After a quick working vacation at Gorilla City (lovely place to spend one’s weekend), Team Flash has to get back on its feet because the menacing Grodd will attack Central City and potentially wreak all kinds of havoc—the key word here is *potentially*.
It is Valentine’s Day in Central City and Barry is feeling particularly romantic, cooking up a three course breakfast for Iris. However, if you are from Earth-19 and are feeling a bit unrepresented, HR can celebrate Friend’s Day with you all the while giving me second hand embarrassment for Tom Cavanagh as he acts all doofus/goofy—specially contrasting given he plays both HR and Harrison Wells against each other this episode and there’s some friction between the doppelganger duo.
Jesse tells Harrison about her decision to stay in Earth-1 with Wally (aww) and, to everyone’s surprise, he doesn’t react half-bad, saying that his daughter’s happiness is what’s important. Now, this would be a genuine and comprehensive reaction for any parent out there, but since this is a teen show, we totally know that he doesn’t mean it.
Quick bits and pieces everywhere before our main story begins: Julian is conveniently missing, tending to some familiar business at London while Cisco complains to Caitlin about being in the “friendzone” (the audience collectively ughs in response) and never finding anyone to date…right before Gypsy, with whom Cisco had some sexual tension a few episodes ago, invades STAR Labs through a breach and starts attacking everyone. It is up to Harrison Wells to blast her with some gun, knocking her unconscious.
Gypsy wakes up in one of those generic cells that dampen everyone’s powers (not sure what the science behind that is, to be honest, but my disbelief is suspended enough) not remembering what had happened. According to her, she was chasing a breacher from Earth-19 at Earth-2’s Gorilla City which indicates she got controlled by Grodd as expected and proceeded to bring all the gorillas to Earth-1 just as we see the ape army closing in on Central City.
While Cisco’s and Gypsy’s sexual tension develop a bit further, she is also pretty adamant about not helping their fight because of the things she has seen while she was under Grodd’s control. Harrison asks Wally for help in creating a device for Cisco to use managing to see bits and pieces of the future in a different way than what he did with Barry. Wally is all giggly because Harry was so cool about Jesse staying, but joy turns to ash in his mouth as Harry reveals that he is sick & dying and asks Wally to keep it a secret from Jesse.
Team Flash and the CCPD get in position at the place where Cisco said it would go down in the future, but it’s a ruse: Grodd never shows up, but mind controls Joe into almost committing suicide which is thankfully avoided just in the time by Barry. Meanwhile, Grodd attacks some military dude’s car, taking him hostage.
Back at STAR Labs, the team plans on using the Grodd-Joe connection to get some info on what the gorilla plans. They create a device for Joe to tap into those memories and he draws a picture of the man Grodd had just taken.
Barry is thinking of killing Grodd because, thankfully, they realize that this is the fourth episode he is featured in and it’s becoming more and more unrealistic to have him come back every season. However, it takes two speeches—one by Iris and one by Harry—to get him to see that there’s always another way.
After a cool tip about military haircuts from HR, Team Flash realizes that the guy Joe drew is Gen. Matthew McNally, a high clearance office with access to nuclear missiles. An alarm starts going off indicating that one of those is going to be used against Central City, so Barry speeds up to prevent it. He ends up having to deal with a five number digit password to stop them (apparently, Harry knows that the password can’t start with zero, so there are “just” 90,000 possible combinations instead of 100,000) and Barry has to keep trying them all. Right before the timer goes off, The Flash inputs the right passcode and Central City is saved.
So, FINALLY, the proper Attack on Central City begins around the 32 minute mark, but only lasts a bit (CGI budget, huh? Number one constriction these days…) because Cisco went to Earth-19 to convince Gypsy to help them out and they bring Solovar to Earth-1 to beat the crap out of Grodd and take back his position as King Kong.
Barry asks Solovar to spare Grodd’s life saying that he will keep the gorilla in Earth-1 which I guess involves handing him out to ARGUS which has a ridiculously high break out rate, so what could go wrong? There’s a mention of a potential fight between King Shark and Grodd which could be entertaining, but I’d rather they just quit with Grodd altogether.
As goodbyes go, Gypsy kisses Cisco before leaving (it was intense!!) and Harrison ends up leaving too after Wally ended up telling Jesse about his disease and she called his bluff right on. In the end, Barry proposes to Iris while Wally goes for a late night run to Big Belly Burger and is seemingly attacked by Savitar (scary as shit, jfc).
Once again, it’s not a big secret that I am not a big fan of Grodd as a villain. While I think the previous episode worked, this one didn’t get the chance. I do think that they ended up using most of the budget last week, because, despite being called “Attack on Central City”, there was barely anything at all… which I guess may have been the point, if I squint? I mean, they were effectively trying to avoid a full blown attack so that the vision of the future could change, but still…completely underwhelming.
You can see through these types of things: having Grodd speak through someone, his invasion start very very very late in the episode and taking five minutes, the whole nuclear missile things… The one redeemer was the fight between Solovar and Grodd which was actually pretty cool and showed the alleged might the latter claimed to have as King.
It’s worth mentioning that I’m trying to steer away from the potential discourse that involves the WHITE Gorilla ruling over all the BLACK gorillas because I sincerely believe this was just so the audience would be able to differentiate between the two apes when they fought against each other. Still, it was a pretty weird situation that had me giving uncomfortable stares at the TV all throughout the two-parter.
When it comes to other side plots, we had several catty moments between HR and Harry which lead absolutely nowhere: we get it, Harry, you think less of HR because he’s not a scientist, geez. On the other hand, I’m really glad that Jesse called Harry’s bluff and not let him emotionally manipulate her into going back to Earth-2 because that would be such a cheap shot.
As for Barry and Iris, the writers are doing a great job trying to have Barry act both confidently that he will avoid her death while trying to spend their possible last weeks together and make it special. From pancakes, waffles, and bacon for V-Day’s breakfast allied with a room of roses (the DCTV LOVES rooms of roses—just ask Kara Zor-El with her *gal pal* Lena Luthor and the mischievous Mr. Mxyzptlk), and then a room of candles as Barry proposed to Iris. It’s REALLY cute and sweet and will make for a bigger emotional punch if Iris indeed dies which I would put the chances of happening at about 1/3.
Overall, I have a lot of faith in The Flash’s creative team for coming up with loopholes for problems and bind it all together with thinly veiled science mumbo jumbo. So much faith that I really don’t think they would kill off the main female lead, a woman of color, just for a manpain arc. However, if they decide to go the anyone-can-die-bold-courageous-Emmy-winning-TV after some ill-conceived shows (we all know what I’m predominantly talking about and how much of a farce it all is), it really has the potential to ruin future seasons rendering the DCTV curse that started with Arrow true.