When The Flash introduced Grodd in Season 1, it was met with cheers from DC fans who had grown disillusioned with the gritty DC theatrical cinematic universe. Grodd’s arrival proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Grant Gustin’s Flash in the Greg Berlanti Flash/Arrowverse was committed to restoring lightness, fun, and even sometimes silliness to these properties.
Since then, they’ve continued to unflinchingly embrace some of the sillier members of Flash’s rogues gallery with King Shark and the promise of a future Gorilla City.
Well, that day has finally come as Team Flash is forced to visit Gorilla City to save Earth 2’s Harrison “Harry” Wells — and in the same week that sister show Supergirl gave us Mr. Mzyzptlk. Besides Grodd and Mr. Mzyzptlk both being inherently goofy villains to some degree, I have no real point in bringing up the Supergirl episode other than it gives me an excuse to finally type Mr. Mzyzptlk’s name.
I was excited about this week’s episode not only because of Grodd and Gorilla City but, as a bonus, it’s given us a return of Earth 2’s Jesse Quick and her father, Harry Wells, both of whom I was bummed to see return to their Earth after last season until eventually the new Wells, H.R. grew on me as well.
There are two basic storylines this week. Most of Team Flash — save for the Wests and H.R. — rescue Harry in Gorilla City on Earth 2 while Wally and Jesse Wells, aka Jesse Quick, address the future of their budding romance back on Earth 1. Though most of the cast is with Barry the whole time, most aren’t particularly well-used this week. Julian essentially is only there for a few jokes about his Indiana Jones-inspired wardrobe and so the writers can squeeze in a few lines to superficially move forward — though not really — his possible romance plot they’ve set up with Caitlin. Also, yet again, Joe isn’t given anything to do back at home. He’s easily the most wasted character this season.
It was nice to see Cisco courageously offer to sacrifice himself to thwart Grodd’s plans requiring his vibing abilities, but ultimately the plan Team Flash went with was horribly disappointing. You’d think a genius like Gorilla Grodd wouldn’t be so easily fooled by a classic prisoner escaping their cell by faking sickness or death trope. And it’s rather odd to make an escape plan that requires Grodd to conveniently carry Barry’s body out of the cell and then just leave it there on the floor outside for no reason. Why bother to collect the body? Especially if you’re not disposing of it? Not one of the writers’ finest resolutions.
But moving along to the end, the team saves Harry and gets back home, leaving Grodd and his gorilla army stuck on Earth 2. Prompted by advice from alt dad H.R., Jesse decides to give love a chance and stay behind on Earth 1 with Wally. Caitlin and Julian decide to get a steak dinner together (Does that count as plot development?) and we get the third interchangeable end scene in the last few weeks of Barry and Iris having an intimate moment on their couch delivering totally forgettable, generic dialogue before cutting to the coda of Grodd using a mind controlled Gypsy as his Plan B to transport his massive gorilla army to Earth 1, setting us up for even more Grodd and gorilla madness next week. Seriously Flash writers, you pretty much had the same Barry and Iris pre-coda scene just last episode!
The episode didn’t quite live up to my high expectations. Grodd was fun, but we didn’t get nearly as much interaction with Harry as I’d have liked. He was under Grodd’s influence most of the time, and we didn’t even get the expected concerned dad moment as Jesse told him she was staying on Earth 1. So I’m hoping the writers keep him around for at least another week, especially because he only had a brief interaction with his Earth-19 doppelganger, H.R. Now that H.R. has established himself on the show, I’d like to see a more prolonged back and forth between these two very different Wellses. But I am thrilled Jesse is at least sticking around. All in all, the episode was better than average but not as great as I hoped.