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The Flash

The Flash Review – Grodd Is Good? (6 x 13)

The Flash / CW "Grodd Friended Me"
The Flash — "Grodd Friended Me" — Image Number: FLA613a_0197b.jpg — Pictured: Grant Gustin as Barry Allen — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

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This installment of The Flash, for lack of a better word, is good.

As per tradition every season, this week’s episode, “Grodd Friended Me,” marks the re-appearance of Gorilla Grodd – the fan-favorite telepathic primate supervillain voiced by David Sobolov.

(Spoiler Alert: Details from the latest episode immediately follow, please proceed at your discretion)

This time, however, (as hinted in the episode’s title) Grodd tries to be friendlier to his nemesis, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin).

The episode starts off with Barry still struggling to adjust with the Post-Crisis changes that he keeps encountering in Central City such as:

  • Not knowing the location of his parents’ graves.
  • Hartley Rathaway / Pied Piper (Andy Mientus) once again being part of his rogues gallery as a villain with new superpowers, unbeknownst to Barry.
  • Almost getting run over by a train, which he barely survives by phasing through at the last second, because the city streets are slightly changed.

In fact, Barry asks Gideon to identify all the changes from Crisis and it’s revealed there are over 3.7 TRILLION differences from the original reality. This causes an internal turmoil within Barry that drives his prejudice toward certain characters throughout the episode. Specifically, Chester P. Runk (Brandon McKnight) and Grodd.

Chester, a Flash superfan, who serves as the defacto “tech nerd” in lieu of Cisco tries to win Barry’s trust, but fails miserably during the first half of the show.

As he upgrades an earpiece taken from Pied Piper to try and impress his idol, he accidentally amplifies its range by 900% leading to Barry being incapacitated as he falls victim to a long-range psychic attack from Grodd.

Grodd, despite being in an induced coma at A.R.G.US. labs, is still able to trap Barry in a “mindscape” prison and reveals he is aware of the events that happened during Crisis of Infinite Earths.

Grodd explains that seeing the multiverse changed his perception of his own life, and wishes nothing more than to be free and live in peace.

As Grodd tries to convince Barry to help him escape, Barry is reluctant to believe the villain because of their previous encounters. However, Grodd insists that he has changed and only wishes to go back to Gorilla City.

Barry (understandably) thinks Grodd is tricking him and proceeds to super-speed punch him in the face.

I’m not a scientist or anything, but this bit was confusing because…

  1. They’re supposedly inside Grodd’s mind, so HOW?!?
  2. Kind of a jerk move for a superhero to make, to be honest.
  3. Couldn’t Grodd have controlled Barry’s actions since they’re inside his mind?

Anyway, to make matters worse, Grodd’s mind is apparently being dampened by a psychic “gatekeeper” that’s taken the form of Solovar, another telepathic gorilla who happens to hate both Grodd and Flash.

So in order for both of them to escape, they must find a way to defeat “Solovar” because apparently if one dies inside another’s mind then one dies in real life. (Inception rip-off, am I right?)

In the end, they figure out that the only way to beat the gatekeeper is to merge their consciousnesses (?) to combine their strengths (Flash’s super-speed + Grodd’s mind powers).

This treats us to the totally awesome sight of a Grodd/Flash hybrid – imagine a high-speed genius 3-D gorilla with a lightning bolt symbol on its chest darting around leaving a trail of yellow lighting. The duo then proceed to knock “Solovar” out with a SUPER-SPEED GORILLA PUNCH!

But before the two can escape, they must split their minds again because both of them will die if they don’t before exiting Grodd’s mind (convenient plot twist? CHECK). So who else comes up with an idea to do exactly that? None other than Chester P. Runk of course!

Simply put, Barry’s prejudices toward Chester as well as Grodd are resolved, and he learns the oh-so-important lesson of letting go of the past (Dang it, Barry! Haven’t you learned this lesson over and over again already? *sigh*) in order to embrace this new Post-Crisis world.

Meanwhile, Chester and Grodd are given their respective redemption arcs as Barry officially dubs Chester a part of the team, and Grodd is allowed to return to Gorilla City to live his life in peace (until he probably returns next season).

