If there’s one thing that epitomises just why The Flash is quite simply the go-to comic book-based show on television then you need look no further than its exceptional ability to create that balance between hard-hitting character drama and comic book thrills. It’s a formula that the show has forged from day one and this week’s episode, Attack on Central City, served up yet another reminder why this is a show that is week-in, week-out utterly enthralling.
Following last week’s grandiose visit to Earth-2 and more specifically Gorilla City, things were a little more grounded for the conclusion of this two-parter, with the impending threat of Grodd and his army causing Barry to seriously consider whether killing was in fact his only way of stopping this behemoth threat. Citing Star City’s own hero the Green Arrow as a model for a saviour who has killed, Barry would find the right path by way of Iris and her wise words. Convincing Barry that he has always been a hero in adapting his own brand of justice as opposed to taking lives, Iris hammered home her importance in Barry’s life with a stark lesson in how heroes are all different and that he should never change who he is to get the job done. It served to us as an audience the key importance of their relationship, lending to the episode’s beautiful conclusion and also reminding us that Savitar’s return could well create a groundbreaking scenario should he actually kill Iris as witnessed from the future.
Within Team Flash we also saw now focus on another couple in the form of Jesse and Wally. With the pair now fully committed to one another and Jesse remaining on Earth-1, it would be a tough decision for them to break the news to Harry but his digestion of the letting go of his daughter would seemingly go well – at least until he would try to convince them he was dying, which would fall flat very quickly!
Then there was poor old Cisco, forever reeling from his loveless state. With Gypsy returning to the frame, it seemed as though we may finally get that happy ending for our local hero Vibe, especially after Lisa Snart turned out to be a no-go, but it looks like she may yet be another of those ‘one that got away’ scenarios. We can only live in how that Cisco does finally get his woman at some point down the line.
With so much character and relationship drama going on in this particular episode, it was left to the closing ten minutes for us to finally get a full taste of the showdown with Grodd and, in truth, it did feel a little underwhelming compared to last week’s gladiatorial contest. Admittedly, television shows have the restrictive element of a limited budget when it comes to dazzling CGI but it still felt like last week’s half of the action pie at least felt so much more sweeter. No sooner were Grodd and his armoured-up species introduced and readying for war than Solovar was returning to show the mighty monkey just who really was the boss of their species, leaving Barry, Jesse and Wally rather empty-handed in terms of any real active duty of note.
Thankfully, the shortcomings in action this week was positively outweighed by an episode that hammered home the togetherness and brilliance of The Flash cast, with their bond meaning that the character work of Attack on Central City was far more satisfying and actually meant a whole deal as we go forward with events. We can’t help but feel all warm and mushy inside now that Barry and Iris will be tying the knot and with Jesse back as part of the team and Cisco embracing so much more of his power all things are heading in the right direction. But with Savitar returning we sense there may be some struggles ahead…
The Flash airs on The CW on Tuesdays.