The Flash Review: “Grodd Friended Me”
By Justin Carter
What a truly great title.
“Grodd Friended Me” is an interesting episode that feels like an intentional throwback to those season one days when villains were unambiguously bad and the show was still figuring out what it wanted its characters to be. As it opens, Barry is adjusting to post-Crisis on his own; the cemetery where his parents are buried no longer exists, there’s a new train schedule that nearly has him getting pancaked by a locomotive, and Pied Piper is back again as a villain with some powers of his own.
Also a new adjustment is most of Team Flash being MIA, leaving only Kamilla and Chester (the black hole fella from earlier this season) in STAR Labs. It’s a combination that proves deadly when, after Chester does an adjustment on Barry’s suit, the speedster goes into a coma and falls into a mindscape where he’s Gorilla Grodd. The psychic primate, still in a coma of his own at ARGUS, has had a change of heart since his last defeat and now wants to be reawakened so he can start anew at Gorilla City. (For whatever reason, his psychic powers let him remember how things were post-Crisis.)
As far as setups go, it’s not a bad one; Grodd continues to be a compelling villain despite the show not always having the budget for him—they rely a lot on flashbacks of his previous appearances and him talking through characters in lieu of actually displaying him. David Sobolov does a good job of making him sympathetic, and the Barry/Grodd dynamic works well, particularly when they fuse into a speedster gorilla to fight a construct of Solovar guarding the way out of the mind scape.
Another component of the episode that works well is Chester himself — once we realize he’s meant to embody season one Cisco. He’s feeling very down about putting Barry in his predicament, even though as Frost points out, nearly killing Barry almost counts as work orientation to join Team Flash. Brandon McKnight has good energy as Chester and even acquits himself well to dramatic scenes when he talks about his old teacher’s “one shot” that all black people really have. With some fine tuning and less pop culture references, I wouldn’t mind seeing him around more.
The Grodd storyline takes up most of the episode, with the remaining time going to our two Irises. In the mirror world, Iris Prime and Eva come up with a plan to escape, but it turns out their method won’t work, as it burns Eva when she provides a demonstration. It later turns out to be a ruse, and she’s working with Mirror Iris for Black Hole-related purposes. How long until Iris figures out she’s being played?
- Nash is apparently getting haunted by Thawne, because of course he is. The man just can’t catch a break.
- Cisco returns next episode, along with Wally, who we haven’t seen in a very long time.
- See on March 10th!