Overall, this installment scores an 8.5 / 10.

Other important plot points  to cover in this episode, which I will henceforth refer to as FLASHPOINTS:

  • Kamilla Hwang (Victoria Park), Cisco Ramon’s girlfriend, reveals that Vibe has been away because he’s “cataloging” metahuman supervillains after Crisis, but he is “coming home soon.” (FINALLY!!!)
  • Allegra Garcia (Kayla Compton) storms out on Nash Wells (Tom Cavanagh) after discovering he has a picture of them together from an alternate universe, which Wells refused to explain.
  • Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton) is still trapped in mirrorverse with Eva McCulloch (Efrat Dor).
  • Fake Mirror Clone Iris and McCulloch are secretly working together, and it’s revealed that if one of them suffers physical damage then they both receive the effects. Also, they have a vested interest in hunting down Joseph Carver, the original Mirror Master.
  • Nash Wells has a disturbing hallucination of “Sherloque Wells” cryptically saying “He is coming” as he slowly vibrates at super-speed, and sounds eerily like season 1 Eobard Thawne / Reverse Flash.


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Lorenz Bacani is a pop-culture enthusiast who's trying to watch as many good comic-book movies and TV shows as superhumanly possible. He received a bachelor's degree in Journalism and New Media at California Baptist University. Wrote for a news tabloid, worked for a couple of non-profits, and dabbled in some photography (mostly for Instagram purposes). He is probably currently binge-watching an old TV show for nostalgia.

The Flash

The Flash Season Finale Recap – Flash Fails in Finale (6 x 19)

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Barry Allen/Flash and Joseph Carver working side by side in THE FLASH "Success is Assured" season finale.

In the (premature) season finale of The Flash, Barry and the team form an uneasy alliance with Joseph Carver to stop Eva/Mirror Master.

Carver, who has relentlessly tormented Barry and the team this season, becomes vulnerable when his band of female mercenaries – Dr. Light, Ultraviolet, and Sunshine – are captured and persuaded by Eva to betray him.

The mercenaries are, of course, hilariously dubbed by Ralph as “Carver’s Angels.”

At first, Carver tries to escape into witness protection (an ironic solution since he forced Joe West to do the same), but because Mirror Chief Singh is in charge of CCPD it is unsafe for him.

Which, of course, forces him to work with Team Flash.

 

THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY FRIEND

Barry, along with Ralph, Nash, and Allegra, reluctantly agree to protect Carver.

So the team and Carver’s personal army take their stand against Eva’s imminent attack at the McCulloch Tech Industries building.

Eva, Mirror Singh, and the three mercenaries, however, manage to break through the building’s defenses and make easy work of Carver’s security detail.

While Nash, Ralph, Allegra, and Sue hold off the three mercenaries, Eva and Mirror Singh pursue Carver, who Barry personally guards.

Eva showcases the ability to take control of a mirror double as she breaks out of the body of Mirror Singh while battling Barry.

(L-R) Nash, Ralph, Allegra (face turned away) and Sue in the middle of battling “Carver’s Angels” – Sunshine blurred in the background. Still courtesy of the CW.

Despite their best efforts, Eva successfully murders Carver when she infiltrates his panic room and telekinetically stabs him with a piece of broken mirror.

This scene has shades of Magneto (Michael Fassbender) driving a coin via magnetism through the skull of Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) in X-Men: First Class.

Barry, who tried to shield Carver from Eva’s onslaught, was incapacitated with glass shards and was helpless to stop the killing.

Essentially, Barry becomes the de facto Professor X in this scenario, but less dramatic or cinematic.

For once though, Barry’s incompetence becomes believable and almost excusable because of the death of the Speed Force plot device, so kudos to the writers for that, I guess?

Because I do believe a fully-powered Flash is nigh unbeatable in most situations – an opinion backed up by years of comic book reference material.

So seeing him fail within reason is less off-putting than it usually is when he does have his full speed.

Nevertheless, Eva orders her minions to stop fighting with Team Flash and decides to spare their lives because she has nothing against them personally.

