The threat of Savitar still looms in the distance of The Flash season 3. Between now and then, Barry and the rest of Team Flash are hoping to alter future events and prevent a grisly future where Iris dies. But before they can continue changing the future, they’re needed on Earth-2 to deal with a growing gorilla problem.
In tonight’s episode, ‘Attack on Gorilla City’ — written by Andrew Kreisberg, Aaron Helbing, and David Kob, directed by Dermott Downs — Barry, Cisco, Caitlin, and Julian will travel to Earth-2 to rescue Harrison “Harry” Wells from Gorilla Grodd. Harry was captured after accepting an invitation to come visit Gorilla City (as you do), but as it turns out, his expedition was an ill-fated one. And once Barry and the gang arrive, they too find themselves in Grodd’s custody. But adding an interesting spin to all this, is Grodd’s insistence that it’s Solovar — generally a good-natured and peaceful talking gorilla — who poses the real threat and not him.
“Are you going to the Planet of the Apes?”
While Arrow traditionally likes to keep its stories grounded in the streets of Star City, The Flash can more easily travel to some weird and wonderful places — like Gorilla City, which in this episodes gets its real debut. The decision to travel is also linked to the future events Team Flash is trying to change, one of which is a gorilla attack on Central City. And sure, it’s impossible to imagine of version of this show where they’d make any choice other than going to Earth-2 and rescuing Harry — these are heroes, after all, and Harry is their friend — but it’s worth suggesting that had they not gone and rescued him, they’d have stopped that future gorilla attack.
Again, that was never going to happen because The Flash promised a trip to Gorilla City and that’s what we got. But later on, when they realize it’s their trip that will allow the gorillas to attack Central City, the first option they come to is for Caitlin to murder Cisco!? That suggestion is quickly shut down (thank goodness) but the willingness to jump to such an extreme measure in this case seems to either suggest they didn’t think traveling to Gorilla City would set off the gorilla attack or they’re just more willing to risk Cisco’s life than they are Harry’s. There’s an inconsistency here, and one that makes it seem like Team Flash isn’t really taking this “changing the future” thing as seriously as they should.
(Another quick observation: Is it absurd their escape plan hinged entirely on Grodd dragging Barry’s lifeless body outside of the cage? Is that just a nitpick? Most definitely, but they’re awfully lucky that gamble paid off.)
Title Match: Flash VS Solovar
Team Flash falling so easily into Grodd’s trap aside, ‘Attack on Gorilla City’ was a fun episode. The effects work on the gorillas was impressive and used sparingly. Plus, it never hurts to fall back on old tricks, like keeping your digital gorillas in shadow or just skipping them altogether and have them psychically speak through one of your human actors (cost-saving, too). This frees the episode up to really put the emphasis on their gorillas when it matter most — and in this instance, that’s with the title match: Flash versus Solovar.
Their fight is easily the highlight of the episode, displaying the raw power these gorillas have and giving The Flash a means to win that’s unique to his abilities and experiences. It’s a thrilling sequence, made all the more impressive when you consider it’s all rendered as if happening in a sandy colosseum in broad daylight. Their fight also gives more insight into another aspect of this gorilla society, with Solovar’s defeat losing him his right to rule as well. Gorilla society is clearly a hierarchical one, where any sign of weakness is enough for the masses to turn on you. Grodd effectively exploits that, making us also wonder how Solovar was so easily duped? Perhaps this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Solovar, and after this experience he’ll gain a bit more of the wisdom he so often displays in the comics.
‘Attack on Gorilla City’ was perhaps a little underwhelming, spending more time than was necessary with our heroes stuck in cages. And what ever happened with that gravity-controlling meta the synopsis mentioned? Seems this episode underwent heavy editing, and unsurprisingly, it was Jesse and Wally’s storyline that suffered. ‘Attack on Gorilla City’ did, however, deliver on the sentient, highly intelligent gorillas and involved them in some great action, which is a good sign for what’s to come next week — Grodd leading a gorilla attack on Central City!
The Flash season 3 continues next week with ‘Attack on Central City’ @8pm on The CW.