You can't complain too much about a show with Grodd as a villain, who is also legitimately frightening. But better yet, The Flash has fixed Iris, and with that, complaints couldn't be harder to find.
The secret’s out, the whole gang knows it’s true, and with it the show became so much more exciting in its last two episodes: Iris (Candice Patton) sucked until she knew that The Flash is Barry (Grant Gustin). It was inevitable that Iris would confront her best friend and father. What’s even better is that we get to see her digging into things first. She reacts to the knowledge not by crying, but by testing Barry. Patton’s great in this episode, finally showing more of that good “ol ‘gumption” that she claimed to have back in episode 12. Iris investigates a little, argues passionately with Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Barry, and still she comes around to the idea. In Arrow, revelations like that have destroyed character’s relationships for torturously long periods of time. But on the show with the fastest man alive, there is no time for that. Finally the ‘Scarlet Speedster Squad’ has all the people in Barry’s life working together, inside the circle.
And then there’s Grodd. It is a huge gamble to put a character as outwardly ridiculous as he is onscreen. When General Eiling (Clancy Brown) turns up once more under his control, it feels like the show will lose all sense of itself. However, Grodd is genuinely scary. Joe being captured by something that he deeply fears (gorillas) and Martin’s excellent performance of a terrified man really sell what the small visual effects budget can’t quite do on its own. Speaking in terse, tough, telepathic sentences, like “GRODD. HATE. BANANA,” keeps him from the unbelievable. His dialogue matches his physical persona. It was also brilliant to see a villain that The Flash has to figure out an entirely new way to fight. Each villain always has unique weaknesses and strength, however all too often feels like Barry just punches them all out of existence. Grodd is however, a giant gorilla. A gorilla who surprisingly, appears to like Caitlin, and is loved by Wells (Tom Cavanagh).
Wells is the other delight of the episode. Finally going full-tilt with the cackling villainy, it is an utter joy to watch and hear his self-aggrandising speech about the Thawne bloodline. The only downside about his scenes is that they do not add much to the episode’s own story. Rather they are clearly intended to be building to the series’ climax in just under two weeks’ time. Even without much to do however, Cavanagh and his character remain utterly delightful. The balance the show has found is definitely a recent strength. But even with less to do and less character beats for themselves, both Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) fit well into the crammed cast. Not easy, when a gorilla takes up so much space.
The Flash is broadcast on Sky One, Tuesdays at 8pm