Series 2, Episode 7
Can we just get Legends of Tomorrow out of the way? I actually am really looking forward to it, and it'll probably be great fun, but both Arrow and The Flash have seemed to desperately want to promote it with often quite awkward and clunky 'set-up' moments (and sometimes set-up-entire-episodes, hello Fury of Firestorm) and it's murdering both series to death. Neither of this week's episodes are particularly bad for that - although both of them have Legends of Tomorrow set-up subplots - but I've seen the preview for the two episode Arrow/Flash crossover Legends of Today and Legends of Yesterday and I may have screamed quietly into a pillow for a few hours.
For people wondering how this will affect reviews when that rolls around, I'll probably review both as if they were a single Flash episode.
In this week's episode, Barry, still recovering from Zoom breaking his back, is faced with trouble when Caitlin is kidnapped by Grodd, who has grown more intelligent and who wants to create other super-intelligent, telepathic great apes. As Henry Allen returns to Central City to give Barry a pep talk, Harrison Wells must don his Earth-1 counterpart's Reverse-Flash suit in order to convince Grodd that he's Eobard Thawne, the one person who Grodd will obey.
I'm a little bit torn on this episode, actually. In the main, I did enjoy it - there hasn't actually been a Flash episode yet that I haven't enjoyed - but gosh, there were a few things that rankled me about it.
|WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE JUST TELL PATTY WHAT'S GOING ON.|
For starters, as I mentioned last week, I don't really like Grodd much as a villain. He's just not all that interesting to me, which is a bit of a shame, because he does actually have a fairly interesting power set and motivation, but I'm just not really feeling it. He doesn't raise the tension for me, I'm not engaged in his personality or goals, and when the show casually throws in things like anti-mind-control earbuds, it just spoils any mileage they'd get out of his powers.
I also don't like Henry Allen, so seeing him back this episode to give Barry a pep talk and then leave was a bit annoying. To be honest, it rankled me because he left in such an awful way, basically telling Barry that it was because of him that he had to leave, so for him to come back and for nobody to acknowledge that that was an awful thing to do really got on my nerves.
Also, I don't like the Cisco/Kendra romance. I'm throwing that one out there, I'm just not keen on it. I like Cisco, and I like Kendra (and Hawkgirl is one of my favourite DC characters), and I even think that they'd make really fun friends, but the romance subplot there is just boring. Also, is Kendra from Earth-2? Because Cisco's vibed off her twice now, and I am increasingly muddled about how his powers actually work: Sometimes he sees events currently happening to metahumans from Earth-2; sometimes he sees events currently or previously happening to people that people from Earth-2 know; and now he's apparently seeing Kendra's ... future? Recent past? Earth-2 Kendra? I have no idea.
|The yellow suit remains awkward as hell to look at.|
Of course, all of the Cisco/Kendra stuff is just to build her up for Legends of Tomorrow, and as we have already established, I'm just not down with that.
Also, Barry recovering the use of his legs and his speed within a single episode. Look, I'm not asking for those injuries to be permanent, but it would have been nice to have an episode where Barry genuinely can't help with his speed, and the rest of the team has to do their best in his stead. It could have been incredibly interesting to have a Flash episode with no Flash, and it'd hammer in the danger that Zoom poses.
But there were several things about this episode I did like: I loved the idea of Wells pretending to be Earth-1 Wells to trick Grodd, and I'd like to have seen them make more of it, because it led to an absolutely brilliant scene, and a triumph of acting for both Carlos Valdes and Tom Cavanaugh. Valdes in particular gets credit for a pretty subtle, nuanced performance as Cisco and Wells rehearse what was basically the most horrible personal betrayal in Cisco's life.
That's a plot thread that gets dropped surprisingly quickly, which really is a shame, because you could spin an entire episode out of Wells pretending to be the other Wells.
|God, there are probably people who ship Caitlin and Grodd, aren't there. That's horrible.|
That's just horrible.
I also, admittedly, really liked the brief shot we had of Gorilla City in Earth-2. Gorilla City might be one of the silliest ideas in DC Comics, but it fits in perfectly with Earth-2, which seems to be a sillier, more comic-y reality than Earth-1. Its mention made me wonder if this series is going to end with Earth-1 and Earth-2 being fused together into a single world, actually, because if not it'd be difficult to bring Grodd back, and you know they'll want to.
All in all, this was a solid, fun episode, but really not one of the best the show has come out with, and definitely one that I had more than a couple of problems with. It looks like there isn't an episode next week, but the week after we're getting a crossover, so that will presumably be fun. Hopefully. I liked the crossovers last year, after all.