The Flash: Season 3 Episode 13 review – Attack on Gorilla City
This review contains spoilers.
This has been a glorious week for DC The CW television. First we got one of the best Supergirl episodes this season, then we got last night’s astounding The Flash episode. Truly, this is what I’ve been longing for the entire duration of Season 3; for The Flash to return to being the exceptional kind of television that makes fans gleefully grateful to have it in our lives. This episode did just that – providing a fascinating Planet of the Apes/King Kong-style journey into the terrifying grasp of a city governed by powerful sentient apes.
The first part of this two part episode (with the conclusion airing next week) saw Barry and co decide to undertake a rescue mission, venturing into the heart of Earth-2’s Gorilla city. This saw Julian don an Indiana Jones-style attire, a pistol and an attitude to oversee Caitlin’s safety, which all round made him the most likeable that he’s been all season. This also allowed for some interesting duality from both sides, with both Julian and Grodd having been positively touched and changed by Cailtin’s caring attitude.
Despite how Caitlin has got through to Grodd in the past, he didn’t show much of an inclination to do right by her here, choosing instead to cleverly manipulate the group into serving his own vengeful desires. Grodd’s frequent threats about the group being murdered and the way he just discarded an almost frozen Barry onto a pile of bones did make me wonder if he would have allowed Caitlin to die, if it had come to this. I’m thinking the answer would have been yes; a begrudging yes perhaps, but I think he would have allowed it, because he is, as he stated, an animal after all, and revenge is his primary motivation.
When opening recaps show a character as small as Gypsy, it’s immediately evident that the character show will feature in the episode in some fashion. By the time she finally did rear her head (in the short scene before the credits), however, I had forgotten about her inclusion in the recap (have been swept up in the ape drama), which made it a nice surprise to see her standing by an armour-clad Grodd and willing to open a portal for him. Just as Grodd stated that he was taught to think ahead. This means that Gypsy was a back-up plan of his all along. There must be something in it for her, however, even if it is just a simple revenge against the group (but hopefully there’s more to it than this, such as a desire to see Cisco again).
That little final throwback to Grodd’s comment about thinking ahead was just one of many clever little tricks executed by the writers this week. Another included HR attempting to play charades for a moment and stating “film” accidentally, then “one word”, then imitating being frozen (which mirrors what Caitlin did to Barry), which was clearly him trying to convey the children’s film of the same name. Other little HR subtleties like getting to see him provide love advice to Jesse, were also nice touches to witness.
Solovar himself spouted some very sinister rhetoric, from stating he would grant the group horrible deaths to telling Barry that after he dies, his friends will “follow him into the black”. It showed Solovar as a character truly animalistic and intent of showing his followers that he’s not to be trifled with, which is the natural way of apes. This also added to the illusion that Solovar was the one who wished to bring the war to humans, allowing Grodd to con both our characters and us, the audience, into believing that Solovar needed to be stopped. While all along it was Grodd who held the nefarious intent and he’ll no doubt do a better job of going to war than Solovar ever would have, if he had been so inclined to try.
It must have been a great deal of fun for Tom Cavanagh and Carlos Valdes to act as though Grodd was speaking through them. I can imagine lots of hearty hilarity during that process and it almost seemed like Tom Cavanagh was on the verge of breaking out into laughter at times, while on screen. Also worth praising are the actors who provide the voices for these apes; David Sobolov for Grodd and Keith David for Solovar.
This was a superb return to form for the show, which also feels like an elevation of what’s come before, in some respects. We’ve never had a Grodd episode this great and we’ve never had an episode that delves so deeply into the heart of something that is such a pillar of Science Fiction, which is sentient apes versus mankind. I was hugely impressed by the show this week and I’m expecting next week to be just as great, when we get to witness Grodd and Gyspy bring the war to Earth 1.
Image credits: The CW