And that they should be thankful to her for taking out Carver because he was “evil.”

She even asks Barry to become allies in the future, which Barry declines – a bit of a puzzling decision considering the benefits.

 

Pros (If they became allies)

  1. ) Eva likely releases Iris, Kamilla, and Singh from Mirrorverse.
  2. ) STAR Labs + McCulloch Tech, Inc. = more capital and brainpower.
  3. ) Improved security, and a roster of meta-human mercenaries.
  4. ) Access to the Mirrorverse where you can place meta-human criminals instead of Iron Heights – because they’ve got to be close to full capacity by now, right?

Cons

  1. ) Your boss is a bit crazy (what boss, isn’t?), and may stab you if you piss her off.
  2. ) You get paranoid around mirrors because she may be watching you at any moment, and come out of it.
  3. ) She may secretly make a mirror clone to replace you.

 

All things considered, Eva’s proposition makes a lot of sense if she genuinely is doing what she does for the sake of good as she claims.

This is why I do tend to agree with Eva’s logic because even though she has done “bad” things, she arguably does have justifiable reasons to do so, while Carver simply chose to in order to gain power.

Moreover, Eva’s mind has been warped by the Mirrorverse, to no fault of her own, and her actions seem like less of a direct threat to Team Flash than Carver’s.

For instance, Carver straight-up tries to have Joe West and other members of the team assassinated, while Eva simply kidnaps and uses them as insurance so Flash doesn’t interfere with her plans.

So then it becomes a case of the lesser of two evils, and Eva, in this case, seems to be the lesser. Plus, she is a much more compelling villain anyway.

What I don’t understand though is why did she need to keep Iris, Kamilla, and Singh in Mirrorverse? A question that will be left unanswered until season 7 returns, whenever that may be.

In the end, Eva reclaims control of her company and fakes a story about Carver dying during a rescue attempt from a terrorist group that was keeping her hostage during the years she went missing.

While Team Flash can chalk this up as a loss, they live to fight another day as they figure out how to deal with Eva and her now powerful influence.

In hindsight, the title of the episode “Success Is Assured,” which is also the mantra of Eva and her mirror clones, sort of acts as a foreshadowing of the events that unfolded.

And it’s kind of refreshing, in a way, to see the good guys lose for once. It makes them seem more grounded and less cliche’.

 

FLASHPOINTS:

  • Sue Dearbon is framed by Eva for the death of Joseph Carver for some reason. Which is completely baffling, so an explanation should be in order for next season
  • Iris’s “neural dissonance” has gotten worse, but she finds where Singh is in Mirrorverse and lets Kamilla know. However, she suddenly disappears, and her fate is unresolved until the show resumes.
  • Caitlyn Snow / Frost is taken in by their mother to cure her of her ice disease, and it is hinted that she may not return for a while.
  • Nash gifts Allegra a stone fragment that allows her to force her enemies to re-live their worst memory – which, of course, she uses on her cousin Ultraviolet.
  • Joe West returns from witness protection and should be back for season 7.
  • No mention of Cisco because he’s in Atlantis chillin’ with Aquaman or something, apparently.

 

VERDICT:

Many plot points were left unresolved (again, because of the Coronavirus situation), and it’s a bit frustrating to be forced to wait a long time for the payoff.

In a way though, it is still a satisfying ending to the season because it sets up a number of storylines that could potentially drive the narrative for season 7 in a unique direction.

Plus, the villains winning in a season finale is a breath of fresh air (regardless if it was intentional or not) akin to how Thanos won in Avengers: Infinity War.

That’s why this installment of The Flash scores…

8.5/10.0


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The Flash

The Flash Recap – Pied Piper and Godspeed Return (6×18)

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(L-R) Super villains Godspeed and Pied Piper return to face The Flash.

On the May 5 episode of The Flash, Godspeed and Pied Piper return to Central City for some unfinished business with Team Flash.

Godspeed/August Heart, as always, wants to suck the speed out of Barry and every speedster in the known universe, while Piped Piper/Hartley Rathaway is still holding a deep-seated grudge.

On the other hand, Barry and his team are stuck in a rut because they have no idea how to break the real Iris, Kamilla, and Chief Singh out of Mirrorverse.

