‘The Flash’ Season 1 Recap, Episode 21, ‘Grodd Lives’
Welcome back to Up To Speed, home of the the Flashest Recaps Alive. Here we’ll recap the latest episode of The Flash, dispense some Flash Facts and talk about what works, what doesn’t and where the series might be headed, as we try and keep up with the adventures of the fastest man alive, Barry Allen, more widely known as The Flash.
This week we go ape over the pen-penultimate episode of the season: episode 21, "Grodd Lives." It features a giant psychic ape who lives in the sewers and does murders. What else do you want? Hit the jump for our recap.
FLASHBACK: What Happened This Week
The episode starts with the usual opening voiceover, only this time, it's not Barry Allen, it's Iris West again. The last time we had this was episode 6, "The Flash Is Born." In her opening, she's lamenting about how she now knows Barry is the Flash and that he's basically been lying to her face for the last … 20 episodes. Which sucks. Meanwhile, Barry's flashing all over town, ostensibly looking for Iris' boyfriend, Eddie Thawne, who was captured by his great-great-great grandson and Flash villain The Reverse Flash in the previous episode. It's been quite the week for Iris, basically.
At Central City Police Headquarters, Captain Singh is busting Joe West and Barry Allen's collective balls about Eddie, who, as I mentioned, has been kidnapped by his super-powered progeny. Singh's all bent out of shape because somebody's been hitting up gold stores (which I guess is a thing?) and stealing all the gold. Once Sing's out of earshot, Joe asks Barry if he's managed to find Eddie yet, but Barry's had no luck. Which is suspicious to me, as he found The Trickster's fake bomb in like 35 seconds not that long ago, but maybe I'm just being paranoid and Barry is actually scouring the town, looking for his secret sister love's live-in boyfriend. Anything is possible.
Up in his lab, Barry's shuffling papers around when Iris storms in, and, you may not be able to pick up on it, but she is a little upset, J/K, it's Iris, so she's a subtle as a heart attack as she talks around how she knows Barry's the Flash and has been lying to her for forever now. She lets Barry dig himself pretty deep as Barry tries to assure her that he's sure "the Flash" will find Eddie, but Iris just rolls her eyes and lets him keep digging.
Meanwhile, outside The Gold Store, some Federal Reserve guards are loading up a truck with a literal ton of gold when the world's worst Wild Dog cosplayer lumbers in and fires a bazooka full of dodgy CGI at the van.
At STAR Labs, Cisco is decommissioning Wells/Thawne's creeper cams when him and Barry get the call that there's bazooka crimes going on in Goldtown, so Barry flashes over there and confronts the perp, only he gets some brain feedback thing and has flashes of doctors operating on him and Barr does some entry-level Shatner-ian freak-out dance.
Back at STAR Labs, they check out his brain, but neither Caitlin or Cisco can figure out what's up with him, even though we all know it's Grodd doing brain stuff to him, right? Barry's like, "Yeah, he really did a whammy on my brain," and then Iris just waltzes into the middle of STAR Labs and is like, "DID SOMEBODY SAY BRAIN WHAMMY? Cuz that is what you all did to meeeee!" It's seriously the most shoehorned, hamfisted thing ever. It's hamshoed. It's beautiful.
C+C Science Factory discuss the ethical implications of eavesdropping on the conversation but then decide it's too fun not to listen in on Iris and Barry's convo. Iris is all, "Does Eddie know?" Barry's like, "Yep. Also, Doctor Wells is the Man In Yellow and he killed my mom. And Darth Vader is Luke's father. And don't get me started on the Easter Bunny…" Then Barry throws Joe under the bus, telling Iris that it was his idea not to tell her and and Iris just walks out because really.
There's a scene in the Thawne Cave, but the only thing you need to know from that convo is that Eobard is working on a contraption, and when he gets mad, his eyes glow. The end.
