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Flash’s “Attack on Gorilla City”: Barry Again Learns That Heroes Always Find Another Way

The Flash -- "Attack on Central City" -- FLA314a_0100b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Violett Beane as Jesse Quick, Grant Gustin as The Flash and Keiynan Lonsdale as Kid Flash -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

In response to something I recently wrote about the state of the Flarrowverse, a reader explained why and when she gave up on Flash:

“I’ve stopped watching The Flash because its’ 1950s use of women purely as props in their men’s story and the constant need for everyone to tell 12-year-old Barry how wonderful he is lost me for good. When he repeatedly lied to Patty that he’s the Flash when there was no need not to tell her was my last straw.”

I didn’t really feel that back during the now-forgotten Patty Spivot-era of Barry’s love life, but I’m starting to now, particularly the “constant need for everyone to tell 12-year-old Barry how wonderful he is” part. It jumped out at me during “Attack on Gorilla City Part 2,” the much-hyped conclusion to this season’s Gorilla Grodd arc.

There really wasn’t as much to the episode as you might have expected. Grodd tried to psychically manipulate a General into launching nuclear missiles (a far too frequent threat in the Flarrowverse), but Barry got to the launcher in time and super sped his way through trying out every numerical combination possible before arriving at the abort code. Crisis averted.

Grodd, no doubt sympathizing with Mr. “I’ll Do It Myself” Thanos, then led his army through a portal into downtown Central City, where they received a severe ass-whooping from Barry, Jesse and Wally with an assist from Solivar (who was retrieved from Earth-2 by Gypsy). Barry handed Grodd over to ARGUS. Solivar took his reclaimed army and headed back to Earth-2 for good.

Bada bing, bada boom. End of conflict. Just enough time left over for Barry to propose to Iris, and newly coupled Jesse and Wally to watch Casablanca together. Fun fact: On her Earth, there was no WWII, but there was something called the “War of Americas.”

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This was the best they could do as a CW-budgeted superhero show. There was never going to be an Andy Serkis-caliber motion capture Grodd nor War of the Planet of the Apes-level special effects. Instead, there was what one EW recapper accurately called “a video game cutscene-esque CGI battle of gorillas.” And it was, um, perfectly fine.

However, the predominant tension wasn’t whether or not Barry would defeat CGI Grodd but how far he would go to do it. Would Barry kill Grodd if necessary? As Barry reasoned, that strategy seems to work for Oliver, and none of this would be happening if he had done what was necessary with Grodd in the past. Grodd even kept mocking Barry’s unwillingess to kill. Grodd – what a jerk.

This is superhero storytelling 101, i.e., the establishment and reinforcement of the hero’s moral code. Are you Batman or Punisher? What is the line you refuse to cross? Will you kill if you have to, or will you forever endeavor to find another way? The answer usually determines whether or not you are considered a hero or anti-hero, and Barry Allen, as positioned as the moral center of the Flarrowverse, is most definitely a hero. He needed Iris to remind him of that this week, with her words of encouragement yet again highlighting just how crucial she is to making him the best possible version of himself. As a reward, he proposed to her because why bother fucking around anymore when fate might have tragedy in store for her in the future. Life’s too short. Let’s get married.

Actually, he didn’t say any of that, but he did offer her a ginormous ring. He went to Jared (one assumes).

But I’m about damn tired of the show’s “constant need for everyone to tell 12-year-old Barry how wonderful he is.” Wasn’t Iris just propping Barry up like this a couple of episodes ago? Barry has quarreled with his own moral flexibility or lack thereof before, and he probably will again. Just look at how often it comes up on Arrow. However, the show’s consistent need to anoint Barry to sainthood and have those around him prop him whenever he wobbles is starting to wear thin.

THE NOTES

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  1. Re: Where’s Julian. I love how on every Berlanti-verse superhero show whenever there’s a flimsy ass excuse for why a character isn’t around one week we automatically know the real answer is “CW budgets have limits, you know!”
  2. Spin-off Pitch: Modern day remake of My Two Dads with Harry, H.R. and Jesse. Frankly, their various interactions were the clear highlight of this episode, especially when Jesse simply wasn’t having it upon figuring out Harry made up a story about having a terminal disease to keep her from moving away.
  3. Here’s hoping Cisco and Gypsy make a go of it at some kind of long-distance relationship.
  4. Did I miss the explanation for why Valentine’s Day was being celebrated two weeks too late?
  5. How long do you give it before Jesse and Wally break up after realizing they moved in together way, way, way too soon?

