The Flash is back ... and then gone again. These are the problems of living sub-atomically.
The third season’s back half has been all about trying to prevent the death of Iris at the hands of a time-traveling Egyptian Speedster Transformer. So this week we’re ignoring that completely and taking on a single news headline item from Barry's accidental trip to the season finale in an effort to change the future.
Something is happening on The Flash, where good people are knowingly making stupid choices. If you read my weekly recaps, you know I think Barry is kind of a terrible person most of the time, which is not helped at all by his “I’m a very nice dude” rhetoric.
This season kicked off with the Flashpoint timeline and its impact on the universe was so much more intriguing in how it wrecked havoc across the CW/DC roster. Sure, opportunities were missed, but also grabbing a character like Diggle and changing the gender of his child (and not letting him know for weeks) was the kind of choice that toes of the line of being smarter and bigger than the Berlantiverse (producer Greg Berlanti is in charge of the DC Universe on the CW) is known for.
This is all to say that if you want to keep being excited about the third season of this show, you have to understand they’re making choices that — and this isn't just me — the show just isn't making. Which is to say: I've gotten over shouting at Barry about changing timelines when, one hopes, he’s learned by now that this is a pretty bad idea. Now I'm invested in the (poorly sold) concept of improving the future by diverting the future. And if you're going to keep enjoying the show, you probably have joined this team too.
What's fascinating is that given this big universe to play in and given such a weird cross-show amalgamation of fixed future details, the show I have been very skeptical of this year is finding a footing where the potential exists to do ludicrous things. There is no doubt that Team Flash is going to alter all of these pre-known events, and sure, Iris will probably be saved. But the first episode of this season established the idea that when things go whoopsie-daisy on this show, the very fabric of existence on a few other shows can be completely rewritten with no explanation.
I've spent season three being mad at this show, but when I take note of all the small allowances and now established universe modifying tools, I realize that what we are being set up for is Barry's meddling leading to some real source code rewriting — whether intentionally or by accidental extension.
And ... that's never happened in the history of TV? You can rank Arrowverse/Berlanti shows by your preference, but by narrative insistence, The Flash has made itself the overseer of an entire extended universe. We started the season with a few Wikipedia deep-dive level changes across the CW’s DC Universe, but the establishment of the ability to do such a thing not only gives me reason to respect what Team Flash is doing, but means this show I love also has become the first to claim the superpower of rewriting other shows.
Anyway, this week Team Flash traveled to a city full of gorillas on a planet Earth in a different dimension. So there's that.
Earth 2's Harrison Wells is kidnapped by the psychic gorilla Grodd in an effort to lure Team Flash to come help him usurp the leader of Gorilla City (which is a city full of gorillas) so that he might lead them back to Earth to go full Planet of the Apes. This is what happens. Next week, the gorillas from Gorilla City (again, a city full of gorillas) will invade the Earth. This is mostly meh, but at least it's silly and original and is a story/setting that can only exist on this show. It's been a while since Flash returned to the roots of being a wacky adventure, and maybe CGI apes aren't the best way to go, but I absolutely prefer this to another full episode of “We’re such complicated people” or to another “Meta of the Week” that doesn't bring anything to the table.
Sure, give me two weeks of gorilla wars. I love gorilla wars.
Some of our secondary characters are forging stronger relationships, our Big Bad hasn't been around for months and our main narrative is the idea of making bad things good in the hopes they will cumulatively stop a bad robot. OK. Let's get on with it, guys.