Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Flash 3x13 Review: "Attack on Gorilla City" (Preternatural Primates) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

"Attack on Gorilla City"
Original Airdate: February 21, 2017

Oh, The Flash. You just take the ridiculous nature of comic books and lean right into it, don’t you? You wonderful, wonderful show. And nothing emphasizes that ridiculousness quite like a city full of psychic gorillas, one of which is bent on world domination and revenge.


Last episode ended with Jesse showing up and telling us that her father is being held in Earth-2’s Gorilla City, where they sent Grodd in that one episode with an amazing name. Yeah, did they forget they sent the crazy-powerful super intelligent ape to Earth-2 or what? Jesse and Harry were both like, “Tra la la, goin’ home!” when they left. Of course the ape kidnapped Harry, people! What were you expecting Grodd to do, live out his life in peace and not put a revenge plot into motion? It’s like you’ve never even met crazy-powerful super intelligent apes before.

Team Flash, of course, volunteers to rescue Harry from Gorilla City. Well, Barry, Cisco, Caitlin, and Julian volunteer — the rest of the team stays behind, because who needs THREE speedsters when just one will (probably) do? Also, I love that Julian volunteers to go. Not only because it’s pretty clear that he wants to hang around Caitlin, but also because he shows up wearing a full-on Indiana Jones trekking-through-the-jungle outfit, complete with a wide-brimmed hat. It’s just terrific that he owns those clothes. It’s doubly terrific that he practically jumps at the chance to wear them.

The Gorilla City action starts pretty quickly, with Cisco opening up a breach to Earth-2 and the Away Crew stepping through to an Earth-2 Africa that looks remarkably similar to the temperate forests of Earth-1 Canada. Gorilla City seems to consist entirely of an amphitheater, a prison, and massive statues of apes. Listen: I’m not a professional municipal planner or anything, Gorilla City, but even I can pinpoint a few problem areas in your city concept.

It’s really no surprise that there’s trouble in the Gorilla City government. It’s doubly not a surprise when the team gets captured by Grodd and we find out that much of that political gorilla trouble stems from our favorite psychic simian. Apparently, Grodd wants The Flash’s help in defeating the current Gorilla City leader, Solovar. When Solovar is defeated, Grodd tells Team Flash (by talking through Harrison Wells for absolutely no reason other than the real-life reason that it’s pretty expensive to keep the animated gorilla on screen for a long time), then he’ll let everyone (Harry included) go free and never bother Earth-1 again. Ha! Yeah, you make a compelling argument, Grodd, but you’ve clearly gone full villain at this point and your sympathy credit is in negative numbers.

We get to see that amphitheater from the earlier Gorilla City establishing shot put to use in a gladiatorial death match between Barry and Solovar. Not really sure why Solovar would participate in a fight to the death when he’s supposed to be running a whole city and has responsibilities and stuff, but like I said — Gorilla City isn’t exactly a gem of political progress or civil engineering. Joking aside, though, I was incredibly impressed by the CG stuff that The Flash pulled off in this episode. While Gorilla City may be lacking in obvious marketplaces or other signs of civilization, the sweeping shots of the things it does have, the crowd shots of hundreds of gorillas watching the fight between Solovar and Barry, and the fight itself — it was all really impressive work for a CW show. I suspect that it absolutely devoured this season’s budget, but it was neat.

Though Barry does defeat Solovar — with Cisco offering helpful commentary and Julian offering hilariously unhelpful commentary — he refuses to kill the killer gorilla in front of the gorilla onlookers. For the second time of the episode, Barry gets knocked out with some darts (he’s supposed to be the Fastest Man Alive? Really?) and locked in a cage to await another one of Grodd’s villainous speeches. Once he comes to, Grodd tells Barry that the fight against Solovar totally counted and he’s leader of genius-gorillakind now, but he was totes lying about staying in the city and leaving Earth-1’s humanity alone. Surprise!

Grodd proves that he really is a pretty smart gorilla when he allows Team Flash to believe they’ve tricked him (it’s a whole plan involving faking Barry’s death by getting Caitlin to freeze him a bit) and they escape. The chipper Team Flash returns to Earth-1 with Harry, to reunite him with Jesse, and are completely ignorant of the fact that Grodd’s new position of power within Gorilla City has allowed him to amass the city’s populace as a massive gorilla army.


I was rather amused by the fact that this episode’s opposition revolved entirely around Earth-2, where apparently a city of warmongering gorillas has been permitted to just... boil in resentment, I guess? This is amusing because the other half of this episode, the Earth-1 half with Wally and Jesse, was all about Wally and Jesse reconnecting and Jesse deciding that she wants to stay on Earth-1.

Ignoring, for a moment, how adorable Wally and Jesse are together (i.e., very adorable) and their budding romance (which happens questionably fast, but I’m not going to raise too much of a complaint about that — like I said, they’re pretty adorable)... Jesse is supposed to be a superhero over on Earth-2, isn’t she? Like, she has an actual job to do, saving people from the same sort of stuff that Team Flash saves people from? And she’s just going to leave so that she can join up with the main crew?

And from a viewer’s perspective... sigh. I think I’m burnt out on all the speedsters, The Flash. You gotta give me something different. We’ve had evil speedsters and good speedsters and time-traveling speedsters and dimension-traveling speedsters. We’ve had inept speedsters and speedsters who got their powers from drugs and speedsters who got their powers from particle accelerator explosions and speedsters who can connect directly with the Speed Force and we have the God of Speed. Look: I love you, show, but I think you need to dip your bucket in a new well, because this one’s coming up dry.

Other Things:
  • Other budding romance during this episode: Julian and Caitlin! Aw, they’re so cute together and he’s definitely going to die or turn evil. But he believes in Caitlin, and that’s really sweet.
  • "I'm sorry I took the smile from your face." H.R. must really be a writer, because that was downright poetic.
  • Huh, I wonder why Julian got so excited about the Planet of the Apes.
  • I could not keep a straight face whenever Tom Cavanagh had to speak as Grodd speaking through Harry.
  • "Barry. Cisco. ... Indiana." Julian is only allowed to wear his Indiana Jones gear from now on. It’s the best.
  • "I bet he couldn't even remember an ATM code if he tried." "All those numbers." "It's only four digits." I hope H.R. and Harry interact more in the next episode.
  • "I think we should find a local steakhouse and be terrified together." Julian is smooth.
  • "You finally gonna get some sleep tonight?" "Well, that last part is entirely up to you." Barry is also smooth.


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