REVIEW – The Flash Season 5 Episode 15 – “King Shark vs Gorilla Grodd”


Don't you just love it when an abandoned building is in the right place at the right time for an epic supervillain throwdown?  The Flash returned from it's short hiatus and picked up with the big news from the last episode:  the metahuman cure is complete.  Now it's time to find a test subject, and they think they may have found just the right candidate.  So let's find out how we got to the vs part of "King Shark vs Gorilla Grodd".

(Photo: Shane Harvey/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.)

Now allow me to fast forward you to the part where the team realizes that King Shark is from Earth-2, may be an ideal candidate and just happens to be in ARGUS custody.  When they arrived, they are surprised to learn that the King has been very chatty lately.  That's thanks to a familiar face, Dr. Tanya Lamden.  Remember, King Shark just happens to be the Earth-2 doppleganger to her late husband.  Well she has been working on a device to no only communicate with him, it also calms him down now that his brain is starting to become more shark than human.  It also seems very obvious from the beginning that Dr. Lamden is quite attached to him and seems eager to have him participate.  Just when it looked like things were going well, he breaks free of their control and escapes with no apparent explanation.

They would later end up tracking him down, but this time suited up and with metahuman cure in hand.  They try to talk him down, but he instead grabs Cisco and looks like he is about to bite his head off.  This is when Barry makes a snap decision to inject King Shark with the cure.  I'm sure you had the same reaction that I did when you saw that.  You knew that was going to be trouble later on, and it was.  In the moment, however, their "test" of the cure appears to be successful and King Shark is once again Shay Lamden.

(Photo: Shane Harvey/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.)

They, of course, take him back to Star Labs for observation, where it turns out that the cure does have some side effects.  His arm morphs back for a moment, but goes back to normal.  So they decide to confine him to the lab for now.  That's when the inevitable discussion between Cisco, Barry and Caitlin happens about what Barry did.  They think Barry broke the deal.  I say they, because Caitlin was in Cisco's corner 100%.  Am I the only one that felt a bit conflicted here?  I feel like both sides had some good points to make, and I am still not quite sure where I stand on the issue.  There wasn't too much time to resolve it either, as we find out who was being King Shark's abrupt exit earlier...Gorilla Grodd.  This was a calculated plan by Grodd to get his hands on the device that was being used to control King Shark's mind.  Now he can amplify his powers to control the entire city.  They had enough trouble stopping Grodd before, how are they going to do it now?

Barry and Nora head out to try, and things go well at first, but that would have been too easy.  Grodd has them mentally frozen, and it looks like they are sitting ducks.  That's when Shay decides to be turned back into Killer Shark to stop Grodd.  The kicker is, if he does this, there is no going back.  This all happens right after he and Tanya make a connection and she admits her feelings for him.  Still, he feels responsible for what he did as King Shark, and saving The Flash is his way to make that right.  I have to say, I thought Dan Payne did a fantastic job in this episode.  It was very short,  but very impactful when he takes responsibility for everything.  He and Zibby Allen (who plays Tanya) did have great chemisty too, to that made this decision even more meaningful.  So Cisco reverses the effects, and it's on.

(Photo: © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.)

I know that I usually share pictures from the episode, but this was too epic not to share.  I won't go into all of the details, because I couldn't possibly do it justice in written form.  What I will say is, this battle definitely lived up to the hype.  It was also incredible seeing the size difference between the two.  It gives you an idea of just how massive King Shark really is.  Now remember, Grodd can't control King Shark because he has the mind of a shark and not a human at this point.  That evens the playing field, but Grodd definitely gets the best of him.  If it wasn't for The Flash and XS getting involved, things would have ended very differently.  So, if you think about it, it really took three different metahumans to finally take Grodd down.  The only bummer here was that Grodd really didn't get to enact his plan at all.  It would have been nice to see how that would have factored in, but that would not have been possible in one episode.  Budget wise, it just wouldn't be possible to stretch this out longer.  I would start a GoFundMe just to see that again though, for sure!

While all of this is going on, we get the triumphant return of Joe West to the show.  Turns out Joe went off to visit Wally, which was a good way to write him out of the show for a bit.  It turns out that he came back at the right time, because Iris is still shaken after everything that happened with Cicada and the time loop.  That's when Joe does what he does best, go into Dad Mode.  Once he finds out what has been going on, he talks to Iris and gets her to focus her mind back on just how tough and amazing she is.  That scene where Joe has Iris just punching a punching bag was so simply, but so empowering to watch at the same time.  Candice Patton really transformed during that scene, and it made me want to cheer for her.  I feel like we got Iris back in that moment.  Instead of being strong OR focused, it feels like Joe was able to bring back that balance of both in almost an instant.  If you had any doubt how important Joe was to the team, and the family, you found out this week.

(Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved)

Episodes like this where the "big bad" isn't the main focus of the story can sometimes be considered filler, but this was anything but that.  We get to see the conflict within the team about how the metahuman cure should be used.  We got to see Iris get some much needed therapy from her father.  We also see that Barry wants to just offer the cure to Cicada, and have his fellow teammates give him the same face that we probably all did when he said it.  I'll be honest, if they offered Cicada the cure and he just flat out took it, that would be kind of brilliant.  Have you ever had someone say to you, "all you have to do is ask?"  Imagine that actually playing out.  I know you might disagree with me, but that might be the most surprising outcome of them all.  It doesn't seem like that, I'm sure, but we all expect an elaborate fight here.  Wouldn't having that not happen be the most surprising outcome?  Look, I know that wouldn't completely end that particular storyline.  We know that there is more than one angry family member here.  I just see the potential in letting the story play out with Cicada just accepting their offer of the cure.  Just think about it.

We also get a break from the Thawne storyline, which I was surprised that I didn't miss.  While I have enjoyed what I have seen so far, it's getting to the point where I am going to need more from these meetings.  We have gotten little bits and pieces, now it's time to give us something bigger.  I'm looking for more actions than I am revelations at this point.  If we're going to keep having these trips to the future, I'm going to need something more grand than a slight reveal very soon.

What will happen once the team sets their focus back on Cicada?  How long can Nora keep her secret?  Is Sherloque finally going to get a break in his investigation?  Will the protocol for the metahuman cure be broken again?  Will the "other" Cicada be making an appearance again at some point?  We may not have to wait long to find out!

What did you think of this week's episode?