‘The Flash’: A Superhero Show Reveling in Its Own Insanity

The Flash - The CW

Source: The CW

Comic books have always basked in their inherently ridiculous nature, and honestly why wouldn’t they? Super-powered mutants, aliens, and humans don’t typically run around in costumes fighting crime. It’s a core concept that’s always walking that line between telling a serious story while still refreshingly not taking itself seriously. But translate that over to a movie or TV medium, and things always seem to land on the side of gravitas. Shows like Arrow and movies like The Dark Knight and Man of Steel always seem to have the DC universe lacking the fun-loving spirit of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With CW’s The Flash, though, it looks like they finally have the combo-breaker DC has so sorely needed.

The comic mythos of the Flash is one of the crazier ones this side of Deadpool. Throughout its history, four different characters have worn the iconic red suit. From there, things only get crazier. In one plotline, the Flash runs so fast that he literally comes across God. His abilities also allow for things like time travel, running at the speed of light, and vibrating so fast that he can move through walls (the comics call it “quantum tunneling”). Within that world, multiple Flashes exist in multiple parallel universes, with one storyline even breaking into 52 identical realities. Basically, you’d be hard-pressed to find a comic world more patently insane than this one.

This makes any adaptation more than a little difficult to imagine. But what the CW has managed to do somehow does justice to both the comics and telling a coherent television story. What it produces is a show that revels in the craziness of its source material, giving it a light-hearted approach that plays off of the more serious nature of creator Greg Berlanti’s other CW show, Arrow. 

Lately, The Flash has been indulging even more so than usual in the madcap nature of its comic universe (spoilers ahead, so consider yourself warned). We recently found out that a future version of the Barry Allen Flash traveled back in time to try and save child Barry’s mother from being killed by the Reverse Flash, a villain from the comics who specializes in time travel. All the while, a new foe awaits in the sewers below Central City, teased at in the stinger for the latest episode: Gorilla Grodd.

There’s something to be said for a show having the nerve to include a character like Grodd on a TV show with a fairly mainstream audience. For the uninitiated, Gorilla Grodd is a genetically altered talking telepathic gorilla. Now that you know that, allow it to sink in for a moment. Of all the villains they could have chosen from, a wildly successful network television show decided to run with the evil psychic ape. It’s nothing if not ballsy, and more than deserving of kudos for the attempt alone. Over at io9, we’re given a walk-through of that fateful stinger, showing us just how we’re supposed to feel about mother freaking Gorilla Grodd ambling through the sewers.

‘Oh my god,’ gasps Eiling.

‘NOT GOD. GRODD.’

AND THEN A BIG EVIL MONKEY SHOWS UP AND KILLS THE HELL OUT OF CLANCY BROWN.

I… I can barely stand how awesome it is, even recapping it now. Grodd’s talking! He may be in league with the Reverse-Flash! The Flash put a giant evil telepathic monkey on screen, is going to make him a credible if insane villain! This is really happening, people!

And exhale. It’s happening. Good Lord. It’ll be awhile before we see what comes of our newest villain, with the next Flash episode airing on March 17. But you can color us excited to see what this show brings next. From time travel to telepathic primates, it’s hard not to enjoy the sheer insanity of a show that respects its source material while still managing to stand alone as its own unique show.

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