‘The Flash’ Post-Show Analysis, Season 3 Episode 12, ‘Attack on Gorilla City’
Welcome back to Up To Speed, in which Flash TV show recappers Dylan Todd and Ziah Grace break down the latest episode of The Flash and talk about what works, what doesn’t, and where the series might be headed.
This week, Team Flash visits Gorilla City, Wally and Jesse explore their feelings, and Dylan and Ziah monkey around making gorilla puns. "Attack on Gorilla City" was directed by Dermott Downs, story by Andrew Kreisberg, with a teleplay by Aaron Helbing & David Kob.
Dylan: Imagine me singing “Gorilla City” to the tune of Jan & Dean’s “Surf City.” (Originally I was gonna say Prince’s “Erotic City,” but that song is too erotic.) This week’s episode saw the return of Jesse Quick, our pal Twells, and, most importantly, Gorilla Grodd. How’d you enjoy the episode, Ziah?
Ziah: Uh, let’s just say it was the best ape-based entertainment I’ve enjoyed since Ape Escape 2, Dylan. This was some just hardcore '90s-genre show, and it was hilarious the entire time. There are entire conversations around gorillas and the law of the jungle! Cisco makes multiple Planet of the Apes references! Delightful.
My favorite part of this whole bit was the cast and crew deciding how to make Northwestern Canada (Redwood trees and all!) look like central Africa, and them just straight up going with a yellow filter on the camera. Perfection. But yeah, Team Flash really isn’t good at plans, which is pretty par for the mini golf course if you know what I mean. Just a really dumb group of super-scientists.
Dylan: Agreed. By far the best part of the episode was the in-story gymnastics for why it looked like they were filming in Canada and not some generic “Africa,” (which brings up the problem I have whenever Gorilla City gets brought up: it’s just in “Africa,” which is a huge continent. Maybe get a little more specific?), and for why they couldn’t show CGI gorillas whenever they wanted and instead had Grodd talk through the cast members.
Ziah: Brief aside, disagree on the specifics on where it should be in Africa, cause like… What actual country should it be neighbors with in the fictional make-up? Probably for the best that it’s just “Central Africa” rather than being next to Chad or something.
Dylan: Listen man, my job isn’t to nail down Gorilla City’s exact location. My job is to just point out that it’s flimsy and also make really bad jokes about how great it would have been to be on set while Tom Cavanaugh was doing his Grodd lines in that voice.
Ziah: Fair! Also, I genuinely loved how Gorilla Grodd used Twells or Cisco to deliver exposition, and then stepped out to just put a cap on the scene with “Or you will die.” Dylan, why don’t we get set invitations? I feel like we’d be fun to have on set for Cavanaugh.
Dylan: Enh, depends on if it Twells Cavanaugh or Thrells Cavanaugh TBH. Speaking of Twells, he’s back! In pog form! The A-plot involves Team Flash headed to Earth-2 to investigate Harry Wells’ disappearance at Gorilla City, which is, uh, well, it’s exactly what it sounds like, which is to say a city of intelligent gorillas. Team Flash, aided by Juliana Jones, travels across dimensions and immediately get tranquilizer darted, because they’re so good at plans.
Ziah: Superman’s got kryptonite, Batman’s got bad writing, and The Flash is weak against darts! It checks out TBH.
Dylan: You’d think the same super-metabolism that stops him from being able to get drunk would also work against tranquilizer darts, but like the rain on Flash’s suit as they run through the jungle: the plot is gonna plot.
Ziah: There was no Toto this episode, Dylan, don’t lie.
Dylan: In any case, I’m gonna take some time to do the things we never had. (Quick aside: did you know the singer for Toto is legendary conductor John Williams’ son? Cuz he is. Wiki that ish.)
So uh, Ziah, we just watched a television show where the Flash fought a gorilla in a gladiator arena (gorriliator arena?), which is not really a thing I would have thought possible in our lifetime. Is it just me or did you pull a David Byrne and ask yourself, “Well… how did I get here?” It is --- and excuse me for saying this --- completely bananas, right?
Ziah: Booooooooo. Let’s fill this comments section with ghosts, people. Booooo. And yes, this was gorilla madness. They probably burned through their CGI budget for the year on this episode, but; Flash fought Solovar in an arena full of gorillas while Gorilla Grodd schemed to get power! Literal millions of people watched this! It’s crazy. Although we also have the DC films, so maybe there’s a monkey’s paw at work (ba-dum bum). Too bad we didn’t get to see Flash crowned as the champ(anzee) after that knock-out blow, huh?
Dylan: I would love if this season all of the sudden turned into the Star Labs team in a West Wing-style show about the ins-and-outs of running a gorilla kingdom on a parallel earth.
Ziah: If only we had a season about House of (Gorilla) Lies instead of Fast Transformer Man.
