The Flash: Grodd Lives

"Did you ever stop to think that looping me in would keep me safe? That if I knew what was going on out there I could prepare for it?"

With Wells' - and Barry's - true identity now in the open, our team struggles to pull together and continue the fight. Can they pull off the same kind of high-level metahuman protection they did without the genius contributions of Eobard Thawne? Especially when they, and the city, are under attack by a metagorilla?

I think the writers were having a ton of fun with this episode - I caught movie references throughout, and I bet you did too. I'm very glad we're finally past the Iris Must Not Be Told phase of The Flash. It's easily been one of the weakest parts of the first season. Iris herself makes an excellent point: she's in far more danger not knowing than she might be if she did know. Just knowing, however, isn't enough. She also needs to realize that for both Barry and her father, keeping information from her did indeed come from a place of love. Simultaneously, she must find a place in the new world order, and that's not easy. When Joe is captured by Grodd, and the team is thinking and trying to find answers, Iris' rebellious, nagging approach is totally wrong. There is no way that kind of attitude and approach can help.

Speaking of Joe being captured by Grodd - we know our favorite gorilla's been lurking around underground, a literal CHUD as Cisco notes (although Grodd certainly doesn't seem to be cannibalistic, and I cringe to think at his reaction to being called a Rodent of Unusual Size.) While defending a gold shipment, Joe's attacked by a man in armor (who looks weirdly like a Mortal Kombat character, but I digress). It turns out to be Eiling - who's mind-controlled by Grodd; the telepathy also seems to affect Barry. I actually felt the scene where Eiling's mouth is taken over by Grodd's voice to be highly creepy. So, too, was Joe simply disappearing during the hunt for Grodd. Of all the villains this first season, Grodd seems the most implacable.

But Grodd is being used by his father (remember, this show is all about Daddy issues.) During all this, Wells and the kidnapped Eddie are having a heart to heart as Wells builds... something. Eddie learns about the possibility of Iris and Barry marrying. This becomes vital towards the end of the episode: because Iris admits her feelings for Barry, but reiterates she can't be with him as long as she's with Eddie. Have we just seen the birth of another Reverse Flash? It's not impossible... especially if Wells has built a particle accelerator of his own, which it seems he may have, by the end of the episode.

The game's changed in many ways by the time this ep is done. Barry, Caitlin and Cisco continue to work together - but now advised by Iris, who's done some good investigatey and supportey things; I began to think she might indeed be a good replacement for Wells next season, and it's definitely a better use for her than we've seen so far. The moment when Barry confronts Grodd and Iris' support allows him to fight off Grodd's attack was well done and seemed like the real thing after the strange fakeness with Wells. Grodd is still on the loose, and I'm sort of hoping we get a Me-Grodd You-Jane moment with Caitlin soon. And Wells himself seems ready to pull whatever stunt he's been building up to.

Bits and Pieces

The banana moment with Grodd, Joe and Cisco by proxy was hilarious.

The supersonic punch that wasn't. A great built-up moment!

Will Barry visit his Dad soon? And is anyone thinking about putting protections into place for the remaining team members, including Iris and Barry's Dad? Having one more person kidnapped wouldn't be fantastic at this point. Am glad Cisco is tinkering with security.

To me, this was an episode about Barry and the team, and Iris becoming part of the team. I thought Grodd was great background, but would love to have a Grodd-centric, Grodd-perspective episode. Wouldn't that be a bunch of coolness?


Eiling: I am Grodd. Fear me.
Barry: What's a Grodd?

Joe: So our psycho killer has a soft spot for animals. That's sweet.

Joe: I was wrong. I was just trying to keep you safe.
Iris: You know, that excuse is getting old. You know, that excuse is getting really old. First it was the police academy and then it was dating Eddie and now this.


Four out of four non-Grodded bananas.


Patrick said...

