In the year of our Lord 2019, the mere fact that an episode is titled “King Shark vs. Gorilla Grodd” shouldn’t make me as excited as it does. I mean, we have Doom Patrol traveling through alternate dimensions via a donkey’s mouth; Legends of Tomorrow, well, being legendary weirdos; and of course, Grodd has been part of The Flash’s world since season 1 and the show has engaged in its fair share of comic book weirdness. And yet, it did. In fact, I think the episode actually lived up to the excitement I had when I actually watched it.
Part of me is surprised that the “King Shark vs. Gorilla Grodd” actually worked. This definitely feels like an episode that was born out of “wouldn’t it be cool if King Shark fought Gorilla Grodd” before the actual story was formed. However, the resulting episode, which was written by Eric Wallace and Lauren Certo, is solid, and more importantly, stands out as one of the strongest outings of the season because it is just tangentially related to the Cicada storyline but still feels relatively essential. Additionally, it also marks Jesse L. Martins’ long-awaited and welcomed return from medical leave.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the episode.
We begin in media res with a snarling Gorilla Grodd barreling toward King Shark as the Flash and XS lay paralyzed on the ground. Then, the action jumps back 12 hours, and we find Team Flash hanging out in the Cortex as Cisco announces that he has finally finished the metahuman cure. However, there isn’t much fanfare because everyone knows that there’s a “but” coming since they’ve been through this before — and there is. Cisco and Caitlin explain they need to test it on someone before they use it on Cicada. But there’s one problem: There aren’t any metahumans who would say yes to trying it out. Well, Barry realizes there’s one…
Cut to Team Flash paying A.R.G.U.S. a visit to see Lyla and ask if they can talk to King Shark. In case you forgot, this King Shark, a.k.a. Shay Lamden, is actually from Earth-2; however, he’s found a friend in his Earth-1 doppelganger’s wife Dr. Tanya Lamden, who has been working on a technology to help his brain become more human than shark. In fact, she can now communicate with him via something called a telepathic crown. Unfortunately, King Shark isn’t feeling too talkative today because when the team asks him if he’d want to take the cure, he rages out, removes the crown, and swims away.
The team is eventually able to track him down and force the telepathic crown on his head; however, that doesn’t stop King Shark from crushing Cisco with his hands. Seeing no other option, Barry injects King Shark with the metahuman cure, thus breaking the teams’ one rule: Not to use it as a weapon. Barry doesn’t feel guilty about his actions, though, because his trip to the criminal underworld taught him that he doesn’t need to be so precious about keeping the Flash’s hands clean. Cisco and Caitlin, on the other hand, are pretty pissed off about his decision.
The one person who isn’t complaining about what Barry did is Shay, who is pretty happy to be back to normal — at least temporarily. It turns out that the cure wasn’t strong enough to suppress all of the dark matter in his body, so the team just needs to come up with a stronger dose to get rid of the tiny bit that’s left in his brain.
Next: The fight we’ve all been waiting for
After the success of Arrow, Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash) gets his own CW treatment in this comic-themed spin-off.