What did you think of “Attack on Gorilla City 2”? Would it just not be The Flash without someone taking Barry aside and more or less saying, “You know who’s great? You. Seriously, man, you’re the best”?

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About Kelly Konda (1787 Articles)
Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

16 Comments on Flash’s “Attack on Gorilla City”: Barry Again Learns That Heroes Always Find Another Way

  1. I think that I made a good decision by watching Agents of Shield instead…this last episode was among the best pieces of TV I have seen for quite some time.

    • I still watch AoS, but I am two episodes behind. It took me a while to adjust to the season’s mini-arcs structure, meaning I kept waiting for Ghost Rider to come back when the show had already transitioned to the LMD phase. However, it seems to me that AoS is mostly continuing on like it always does, quietly delivering quality comic book storytelling and never getting enough respect for that. There seems to be more talk than usual by TV watchdogs that ABC might finally move on after this season, especially with Agent Carter already gone and The Inhumans show on the way and somehow not being connected to AoS. If so, that would be a shame because AoS is better than Flash and Arrow right now. I mostly keep watching and writing Flash out of habit. I am getting closer to giving up on the show.

      • If AoS had managed to hold onto the 0,8 it had during the Ghost Rider arc, I would have bet on it getting another season, especially since the DVR ratings of the show tend to double or even triple and ABC already has a string of shows on the chopping block. And for the time slot in question, it does reasonably well…but since it is back it keep hovering between 0,6 and 0,7. That looks bad, really bad. And I so much want it to at least reach the 100 episode mark. It deserves the triumph after all the sh… it got.

      • I also don’t know why the Inhumans show has to be connected to AoS…I assumed that it would be mostly set in the Inhumans world, in this isolated society.

      • It doesn’t necessarily have to be connected to AoS. It’s just that AoS’s entire third season was devoted to the Inhumans, and that arc has continued into this season. It’s only natural to assume that the Inhumans TV show would in some small way connect to that, like maybe someone in the pilot at least watches a bit of news coverage about the Inhumans debate which has raged over the past two years over on AoS. The fact that they’re not doing that isn’t necessarily damning in and of itself; it’s more that by making Inhumans pretty much its own thing ABC and Marvel are breaking with how DC has gone about things on the CW and Marvel on Netflix, i.e., the everything’s connected world-building. Not everyone abides by those rules. Gotham and Lucifer exist on their own islands on Fox. Legion is its own thing on FX. Maybe ABC is following that model now, but it’s more likely that what they’re really planning is to end AoS and replace it with Inhumans, which will be launched in such a way that it will be very clearly its own thing (due to the lingering shit AoS still gets from fans who stopped watching in season 1 and don’t know/care to know how much it has improved since then).

      • Unlikely…AoS is a 23 episode show, Inhumans will only have 8 episodes…it is barely a replacement for Agent Carter. Also, naturally they say now that there won’t be any connections…they first want to lure in viewers after all, not suggesting to them that they have to watch AoS to get the show. I think it is way too early to tell how tight the connections will be.

      • What I really want to know is when or if Bobby and Hunter are coming back 😐

      • I wonder if the AoS alumni will turn up in other shows if it gets cancelled….

      • I do hope that you’ll write about this last episode of AoS…they are on hiatus (again), but they really delivered a reason to come back in five weeks. A reason worth writing about imho.

      • I’ve got a couple things I’m writing today, but tonight I’ll binge watch the latest A0S episodes and probably write about them.

      • Okay, I am curious and have no patience whatsoever…what do you think?

