After having just given us a proper introduction to the supervillain Zoom as the ultimate badass antagonist for the season, ‘The Flash’ already puts him on the backburner for a week and brings back one of Barry’s older foes. What kind of monkey business is this?
One week has passed in show time since Zoom bashed Barry around and left him paralyzed. We’re told that he broke Barry’s back. Fortunately, Barry’s super healing has restored some movement, but he can still barely take a few steps, even with a cane. Needless to say, his speed is useless. Although it’s clear that he will eventually recover physically, he’s also a mess mentally. He feels humiliated and powerless, and is ashamed to have failed the city in full public view. Will the people of Central City ever regain confidence in him again?
Zoom has been quiet for the last week as well. The weapon that Cisco hit him with was only a tranquilizer and shouldn’t have done any permanent damage. Everyone finds his lack of activity disconcerting. What is he biding his time for?
Dr. Wells gets antsy and wants to return to Earth Two to work on a weapon to defeat Zoom. Caitlin asks him to stay. Anything he can build on Earth Two he can build here just as well, and facing Zoom on his own would be suicide.
Cisco scores a date with Kendra, the new barista at Jitters. When he touches her, he vibes an image of a man in a suit with wings like a hawk. You might call it a Hawkman, if you were so inclined. Freaked out by this, Cisco bails on the date and promises to reschedule.
Barry’s love life is also in trouble. He’s feigned an illness and has dodged Patty with lame excuses for a week. Joe also inadvertently says something to her that blows his cover story.
Wells devises a plan to lure out Zoom. He wants to close all the dimensional breaches in the city except the one in S.T.A.R. Labs. Zoom will have no choice but to come to them if he wants to get back to Earth Two, and of course they’ll set a trap for him.
Before that can happen, a new threat emerges. A doctor at a pharma lab suddenly attacks his colleagues from out of the blue and steals a drug serum of some sort. It turns out that he was mind-controlled by Grodd, the super-intelligent telepathic gorilla. Even worse, Grodd mind-controls Caitlin and kidnaps her from S.T.A.R. Labs. Cisco determines that the drugs he stole can be used to enhance intelligence.
Caitlin wakes up and talks to Grodd. Fortunately, he still likes her because she used to be kind to him when he was just a regular gorilla. Through his psychic link, he indicates that he wants her help to make more super-gorillas like himself. Aww, the big guy is lonely!
Iris makes her only notable contribution this week when she convinces Barry’s dad (John Wesley Shipp) to return to town and give Barry an inspirational pep talk about learning to accept and embrace failure. His dad is a little shocked to see Dr. Wells still alive, so they have to give him a quick overview of the deal with alternate universes.
Wells uses his science skills to calculate a mathematical formula that will predict where Grodd will be based on his past movements. That’s great and all, but Barry still isn’t up to speed yet. How will they deal with a super-intelligent and powerful psychic gorilla if their only superhero is incapacitated? It seems to me that they should give Firestorm or at least Arrow a ring and ask for assistance, but that never occurs to anybody. Instead, Wells puts on the yellow Reverse-Flash suit and plans to trick Grodd into believing that he’s the original Dr. Wells, the one who created him, and the one whom Grodd considers a father. Then he’ll just, you know, ask Grodd nicely to release Caitlin. That should totally work, right?
Cisco whips up some handy anti-mind-control earbuds and helps Earth Two Dr. Wells practice acting like the original Earth One Dr. Wells. Unfortunately, Earth Two Wells is a terrible actor and even the monkey can tell right away that he’s not the right guy. Nevertheless, Wells manages to distract Grodd enough for Cisco to rescue Caitlin.
They still need to deal with the hulking gorilla, of course. Wells wants to send him through a breach to Earth Two, which also has its own talking gorillas – in fact, lots of them. Luckily, Barry is mobile again. He still feels a little unsure of himself, but his speed is back. Barry lures Grodd to the location of one of the portal breaches. However, the gorilla fights back and won’t go through. Barry has to rev up and knock him into the portal with a speed-punch. Finally, his mojo is back!
When all calms down, Barry takes his dad to the bus station. (The guy can’t be bothered to stick around.) Barry then confesses to Patty that he wasn’t really sick, but lies and says that he needed to spend the time with his father, the ex-con. Cisco apologizes to Kendra for ruining their first date. She kisses him and he sees a vision of her with hawk wings. Since she’s not a man, I guess that would make her a Hawkgirl, wouldn’t it?
In an epilogue, Grodd arrives in the middle of a rainforest on Earth Two. He looks around and sees what appear to be signs of a gorilla civilization, complete with giant gorilla statues and the likeness of a gorilla carved into the side of a mountain.
I get that Grodd is a fan favorite character from the comics, but the concept is a little too silly for me, even by this show’s standards. The CGI visual effects used to render him are passable, even reasonably good for television, but would never pass muster in a feature film. The episode itself is fine, but I would have preferred to get more of Zoom this week instead.
I also think that Barry’s continued deception of Patty is pointless. I wish he’d just tell her his secret already. He’s told pretty much everyone else he knows!