And their Artificial Speed Force is yet to be activated.

So just a typical day for the heroes of Central City.

The episode begins with Godspeed, or rather another drone of the real deal, suddenly attacking The Flash at one of his weakest points.

He sucks out a portion of Barry’s speed and is stopped by Nash Wells.

After the attack, the team argues which tasks are more important – namely dealing with the threat of Godspeed, engineering the Artificial Speed Force, or getting their friends out of Mirrorverse.

They do not come to a consensus, and each basically does their own thing.

In order to deal with Godspeed, Barry is forced to seek help from his old “frenemy” Hartley, whose boyfriend he basically put into a sort of “vibration coma.”

Meanwhile, Godspeed collects the speed from the previous drones locked-up in Iron Heights and threatens to kill everyone in the city if The Flash does not give himself up.

Barry, of course, recklessly runs to face Godspeed with no plan whatsoever and almost gets killed.

However, Hartley comes to the rescue after digesting the inspirational words from Barry during an earlier heart-to-heart talk.

So the two of them join forces to take down Godspeed with a combined Flash Lightning / Piper Soundwave attack that SOMEHOW conveniently stops the supercharged Godspeed.

Moreover, as Godspeed lays defeated, a liquid discharge / “blood-like” substance seeps from its body, which Wells happens to deduce to be the exact component they need to save Hartley’s boyfriend.

Photo courtesy of The CW.

Okay. So, I know The Flash thrives in its formulaic superhero trope, and its part of the reason they’ve been fun to watch because you get to see random comic book characters come to life each show.

But this episode is just lazy writing riddled with plot device after another.

Plus, the side stories aren’t even that interesting and did not serve to further or add to the bigger picture narrative for this season.

Yes, there were action sequences with great special effects.

Yes, there were acting moments that provided an emotional backbone to the characters.

But the plot just seemed forced and poorly tie any of the characters together, which is a shame because they yet again wasted a Godspeed appearance.

Or are the writers now simply using his character as a narrative “band-aid” to fill as a plot device when needed?

This would be a disservice to the character’s comic book counterpart, and it’s frustrating to watch for a lot of fans.

Since he’s basically reduced to the role of a mysterious recurring eye candy cameo.

And his comic book version has far more substance than that.

 

FLASHPOINTS:

  • Cisco goes “emo” during the episode and basically focuses on getting Kamilla back, but at the end of the episode, he teases going to Atlantis, which makes up for his lack of impact in this episode.
  • Iris and Kamilla find each other in the Mirrorverse, but Iris is beginning to show the neural dissonance effects that Eva was suffering from.
    • Where is Chief Singh?
  • Ralph and Frost/Caitlyn basically finish their friendship story arc, and it ends with Ralph handing Frost a life coach “Dig-ploma” (Digby + diploma).
  • Allegra is still giving Nash the cold shoulder
  • Joe is shown safe and sound in his new witsec home as Barry visits him.

 

VERDICT:

Simply put, this was a filler episode with visual fan service.

Despite the flashy (pun intended) special effects used in this installment, the narrative fell flat and a little too deus ex machina. (i.e.) How Godspeed’s “blood” was the key to saving Pied Piper’s boyfriend.

However, the nod to Atlantis and its potential implications for the season finale are intriguing.

Cisco and/or Flash might be meeting Aquaman? Maybe at some point in the show’s future? One can dream.

For these reasons “Pay the Piper” scores a

6.0/10.0

 

The Flash will prematurely have its season 6 finale next Tuesday due to the Coronavirus pandemic stopping production mid-season.


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The Flash

The Flash Recap – Mirror Master Shatters Her Prison (6 x 17)

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Barry and Iris are separated by the Mirrorverse. THE FLASH on THE CW, 2020.

On the April 28th episode of The Flash “Liberation,” Barry tries to uncover the truth behind the unusual behavior of his wife Iris, but gets more than he bargained for.

After Barry gets kicked out by Mirror Iris in the previous episode, Barry goes to investigate his wife and realizes she is not her true self.