      • That Chloe Bennet was right last year when she called out the lack of respect the show gets. This spring finale was certainly not a new scenario in sci-fi. It was a tweaked Invasion of the Body Snatchers/The Thing paranoia story. Angel took a fantastic pass at it during season 4 when everyone other than Fred was under Illyria’s spell, and this was AoS’s turn. However, they did a fantastic job at it, particularly during Fitz and Simmons’ altercations. I admit I fell for the twist, thinking that someone had messed with the sensors to incriminate Fitz and Simmons but the paranoia had worked in turning them against each other. When Fitz turned on a dime against her and revealed his LMD status I was pretty well shocked. What’s even more impressive is how smoothly and naturally they transitioned at the end to a modified Matrix scenario (I half-expected the AoS randos to jack Skye…sorry, Daisy and Simmons in by literally putting something into the back of their heads ala Matrix). Plus, come on, what’s not to love about an episode which features that epic Chloe Bennet/Jason O’Mara fight, particularly with the bullet time ending after she sent both him and LMD Coulson flying in opposite directions. That. Was. Badass. Elsewhere, I am not really connecting with this Coulson/May almost romance, but it’s believable enough. And it’s not at all lost on me that at the end of the episode it was all of the women (Simmons, Daisy, robot May) ultimately pitted against another woman (Ada) with the men sidelined or defeated. Now I just want to know who’s getting out of that car with Fitz in the Matrix, and is Simmons trapped in that grave ala [spoiler] Buffy season 6?

      • Yeah, not feeling Coulson/May either, but that is really a minor thing in an episode which was overall THAT amazing. I was actually onto Fitz but they managed to confuse me enough that I doubted my theory for a moment (I wonder if LMD Fitz is still around with all the Fake Quakes or if they died in the explosion, too). This scene and the one between Daisy and Jemma would have made the episode for me, but then they did the double whammy with the May scene and then the glorious Framework. And yes, I know, nothing about this is new, but it is so well-done. I know that the Framework is basically an excuse for a giant “What if” but it is a way better excuse than some messed up time travel or dimension jumping, both ideas which have been done to death, while a Matrix “What if” is, as far as I know, an entirely new idea, even if it is the result of combining two old ideas. And the possibilities are endless. I am so glad that they did it after three and two thirds season of us spending time with the characters, because now the “What if” question is way more interesting than it would be if it happened after one season or weekly. And I am positively salivating over the possibilities. There are so many characters they could bring back for those episodes, even some which have died already.

        My money is on Aida being with Fitz…I can imagine that she would have some sort of control program in the framework and she seemed to be kind of obsessed with Fitz. And Jemma…well, either we get a “someone is trapped under earth” episode in which Daisy has to free her, or Jemma faked her death in the Framework and is off gallivanting with Will somewhere……anyway, I can’t wait for another round of trying to figure out yet another version of Ward!

        Anyway, that’s what I call good TV. Can you imagine that this was the first episode Jed Whedon ever directed? I mean, he is the show runner, but he waited so long to step into the director’s chair himself, and he hit it out of the ballpark. True, the episode had great writing, but above all it also looked amazing! The way those fight scenes were staged, with the fire in the background – great eye. The camera movements! The way the snow was used! And he managed to get all the actors at their peak.

      • Jed’s definitely come a long way since Dollhouse and Doctor Horrible. I notice that whenever the diversity question comes up with Marvel a lot of people conveniently forget not only the on-screen diversity with AoS but also the fact that the co-showrunner is an Asian woman, i.e., Jed’s wife/writing partner.

        What I think AoS has been really good at this season is, as you described, taking other ideas and tropes and merging them or tweaking them in such a way that you can’t really fairly call it a complete rip-off or roll your eyes and think, “Seen this before.” For example, oh, they just made Ghost Rider their Punisher. Whatever. But, wait, hold on. Now it’s getting interesting, different enough that I can’t dismiss it like that. Or…oh, they built a robot. Clearly someone saw Ex Machina. But, wait, hold on, they’re doing something a little different with it.

        And so on.

        Aida being on Fitz’ arm makes sense. I don’t honestly remember the show history thoroughly enough to even know who else it could be (has there been anything remotely close to a love interest for him other than Simmons?). However, Fitz has always been nice to Aida, especially that one copy of her which everyone else wanted to destroy.

        You are right about them waiting for to play “What If” card this long heightening our involvement and opening up so many possibilities. It seems so obvious that this is the way to do it, but not everyone is confident enough they’ll have the time to develop over several seasons so they just throw the kitchen sink at you. That’s how Supergirl ended up doing a “What If” episode (one adapted from an iconic Superman story) two-thirds into its freaking first season At least Arrow waited until its 100th episode.

      • There was a brief period in the beginning when Fitz was fascinated by Skye/Daisy until she gave him the “You and Jemma are such a cute couple speech”. Otherwise no.

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