Like Barry, I’m an optimist by nature. And when I saw the trailer for this week’s The Flash, I just knew that “Attack on Central City” was going to A) Be a whole lot better than last week’s visit to Gorilla City, and B) To quote Jeremy Jahns, it was going to be awesometacular.
The good news is, I was absolutely correct on the first portion of that equation; only half right on the second. Which, as you’ll see, is how something can be somewhat of a disappointment and yet still as much fun as a barrel full of tiny, tiny gorillas.
The first act is that calm before the storm. Everyone’s happy and cheerful. Barry because they one-upped Grodd. Wally and Jesse have the young love vibe going on and HR is, well, HR. He’s sharing Earth-19’s version of Valentine’s Day with the gang. Friend’s Day, complete with cards, even for Harry, who all throughout the episode is a major dick to his other self. But you know what they say; all good things come to an end. The light mood—which was a great starter—is interrupted by none other than Gypsy. Though her attack doesn’t do too much damage to Barry or Cisco, it does break the mood and lets them know that Grodd is on town.
So let’s talk about Grodd’s plan. He wants to leave Central City a smoldering ruin by mind controlling a general and having him bombard the city with missiles. As plans go, it’s pretty effective, save for one variable: Gypsy. It’s a head scratcher why Grodd wouldn’t have just made sure his army laid low for a bit until he was able to get the missiles launched and, when the Flash showed up to try to disarm them—viola—good guys on a platter. Of course there had to be a small hiccup or else the heroes will be out of luck. Sure, they may have found out and stopped it but their margin of error would have been even smaller. Turns out though that, with Gypsy’s help they stop Grodd by recruiting Gorilla City’s former ruler, Solovar. The CG fight between massive and intelligent gorillas is brilliant yet all too short; the fight itself is as one-sided as can be. Grodd gets a few licks in but Solovar’s domination of him reminds me of the old Mike Tyson fights (pre-Buster Douglas). Except Solovar is ready to end Grodd’s life until Barry asks for clemency on Grodd’s behalf. Solovar and his gorillas are sent back to Earth-2 while Grodd gets locked up by ARGUS.
It’s happy endings for all as Barry then proposes to Iris and The Flash reminds us that there’s always another way. Always.
There’s a reason Captain America’s my favorite hero: he’s strong, honorable, a leader, and inspiration. But, unlike Barry, he’s a soldier who knows that sometimes the only way to end the threat is to end the threat. Barry himself says this to Iris: “I think that sometimes the only way to stop bad things from happening is to get rid of what’s causing them.” Both she and Harry convince Barry that killing’s not in his nature and he’d lose himself were he to take that step; Harry’s point of view—every time you do something bad, it’s a little bit easier to do it or something comparable in the future. I’d say that depends on the person and what I know of Barry—or how I feel like I would if he wasn’t just a character on a television show—killing would tear him apart but it wouldn’t destroy him and he wouldn’t end up channeling his inner Green Arrow either. Sometimes we are put in situations where the only solution is something that we don’t want to do and, for Barry to be a truly developed character and hero, he has to understand that, while it’s the last of resorts, if saving others means taking the life of a vile villain, one day he may have to do it.
- I was so darn excited about this episode and, while it had some really good developments and some fun moments, similar to last week’s “Attack on Gorilla City”, parts of it seemed rushed. Both episodes would have worked better if the story was told over a three-hour arc instead of the traditional two. Of course, the budget would have been an issue and the lack of seeing the gorilla army in action was my biggest disappointment. The Solovar/Grodd rumble nearly made up for that though as I felt as if I was there as the two titans went toe-to-toe.
- So Jesse Quick’s here to stay. And it’s definitely good news for Wally, in more ways than one. His post-credits run-in with Savitar is muted a bit when the promo for next week shows that it all may be in his head. Hopefully Jesse will be able to ground Wally and help him overcome Savitar’s influence.
- There were some great meta/pop culture references throughout. Harry references Rocky twice, HR paraphrases the “great poet Alfred Yankovich” (bka Weird Al). Also, it sounds as if Earth-19’s Star Wars kept the “Starkiller” surname for Luke, as that’s the name Gypsy uses when Cisco tries recruiting her to their fight against Grodd.
- And speaking of Gypsy, she spent the whole episode running from Cisco and his “you’re so into me” comments. But she’s the one that ends up dropping the mic: laying a kiss on him only to follow it up with “you couldn’t handle me” was Gypsy gold. They have to bring her back soon.
- Finally, who was the blue lightning speedster on Earth-19? I don’t think that was just an Easter Egg. Something tells me we’ll be seeing more of that guy in the future…