TV Review: The Flash (1×21) “Grodd Lives”

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Oh, look. Look at what happens when you give Candice Patton anything to work with and see how well she delivers?

I’ve grown 100% more frustrated with the shows treatment of Iris in the span of an episode. Grodd was fantastic but let’s be clear, Iris stole the show as characters like Joe and Barry floundered for ways to explain away their deceit, even with them believing it was all with the best intentions.

I do like that the show almost admitted that it was a set up episode with the characters realizing that Wells was likely using Grodd as a distraction, much like the show was using the telepathic gorilla. It doesn’t make the inclusion of the villain any less exciting, particularly for fans who knew of the character prior to the show. The episode itself was pretty strong with some high tension stakes filtered throughout.

To break it down:

Not God-Grodd!

So, a few months ago I was watching another CW show that I love, The 100, and in one of the episodes there was a deranged, CGI, gorilla hunting down two of the characters.

It was laughable.

So needless to say I wasn’t completely sold on the inclusion of Grodd on the show even if The Flash has proven throughout its first season that it has a smart hand on how and when they utilize their CGI. For the most part I was excited that the show was daring enough to showcase a potentially polarizing character in the first place, a character that easily takes away any lingering “realistic” edge the show had going on for it. Grodd is ridiculous. It’s a super-powered gorilla with telepathic powers that’s been living in the sewers for a year.

It works and the CGI was pretty impressive, especially when the CW budget is factored in. On top of that Grodd is a legitimate threat to the team and when Cisco, Joe and Barry are walking through the sewers, tracking him its shot like and old fashioned horror movie, refusing to show him in full until Joe is cowered and cornered and as vulnerable as the come. Barry is lucky that there was a train coming by to hit Grodd because I’m not sure he would have had a chance against him otherwise, especially in a time where he isn’t fully on his A game.

The ending shot promises for more of the character and I can’t wait. If Grodd is going to join the ranks of characters like Captain Cold that are recurring, likening back to the comics more than anything on the show, I can only look forward to their next appearance. It brings an element of pulpy fun to the show. They’re not afraid to rehash old villains because they know how to write them so they’re interesting, legitimate threats and play well against team Flash.

We won’t be seeing a villain like Grodd on television any time soon.

Iris Is the Hero We Deserve

I’ve spoke before about how Patton deserves more on the show. Iris’s exclusion from the truth has only grown more and more frustrating as the season has progressed and it’s begun to feel more and more sexist the more it progressed. The two male characters protecting the female character when in reality they were only placing her in harm’s way is an archaic trope and it’s even more exhausted now.

I can’t explain my satisfaction when Iris laid into both her father and Barry. She tells Barry that they’re best friends and are supposed to be able to tell one another everything and he’s been hiding the biggest part of himself for months.  Barry’s only defense is to say that Iris has also been hiding things from him, like her true feelings for Barry and it’s such a weak defense in light of everything that’s going on including her father’s kidnapping by a man gorilla that I couldn’t help but just roll my eyes at him.

There’s a time and place for everything Barry.

What was even greater though was Iris’s confrontation with Joe towards the start of the episode. She yells at him that all of the secrets he’s kept have just kept them at a distance while also putting Iris not only in harm’s way but also as an obstacle to get around when trying to get jobs done. She says that if they had told her she would have been able to help and would have been able to keep an eye out for foul play.

She goes on to prove just how much she’s worth when she helps the Star Labs crew locate Joe and then manages to talk Barry out of a mind control bender. Patton kills these moments and she could be one of the greatest parts of this show if it simply lets her.

Her ending is ambiguous and I’m glad she’s not letting Barry off the hook so easily.

And A Whole Lot of Other Stuff

Other things happened. Wells got to Eddie when he tells him that Eddie is the only Thawne to have never made a mark in history and that he also doesn’t marry Iris, Barry does.

Harsh.

It’s a small development but I’m curious to see what kind of role Eddie is going to take for the remainder of the series.

Cisco and Caitlin are largely sidelined for the episode even if Cisco continues to prove his infinite movie knowledge. And Barry, Barry’s a little frustrating this week.

A good episode and a fantastically fun episode, it’s nice to see how fearless the show is in regards to what storylines they tackle and when.

Only two episodes left! What are we going to do all summer without it?

8/10

She is a 23 year old in Boston MA. She is hugely passionate about film, television and writing. Along with theyoungfolks, she also is a contributor over at TheMarySue.com . You can contact her on Twitter (@AllysonAJ) or via email: allyson@theyoungfolks.com.
  • Totally agree with this review. Iris Best and Curious Grodd made for a fantastic episode. Even though Barry was a wee bit frustrating, I was glad he took responsibility for his lies and apologized. Even gladder that Joe acknowledged that his version of “protection” must be stopped at all costs, lol.

    And poor Eddie! I’m really concerned that Eobard is gonna succesfully brainwash him into becoming a villain by the end of the season.

  • MPaule77

    Good review. Yes, Iris West was the MVP of this episode. Like you’ve said Candice Patton is able to deliver. Such a talented actress. I was asking myself: Is this the CW Network or ABC/CBS/FOX? Iam hoping that they will not waist her talent again. Eobard Thawne is such a ruthless SOB. Poor Eddie was almost crying: No Iris for you. Oh boy, I can’t wait to see what will happen next.