‘The Flash’ Post-Show Analysis, Season 3 Episode 14, ‘Attack On Central 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, there are Gorillas in the midst, more than one Vibe is felt, and there's a veritable cavalcade of Cavanagh performances. "Attack on Central City" was directed by Dermott Downs, story by Todd Helbing, and teleplay written by Benjamin Raab and Deric A. Hughes.
Dylan: After last week’s jaunt to Gorilla City, Grodd takes the fight to Flash and his pals in this week’s episode. We also got the return of She-Vibe, some Twells/Thrells feuding, and a lot of lovey-dovey crap. How’d you like the episode this week, Z?
Ziah: Man, I’m torn. I really enjoyed parts of this episode, but as a whole, the pacing felt off, and I kept glancing at how much time was left. Although, and I know we’re gonna have one of our patented Thrells disagreements, but I thought he was actually better than Twells this episode. Can we exchange Friends’ Day cards to make up?
Dylan: Oh I definitely agree that a lot of it dragged. It didn’t help that the budget meant that we had to find clever ways to build suspense while we waited and waited for the gorillas to show up.
And speaking of gorillas, everybody’s favorite psychic ape brought all his gorilla pals to Central City to see the sights, maybe take in a show or visit the museum where they tell you about the old cow man. Oh, and also to conquer Earth and get revenge on humankind for their abuse and wrongdoings. Their plan mostly consists to trying to mind-control She-Vibe, and, after that fails, mind-jacking the most Canadian man in the US Armed Forces to try and launch some missiles at the Ol’ CC. And when that fails, they just try and fight Flash with sheer brute force. How’d you like the gorilla portion of the episode?
Ziah: I kept forgetting it was happening! That really seems to be a problem I’ve always had with Gorilla Grodd as a character is that he’s so often either a telepathic, scheming gorilla mastermind, or just a straight-up savage gorilla man, and occasionally just both in different parts of the same story. I guess it always just nags me that he chooses either Professor-X manipulation or Savage Sword of Grodd and never both at the same time? Like bud, just try doing some telepathy during the big gorilla fight.
Dylan: Yeah, them trying to work around a limited budget was… something, though it did give us a few great moments, namely Grodd trying to make Joe blow his own head off and also him impersonating an Army Man who grunted, “Hrm sick,” to a subordinate before unlocking missiles. Oh, and the worst use of super speed ever as Barry raced against time to crack the US government’s missile PIN. I mean, at least he wasn’t having to outrun the missiles, right?
Ziah: I love actors having to do a Gorilla Grodd impression, those have been the best parts of the episodes by a mile. But Dylan, you’ve got a better memory than me... I could’ve sworn that we already saw him plug in all numbers in at lightspeed to figure out a code. Did I make that up?
Dylan: Maybe? It’s been a hot minute if so. Also, I took a heavy blow to the head which affects my long-term memory and makes it so I can’t spell Tom Cavanagh’s last name correctly with any sort of consistency. Which might explain why I forgot this thing if, in fact, he ever did it. Which I’m not sure that he did.
Ziah: Oh no, are you Guy Gardner? Have I been writing this column with Guy Gardner this whole time?
Hmmm. Well, either way, I was hoping for some super-speed tornadoes or something, but it was basically just a Flash DDOS-attack, so whatever.
Dylan: The secondary plots are all love-related, as this is the two-weeks-late Valentine’s Day episode. The justification for it is that Thrells’ earth’s Friend’s Day celebration, which is just as awful as everybody’s favorite drumstick-wielding d-bag. Let’s start with the Speed Kids and their drama. How’d the Wally/Jesse stuff work for you?
Ziah: Dylan, I’m really cheering for these two kids! Twells just inventing Plot Cancer was the kind of skeevy-genius I’ve been missing, and I really enjoyed Jesse immediately realizing that her dad’s full of gorilla poop. Dylan, maybe I’m a romantic, but I’m really hopeful for these earth-crossed lovers.
Dylan: I hope they’re happy together, I really do. How’d you like Twells’ interloping?
Ziah: Into it. Twells has been super controlling in every other father-daughter interaction we’ve seen, so him just rolling with “Dad, I’ve met a really cool guy and we have a connection, so I’m moving into another parallel reality” with fake support was hilarious. I like that Twells is Barry’s mentor and confidant, and Thrells is Wally’s, too. It’s a nice way to distinguish what they bring to the plot (beyond pure joy).
Dylan: I also liked that Wally totally forgot that Twells 100% totally killed at least one person to keep Jesse safe. Wally, you better take care of her because dude has a space-gun and he is not afraid to use it.
Ziah: Oh yeah! Him just shooting She-Vibe without hesitation was rad, too. I always forget how competent Twells was last season.
Dylan: He was the competent-est for sure. Straight out of Competenton.
