Gorilla Grodd! A pissed off Iris! Wells’ meta conversation with Eddie! Was there anything about tonight’s episode not to love? As the episode title suggests, “Grodd Lives” featured The Flash’s first confrontation with Wells and General Eiling’s science experiment gone wrong. The 100 previewed what a CGI gorilla on the CW might look like months ago (awesome), but Grodd’s beautiful rendering was still a sight to behold.
Metahuman of the Week: Gorilla Grodd
Move over Barry Allen, because tonight is all about Iris as she is the one monologuing at the beginning of tonight’s episode. I was hoping she’d slip in a Carrie Bradshaw-journalist-style, “And it got to me thinking,” but it never happened. Nonetheless, she did pose some questions that were definitely going to be answered in the episode: Would you confront your best friend after discovering he’s been keeping a “universe of secrets”? Or, would you stay silent? Either way, Iris concludes, nothing will be the same again—and, thank goodness for that.
By lying to Iris, Barry has not only damaged her trust in him, but also in his alter ego. She pays Barry a visit in his lab and “confesses” that the Flash told her to keep Eddie’s kidnapping a secret and promised to get him back. It’s really Iris’ way of giving Barry one more chance to be honest with her about his secret identity, but he fails. Candace Patton has several outstanding moments in tonight’s episode, but this first scene definitely stands out.
Barry has very little time to dwell on this conversation or the search for Eddie because there’s a masked man decked out in some Slade Wilson-level body armor attacking armored trucks carrying gold. (ASIDE: “It’s hard out here for an armored van driver.” END ASIDE). The Flash arrives on the scene of another attempted theft, but something attacks his mind and incapacitates him long enough for the man in the mask to get away. Barry returns to the lab and, as Caitlin and Cisco are checking him out, Iris casually strolls in and reveals that she knows about his secret.
The following scene has been 21 episodes in the making. Iris is clearly upset, and rightfully so. Her righteous anger increases when Barry lets slip that Wells in the Man in the Yellow Suit who kidnapped Eddie and that her father told him not to tell her. Surprise, the “we were trying to protect you” excuse doesn’t fly. In a later conversation, Joe uses the same excuse and Iris tells him what everyone watching the show (especially those who also watch Arrow and Smallville) have been thinking, “You know, that excuse is getting old.” (Amen!) Had she known she could’ve not only helped them, but also protected herself, Iris points out. (She also briefly brings up Joe not telling her about Barry’s feelings for her, but backs down from that one when Joe says that wasn’t his secret to tell). Unfortunately, their conversation is cut short because work calls.
Another shipment of gold heads out, and this time the CCPD is waiting in the back of the truck, an ice cream truck that is, for the man in the mask. The man in the mask shows up and is about to kill Joe when The Flash arrives and knocks him out. And, the man in the mask is none other than General Eiling. Well, kind of. After imprisoning him in the pipeline, Team Flash realizes that General Eiling isn’t home—his mind has been taken over by S.T.A.R. Labs’ old pet gorilla Grodd. “Eiling hurt me. I hurt Eiling…I. Am. Grodd. Fear. Me,” Grodd growls through Eiling’s mouth. Caitlin and Cisco deduce that the particle accelerator explosion must have enhanced the medicines Wells and Eiling gave Grodd and given him mind-control powers. Ever the detective, Joe suggests Wells must have sent Grodd as a distraction.
NEXT: Real Talk With Dr. Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne
With some help from Iris—who insists on no longer being kept out of the loop—Cisco, Barry, and Joe figure out Grodd is hiding in the sewer and head underground to find him. Their trip through the dark tunnels is appropriately creepy, thanks in part to composer Blake Neeley’s accompaniment. They find drawings on the wall, which show how much Grodd’s intelligence has grown over the past few months. Eventually, Grodd makes his move and it’s kind of scary. Most of the scene takes place in darkness, with light only coming from Joe’s gun firing and the tiny flashlights they have. Showing off how smart he is, Grodd takes Barry out of action first, and then kidnaps Joe. All of this happens as Iris and Caitlin watch through a camera feed back in the lab.
In an attempt to comfort Iris, Barry tells her that she shouldn’t blame Joe. Barry (like Iris although the men in her life forget this quite often) is capable of making his own decisions; at any point, he could’ve ignored Joe’s orders and told her, but he didn’t. Barry admits she has a right to be mad at him, but then undercuts that by pointing out how she’s been lying about her feelings for him. Iris just gives him a cold and blank stare, which prompts him to retreat.
Meanwhile, an injured Joe learns what it’s liked to be whammied by Grodd. Using his powers, Grodd compels Joe to point and cock his gun at himself. (The fear on Jesse L. Martin’s face is incredibly believable and commendable—especially when you think how Grodd was added in post-production.) Joe tries to appease Grodd with a banana, but ends up insulting Grodd. “Grodd hate banana,” the gorilla snarls.
Using a tracker Cisco placed on Grodd, they are able to track him in the sewers. The Flash speeds off into battle rocking some new headgear from Cisco and Caitlin that’s meant to shield his mind from Grodd. Cisco uses steam in the tunnels to move Grodd into position so that Barry can use his supersonic punch. But, like we said before, Grodd is no ordinary gorilla, and he counters The Flash’s punch. He sends Barry flying. In the struggle, the headgear breaks leaving Barry vulnerable to Grodd’s powers. Iris, assuming the cheerleader role usually held by Dr. Wells, gets on the mic and helps Barry break Grodd’s control (cue montage of every important #WestAllen moment). Barry then lures the gorilla into getting hit by an oncoming service train.
To some extent, tonight’s episode also ends being about how Caitlin, Cisco, and Barry learn to operate without Wells. Yes, Cisco needs to make the device more durable, but it worked. The four of them, including new recruit Iris, will be fine without Wells. Later, Barry meets Iris on the Jitters rooftop for another talk. Iris admits that she has been thinking about her feelings for Barry lately, but has to stop because she lives with and loves Eddie. What happens after Barry brings him back? Iris doesn’t know.
The Thawne Family
One of the best moments of tonight’s episode was when Wells tells Eddie, who he still has tied up in a chair in an undisclosed location, that he’s the most useless part of the Thawne family, which is chock-full of influential scientists politicians and scientists. Eddie doesn’t come anywhere close to that. His career is spectacularly uneventful, and he’s the only Thawne to be forgotten by history. “Waste of a life, waste of a man, and, oh no, you don’t even get the girl,” Eobard says before showing Eddie Iris’ byline in the future newspaper. Eddie, who isn’t looking his best already, looks broken in that moment. This entire conversation is very meta as Eddie’s time on the show has, for the most part, also been spectacularly uneventful.
At the end of tonight’s episode, Wells finishes working on what he says is the key to taking him home. He climbs out of the hole in which he’s stored Eddie and inserts the key into a hole in the side of a tunnel. Is Wells inside the particle accelerator, or is this something new?
Wall of Weird:
- It’s never explained why General Eiling was stealing gold, but who cares.
- General Eiling knows Barry is The Flash and doesn’t care because they both share a common enemy: Wells. Before leaving, he warns Barry that the pipeline won’t hold all those metahumans for long.
- “Grodd hate banana.” —frontrunner for best line of the season.
- Cisco was busting out the film references tonight. There was Jurassic Park, C.H.U.D., The Exorcist, and I think a few more I may have forgotten.
- S.T.A.R. Labs needs better security.
- “Eobard is a distinguished name for distinguished members of a distinguished family.”
- “We’ll just have to give this ring back to Grandma Agnes. You, Eddie, won’t be needing it.” Ooh, cold.