Welcome to Gorilla City, Team Flash!
We’ve been waiting since the pilot for this episode: Tonight, The Flash FINALLY took us (and Team Flash) on a trip to Gorilla City. Although “Attack on Gorilla City” might not have been the most dramatic episode, since it was part one of a two-parter, it was still a very entertaining hour that benefited a lot from the change in scenery. To be fair, this shouldn’t surprise us. Gorilla Grodd almost always brings out the best in the show.
Picking up where the last episode left off, Jesse explains to the rest of Team Flash that her father set off on an expedition to Gorilla City, a kingdom populated by gorillas in Africa on Earth-2, after receiving a message from the gorillas. However, his entire team was murdered, except for him and he’s been gone for two weeks. Barry, Cisco, Caitlin, and casual Indian Jones cosplayer Julian, who tags along just because he wants to tour the multiverse, agree to travel to Earth-Two and save Harry. Barry also hopes that saving Harry from the gorillas will prevent the gorilla invasion of Central City, which was spoiled in a future headline, thereby saving Iris’ life.
Thankfully, the episode doesn’t waste any time having Team Flash jump through a breach to Earth-2. The trip to Earth-2 infuses The Flash with a level of suspense that’s been missing for awhile, and it’s clear from director Dermott Downs’ many sweeping shots of the completely CGI’d Gorilla City that he’s relishing the opportunity to transport viewers to this part of the DC Universe. However, we mustn’t forget that this is still a CW show. Budget constraints means most of the action, save for an exciting fight scene in an arena, takes place a relatively unremarkable location: the dungeons of Gorilla City (which resemble Zoom’s Earth-2 lair in last season). That’s where Team Flash finds itself after Gorilla Grodd knocked everyone out with tranquilizer darts as soon as they reached the perimeter of Gorilla City.
When Team Flash eventually wake up in their cages, they come to face to face with Harry; however, when Harry opens his mouth to speak, Grodd’s voice comes out because of the budget Grodd has taken over his mind. Grodd, speaking through Harry, explains that he lured The Flash because he needs him to defeat Gorilla City’s King Solivar, who is planning to invade Earth-1 out of fear that the humans want to attack Gorilla City. Once Barry defeats Solivar in an arena with the entire city watching, Grodd will take his place as ruler and make sure the gorillas won’t attack Central City, which he still considers his home.
Obviously, Barry is hesitant about going through with Grodd’s plan because he doesn’t want to kill anyone. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a choice; Solivar says he must kill them all in the arena since his subjects know they’re in Gorilla City, and he needs to show them that his justice is swift and brutal. It’s basically a power play. Solivar’s concern with making these grand shows of power hints that his rule is very tenuous. Wishing to save his friends, Barry agrees to fight on behalf of his entire team, and if he wins, Solivar must agree to let them go. Solivar accepts the deal, and he and Barry head down to the arena to fight.
I think it’s best if we state this up front: The Flash’s battle against Solivar pushes the show’s special effects budget to the limits. That being said, it doesn’t make the fight any less entertaining. With Cisco coaching him in his ear, Barry first tries speed punches, but Solivar sends him flying. Then, Barry tries to throw lightning, but Solivar uses Earthquake Attack to trip him. Seeing no other option, Cisco tells him Barry to use Reverse Flash’s vibrating punch to knock him, which works (see below). Barry wins the fight but refuses to kill Solivar.
“I know you all fear humans,” Barry says, addressing the entire stadium. “You think we want war with gorilla kind. We don’t. We’re not all murderers and killers. We only want peace, which is why I’m sparing your leader. We call it mercy.” An annoyed Grodd, channeling his inner Chuck Bartowski, quickly shuts him up with another tranquilizer dart.
NEXT: Wally and Jesse decide to do something about their long-distance relationship (or lack thereof)