With the introduction of so many new baby speedsters this season (Wally, Jesse), it’s been easy to forget that Barry is still closer to the beginning of his superhero career than the Flash we’re familiar with in comics. He might be mentoring Wally, but he’s still learning how to be hero, too, which is clear from the many frustrating mistakes we’ve seen him make recently. In tonight’s episode, Barry learns one of the most important superhero lessons as he faces off with Grodd and protects his city: Heroes always find another way.
When the episode opens, we find Team Flash enjoying their latest victory against Grodd: Barry is busy showering Iris with love because he thinks he managed to change the future; Wally and Jesse decide to tell a surprisingly chill Harry about Jesse’s decision to move to Earth-1; and H.R., embracing his inner Martha Stewart, covers S.T.A.R. Labs with Friend’s Day (Earth-19’s Valentine’s Day) decorations despite Harry’s objections. But before the good times can really roll, Gypsy comes through a breach in the speed lab and attacks Team Flash. Thankfully, Harry takes her down with his fancy gun.
Gypsy wakes up in a pipeline cell and has no idea how she got there. The last thing she remembers is tracking a breacher to Earth-2’s Africa. That’s when Team Flash realizes that Grodd was controlling her and must have used her to travel to Earth-1. At that very moment, Grodd and his army are casually yet menacingly hanging out on a cliff overlooking Central City. This is a frightening prospect not only because Barry can’t seem to defeat Grodd for good, but because this means that he didn’t change the future and Iris’ life is still in danger. Realizing the severity of the situation, Cisco asks Gypsy to help them fight Grodd, but she says this isn’t her fight and just asks Cisco to let her return home, which he does.
The team asks Cisco to vibe the future to figure out where Grodd plans on attacking so they can launch a preemptive strike. While Harry and Wally get to work on upgrading Cisco’s vibe gear, Harry heavily implies that he’s dying from some illness but makes Wally promise not to tell Jesse because he wants her to follow her happiness to Earth-1. Once they’re done, Cisco does his thing and finds out where Grodd plans on attacking.
Flash, Kid Flash, Jesse Quick, Joe, and the SWAT team head out to the location of Grodd’s impending assault on the city, but it never comes. Instead, Grodd launches an even more personal attack against the Flash. Grodd, who knows Barry’s weaknesses, takes control of Joe’s mind and compels him to kill himself with his own gun. PRAISE BE TO THE SPEED FORCE, Barry is fast enough to push Joe out of the way before the bullet pierces his skull. I’ll admit that the possibility of Joe dying was the scariest part of this episode, and the scene succeeds in making Grodd feel even more threatening despite the fact that his physical presence is kept to a minimum (probably for budgetary reasons) until the very end of the episode.
Team Flash realizes that Grodd was trying to distract them, but they have no clue from what. Thankfully, Harry provides yet another deus ex machina. Like Gypsy, Joe got a glimpse inside of Grodd’s head while he was under his control, so Harry suggests they use magnets to recover those lost memories, because science! Meanwhile, Jesse finds Wally brooding down by the pipeline. Wally tells Jesse it might not be a good idea for her to move to Earth-1 and lets slip that her father is dying. To Wally’s surprise, Jesse isn’t sad but pissed off at her father.
NEXT: To kill or not to kill?