All things considered, Barry is a lucky guy. Yes, his mother was killed by a time-traveling speedster descendant of a co-worker disguised as his mentor who framed Barry’s own father for the murder. But with Henry Allen on the outside, and Joe having taken of the mantle of father figure in the interim, the Flash has been blessed with two of the finest father figures on TV.
And though, as the title “Gorilla Warfare” suggests, Grodd returns in a major way, this episode is not one focused on a giant super-intelligent gorilla. It’s about father figures and the impact they can have on one’s life — even for lonely gorillas.
Before Henry reappears on the scene and Grodd kicks up some mayhem, however, there’s another major problem Barry faces. Although he’s recovered with astounding speed from an injury that would have permanently paralyzed a normal person, he hasn’t mentally recovered from his battle with Zoom. He doesn’t believe the city has faith in him any longer, after Zoom revealed him to be helpless in the face of this new threat, and in turn, Barry no longer believes in himself.
Barry isn’t the only one shaken by the encounter with Zoom. Knowing Jesse is in Zoom’s hands, Harry wants to head home, save her, and defeat Zoom. The only person who wants him to stick around is Caitlin, who believes they need him while Barry continues to recover in case Zoom returns.
Even Wells himself doesn’t think he should stick around, despite Caitlin’s attempts to convince him otherwise. He had a plan: to come to Earth-1 and use the Flash to help him save his daughter and stop Zoom. That plan failed, and so he needs a new one, which he thinks going home will facilitate.
He’s set on going until Caitlin mentions the breaches between their worlds. They know where all of them rest in Central City, so why not use that information to their advantage? Close all of the breaches except the one in S.T.A.R. Labs, then set a trap for Zoom to speed right into.
Those plans are put on hold, though, when Caitlin is kidnapped. Grodd has already manipulated two brain-enhancing serums out of nearby laboratories, but his motivations aren’t made clear without a missing piece of the puzzle: Caitlin. He uses mind control to lure her out of S.T.A.R. Labs and into a bell tower, where he asks her to figure out a way to make more Grodds. He remembers Caitlin from before the particle accelerator explosion, and so he finds her to be one of the few caring, trustworthy people left in the city. But he needs help (he’s just a lonely gorilla, after all), leaving Caitlin with few options.
(Grodd’s affinity for Caitlin mirrors another famous primate-human relationship in King Kong, and if there was any doubt in “Gorilla Warfare” clearly alluding to that dynamic, look no further than Caitlin’s all-white outfit. Not only is she not wearing lab whites, but the more billowy clothing and some of Caitlin’s mannerisms once in the bell tower clearly evoke Fay Wray’s Ann Darrow.)
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The rest of the team wastes little time in realizing Grodd’s threat level. (DNA at the crime scenes belonged to a gorilla, not a human, something that confused Patty but made complete sense to Joe, and then S.T.A.R. Labs security footage shows Grodd with Caitlin outside.)
Wells comes up with an algorithm to triangulate Grodd’s position, along with a plan that enrages Barry at first. Harrison shows up in S.T.A.R. Labs wearing the Reverse-Flash suit, sending Barry into an immediate attack (which at the very least indicates he’s regaining control of his powers). There’s a method to his momentary lapse in judgment, though. He wants to go to Grodd, pretending to be Earth-1’s Wells and distract the damn dirty ape long enough to rescue Caitlin.
Barry agrees to the plan but admits he won’t be of much help back at base. So Wells goes out into the field with Cisco, who trains Earth-2 Wells in the creepy-yet-loving ways of Earth-1 Wells. (Tom Cavanagh has excelled at making his latest iteration of Harrison feel fresh, but I certainly wouldn’t mind watching Earth-2 Wells pretending to be Earth-1 Wells, who was actually Eobard Thawne disguised as Wells. It’s enough false identities to deserve a Carrie Mathison-level conspiracy wall, and yet Cavanagh keeps it all straight and hilarious, especially when paired with Carlos Valdes as Cisco.)
He shows up to Grodd’s hideout but makes one fatal error — he asks Grodd to let Caitlin go, whereas asking for things was beneath the Wells Grodd knew. So the gorilla throws his fake father across the room.
NEXT: Like father, like son