At the newspaper office --- which is empty, bee-tee-dubs --- Iris is looking at old newspapers about Nora Allen's death and making notes that seem kind of redundant when you know that Team Barry has a whole Crazy Board dedicated to this. Again, maybe they should have clued her in a lot earlier. Joe comes in and gets the silent treatment. He launches into the, "I was just trying to keep you safe," rigmarole, which Iris calls BS on. Then Joe lets slip that the Man In Yellow (let's just call him the Reverse Flash, okay? It sounds less like the guy who takes care of Curious George that way.) killed Mason Bridge and Iris blows up, saying that not only should Joe have told her about Barry being the Flash, but he also should have told her that Barry loved her (Joe's right here, it wasn't his place to tell her that) and that if they's have told her, Eddie would maybe be not kidnapped now and all of this is Joe's fault.
At STAR Labs, Barry says that the Federal Reserve is gonna transfer a bunch of gold and that they think Bazooka Man is gonna go after it. Caitlin asks how they're gonna transfer it and SMASH CUT TO: an ice cream truck? Okay. I mean, it has wheels, so I guess this is a plan? Joe and a bunch of SWAT guys are crowded around a bunch of gold in the back of the ice cream truck when Bazooka Joe blows up a land mine and starts shooting the guys in side the truck. It's almost as if he could read their minds and knew how they were gonna transport the gold!
Joe manages to clip Bazooka Joe one time, but right before Bazooks can return the favor, Barry swoops in and punches the dude out cold. They pull off the mask and it's… Actual Human Giant Clancy Brown as General Wade Eiling?! Which explains why Bazooka Joe looked and walked like a middle-aged dude cosplaying! He was a middle-aged dude cosplaying! DUN-DUN-DUUUUN!
At the Secret STAR Labs prison, they put Eiling in a cell, but he's standing up all weird and creepy. Turns out he's been missing for three months, but when they ask him questions, he answers in a low, gruff voice and Clancy Brown does a good gorilla voice, y'all. They play 20 questions with Eiling and figure out that he's channeling Grodd, a gorilla that Eiling and Wells had been experimenting on years ago. Eiling was trying to make psychic super soldiers, but Wells found out he was being a big meanie and put the kibosh on the experiments, presumably keeping Grodd in the basement of the Reactor until he got loose when it all went ka-blooey.
Caitlin looks at some brain scans from Eiling and they figure out that Grodd is using him as a meat puppet. Joe theorizes that Grodd and Wells might be working together, and if they find Grodd, they'll find Wells and, as Iris --- who has once again slipped through whatever passes for security at STAR Labs --- points out, they find Wells, they find Eddie.
So, Cisco, Joe and Barry are headed down to Turdtown to flush out Grodd, while Iris and Caitlin have a chat about Barry lying and how Caitlin lied to her about Ronnie, who Iris has figured out is The Man On Fire. The Toilet Boys find a bunch of writing on the walls, showing Grodd's progression from simple ape to super-brain ape, but then they hear some pretty gorilla-ish noises and things get tense. Also, Joe brought a banana for Grodd, which is hilarious, and also opportune, as he's the one that Grodd drags off into his lair when Grodd starts tossing Barry around with his mind powers.
Joe wakes up and Grodd is all set to make him blow his own brains out with his cop pistol, but he lets Joe live because of reasons. Joe hilariously offers Grodd the banana, but Grodd growls, gives him a look like, "Are you kidding me with this?" and then he stalks off into the turd tunnels.
At STAR Labs, the Labbers figure out that Barry's mind flashes were a psychic attack from Grodd, but they're not sure how to combat it. Iris gets mad that they can't save her dad or her boyfriend, so she storms off. Barry follows her and gives her a speech about how he should have told her he was the Flash and we're all like, "Well, duh you dumb dummy. Obviously."
In the Thawne Cave, Eddie's still poking at Eobard, calling him a dummy. Eobard shuts him down, saying that Eddie is considered a failure in the future. He sucks as a cop, he sucks as a dude and he doesn't even marry Iris, showing him the "Iris West-Allen" byline on his future newspaper. Poor Eddie is crushed, as usual.
