The Flash settles into a new groove as Harrison Wells finds his center.
One of the biggest themes throughout both this episode and The Flash as a whole is fathers. Barry had three of them. Now he has two. Gorilla Grodd had one. Now he has none. “Gorilla Warfare” features the return of the aforementioned psychic ape, and he does not disappoint (despite the inherent problems with an all-CGI character in a show of this budget).
After Caitlin is mind controlled by Grodd (in an effort to use her expertise to create more psychic gorillas for him), Team Flash leaps into action. With Barry sidelined for most of the episode while he recovers from the severed spine he received courtesy of Zoom, it falls upon Cisco and Earth-2 Wells (who it’s time to just start calling “Harry”) to do their best. After Harry nearly returns to Earth-2 early on, it falls to him to fight Grodd. The cleverness of the episode lies in how Team Flash decides to do this. Wells looks exactly like the Wells Grodd knows as father, so of course they use him (and a handy Reverse Flash costume) to trick Grodd into letting Caitlin go. This show has gotten and likely will continue to get a lot mileage out of the relationships each of the central characters forged with the original Harrison Wells.
This manifests in two ways: first, when Barry sees Wells in the Reverse Flash suit, he loses his mind for a second and attacks, briefly regaining his speed (the loss of which was mostly psychosomatic). Secondly, in a very fun sequence before the first Grodd confrontation, Cisco teaches Harry how to sound and act like the original Wells. It’s no coincidence that what Cisco uses to teach Harry how to pass as his alternate self is the opening of Wells’s “you taught me what it’s like to have a son” speech from last season. This episode belongs to Tom Cavanagh, from his callousness with Caitlin, to his earnest acceptance with Cisco, to his chillingly good self-impression with Grodd.
The subplots tonight were especially sub-, featuring Barry’s minor crisis of confidence (solved suspiciously easily by a returning John Wesley Shipp), and Barry’s attempts to hide his brief paralysis from Patty (resolved suspiciously easily by Grant Gustin and Shantel VanSanten’s chemistry). I’m not saying that either of these characters are hiding anything, just that the more conspiratorial among you may wonder just who is under that Zoom mask.
Anyway, where all of this is going is that The Flash still knows where its bread is buttered: daddy issues and giant psychic gorillas. Also, we saw Gorilla City for a second. So that’s neat.
Episode Grade: B+