“The Flash – “Grodd Lives” aired Tuesday, May 5th. (5 stars)
The endgame of The CW’s freshman drama “The Flash” has taken a decidedly darker and more somber note than what we have come to expect from the series. While the show is still bright and more optimistic than “Arrow”, due largely in part to Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdez), the past few episodes have been more serious in tone as Team Flash has begun their investigation into Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne (Tom Cavanaugh). While the team is still searching Central City for the missing Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett), Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) share a moment that continues their will they? won’t they? relationship. Iris suspects that Barry is The Flash after their literal spark from last week when she touched his hand. Annoyingly for her, Barry still is playing aloof and doesn’t reveal his identity to her. None of that matters though because later she walks into S.T.A.R. Labs and sees him in full costume. Barry tells Iris that the secret identity needed to be preserved in order to protect her; her father Det. Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) was in on the secret as well. Both men felt that it was in her best interest that she didn’t know. Iris grows upset with Barry and blames her father for Eddie being kidnapped by Wells. She believes that if she knew Barry was really The Flash, instead of being a target, she’d be able to better prepare and help support the team.
Elsewhere in Central City, in an underground facility/sewers, Eobard Thawne has Eddie Thawne. The men talk and while not much else is revealed about Eobard’s plan, he does say that Eddie is the one forgotten member of the Thawne family. The interplay between Eobard and Eddie is a relationship that we’ve been waiting for since Rick Cosnett was first announced as playing a Thawne. Tom Cavanaugh, miles away from his performance on NBC’s “Ed”, comes off as one of the most exciting villains on screen. Cavanaugh, a very talented actor, brings both a charm and danger to the role of Wells/Thawne and is the highlight of every scene he appears. Including the scene after the credits when we find out that Wells/Thawne has finally discovered the way back to the future – his future.
The biggest moment of “Grodd Lives” is there in the title. Gorilla Grodd, after being teased since the pilot episode, finally makes his full appearance in this week’s episode. Grodd, the subject of much speculation about how he’d be portrayed, is so life-like you could easily place the giant, telepathic gorilla within the “Planet of the Apes” or “King Kong” movies. Yes, Grodd looks that good and The CW has shown that they will not spare any expense when it comes to bringing DC Comics characters to the screen. The effects on “The Flash” have been so strong that I need to constantly reiterate that each week feels like a mini-movie.
We learn that Grodd was being experimented on by General Eiling (Clancy Brown) and Wells, but Wells was against the experimentation. After the particle accelerator incident, Grodd turned into a meta-gorilla with the ability to transmit neural signals to others. He also is incredibly fast and strong. Just imagine what he’ll be like once he obtains the speed force! As Grodd is shown evolving and becoming adept enough to write and draw, Team Flash head to the sewers to track him down. In the sewers, Grodd psychically attacks Joe West and the scene plays out as one of the scariest and most intense moments of the series. Grodd has Joe draw his gun and aim it at his temple. Joe is scared as it seems that the meta-gorilla will have the man kill himself, but then he has him throw away his gun. Barry eventually tracks down Grodd again; this time with help from Cisco, Caitlin, and IRIS, he plans on delivering a supersonic punch to Grodd after they manuever him into an area by using steam. Barry heads at a supersonic speed, but Grodd catches his fist mid-air. The iconic characters have a brawl that sees Barry tossed through a wall and almost hit by a train. Grodd then mentally attacks Barry, but Iris is able to talk him through it. He then fights with Grodd and the gorilla gets hit by the next oncoming train.
At the end of “Grodd Lives”, we learn that the infamous Flash villain has lived up to the title name of the episode. Grodd is seen climbing up a building and then jumping right at the camera! What a terrific setup for more of Gorilla Grodd and kudos to Clancy Brown for playing not only General Eiling, but voicing Grodd as well!
*Let’s not forget Mr. Clancy Brown was also the voice of Lex Luthor for “Superman: The Animated Series.”
“The Flash” airs Tuesday nights at 8 pm on The CW. Check your local listings.