[Attention, CC Jitters customers! Your regular recapper Carla Day is on Earth-2 this week, so Evan Valentine is filling in. Or is it Evan Valentine’s evil doppelgänger?]
Greetings Flash fans! Since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is on break I volunteered to recap The Flash tonight, and wow what a time to jump in! If anything can be said about “Attack on Central City,” it’s that it was certainly ambitious. Dedicating an episode to the Flash team dealing with an army of sentient, super-powered apes from an alternate reality is a storyline that you’d expect from a comic book, but not so much from a prime time television show. Understandably, the show’s budget didn’t allow for the entire episode to be devoted to Flash fighting a telepathic gorilla twice his size, but thanks to the strength of the characters, we’re able to forget about the special effect shenanigans and focus on the interactions they all have with one another. Our latest episode manages to find a healthy balance between character moments and high speed action, though does stumble once or twice along the way.
During “Attack on Gorilla City,” Barry and company visited Earth-2 to make an attempt to save that Wells while being held hostage by Solivar, leader of the gorillas in Gorilla City. Through some mental trickery, Grodd managed to fool the heroes into placing him in charge of Gorilla City after the Flash beat Solivar in a one-on-one battle. The stinger being that once Barry managed to save Wells and the heroes returned to their world, Grodd managed to take control of Gypsy’s mind and open a rift to Earth-1 to take the fight back to Team Flash. Again, it’s amazing to type all of this out as we marvel at the “balls to the wall” method that the creators have taken in attempting to bring a comic book to life here. “Attack on Central City” then managed to focus on some important questions for Barry when it comes to fighting Grodd, most specifically, his resolution not to take a life — human, gorilla, or otherwise.
On the romantic side of things, Iris and Barry have always had an on-again, off-again relationship, and seeing them together, it’s pretty clear that the pair works best being able to lean on one another for support. When Barry really takes a long hard look at murdering Grodd in order to save the city and his loved ones, Iris manages to pull him back from the precipice by saying that even her life wouldn’t be worth saving if it meant the bending of his character and the tarnishing of his ideals. It makes for a nice little character moment between the two, even if the argument for Barry killing Grodd was made stronger by his relationship with Oliver Queen. This was a great exchange in that bringing up the idea that the Green Arrow is still a hero despite murdering some of his foes really hammers home the past relationships these characters have had. While Iris doesn’t take an opportunity to slam Ollie for what he’s done, she does manage to point out to Barry that Oliver must live with the lives he’s taken every day of his life, and that burden would be too much for Allen to bare in a similar fashion. This tete-a-tete goes a long way toward bringing out the best in both characters here.
Aside from just Barry and Iris, the supporting characters also got their own individual moments to shine throughout the episode. The Wells of Earth-19 and the Wells of Earth-2 interacted with one another as HR put up decorations for his earth’s version of Valentine’s Day (Friends’ Day). Tom Cavanagh continues to do outstandingly as the numerous Wells, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a new version enter the picture each season, as has been the case so far. When Wells of Earth-2 is then presented with the idea that his daughter is moving to Earth-1 to be with her beau, Wally West, his tormenting of young Wally by saying he doesn’t have much time to live (and the subsequent coining of his nickname “Deadman”) was certainly chuckle worthy.
The meat and potatoes of the story of course focused on Grodd’s attempt to destroy Earth-1, using a few different tricks up his sleeve. Ultimately, I felt that this stumbled, as the pacing was a bit off with how quickly everything was resolved. The city being attacked by gorillas could have been quite an epic scene where the speedsters would have to put out actual and metaphorical fires throughout Central City’s streets. The reveal of Solivar and the almost instantaneous defeat of Grodd happened too fast, even for our speedsters! The finale of the episode managed to pick things up a bit with Barry proposing to Iris, Wally and Jesse trying to watch a movie, and Savitar breaking through into our reality once again.
“Attack on Central City” was an extremely solid episode of the Flash, one of the better installments of the season in fact. It managed to play well on the series strength, though it was also hampered by some pacing issues.
Rating: ★★★★ Very good
– Cisco and Gypsy are my favorite couple on the show now. There, I said it.
– Barry disarming the nuke by having to enter in a series of different codes at super speed is old hat for the Flash in the comics, but it’s still cool every time it happens.
– Confirmed: Earth-2 has Rocky.
– The Flash that Gypsy met on Earth-19 is actually from the comics. He’s called the “Accelerated Man” and lives in a world that is much more “steampunk” than our world. It’s crazy that they managed to find such an unused character and get the design so spot on here. Hopefully we get another appearance from him down the line.
– Keith David of Gargoyles and Spawn fame did the voice of Solivar here. Though we didn’t get a ton from the lord of the apes, still a welcome addition.
– Wells: “What are the balls for?”
– Wells: “The fact that I’m a genius and you’re a moron.”
– Jesse: “This is HR’s contribution to the team? Being Martha Stewart?”
– Iris: “Barry Allen, will you be my friend?”
– Cisco: “The Friend Zone. I know it well. I feel like I have a permanent residence there.”
– Iris: “Sure, I’ll just tell him that an army of super gorillas are about to invade the city. I’m sure he’ll love that.”
– Cisco: “Admit it. You are so into me.”
– Cisco: “Is that Rocky?”
Wells: “Yep, Burgess Meredith.”
Cisco: “Hehe I’m ready.”
– Joe: “You want to put a bunch of magnets into my skull to look into the mind of a murderous, psychotic ape?”
– Wells: “I just said I didn’t have much time left. None of us REALLY know how much time….”
– Cisco: “I’d pay money to see that fight.”