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Zoom’s confrontation with Barry Allen left something to be desired, but it was still an important moment for the series. All of the time The Flash had put into explaining the multiverse, introducing new characters, and building up Zoom was given some kind of validation, and I was worried the show would slow down too much to give its characters room to develop. Thankfully, while “Gorilla Warfare” had its problems, it also showcased characters moving past the issues I originally had with them.
Take Joe, for example. Joe is the most poorly written character on the show this season, with moments that have made me question his intelligence, his morals, and his self-restraint. And there was certainly some of this in “Gorilla Warfare.” When Harry announces that he’s going home, Joe says, “So you show up on our Earth, you screw everything up, and now you want to go home.” Let me tell you something, Joe, in basically his second act on Earth-1 Harry saved Barry’s life. And that thing you’re so convinced Harry was the sole instigator behind, Barry going to face Zoom, was going to happen anyway. Barry was the one who actually came up with the idea on how to lure Zoom out (conflicting with Iris’ misguided view that it was Harry’s “bright idea”). In spite of all this, Caitlin being taken by Grodd gave everyone something to get behind, and there was a brief (but very much appreciated) moment of Joe and Harry working together.
Tom Cavanagh’s Harry continued to be a strong part of the show, making me doubly grateful that we won’t be seeing him backstab the Flash any time soon. Harry showing the authority of Wells in his confrontation with Grodd was a cool moment, and the ice melting in his interactions with Team Flash was a welcome change (especially if it means fewer opportunities for misdirected anger). Harry’s role of antagonist-but-not has meant he’s been exempt from a lot of the problems the rest of the main cast have experienced, so it’ll be interesting to see if that remains the case in the coming weeks.
Harry embracing his inner Harrison also played nicely into Cisco’s development. By making the content of his Wells training stifling wounds of Cisco’s this season – “In many ways, you’ve shown me what it’s like to have a son” – I feel like the series was telling us we’re not going to be getting any more hesitance or fear on Cisco’s front. A little late and abrupt, but I’m glad Cisco has unrestrained use of his abilities for the foreseeable future.
At the same time, the show’s handling of Cisco and his powers in this episode wasn’t exactly on point. After he vibes when touching Kendra, he tells her he has to leave without even an attempt at a reason for his behavior. Does he think the winged man from his vibe is coming after him? Does he want to tell Team Flash he might have found a breacher? No. When we next see him, he has merely asked Caitlin if she’s seen any reports about a “birdman,” making me wonder why he had to leave in the first place. I felt like his second vibe achieved what the first vibe should have, but instead of Cisco simply saying “You’re just a really amazing kisser,” we should have gotten a better sense of him wanting to figure out exactly who she is. Questions for next week’s “Legends of Yesterday,” perhaps, but his reactions to her potentially being a winged breacher were just bizarre.
Patty’s story arc this season is starting to worry me. At first, I was happy with how obvious Joe was being about keeping secrets from her. I thought it meant she’d learn about Barry’s secret soon, and maybe after a little “What?” and “How?” she became a plucky member of Team Flash. (I don’t think we’ve seen how she plays off Iris yet. Hmm.) However, the way Barry implied Patty could trust him, foregoing a perfectly fine moment to spill the beans and get the Patty show on the road, made me think her reaction to Barry’s secret is going to be a bigger deal than it needs to be. Of course, as we’ve seen with Cisco and Joe, characterization on The Flash can change at the drop of a dime, but I’d rather not go through this whole rigmarole again (looking at you, Season 1 Iris).
Out of everyone, though, Barry got the short end of the stick this episode. The psychological damage Zoom inflicted on him is certainly interesting to explore, but the physical damage from the Flash’s encounter with Zoom was the note the last episode ended on. Barry walking around at the beginning of “Gorilla Warfare” took away from this and made me disappointed with the show for not putting him out of commission for longer. Not only that, but healing Barry to the point where his flashbacks of Zoom are the only thing preventing him from being the Flash made everything a little too expected, which wasn’t helped by the show double dipping on Henry motivating Barry to stop being afraid. He already put on the suit, Henry, you can just tell him to kick Grodd instead of giving him another talk about overcoming fear!
To cap everything off, there’s Grodd, who just looked amazing. I mean, King Shark is still cooler because he is a giant shark on land, but it’s insane to see the confidence (and budget) of the special effects department this season. I’m assuming his first appearance was a little easier to do because he wasn’t in a well lit environment, but there is all kinds of light (even wormhole light) on Grodd in “Gorilla Warfare.” Layman that I am, I couldn’t see any flaws. Grodd’s motivation to have more gorillas like him was kind of weak and contained, but it meant we got to see Gorilla City at the very end of the episode. After “The Darkness and the Light” revealed that Atlantis existed on Earth-2, I was waiting to see if the show was going to use it as a way to introduce more comic book locations, and Gorilla City did not disappoint. No doubt the next time we see Grodd, he won’t be alone.
“Gorilla Warfare” didn’t put a spotlight on Barry’s team like I hoped it would, but it was still a pretty fun episode. The inclusion of a giant, mind-controlling gorilla was clearly to compensate for the somewhat lacking plot this time around, but the fact that Grodd, a villain intended to up the ante as Season 1 came to a close, is appearing so early in Season 2 is just impressive. Add that to the reassuring signs the series doesn’t intend to retread old ground, and I think we can safely say The Flash has more than a few tricks up its sleeve for the rest of the season.
All images via ComicBook.com.