Sooner or later, every super hero has a crisis of faith. Something they’ve done or failed to do eats at their confidence, making them question their worth as a person and, more importantly, one who is identified as a super hero. Throughout his journey as the Flash, Barry Allen has had his fair share of “I don’t know if I can do this” moments but they all pale in comparison with his current feelings of inadequacy being deconstructed at the hands of Zoom. But heroes bounce back; they just need the proper motivation to get back in the saddle. Barry finds his from the most unexpected of resources and just in time to face a monstrously intelligent and telepathic Grodd.Welcome back, Henry Allen
It’s been a week since Zoom broke his back and though Barry is fast on the mend, he still doesn’t have his speed back. To top it off, Wells wants to return to Earth-2 and face Zoom alone. Out of everyone in the group, Caitlin’s the only one who realizes that, until Barry’s speed returns, Wells is their greatest weapon. Even when she promises the gang will help him save Jesse, Wells is dead-set on returning when, thanks in part to Caitlin, realizes a plan to trap Zoom: close every breach in Central City save for the largest one located at STAR labs.
Meanwhile, on the personal relationship front, Barry has to keep up his lie of being sick to Patty while Cisco has his first date with Kendra. Said date is cut short when Cisco vibes her, receiving a vision of a majestic hero with wings. While Cisco’s trying to make sense of his vision, Grodd hijacks the mind of a Vaughn Pharmaceuticals tech, ordering him to bring out a canister of Cortexin before splattering him against the way. Turns out, this is the second of such robberies and when Joe gets the news that both drugs nabbed are used in concert for increasing intelligence in addition to forensics identifying the hairs at the scene as non-human, Joe knows…
Before we get rolling, let’s rewind a bit to Barry. He’s walking, even running now but there’s no evidence of his super speed.Wells dons the Reverse Flash suit–talk about a blast from the past
During a test on the super treadmill, just as he’s getting up to speed, Barry is hit with the traumatic memories of what Zoom did to him. Joe’s able to get him alone where Barry opens up. “Zoom destroyed me. He showed everyone in CC what he can do and I’m powerless to stop him.” But he’s not done though. “When they think of the Flash,” he continues, “all they see now is someone not strong enough to protect them.”
And then Grodd takes Caitlin to help him create more of his kind. The gang brings Wells in on it and Iris, smart gal that she is, knows they need Barry full strength and only one person can reach him now: Henry Allen. The strong connection he has with his son slowly chips away at the mental blocks the Zoom trauma has instilled in Barry. “Sometimes you just have to slow down,” Henry remarks at one point, “to get back to where you wanna be.”Grodd finds a home
But with his speed still out to lunch and Caitlin in need of rescuing, Wells and Cisco hatch a plan. Not only has a Wells algorithm narrowed down Grodd’s location but they also bring the Reverse Flash suit out of storage in the hope that Wells can pass for his deceased evil counterpart long enough for Grodd to release Caitlin. The plan, despite its flaws, works but not without Wells getting a bit dinged up. While they are patching him up, they debate what to do with Grodd. Joe’s all for putting him to sleep but Caitlin empathizes with the lonely Grodd. Once again, Wells steps up; he knows exactly where to send Grodd but first they need to get him to a specific breach and, for that, Barry needs to conquer his fears. With the help of his father, Barry’s able to do so and, after some tense moments and Caitlin using her connection with the ‘Grape Ape’, they send Grodd to a place he won’t feel alone any longer—Gorilla City anyone?
In the aftermath, Barry, Henry, Joe and Iris spend time together, Barry opens up (in away) with Patty about his father, and Cisco and Kendra get that second chance at a date…complete with a second vibe where he sees the truth of the winged hero. It’s Kendra Saunders in all her Hawk Girl and kissable lips glory.
- “Gorilla War” was a bit of a mistitle for this episode. Sure, Grodd was the antagonist for a good portion of it but the primary villain, at least for Barry, was his own insecurities born of his near destruction at the hands of Zoom. Confidence shattered, Barry didn’t feel as if he deserved to wear the mantle of a hero and those doubts were a psychological barrier to him using his abilities. Henry Allen’s reappearance was the salve Barry needed. Here was a man who was accused of the worst of crimes and those around him—save Barry—all believed in his guilt. He found a way through and, with his advice and guidance, Barry was able to do the same.
- It seems as if the prick version of Wells has gone by the wayside. The change between he and the Flash gang was evident as they worked together to take down Grodd and save Caitlin. It was welcome to see, as they will all need to work together to take down Zoom. Still, I’m going to miss the prickly version of Wells, he was quite a bit of fun.
- Just when you think ‘The Flash’ can’t get any better, they throw even more Easter Egg fun at you. Sure, we all knew Hawk Girl was going to be present but Cisco actually getting a vision of her, as if laying his eyes upon an angel, was fantastic. Also, the nod to Gorilla City was great for DC Comic fans as well. It also leads to the question, is this the last we see of Grodd? My answer would be yes…for now, at least.