Observer Details Two-Part Flash Special
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*Disclaimer: As the Flash is a science fiction show, there are both an “Earth 1” and “Earth 2.”
In its 2 part Flash vs. Gorilla Grodd special, The Flash fails to stick the landing, finishing a promising 2 hour saga with a lousy, anticlimactic ending.
The first episode begins with Jesse Quick (Violett Beane) and Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) being reunited, as Jesse asks Team Flash for help in rescuing her father Harry Wells (Tom Cavanagh) from one of Barry Allen’s (Grant Gustin), also known as the Flash, greatest enemies, Gorilla Grodd. Barry brings a team to Earth 2 to help rescue Harry, leaving Jesse and Wally to watch over Earth 1 while Barry is gone. Jesse and Wally both possess super speed, just like the Flash.
This allows for continued development in their romance picked up from season 2, leading Wally to convince Jesse to stay with him on Earth 1. This means we will be seeing a lot more of Jesse Quick down the stretch for season 3, which is going to be exciting. This season, The Flash has focused quite a lot of attention on developing Wally’s character, so by bringing back Jesse, they can continue to build on his story. I think this is a great call by the writers.
Meanwhile, a bulk of the episode takes place with Barry Allen fighting gorillas on Earth 2. He’s quickly captured and offered a deal by his foe Gorilla Grodd. If he kills Solivar, the king of Gorilla City, he will free Harry. This leads to one of the best parts of the episode. Flash vs. Solivar (Keith David).
For those who read DC Comics, this will seem ironic, since Solivar is actually a hero and the King of Gorilla City, who has helped the Flash defeat Gorilla Grodd on multiple occasions. However, with Barry framed for attacking Gorilla City, the two fight it out. The Flash tries many tactics before defeating Solivar, but then decides to spare him. This does not stop Grodd, who used the defeat of Solivar to take over Gorilla City, and now gives him an army of Gorillas to take on Central City with. All he needs is for Barry’s good friend Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) to open up a path for Grodd.
The fight with Solivar used incredible CGI, but was not long enough nor compelling enough to keep me engaged. Everyone was waiting for Flash to fight Grodd, so having him fight a different Gorilla was incredibly anti-climactic. I guess it was to have viewers hold out hope for a fight with Grodd in the second episode.
Now Team Flash had to escape. We saw a rare serious moment from Cisco, who was so terrified he was willing to kill himself in order to make sure the Gorillas could not use his abilities to attack his home. It was an interesting moment from a usually light-hearted character. Barry, however, finds another way, tricking Grodd into thinking he had died, allowing him to escape and later free his friends and bring them home, concluding episode 1 of the 2 part event.
One of my favorite parts is how the show continues to build on the powers of the Flash, and this episode was no exception. Barry used a new move to finish off Solivar, and managed to stop and then restart his heart in order to trick Grodd. Innovation like this is important to keep the Flash in a good place.
With the team believing that Grodd is defeated, they turn their attention to Valentine’s Day. Their usage of Valentine’s Day in the episode allowed them to further a lot of their love related plots. Barry is trying to be incredibly romantic for his love interest, Iris (Candice Patton). This leads to a marriage proposal from Barry at the end of the episode. I think they are doing this to downplay the romantic “will-they, won’t they” of their relationship for the future of the show, which is ultimately a good thing. However, the episode ends before Iris says yes, so we will see if it all works out.
They also continue the relationship between Jesse Quick and Wally West (mentioned earlier), who ask for permission from Jesse’s father, Harry, to leave Earth 2 and live on Earth 1 together. This plot was poorly used however, as Harry fakes he has a terminal illness in order to get Jesse to stay on Earth 2. However, no one got nearly as mad about it as you would’ve thought, and Jesse ends up confirming her stay on Earth 1, meaning we will see a lot more Jesse Quick this season.
Grodd, has a backup plan for getting to Central City and defeating his foe, the Flash, in the second episode’s main plotline. By using Gypsy (Jessica Camacho), he is able to get to Earth 1, now followed by an Army of his followers.
They did a good job of using this as a backdoor to bring Gypsy, into the Valentine’s Day episode and allow her to continue flirting with Cisco. The show did a great job of balancing the romance with the action, making for a very entertaining crossover as even the less action packed parts had meaning.
They also did this to add some much appreciated comic book easter eggs. Fans of DC Comics would recognize Earth 19 and their Flash (The Accelerated Man). This is a nice touch and shows loyalty to the fans.
Grodd toys with Barry’s emotions and proves he is always one step ahead, managing to hide his army from Barry for long enough to set a trap. Grodd almost kills Barry’s adoptive father, Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), but we get to see the Flash outrun a bullet and save Joe’s life. Another example of seeing Flash push his powers to new heights which was great for the crossover.
This also led to a main theme of the episode, which was taking the high road and doing things the right way. Harry and Iris convince Barry not to kill Grodd because he is better. Cisco convinces Gypsy to help stop Grodd as well, and be better. They also get Solivar to come back to defeat Grodd and be better.
They did a good job of running all of the stories parallel to each other in this episode. The Flash is able to defeat Grodd peacefully, and lets Solivar fight and then spare Grodd, just like the Flash did in part 1.
However, I was disappointed that Flash and Grodd did not fight each other directly during the entire episode. The big point a lot of people were hoping for was a fight between the classic rivals. The omission of this ruined what was an impressive crossover by having an anti-climactic finish.
Ultimately, the Flash did a good job developing characters and plot, despite messing up on the big finale. Overall, it was a solid 2 part series.