After last episode’s brutal fight with Zoom, Barry is wounded and powerless, at least for the most part. His exceptionally rapid healing seems to still be ticking along fine, as he’s gone from not being able to feel his legs to hobbling around on a cane. But with Central City’s speedster out of action, and Firestorm out of town for the foreseeable future, this isn’t a good time for a new crisis. Of course, with a title like “Gorilla Warfare,” you know what’s coming.
Wells continues to be a divisive presence at STAR Labs. Between memories of his doppleganger’s betrayal, and this one missing a lot of social graces, most of them aren’t too fond of him. Cisco is more than happy when Wells announces he’s going back to Earth 2 to do something about Zoom. The only one who seems to want Wells to stay is Caitlin. Whether she’s just that good-hearted or there’s something else going on there, I’m not sure.
The tension is increased, then broken, when the alarms go off. Cisco had set a reminder to himself about his date with Kendra Saunders. Of course, DC Comics fans have a decent chance of recognizing that name and the complications that come with it. In other romantic entanglements, Patty is worried about Barry, who has been calling in sick to work while he’s recovering from his injuries.
Caitlin goes to try and talk Wells into staying. Wells is his usual snappish self, ranting that coming here was a mistake and there is no Flash now. Almost by accident, they stumble across a way to possibly trap Zoom. While this is going on, Cisco is taking Kendra to see the Princess Bride, a choice approved by geeks everywhere. He’s even quoting some of the lines. Things are looking great up until she touches him. He gets one of his visions, and we get a peek at another character from the Legends of Tomorrow show- Hawkgirl. Cisco, for no real good or apparent reason, rushes off, leaving Kendra a bit confused.
Grodd makes his presence known when scientists begin acting oddly. One man suddenly stiffens, and steals some supplies from the lab he works in. When a coworker tries to stop him, the scientist knocks him aside. Outside, the scientist turns over what he took, and is very messily killed for his trouble. When Patty finds gorilla hairs at the scene, it’s not hard to figure out what’s going on.
Barry has a bit of a meltdown when he’s working on his rehab. Joe is pushing him to go faster on the treadmill, and Barry starts to use his speed. Then he gets flashbacks of the beating Zoom gave him and he falls over. Barry tells Joe that the whole city saw him fail as a hero, and they all know that he can’t protect them now. So clearly, there’s more at work with Barry than his injuries.
Elsewhere at STAR, Cisco is musing about birdmen with Caitlin, trying to figure out his vision from touching Kendra. Caitlin suddenly stands up, decks Cisco, and leaves. When he gets back up, Cisco rushes to the main room, where everyone sees Caitlin leave on the monitors, shadowed by Grodd.
Barry, while he’s recovering, is motoring around STAR in Wells’ old wheelchair. It’s an odd change of circumstance. He and the others are trying to work out how to find Caitlin. So far, no one has any great ideas.
Caitlin herself wakes up in Grodd’s lair. The King Kong analogies are a bit over the top. Yeah, Grodd is smaller than Kong, although he’s larger than a gorilla. He’s also taken Caitlin because she was kind to him, and she’s in all white. We just need Fay Wray and a skyscraper for him to climb, and we’d be all set.
Iris, seeing Barry’s problems, called in for reinforcements to give Barry a pep talk. Henry Allen, Barry’s father, returns to help Barry. Henry is played by John Wesley Shipp, who was the Flash on the sadly short-lived live action Flash show in the 80’s. Henry is compassionate, but pushes Barry to deal with what happened and move on.
Wells has agreed to help try and get Caitlin away from Grodd. To try and fool Grodd, he puts on the Reverse Flash suit to impersonate the other Wells. This helps Barry snap out of his own problems, as he leaps up and attacks Wells using his speed before they explain the plan to Barry.
Grodd didn’t grab Caitlin just because she’s nice. Grodd is tired of being alone and he wants company. Not Caitlin, she’s just the means to get it. He wants her to recreate the accident that gave him awareness and his powers. That’s just what we need, the Grodd Legion. Hasn’t Caitlin seen Dawn of the Planet of the Apes?
Wells’ distraction is enough to confuse Grodd when they find him. They free Caitlin and drug Grodd, but they needed more drugs. Grodd doesn’t go down, and they lure him to a trap they were preparing for Zoom originally. With help from a recovered Barry, they shove Grodd through a breech to Earth 2. Apparently, there’s a sanctuary there for all the former apes that were used as lab specimens. Again I say, Planet of the Apes anyone?
Afterwards, they talk about destroying the Reverse Flash suit. Barry comments that being able to put his costume in a ring like Wells did would be a lot easier than lugging a bag around, and the present Wells says he could do that. The Flash costume in a ring is one of the things he uses in the comics all the time, and it would be great to see that on the show.
The Wests and the Allens go over pictures at the West house, and Henry eventually leaves. He’s traveling by bus, which I’d call cruel and unusual punishment, but maybe he’s just glad to see new things since he’s not in prison anymore. Cisco patches things up with Kendra and gets another flash of her as Hawkgirl. Patty and Barry talk about him avoiding her and lying to her. On Earth 2, Grodd bellows into the jungle as he lands in his new home.
What I liked: The promise of Barry getting the costume ring makes the comic geek in me very happy. The writers do a great job of showing Grodd as a savage, vicious foe, not a cute talking monkey. This was a good time to bring Henry back, and it worked well. And the writers have teamed up with the actor to differentiate the present Wells from the other one.
What I didn’t: The King Kong homages weren’t needed in my opinion. Cisco suddenly running away after getting an image of Kendra as Hawkgirl made no sense, especially since he’s so into metahumans. I’m also not sure we needed Barry’s trip down Lack of Confidence Lane.
Overall, it was a good episode. I’ll give it a high 3.5 out of 5.
When Arrow and Flash come back from their break, it will be to team up against Vandal Savage, which leads into the DC Legends of Tomorrow show, debuting in January. But that’s another story…