(Beware, spoilers below!)
As we speed towards the season finale of The Flash we start off episode 21 as Iris thinks about what she’s just learnt about Barry. Eddie is absent as he’s taken personal time off but it turns out he’s just missing and can’t be found. Iris comes in to talk about Eddie’s absence which is only made more awkward because she knows Barry’s secret.Meanwhile at a prison some gold is being moved – until a masked man blows up the van. Barry gets sent on the mission but as he confronts the perp just ends up being accosted with visions in his head. He collapses to the floor and masked man runs away. Back at the lab Iris shows up, revealing once and for all she knows his secret.
He finally tells her about Eddie and Joe’s involvement and she storms out, furious. In a warehouse somewhere Wells talks to a captive Eddie. but gets pissed off when The Flash is mentioned. Iris and Joe argue about the secrets kept from her but he’s called away over the business with the gold and the masked man. Joe’s undercover operation gets busted by the man but Barry shows up to save the day. They take of his mask… and it’s General Ayling. He’s mentally robotic and responds to very little. What’s more, he doesn’t respond in his own voice but as Grodd.
The team postulate the possibility that Grodd is a meta-gorilla, with the particle accelerator settling off the chemicals in his body due to Ayling’s experiments. With Iris’ help Joe, Cisco and Barry go after Grodd in the sewers and Joe ends up captured. He wakes up alone, with the telepathic Grodd able to control and talk to him in his mind. The gorilla calls Wells’ ‘father’, but not before informing Joe that he hates bananas.
In S.T.A.R. Labs Barry and Iris argue about the lies that each of them have kept from one another. Wells tells Eddie about how out of all the Thawnes he’s forgotten with a failure of a career and not even any Iris to show for it. Cisco and Caitlin have made Barry a headpice which should hopefully prevent Barry from being susceptible to Grodd’s telepathic attacks. Barry attempts to give Grodd a telepathic superpunch – which doesn’t work. Even though the headset works this doesn’t prevent him from throwing Barry through a wall. The impact makes the headset fall off which leaves him staggering in the path of train which almost crushes him until Iris pleads with him over comms. He escapes Grodd’s mind control fast enough to dodge the train and when the gorilla leaps at Barry he ends up hit by a train.
In the underground prison Barry releases General Ayling. He reveals he’s known Barry was The Flash for months and that they now have a common enemy. Whilst Joe and Iris reconcile Barry wonders what the distraction of Grodd was for. What’s more, it shoes how strong they were as a team even without Wells around. On their rooftop Iris and Barry talk it out. She’s still upset over not realising Barry was The Flash sooner but he confesses that having her around means he’s not afraid. Nevertheless she tells him that Eddie is the man she loves and he promises to bring him back to her.
Meanwhile Grodd is menacingly crawling up a building, and he leaps… In Wells’ warehouse he tells Eddie that he now has the key to going home.
The most impressive part of this week’s episode was in fact Grodd itself. It’s hard to make a moving gorilla look real enough but this Grood seemed to take a hint from the recent Planet of the Apes films in order to create a Grodd that was both sinister and convincingly real (especially for the budget limitations of the show). We also addressed a crucial part of the show that have kept fans polarised for a while now: Iris’ lack of knowledge about The Flash when literally everyone else around her knew. It was good that the struggle and distance between Iris and Barry was maintained here, potentially beyond this episode. It’s not a hidden secret to be taken lightly and even though the many images of Iris flashing in Barry’s head might have seemed heavy handed at least it gave Candice Patton a more significant role than she has had in most episodes. These two elements alone enabled for a fun and yet heartfelt episode which keeps things ticking nicely before the season finale.