I was glad to see Joe & Iris finally hash it out over him keeping things from her, and I thought it was good with two exceptions. One, I wish they'd used it as a chance to fill in some backstory about Iris' mother. Back at Xmas, Barry gave Iris a replica of her mother's wedding ring, which she'd lost as a kid, so I'm assuming her mother died when she was very young. Having Joe be overprotective as a result of being a widower might be a cliche, but it's also very human. Combine that with him being a cop and it would go a long way towards making his behavior, while still not excusable, more forgivable. Iris though took things too far when she was laying into him. She not only busted his chops over not telling her about Barry being the Flash, but also for not telling her about Barry being in love with her. Sorry Iris, but that's out of bounds. Joe's not obligated to rat out Barry's feelings to you, and you know it.

I gotta say, Grodd was pretty frickin' awesome :) I like that they didn't make him full-on "Planet Of The Apes" intelligent, but it sounds like he might still be evolving, so we might see his intelligence growing the next time he appears. And I'm with you JRS, I'd love to see a Grodd-Caitlin bonding scene, I think that'd be fun. Not to mention all the movie references Cisco could come up with during it. :)

Hearing the general talk for Grodd was impressive, in no small part because of the quality of Clancy Brown's voice. When Grodd himself started speaking directly into people's heads, I wondered if Mr. Brown was actually voicing Grodd himself. Turns out he's not, I kinda wish he was. If Grodd ever progresses to full sentences and emoting beyond "fire bad, tree pretty", Mr. Brown's voice-acting skills would make for an amazing Grodd.

Jess Lynde said...

The Iris thing, particularly the Barry-Iris dynamic, is completely not working for me. The smushy "the sound of Iris's voice helps Barry to fight back" bit had me groaning out loud. I simply cannot stand them together, in part because I don't like her (that's on you, writers) and in part because I don't like who Barry is around her.

Despite not liking Iris, I thought she was well within bounds to be deeply pissed at all these men stealing her agency. And for Barry to act like Iris not sharing her confusion about her feelings for him was akin to all the lying he's being doing was beyond the pale. It's not remotely the same thing, and I wish she'd thrown it back in his face in that moment. It made him seem very immature, and does not make me root for them to work out their issues and get together.

As ever, the husband and I were vocally rooting for Iris to die this week (pretty much through the whole episode), so if the writers are trying to make me like her by bringing her into the team, they are failing big time.

Billie Doux said...

Jess, I'm with you. While it's a relief that Iris has finally batted away the wool in front of her eyes, I still don't like the character. Making her Barry's future wife locks her in as a cast member forever, too. Unless they have something clever set up to change that.

JRS, nice review. A lot of critics out there appear to agree with you that Grodd was really well done, too. I wish I were one of them. Maybe I'm just not into CGI gorilla supervillains. Although the banana bit was hilarious and it's always nice to see Clancy Brown.

TJ said...

This episode didn't work for me at all. I think I wanted more Dr Wells. Given all that happened last week, I felt that the Wells' storyline needed to be more in focus.

And I agree with everyone else about Iris. The fact that she will marry Barry in the future seems really depressing to me. Her character doesn't work at all. Hopefully, timelines can be changed, right?:)

Sadly, both The Flash and Arrow have kinda dipped lately in my ratings. But MAOS just gets better and better.:)

Patrick said...

Something I'm wondering though about that future front page. We know from a couple of episodes ago that when Thawne traveled back to the past and took over the identiy of Dr. Wells, he altered history significantly. He told Wells that originally the accelerator would've been activated in 2020, and that he needed it to happen sooner. So are those news articles from the original 2024, or is it constantly being updated based on how things play out in the present? We already got an indication in an early episode that Gideon is somehow able to peer forward in time, not just recall data from the future it came from. So which are we seeing when we look at those news articles? If they're just recorded data from Thawne's original future timeline, who's to say what the new future will hold? And considering how much he cautioned Barry about trying to mess with the timestream when he repeated a single day, he's being awfully cavalier about the fact that he's giving his own history a 6-year jumpstart.

sunbunny said...

I've never liked Iris more than I did in this episode. She did have a few whiny 'why aren't people doing things?!' moments (shades of Laurel Lance) but a huge improvement over the way they've been using her thus far.

Wasn't a huge fan of her telling Barry that she might be with him, but not until after they rescue Eddie so she can dump him properly. It seemed cold.

I've been thinking for a while that the likely way to end the Reverse Flash is by having Eddie sacrifice himself so Eobard never exists in the first place. Eobard telling Eddie what a worthless loser he is is not really in Eobard's best interest here...

