Hello Flash fans! We’re back from our brief break with one of the highlights of the season! Why so? Because Gorilla Grodd returns! Not only is he as angry as ever, but his intelligence has evolved to match his rage.

Last time we checked in with Team Flash, it was in the underwhelming “Untouchable.” That episode went over familiar story beats like the writers were checking them off a list. I started to wonder if the show could still bring the spectacle and wonder that got me watching in the first place. “Attack On Gorilla City” put my worries to rest. This is by far the best episode of the season, not including the “Invasion!” CW crossover.

What makes it great? Just look at the episode title! That’s right, the team heads to the famed Gorilla City, located on Earth 2. Barry, Cisco, Caitlin and Julian (in wonderfully cheesy Indiana Jones gear) cross dimensions to rescue that world’s Harrison Wells from the gorillas. Upon their arrival, they are captured and confronted by a fully-realized Grodd. When he first appeared on the show, his sentences were rough and short, as if he was learning to speak. Now? He is a full-on genius supervillain pulled right out of the comics!

Grodd tells Flash that the leader of the gorillas, Solovar, will invade Earth 1 after killing our heroes in the arena. That is, unless Flash beats him first. This results in Barry fighting Solovar in AN ARENA OF GORILLAS. Despite his superior speed, most of Flash’s standard techniques fail to stop Solovar. It takes a move stolen from Reverse-Flash, a vibrating gut-punch for the lead gorilla to go down.

And that is exactly what Grodd wanted! He knew Flash could defeat Solovar, creating a power vacuum for Grodd to take over Gorilla City. Now, he has an army of gorillas ready to invade Earth 1. Besides the massive damage such an invasion would cause, it would also fulfill a news item from the future where Iris dies at the hands of Savitar. But there’s a flaw in Grodd’s plan: he’s unaware of Caitlin’s ice powers. She uses them to fake Barry’s death and get him out of their cells. He sets the group free and they escape, Wells in tow.

It’s rare that a show like The Flash creates a villain-of-the-week plan that the audience can’t find a way around. By using the Flashpoint changes to their advantage, the team finds a way out of this bind without detracting from Grodd’s intelligence. Besides the clever plot, everything about Gorilla City is awe-inspiring. And even better, Team Flash isn’t in the clear yet. Next week, Grodd and his army invades!

Assorted Thoughts:

– While this is all happening, Jesse Quick and Wally protect Earth 1’s Central City. They do stop a bank robbery, but otherwise go through a will-they, won’t-they romance. H.R. pushes them towards getting together by the end of the episode. I just wanted to get back to the Gorilla City storyline.

– Seeing Julian get super-excited about Barry going to “Planet of the Apes” is his most likable moment on screen so far. He also makes a Bludhaven reference! Plus, the Caitlin/Julian romance blossoms a bit this week. Julian actually manages to be a bit…charming?!

– Solovar is voiced by KEITH DAVID. As if I couldn’t love this episode any more.

– Harry and H.R. meeting each other again was hilarious. Harry is flabbergasted by H.R.’s exaggerated arm gestures.