[WARNING: This article contains spoilers for The Flash Season 1, Episode 21]
As CW's The Flash moves into the final episodes of season 1, the focus has primarily remained on Barry Allen's (Grant Gustin) archenemy, Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) a.k.a the Reverse-Flash. On last week's episode, Barry - with help from Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) - attempted to trap Wells. However, the Reverse-Flash was a few steps ahead, managing to evade Barry and capture Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett).
In "Grodd Lives," written by Grainne Godfree & Kai Yu Wu, Barry and his team at S.T.A.R. Labs must deal with the fallout from their failed plan. But in order to distract them, Wells releases the telepathic Gorilla Grodd, who kidnaps Joe. Meanwhile, Iris West (Candice Patton) confronts Barry about his alter-ego as The Flash.
1. What is a Grodd?
The telepathic ape known as Grodd was first introduced in the pilot episode of The Flash, but he has largely stayed underground (literally) throughout season 1. In "Grodd Lives" Caitlin, Cisco, and Barry piece together the gorilla's transformation from a test subject of Wells and General Eiling (Clancy Brown) to the violent telepathic ape they meet in the sewer: the particle accelerator explosion turned Grodd into a meta-gorilla.
Though Grodd doesn't appear until midway through the episode, his introduction to Barry and the team through a mind-controlled Eiling (more on that later) is eerie enough for Cisco to reference the horror classic The Exorcist. However, the teased fight scene between The Flash and Grodd is short, with Barry's supersonic punch and other fighting capabilities rendered completely ineffective. In the end, Barry must use a subway train to beat the gorilla, which doesn't bode well for their next meeting.
2. Iris Joins Team Flash
Last week's episode of The Flash ended with multiple cliffhangers, one of which was Iris' realization that her best friend has been hiding a secret life full of villains and superpowers from her. Now, having realized that everyone in her life has been lying to her, Iris confronts both her father and Barry. Additionally, she lends her own skills to the team at S.T.A.R. Labs as they fight Grodd, researching the gorilla and talking Barry through a powerful telepathic attack.
The Flash has been building toward the reveal of the speedster’s identity to Iris all season, and the fallout offers some compelling character moments between father and daughter as well as Iris and Barry. Although Iris may move past the betrayal a bit fast for a season-long arc, she is forced to put it aside in order to save Barry from Grodd; she takes on the role previously held by Wells as the one to guide Barry when he needs it most.
With only two more episodes left of the season, it's unclear if Iris will continue to work as closely with Team Flash as she does in "Grodd Lives," but with old friends and new allies joining the fight in the finale, it seems like the face-off with Reverse-Flash will be an all-hands-on-deck battle. Looking beyond season 1, Iris will likely be more involved with Barry's life-saving missions in season 2.
3. General Eiling Returns
Last we saw Eiling, Wells had kidnapped and left the general with Grodd in the sewer where many thought he was killed. The WonderCon trailer teased that Eiling remained with the living, and in "Grodd Lives" he was revealed to be under the gorilla's telepathic thumb. However, Grodd's control over Eiling is broken when Barry lures the gorilla in front of an oncoming train.
Eiling has previously been somewhat of an enemy to Barry due to his treatment of metahumans. Now, though, the two have a common enemy in Wells and they part on better terms with Eiling promising to leave Barry alone while he hunts a particular gorilla. However, this is certainly not the last time Barry will cross paths with the general - though perhaps it is for this season.
4. The Thawne Bloodline
While Barry and his friends are distracted by Grodd, Wells/Eobard Thawne has Eddie tied up in an underground control room. In last week's episode, Wells revealed himself to be Eddie’s distant relative from the future. Now, in "Grodd Lives," Wells reveals quite a bit about the Thawne family as well as Eddie's own future.
Wells describes Eddie's life as boring and undistinguished; he is one of the few Thawnes who will be all but forgotten by the time Eobard is alive. Additionally, Wells reveals to Eddie that Iris will not marry him and will, in fact, wed Barry. Of course, given the rules of time travel already introduced on The Flash, it's difficult to tell whether Wells' words will alter Eddie's life or simply put him on the path he was always meant to take. However, these revelations will certainly impact Eddie's relationships with Iris and Barry once he escapes from Wells.
5. Time to Go Home
Viewers have known for many episodes that Wells' endgame has included using Barry's super-speed to travel back to his home - a few centuries in the future. However, we have been kept in the dark about exactly how Wells would manage such a feat. While his way of traveling home hasn't yet been explained, the final scene of "Grodd Lives" reveals he's close to setting his plan in motion, and will use the particle accelerator to do so.
Since Wells always planned for the particle accelerator to fail the first time (thus granting Barry his powers and leading them on this path), it's possible he has rebuilt the device in order to help him return home. How Barry fits into this plan, however, is still unclear. With only two episodes left, though, viewers won't need to wait long to find out how The Flash wraps up its first season.
What do you think Harrison Wells has planned for The Flash? Share your thoughts and theories about “Grodd Lives” in the comments below!
The Flash continues returns next Tuesday with "Rogue Air" @8PM on The CW. Check out the synopsis and preview for the episode below:
“Rogue Air” — STEPHEN AMELL, ROBBIE AMELL, WENTWORTH MILLER, LIAM MCINTYRE AND DOUG JONES GUEST STAR — As Wells (Tom Cavanagh) once again gets the upper hand on the S.T.A.R. Labs team, Barry (Grant Gustin) realizes he needs to make a big move and reaches out to an old foe, Captain Cold (guest star Wentworth Miller), for help. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) warn Barry that Cold can’t be trusted. True to form, Cold has his own agenda that involves the meta-humans trapped in the containment cells. As things seem to be going from bad to worse, The Flash gets reinforcements – Arrow (guest star Stephen Amell) and Firestorm (guest star Robbie Amell). Doug Aarniokoski directed the episode written by Aaron Helbing & Todd Helbing (#122).