Catching Up: The Flash Episode 314, "Attack on Central City"

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Love is in the air as Team Flash revels in having thwarted Grodd's gorilla invasion by heading it off at the pass on Earth 2. Barry (GRANT GUSTIN) is sure the headline for the future will change, and that the team is on the right path to saving Iris (CANDICE PATTON) from being murdered by Savitar.

It's Valentine's Day, but H.R. (TOM CAVANAGH) is calling it "Friends Day" as it is referred to on his home on Earth 19. H.R. has S.T.A.R. Labs all decked out in finery, much to the chagrin of his doppelganger from Earth 2, Harrison Wells. Jesse (VIOLETT BEANE) takes this time to tell her father that she's going to stay on Earth 1 with wally (KEIYNAN LONSDALE). They expect him to lose his cool, but he dissolves into a disgrunted "Okay," then remains taciturn for the remainder of the episode.

When Cisco (CARLOS VALDES) grouses to Caitlin (DANIELLE PANABAKER) about his lack of a love life, she tells him there's someone out there to challenge him right around the corner. That's a cue if I ever heard one. Enter Gypsy (JESSICA CAMACHO) through a breach. We saw her last episode as Grodd's back-up plan for entering Earth 1 from Earth 2, and with her arrival, the attack has begun.

Gypsy has Flash on the ropes, but is taken down by Harrison Wells and a big-ass gun. "Who the hell is she?" he asks. When Gypsy returns to consciousness, she's in the Pipeline, with her powers scrambled. She has no memory of how she got there, knowing only that she was tracking another breacher to Earth 2 when she encountered giant intelligent gorillas. The team realizes that she had been taken over by Grodd. They also know that Grodd's influence does not cross dimensions, which means for him to have been controlling her in the attack, he must already be there. And, indeed, the gorilla army has amassed in the forest outside Central City.

Using science to expand Cisco's vibing powers, the team tries to see into the future and determine the incursion point, hoping to stop the invasion before it happens. When they discover it, however, and gather the police there, Joe West (JESSE L. MARTIN) is mentally controlled by Grodd into delivering a message and then trying to shoot himself in the head. Flash has to race a bullet that only has three inches to travel. Thankfully, he's the fastest man alive.

Cisco goes to Gypsy for help in the fight against Grodd, but she says she saw horrors in his mind when he was in hers. She wants no part of it, so Cisco lets her return to Earth 19. Meanwhile, Joe also says he saw things while controlled, and the team develops a way to turn that connection back on so that Joe can have total recall of what he saw. Joe sketches a face, and it's that of a U.S. Army General whom Grodd takes over -- a General with clearance to launch nuclear missiles.

Flash ponders if he's been too merciful -- that if he defeats Grodd and sends him back, he will only come back and attack again. He wonders if he should take Oliver's route, who has killed before. Iris has to talk him out of it. But even after that, he considers it, until Harrison urges him to find another way.

While Flash, Kid Flash, and Jesse Quick tackle the gorilla army, we learn that they are merely running out the clock for Vibe to bring back Flash's "other way" to defeat Grodd. This involves going to Earth 19, where breaching is punishable by death, and asking for help from Gypsy. Vibe arrives just as Gypsy finishes a transaction with the speedster from her Earth, Accelerated Man, played by SEAN POAGUE. (Accelerated Man? Yes, the Flash of Earth 19. What, you haven't checked out Mike Maillaro's Hitchhiker's Guide to the DC Multiverse yet?)

Gypsy and Accelerated Man, at home on Earth 19

Cisco asks her help once more, and he's obviously successful, because just a little while later, the two of them breach into the battle on Earth 1 -- followed by Solovar, former ruler of Gorilla City. Flash doesn't have to defeat Grodd, he can let Solovar do it! Which he does, and the gorillas fall in line to their new leader. But Flash prevents Solovar from killing Grodd, and also doesn't let Grodd return to Earth 2. Not so sure about the wisdom in this. Grodd ends up in the custody of ARGUS.

As the episode winds down, Barry decides there's another way to change the future -- by making the future instead of avoiding it. The Allen-West household is lit with candles when Iris arrives home, and there are flowers everywhere. Get ready for all the feels on this one, Flash fans, because Barry takes a knee on this one, and pulls out his grandmother's ring!

Things are romantic over in the West house as well, as Wally tries to explain CASABLANCA to Jesse, who's Earth had an entirely different history of wars. He runs out to get them dinner, when the episode's kicker kicks in. Because when he comes to a super-speed stop, Wally finds himself face to face with the self-proclaimed god of speed: SAVITAR!

I hate to say it, but with all the high points of this episode, there were a few drawbacks. Harrison Wells was just a bit more gruff than he usually is, certainly than since the last time we saw him (at least the last time before he was captured by Grodd), and even with the story he tells Wally (and later has to recant) it doesn't add up. Also, the technical on the episode weren't able to keep up with the story. I loved what they did with Grodd via CGI, but it's something that doesn't mass-produce well. When Solivar and Grodd fight, gravity seems to let go of them. Solovar falls too slowly, and their movements are too unnatural. Maybe it's just a matter of too many monkeys in the mix?

(Yes, I know, "if there's a tail then it's a monkey not an ape," but I was on an alliterative roll.)

4.0 / 5.0