Anonymous said...

Iris initially is an unlikable character just like caroline on tvd, laurel on arrow and olivia on the 100. cw is pretty consistent with it's themes, just the details differ. regina in ouat also comes to mind.
why can people roll with it when it's a similarly selfish male character rather than a female? is it really so incomprehensible that women could have the same personality too?
no it's not on the writers if they actually don't want you to like iris and her relationship with barry in the first place.
the lack of even considering this possibility is just baffling.

Billie Doux said...

Anonymous, I've complained about similar irritating male characters on other shows: Tyler on The Vampire Diaries, Nick Hawley on Sleepy Hollow and Marcel on The Originals come quickly to mind. So I don't think it's just picking on the female characters -- even though it often is a female character. Usually the fault of the writers, not the actor.

JRS said...

We've seen that front page change before, haven't we? Back in Power Outage, Wells was freaking out because Gideon wasn't able to find that particular future. So, that timeline/frontpage might be able to change... or it might become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Anonymous, I think the writers actually want us to like Iris and sympathize with her. I think they're struggling to pull her off in a non-stereotypical way.

Jess Lynde said...

Anonymous, I honestly did not consider the possibility that they don't want us to like Iris or to want Barry to get the girl he longs for. I don't think I agree with that assessment --- I lean towards JRS's view that they want us to like and sympathize with her but are failing --- but it's an interesting thought.

Anonymous said...

Frankly I don't understand the blame on writers for writing characters covering the entire spectrum (yes this includes characters who are emotionally irrational too).
Why do people have to be told who to root for and just cannot figure it out for themselves. Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Lost, etc. are great examples of allowing the viewers to do just that.
I guess we just have to wait and see how all of this is going to play out.

TJ said...

Anonymous, I do think it is the writers fault that most people don't like the Iris character. It's not a gender thing. I stopped watching The Originals just because I couldn't stand Marcel.

In Iris' case, I just feel she's out of place. That type of woman "Oh Barry, you can do it, I believe in you", is not what this show needs.

Jess Lynde said...

Different shows are going for different things, and some definitely want to operate in the "shades of grey" zone where people are complex and don't fall neatly into "hero," "villain," or even "likable" categories. However, shows like The Flash, with a more "classic" superhero vibe to them, don't tend to be like that. So it is fairly reasonable for the audience to have particular expectations going in --- such as we'll want to like and root for the hero's love interest. This isn't a Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones style show, nor is it trying to be.

But I'm certainly guilty of often wanting more complexity from certain shows than I should probably expect, so it is kind of funny to be on the other side of that debate here! :)

Jabari said...

Here is the course correction Iris needs to go through:

1. Have Eddie die in the Season finale. Bonus points for if Eddie proposes to her and she accepts earlier in the episode.

2. Have Iris stay single for at least the 1st 9 episodes of Season 2 and in the meantime give her a huge story line that has nothing to do with Barry, give us signs that she officially joined Team Flash along with Caitlin and Cisco, as well as a bond with someone other than her Daddy or Barry (most preferably Caitlin Snow, the scenes between them in Episodes 21 and 22 were priceless and it will be even better if Eddie dies after proposing to her in the Season 1 finale, then that will give Caitlin and Iris something in common). Fortunately, it seems to be going in this direction now that Iris knows that Barry is the Flash.

3. When they do get together (most preferably in the middle of Season 2), make sure it is just a supporting element in the Season, so that way, we West-Allen shippers got we want and we don't need to hear complaints about Iris being a generic love because she already has a storyline of her own apart from Barry.

They need to go about it this way so that WestAllen is canon and Iris' character is salvaged both at the same time.

Deborah Gallegos said...

Jabari, good points about West and Allen being canon, but...

On this CW version of Green Arrow, they've messed with canon in regard to love interests quite a bit. We're all rooting for Felicity Smoak and Oliver Queen rather than Oliver and "Dinah" Lance.

On the other hand, maybe they'll play the (really) long game like Smallville did during it's 10-year run where it took Clark Kent a few other love interests along the way before eventually ending up with Lois Lane.