MIRROR IRIS EXPOSED

While investigating “Iris,” he tracks her cellphone’s GPS signal to the evening the real Iris went to Joseph Carver’s headquarters for a scoop, but is instead trapped in the Mirrorverse.

So Barry decides to tell Cecile of his discovery, and the two of them along with Nash Wells prepare to trap Mirror Iris.

However, Eva/Mirror Master-2 has been keeping track of Barry’s actions the entire time, and manages to take counter-measures against Barry’s trap.

Barry ends up being detained by Cecile and Nash because Mirror Iris is able to reverse the trap Barry setup.

Mirror Iris then proceeds to execute the plan she and Eva have been working on along with Mirror Singh, and Mirror Kamilla.

The three go into a maximum-security prison in order to take a blood sample from Bloodwork/Ramsey Rosso, but not without a cost.

In order to release Bloodwork from his prison, Mirror Kamilla willingly sacrifices herself to de-stabilize Bloodwork’s specialized meta-human cell to the dismay of Mirror Iris.

Bloodwork is unleashed and incapacitates Mirror Singh, and chokes and interrogates Mirror Iris.

He tries to find out what Eva is planning, and questions why Mirror Iris is so willing to go along with it as he senses her hesitation.

Mirror Iris answers. “I want to be alive,” which satisfies Bloodwork, so she gives them a sample of his blood and returns to his cell.

 

Sendhil Ramamurthy reprises his role as Ramsey Rosso/Bloodwork

 

MIRROR MASTER ESCAPES

As Barry is finally able to convince Cecile that he is not crazy or an impostor, he is released from his cell and confronts Mirror Iris.

He is too late, however, because Bloodwork’s blood sample turns out to be the key to unlocking Eva out of the Mirrorverse.

Mirror Iris and Barry engage in battle, which ends in Barry being severely wounded.

Meanwhile in the Mirrorverse, as Eva takes the final steps of her plan, the real Iris provokes an emotional response from her, which in turn affects Mirror Iris.

This prevents Barry from meeting his certain death as the emotional trauma is enough to awaken sentience in Mirror Iris, and she is convinced to betray Eva.

Eva senses this, so she destroys Mirror Iris who dies in the arms of Barry and says “I feel alive.”

Then Eva successfully escapes Mirrorverse, and confronts a weakened Barry.

She essentially tells him to get out of her way or else the real Iris will die too.

In the end, Barry and the real Iris share a touching dialogue where both “talk” to each other across dimensions essentially placing their faith in their love to conquer their current predicament.

 

FLASHPOINTS:

  • Barry, Cisco, and Ralph try to test run their “Speed Force” machine at STAR Labs, which ends in an epic failure.
    • Come on guys, we all know Barry is going to get his speed back at some point, so step your game up!
  • Caitlyn goes into an “ice coma” after sustaining wounds from the fight with Sunshine, and Cisco and Ralph were only able to wake her up by literally electric shocking her back to consciousness.
    • Ralph makes an excellent Frozen reference her by saying “Thank Elsa!” when Caitlyn is revived.
  • Cecile’s powers seem to be ineffective in sensing Mirror doppelganger’s as she is easily fooled by all of them.
    • Can the Mirror doppelgangers somehow manipulate or reflect human emotions as well?
  • Eva’s intentions still seem to be unclear at this point because even though she claims she wants “revenge” she clearly still has unresolved feelings for Carver.
    • She is legitimately crazy at this point, so who knows what she wants?

VERDICT:

After hating Mirror Iris for the majority of her existence this season, the writers of the show manage to coax out a bit of sympathy toward the Mirror doppelgangers.

Their existential crisis of following orders from their “Mother” Eva versus having free will is something a lot of people can relate to these days since we are sort of forced into staying home and not being able to do a lot.

This is examined through the lens of Mirror Iris in the episode, particularly in her moments of questioning Eva’s “plan.”

She flinches when her “sister” Mirror Kamilla kills herself with no hesitation, and she “feels” alive for the first time in her existence while dying in the arms of her enemy.

Her struggle resonates with the human spirit of yearning for a purpose in one’s life.

For that, this installment scores an

8/10.


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