Dylan: Given the sting at the end of the episode --- with Grodd using She-Cisco to stage an invasion of Earth-CW --- it would definitely have made me happier to have Grodd be the season-long baddy pulling the strings for this one instead of yet another evil speedster, but you recap the season you have and not the season you want, right?
Anyway, the B-plot involves Wally and Jesse speedstering it up, with Wally trying to rekindle their… whatever it was they had before Jesse ran off to Earth-2. I don’t know about you, but I’m really rooting for these crazy kids.
Ziah: I am too! I did feel like the writing was roughest around their dialogue, but I like the idea of Jesse Quick being on the team, and her and Wally getting some ongoing interaction. Plus, and I know you’re going to hate me for saying this, anytime she and Thrells talked was my favorite part of the episode. He’s a dude that looks just like her dad, whose closest friend is a dude in his early-twenties, and he can’t even remember an ATM Number! I love this dude.
Dylan: Still the worst in my opinion, but oh well.
The Wally/Jesse stuff definitely requires a little selective memory to retrofit that they were always in super-duper move-to-another-parallel-reality love, instead of just… flirting, but I literally ship it.
Ziah: Hey man, kids tend to move... ”fast” these days.
Dylan. Ugh. Just… ugh.
We should also talk about Julian, who tags along in the most ridiculous get-up possible and is actually the most decent dude on the team. His speech to Caitlin about not giving into her inner Killer Frost, even if it means her team-mates would be saved, was great. I have really come around on this dude. How about you, Z?
Ziah: He’s a fun addition, but I wouldn’t get too attached, especially now that he and Caitlin are officially dating. New season, new dead boyfriend for ol’ Caitlin.
But, I’m glad you brought Julian up because his newcomer-status gives him a really nice entrypoint to be excited about things the rest of our cast aren’t. Cisco and Barry are all, “Oh, whatever, Gorilla City, 10 bucks for a banana, am I right?” while Julian can be stoked as hell that it’s a real place. Which means the audience can be excited. Just a nice way to remind viewers how friggin’ weird the DC universe is. Also, Blüdhaven shoutout! It’s the town that’s worse than Gotham! It’s the Vegas to Gotham’s Los Angeles!
Dylan: Side-eyeing you so hard right now. I loved Julian trying to wrap his head around parallel earths and talking gorillas, and then immediately going, “Oh wait, I’m going too. It’ll be the perfect time to reuse my Allan Quatermain cosplay from two Halloweens ago.”
Ziah: Ugh, he would be the type to dress as Allan Quartermain for Halloween.
Dylan: Julian at the Halloween party, all, “He’s the thinking man’s indiana Jones, actually.”
Ziah: Ugh. I do like that his solution to telepathic gorillas is a gun. Not even a big gun, just a regular ol’ gun. Cisco needs to hook him and West up with some super guns at this point, because it’s just getting embarrassing.
Dylan: Bring back Thrells’ fantasy Cable-sized gun from a couple episodes ago. Although, the last time Cisco made a gun for his buddies we wound up with Captain Cold, so I’m not sure that’s the best plan.
Ziah: Um, we got Wentworth Miller growling out sardonic cold puns, Dylhouse, I don’t think you know what best plans sound like.
So, not a lot of Twells goodness this episode, since he was mostly possessed by Grodd. (Grodd+Wells=Gwells?) Still, Tom Cavanagh can save anything, huh? He’s yelling about how he’s a gorilla, and I believe him.
Dylan: I’m just saying that if they released a version of this episode that was just Cavanaugh doing lines in that goofy gorilla voice, I’d buy 365 copies and watch one a day for a year.
Ziah: A Cavanagh Carnival?
Dylan: Hoo boy. But yeah, having him doing gorilla voice and having Keith David only do a handful of Solovar lines was kind of a waste, but I’ll take what I can get.
Ziah: I think he’s in the next episode too. But yeah! Keith David plays Solovar in this episode! I love hearing that dude’s voice. Did you know he was Spawn, in Spawn? You remember Spawn, Dylan?
Dylan: In the cartoon or the movie? Or both?
Ziah: The cartoon! Maybe the movie too, I never saw it.
Dylan: I looked it up on IMDB: it’s both.
I think I saw it? I think every comics nerd in the 90s was required to see it under penalty of death, though I couldn’t tell you what happened beyond John Leguizamo being absolutely terrifying. It was a weird time, Ziah. Nixon was in the White House, kids were headed off to Vietnam, Laugh In and love-ins, man. Sigh… those were the days.
But yeah, we talked about the stinger a little, but it looks like Barry put a pin in the gorilla attack a little prematurely, cuz they are gonna wreck Central City next week, huh?
Ziah: I am excited for Cisco to once again be hornt up because of a supervillainess when Cisca comes back to town. And the gorillas! Monkey madness!
Dylan: See you next time. Same ape time, same ape channel!