At STAR Labs, Cisco whipped up an anti-psychic attack crown thingy and Barry heads down to the sewers to fight Grodd. Cisco flushes Grodd out by venting steam on him to move him into position for a Super-Punch like Barry did to Girder (RIP) way back in the aforementioned Episode 6. I'd be lying if there's not a primal, giddy nerd thrill when one sees a run-fast super-guy with a modified Burger King crown running full-speed toward a psychic murder gorilla. The unabashed goofiness of the whole thing is something to behold. The fact that Grodd sees it coming and… totally dodges it is icing on the cake.
Barry tries speed-punching Grodd, but he's a really giant meta-gorilla, so it doesn't work at all. Barry winds up getting thrown through a wall with a service train coming straight at him. To make matters worse, Grodd knocked his Magic Burger King crown off, so he's getting the psychic feedback attack, too. Luckily, Iris is in the control booth and her sweet, sisterly voice manages to snap Barry out of it and he tricks Grodd into stepping in front of an oncoming train. Then he gets Joe and they get out of there.
In the secret prison, Eiling is back to normal, barking orders at Barry and demanding to be let out. Barry lets him out, but also vaguely threatens him, and Eiling is like, "Oh, so I know you're the Flash, and I'll probably be calling you to help me some time in the future."
In the STAR Labs recovery room, Joe is joking off three cracked ribs before he gets serious and tries to apologize a little better to Iris. It works, with Joe agreeing to trust Iris enough to tell her the truth, and yet again, Jesse L. Martin continues to be the best part of this show. Meanwhile, the rest of the team compare notes: Grodd was sent there to distract them/us, Cisco can build tech without Wells, and Iris is a valued member of the team now.
At the CC Jitters roof, Iris is here in her Thinkin' Spot and Barry shows up to try, once again, to get iris to love him despite the fact that she's living with Eddie --- who Barry has yet to find, BTW --- but Iris sort of points out that while she's started to think about Barry as more than a brother-type guy, she kind of already has a boyfriend and maybe can you please find him, okay?
Then there's what is probably just some spare CGI footage of Grodd climbing up a building, so he's still alive! Yay!
And finally, in the Thawne Cave, which apparently has been under the Reactor this whole time, Eobard has finished his contraption and, once he deposits it in a secret receptacle, he's ready "to go home."
FLASH FACTS: Random Observations
- Gorilla Grodd was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino and first appeared in The Flash #106, in May of 1959. Grodd was originally a regular old ape whose troupe of fellow apes got smartened up by an alien spacecraft/meteor, granting Grodd and a few others telepathic powers as well as super-smarts. They live in a hidden city of gorillas called --- you guessed it --- Gorilla City. There's a JLA Classified arc written by Grant Morrison, with art by Ed McGuinness that sort of bridges the gap between Morrison's JLA run and what he winds up exploring in Seven Soldiers that features an iteration of Gorilla Grodd who likes to eat humans. It's a lot of fun.
- So Iris finally knows. I could nitpick how it was handled, but I'm instead going to hope for the best as they integrate her into the STAR Labs support team and hopefully give her something to do beyond be a girlfriend or love interest. She works at a newspaper! That should be exciting and something that can drive some stories!
- This isn't the first DC character portrayed by David Sobolov, the voice actor who portrayed Grodd. He also apparently voiced The Main Man, Lobo in Injustice: Gods Among Us, a game where every superhero looks like they have a bad case of diarrhea and also just found out that they cancelled Alf.
- There's a deleted scene from this episode on the E! website that lets us know whose cell probably stinks like peanut farts.
- I had some high expectations for this episode, and while I'm not completely disappointed, it still didn't manage to grab me beyond a few moments. Iris needed to scream and kick more. Grodd needed to ham it up more. Barry needed to get beat up more. Maybe those scenes with Eddie and Eobard could have been condensed into an end-of-episode tease? The first one seemed especially unnecessary except to tell up that Eddie is, in fact, still alive. Also, the running gag where Cisco just makes weird movie references every two seconds was kind of annoying, (the Jurassic Park one made zero sense) and I usually appreciate Cisco.
FLASH FORWARD: Future Happenings
Next week, the penultimate episode int hie first season, "Rogue Air," which brings back Firestorm and Arrow to help Barry take down The Reverse Flash.
Until then, Make Mine Flashy!