this argument never really made sense). However, instead of properly arguing why she should have been told, Iris reels off a list of hypothetical situations, ending with the overly presumptive declaration that Eddie might not have been kidnapped had she known the truth. It’s a bit of a leap, even if that’s only because we know that it would have made no difference, it’s such a misstep for Iris to assume. Even more problematically Joe does nothing to explain himself (remember when the Reverse Flash left pictures of Iris with knives in her face? Maybe mention those, Joe!)
All of the mishandling of Iris up to and before now has easily been The Flash‘s greatest narrative folly in an otherwise excellent first season. My hope is that now that Iris is aware of what is going on, she can finally begin contributing in a way that stops deliberately ostracizing her in dead-end narratives and allows her to interact with the rest of the cast more frequently. Granted her declarations of support for Barry during Grodd’s final psychic attack are groan-worthy for their schmaltziness, so let’s hope that her role moving forward is to do more than offer just romantic support.
- Cisco’s movie referencing goes into overdrive in this episode: Exorcist, Planet of the Apes, C.H.U.D., Jurassic Park and King Kong. There’s just something about a giant ape that makes his pop culture IQ go off, I guess?
- I will wholly admit that I forgot all about General Eiling (Clancy Brown) until the moment that Barry and Joe pull the mask off of him. Part of me thinks that Barry makes a huge mistake letting the General out of the cell at the end of the episode. He may not be a metahuman, but there’s no denying that Eiling is dangerous. Likely even more so than many of the metahumans they have imprisoned.
- Can Iris really not understand a simple coloured diagram? As Barry prepares for a super-punch, we can clearly see him labeled (in red no less) on Caitlin’s (Danielle Panabaker) screen. Grodd is also clearly labeled (in blue), yet Iris needs Caitlin to explain? She’s not going to be a great reporter with those reading and observation skills
- Eddie may not be my favourite character, but it’s hard not to feel bad for the guy when Thawne gloats about his future knowledge of Eddie’s less than exceptional career and Iris’ marriage to Barry. Eddie may put on a brave face, but all of that has got to be a bit of a kick in the junk.
- Side Bar: how much more fun is Cavanagh having playing a supervillain a-hole? My guess, judging from this single episode, is a lot.
- I’ll confess that I’m not entirely clear on what Thawne achieves in the final coda. Do we know where or how he was collecting the key that will apparently allow him to travel back to his own time? And if it were as easy as collecting a few trinkets, why did he wait so long to construct/discover the key (beyond the obvious grooming of Barry to become The Flash)? Here’s hoping the next episode spells out the details of Thawne’s plan a little bit more.
- Finally: What is up with moving the gold around in an ice cream truck with the jingle on?! Worst undercover cop EVER (or is that some kind of random fan service Easter Egg that I’m missing?)
- Cisco (pretending he wasn’t listening to Iris and Barry’s conversation): “Yeah…um…if we could get another shipment of the…uh…computers in here.” Cisco is a terrible improviser.
- Iris (when Joe suggests he was trying to protect her): “You know that excuse is getting really old.” Indeed…
- Barry: “What’s a Grodd?”
- Grodd (swiping away Joe’s peace offering): “Grodd hate banana”
Your turn: did Grodd live up to expectations or disappoint? Were you surprised at how much difficulty Barry had battling the giant ape? What is Thawne’s plan? Did you feel sorry for Eddie? Is Iris still annoying, or was her behaviour justified? Sound off below.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8pm EST on The CW. Next week it’s another all-star team up when Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Firestorm reunite to help battle Thawne. Here’s your preview: