Previously on The Flash, Iris West-Allen (Candace Patton) was trapped in a mirror, replaced by a mirror duplicate with apparently sinister motives! Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), aka The Flash, had no idea his wife had been replaced! Meanwhile, Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) left to explore and chronicle the new history of the post-Crisis universe! All that, plus Ralph Dibny (Hartley Sawyer) finally met the long-missing Sue Dearbon (Natalie Dreyfuss)—who turned out to be a highly-skilled international jewel thief! This week’s episode, The Flash S6E13, “Grodd Friended Me,” finds Barry continuing to adjust to the changes post-Crisis, and thrust into some unexpected monkey business.
I Wanna Be Free
The episode opens with an overhead view of Central City, the one we usually see when The Flash is speeding through its streets. Instead we find Barry walking down the street, a bouquet of flowers in his hand. He seems confused and a little upset, as if he’s looking for something he can’t find. Just then he receives a meta-alert on his phone, and he speeds off. On comms, Barry finds Kamilla Hwang (Victoria Park) and Chester Runk (Brandon McKnight) are the only ones at S.T.A.R. Labs, as everyone else is off doing other things. He tells them he’ll handle this one himself, and The Flash arrives at a jewelry store to find Hartley Rathaway, aka The Pied Piper (Andy Mientus), who Barry knows as a friend of Team Flash, robbing the place. The Flash confronts Rathaway, who alludes to something Team Flash did to him, though Barry doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Rathaway then uses his sonic abilities to fly, surprising The Flash long enough to escape. Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Chester tracks the harmonic frequency to another location, and Barry takes off. Halfway there he finds himself in the middle of a set of train tracks, and as a train bears down on him Barry vibrates his molecules, passing through the train. He asks how long that train has been there, and Chester says always.
Having returned to S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry asks Gideon to tell him about everything that Crisis has changed, and the A.I. comes back with over three trillion changes. Kamilla and Chester enter Barry’s lab, and Chester discovers that Barry is The Flash. He tries to help Barry with a tweak to his suit’s earpiece, and Barry asks him not to touch things, as he’s not part of the team. An embarrassed Chester exits, and Barry tells Kamilla he’s still getting used to all the post-Crisis changes. He had been looking for his parents’ graves earlier, and he can’t find them anywhere, or even the cemetery where they had been buried. Kamilla sympathizes, and tells Barry to take it easy on Chester, who idolizes The Flash. She exits, leaving Barry to think about things on his own.
At McCulloch Tech, Iris and Eva McCulloch (Efrat Dor) are still trapped in the Mirrorverse. Eva tells Iris what she was doing the night of the particle accelerator explosion that trapped her there, and Iris asks if she can rebuild the machine she was working on and use it to escape. Eva is reluctant, and Iris builds her up (just like she always does Barry). Eva says Iris is brave, and that she can be brave, too.
At the Central City Citizen offices, Nash Wells (Tom Cavanagh) is telling Allegra Garcia (Kayla Compton) about a machine he’s built to capture “molecular afterglow” of things, which Allegra rightly guesses is Crisis-related. Nash needs Allegra’s help to power the machine, and as they talk, Nash sees another Wells in the room, this time Sherloque Wells, taunting him as Harry’s done when he’s appeared to Nash. Nash clearly wants to use the machine to get rid of these ghosts, and Allegra hits it with a blast of ultraviolet energy, powering it up. Suddenly the machine explodes, and Nash and Allegra go flying. As Allegra gets to her feet, she sees the photo of Nash and her doppelganger, which has fallen out of Nash’s bag. He won’t tell her who the woman in the photo is, and she flips out at him for not really seeing her, just the woman he used to know. She storms out.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry finishes working on his earpiece. As he places it in his ear, it sparks and shorts out, and Barry falls to the floor. Within Barry’s mind, he rises to find himself in a cage. Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) enters today, and Barry asks what’s going on. She looks at him amused, saying he’s chatty today, and Harrison Wells (actually Eobard Thawne in disguise) appears next to her. The two address an increasingly panicking Barry as if he can’t understand what they’re saying, and Thawne asks if Caitlin has offered him a “b-word” yet. She says she hasn’t, but that she has to go check on Ronnie’s whose working on building something she says he’s calling “the pipeline.” She and Thawne exit, leaving a very confused Barry.
Apples, Peaches, Bananas, and Pears
At the Central City Police Department, Iris (actually Mirror-Iris) arrives to visit her father, Captain Joe West (Jesse L. Martin). She asks if he has any new leads on Joseph Carver (Eric Nenninger), and he says he does but that he can’t share them with her, as they’re CCPD. Mirror-Iris persists, eventually snapping that he doesn’t trust her. Joe is taken aback, and Mirror-Iris apologizes, saying she understands he has a job to do. She asks if he wants to join her for lunch at noon, and he agrees before she exits and he gets back to work.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Frost (Panabaker) has returned from visiting Ramsey Rosso at an A.R.G.U.S. facility. Chester tries to talk her into playing a game of pinball, and she tells him he should quit stalling and just go talk to Barry. The two go back and forth as they enter Barry’s lab to find him unconscious on the floor.
In Barry’s mind, Caitlin and Thawne return to talk to the caged Barry. She tells him to “use your signs” to communicate, and Thawne says everyone has bad days, even gorillas. Barry looks in the water bucket next to him and, seeing Gorilla Grodd (CGI plus the voice of David Sobolov) ’s reflection, realizes he’s not in the past: he’s in Grodd’s mind. Communicating through Caitlin and Thawne, Grodd tells Barry he’s still in his cage at A.R.G.U.S., and that he wants Barry to know what it’s like to be a captive. He accuses Barry of cruelty for taking his mind, and Barry reminds him of all the crimes he’s committed. Grodd says he’s right, and asks for Barry’s forgiveness, saying he’s had time to think clearly about everything he’s done in the past. He then asks for Barry’s help to free his mind from the neural inhibitor, and the “Gatekeeper” he says is standing in his way. Barry goads Grodd, and Caitlin and Thawne disappear, replaced by the actual Grodd, who frees Barry from the cage and restores Barry’s powers. He asks again for Barry’s help, and Barry responds by punching him in the face at superspeed. Looking on a fallen Grodd, Barry says he’ll never change.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Frost, Chester, and Kamilla hook Barry up to the machine Sherloque Wells built to allow someone to access another person’s mind (which they used last year against Cicada). Frost immediately sees two sets of brainwaves in Barry’s brain, but before she can get any further Nash appears and asks to talk to her outside. In an adjacent hallway, Frost immediately surmises that Allegra’s found out about whatever Nash is hiding about her doppelganger, and tells him that now is the time to be honest with her.
Inside Barry’s mind, The Flash is speeding through the jungle looking for a way to breach out of his imprisonment. He finds the breach, and the Gatekeeper: it’s Solovar (also CGI and the dulcet tones of Keith David), king of Gorilla City. Barry tries to reason with Solovar, and Solovar says he can’t let anyone escape. As Solovar tosses Barry around, his body reacts to the trauma in the real world. Based on the speed of the brainwaves in Barry’s mind, Frost identifies the other mind in there as Gorilla Grodd’s. She wonders how Grodd could’ve done this, and Chester says he thinks it was his fault based on the minor tweak he made to Barry’s earpiece earlier.
Chester walks out, and Frost follows him and asks what good leaving will do. Chester tells her a story about a childhood science fair in which his experiment, which had worked perfectly every other time, didn’t work. When he asked his teacher for a second chance, the teacher said no, because in “the real world” people like him would never get a second chance. Frost says she knows she can’t understand what his life has been like as a black man, but that she’s still offering him a second chance, because he deserves one.
In Joe West’s office, Mirror-Iris is on the phone with Joe, straight-up lying that she said she was going to meet him for lunch at 12:30, not 12:00. He says he’ll order her the usual, and they hang up. Iris accesses Joe’s computer, and downloads his files on Carver.
In the Mirrorverse, Eva is scared to use the machine on the mirror. Iris tells her they have to try everything they can, before realizing Eva is hiding something. Iris insists on knowing why they can’t use the machine, and Eva turns it on and sticks her arms through the mirror. Her arms immediately get horribly burned, and she pulls them back through and turns off the machine, showing Iris what will happen to both of them.
Last Train to Clarksville
Barry returns to the S.T.A.R. Labs in his mind, and finds Grodd, now in the form of Joe West. As Barry yells at Grodd for asking him to fight Solovar, a fight he couldn’t win, the ground trembles, and Grodd tells Barry that the neural inhibitor is failing. If it fails completely, both Grodd and Barry will die. Barry still refuses to believe Grodd has changed, and Grodd tells him that he knows about the Crisis, and that Gorilla City is now on the consolidated Earth. He says he wants to go live there in peace, because it’s the only place he’s ever been happy. Barry finally believes him, and says the only way they’re going to beat Solovar and get out of this trap is to work together.
Later, in the mind-woods, The Flash and Grodd approach the breach. Barry and Grodd take hands, and the two merge together, giving Grodd superspeed and Barry’s knowledge of how to use his powers. Solovar appears, and Grodd-Flash engages him. Meanwhile, at S.T.A.R. Labs, Frost and Kamilla are finally able to use the machine to communicate with Barry. He brings them up to speed, and Frost tells him that he and Grodd can’t leave the mind matrix merged or they will both die. They’ll have to be separated at the exact second they hit the breach, which Frost says is impossible, but Chester re-enters and says it’s possible for Gideon to do. He says he’ll have to tweak Barry’s earpiece some more, and Barry tells him he’s a genius and he believes in him. As Chester gets to work, Solovar gets the upper-hand on Grodd-Flash. Solovar pounds his chest, preparing to bring down a final blow on Grodd, who vibrates through Solovar’s fists and takes him down at super-speed. As Grodd-Flash races to the portal, Chester finishes his work, and Grodd and Barry’s minds separate. Barry opens his eyes and sits up, saying he’s back thanks to the team.
Later that night, the team celebrates, and ponders what’s next for Grodd. Barry says A.R.G.U.S. is releasing him on probation, with a tracking polymer so they can monitor his whereabouts should he go bad again. Kamilla gets a call from Cisco, who says he’s coming home. Frost and Kamilla exit, leaving Barry with Chester. Barry apologizes for being a jerk to Chester. Chester says Kamilla told him about Barry not being able to find his parents’ graves, and he says he hacked every cemetery database in the city and found them for him. Barry thanks him, and the two shake hands. Just then a meta-alert goes off, and Barry asks Chester to man the comms. On the monitor they see that it’s Rathaway again, and Barry speeds off.
Back in the Mirrorverse, Iris bandages Eva’s burns. Iris asks why Eva didn’t just tell her the machine wouldn’t work, and a shaken Eva says she had to prove it irrefutably, something she was never able to do with her reflective theory for her fellow scientists. Iris leaves to get more bandages, and as soon as Iris is gone Eva’s demeanor changes. She stands confidently, crossing to the mirror. Waving her hand in front of it, Mirror-Iris appears, burns similar to Eva’s all along her arms. She asks what Eva did, and Eva says she bought them time. She waves her hand again, and Mirror-Iris’s burns disappear.
Back at the Central City Citizen, Nash arrives to tell Allegra the truth. As he is about to enter the office, Sherloque stops him, pushing Nash against a wall. Sherloque begins to vibrate, his eyes glowing red, and he says “he is coming.”
To be continued!
We’re six seasons in and I still can’t believe we’ve gotten a live-action (well, CGI, but still) version of Gorilla Grodd. It just delights me to no end. The Flash S6E13 was a lot of fun in that respect, while still featuring some solid character work for Barry. I also enjoy Chester’s presence, though I could see it becoming A Lot over extended periods of time, so we’ll see how that goes with him. I also appreciated that the Mirror-Iris story moved forward – I know it’s only been a few weeks but it feels like Iris has been trapped in that mirror forever, and there was never any explanation for the arms that grabbed her to begin with, so getting that this week, and learning that there’s more to Eva than meets the eye, was very welcome. Hopefully we’ll get more of that in a few weeks, when The Flash returns on The CW!