In other cross-reality relationshippery, we also saw the return of She-Vibe, and He-Vibe finally gets a kiss. Finally. Do you think maybe these kids have a shot? (Cuz as much as I want Cisco to find love, I think it’s kind of weird that he’s in love with himself from another reality.)
Ziah: No way in hell, Dyl-bo Baggins. Some lone wolves trot a lonely path, and Francisco “Get The Reference?” Ramon is one of those wolf... men? Lone Wolfmen. Like Lon Chaney Jr.
Anyway, I continue to love that Cisco has a very specific type: pseudo-bad girls in leather who actually have heart. Also, who wouldn’t fall in love with a sexy version of yourself from another universe? Don’t tell me you’ve never thought about it.
Dylan: I… uh… I can neither confirm or deny this --- shut up.
Switching from romances to bromances, we got double the Wells action this week, as we get Thrells and Twells trying to find a way to not kill each other. You had to have been in Cavanagh heaven, right?
Ziah: Cavan't a doubt in my mind, Dylan. It was sheer poetry. Thrells even wrote him a Friends’ Day card! That was decorated with molecules because he knows there’s a very, very, very, subatomically-small chance that they’ll ever be friends! It was cute; I continue to like Thrells. Three more years! Three more years!
Dylan: Ha! Okay, don’t tell anybody but I did kind of almost like Thrells this week.
Ziah: I always knew we’d wear you down eventually. What was the moment?
Dylan: When he was almost useful. Otherwise, I just… he’s not my fave.
Ziah: When he reverse "Take On Me"-d the general? That was great. You gotta love Earth-19 philosopher Alfred Yankovic right?
Dylan: Weird Al is a philosopher here on Earth-Prime, too, if you ask me.
They managed to save a couple bombshells for the last few minutes, huh? First off, Barry finally works up the nerve to ask Iris to marry him, which is kind of huge! Hard to believe that just two seasons ago we were super-icked out by their relationship! And we still kind of probably are! But I mean, they’re getting married and there’s nothing we can do but just let it happen, I guess!
Ziah: Honestly, I’ve been enjoying it lately. They’ve stopped saying, “We grew up together. We know everything about each other!” which has definitely helped. And Iris talked Barry down from killing Gorilla Grodd which… Well, good on her for supporting her partner, but can we talk about this a bit?
How weird is it that they’re pretending Barry’s never killed anybody? He definitely killed at least five dudes last season pretty directly, I remember. I heard Arrow sort-of did the same thing, but then they retconned that retcon so that he’s actually atoning for his serial murders (which was mentioned this episode), so I dunno, man.
Dylan: Yeah, they’ve managed to rehab the Barry/Iris relationship quite a bit, but every now and then I remember where we started and I just can’t. But also, uh, does this make you wonder about Iris’ fate with them pulling this card out, knowing what awaits Iris unless something drastically alters the timeline between now and the season finale?
Ziah: I… am pretty sure she’s gonna live? Fans seem to love the relationship, and with daddy Johns running the show, there’s no way they’re gonna change Barry’s relationship status from the original comics.
Dylan: Who knows?! Maybe she’ll still die and he’ll Flashpoint everything again next season to bring her back. Dude’s not very bright, as you well know.
Also, Ziah, uh, how did Barry light all those bajillion candles? Like, if he used his super-speed, wouldn’t the gust from him running just blow them out?
Ziah: Maybe he sets up a really giant multi-pronged fuse of candle-lighting juice. Or he just did it slowly. Or it’s a comic show so it doesn’t really matter! It’s a multiple-choice question.
Dylan: Finally, Wally got sent out for some pre-makeouts burgers and ran smack into… Megatron Speedster! I forgot about him. I guess it makes sense to get back on the Big Bad train as we close into the back third of the season. I gotta admit that I was totally fine doing other stuff. You? I guess what I’m getting at is that Savitar kind of sucks, especially when held up against two hyper-intelligent gorillas having a savage street fight in downtown Central City.
Ziah: Look, I don’t know who voices Savitar, but he definitely didn’t voice anyone from my childhood cartoons, so he can go suck an all-spark, or whatever it is Transformers do. I guess what I’m saying is, get Keith David back to do another voice.
Dylan: Amen to that. Anyway, we’re back next week with more Savitar, I guess, because the universe hates us.
Ziah: But, coming soon, we’ll get the Music Meister episode! Keep a tune in your heart and a smile on your face until next time!
Dylan: And real quick: I’ll be at Emerald City Comic Con this weekend, just wandering around, making jokes about Business Beanies. If you happen to bump into me, be sure to say hi. Oh, and I’ll be on a panel on Sunday morning, so check that out.
Ziah: I won’t be at ECCC, but if you find Dylan and ask about me, he might say, “Ziah? I haven’t heard that name in a long time,” and look off sadly into the distance. Or he’ll just talk gorilla poop about my taste in Wells’s. Until then: keep on flashin’!