If you're a Flash fan like me, you were probably full on geeking out in that last scene of the latest [The Flash](series:1068303) episode, Plastique. For those who don't watch (this will probably inspire you to) we were treated to a flashback sequence and interaction between General Eiling and Harrison Wells which just screamed the name and hinted even further at the classic Flash villain everyone wants on the show, Gorilla Grodd.
And to an outsider who doesn't know the character, he sounds, admittedly, kind of lame. But when you do get to know him, that changes quite drastically. He's one of the few villains in comics who genuinely manages to freak me out, because not only do I have an irrational phobia of gorillas already (have you seen the way they walk?!) he's also just a genuinely menacing villain.
He's a complicated character, but in short, here's a quick run over of him: Gorilla Grodd was just a normal ape, until he was exposed to the impossible - in the comics, a crashing spaceship (which, fun fact, also empowers Green Lantern's enemy Hector Hammond). In The Flash, perhaps more grounded, scientific experimentation. Grodd develops a true human sentience, but more than that, he develops hyper-intelligence, and a mind-control ability, which is really his big ability. However, that's not all! Grodd can also use telekinesis, transmute all matter, and shift his consciousness into other beings. Recently, his consumption of human brains has only heightened his intelligence (great news for us, right?).
Of course, while the mind is where his true power lies, he's got strength far greater than the ordinary gorilla - as if they weren't already terrifying enough - and he's inherently villainous and ruthless. His only disadvantage is that his mind operates at somewhat normal speed, which grants The Flash some power over him, but he's still a serious contender for him.
Back to business, we've known since day one that Grodd would be in the show - it was confirmed, after all, the cage tease was more than just a nod - but I don't think anyone expected anything like this quite so soon. While this episode was very much Plastique/General centric, there was actually more Grodd in there than you might have noticed.
Which is a direct nod to Grodd's mind-reading abilities, and, what's more, hints that Wells has already seen that mind-reading in action. I thought, even though I very much appreciated that reference, it would stop there, but we got a little more interaction between Eiling and Wells at the end of the episode.
We know Wells is a liar, and we know he's a murderer, and that didn't change with his threat to end Eiling (and he didn't mean his "career"), but this scene lent a lot of credibility that the work had certainly been done, and, what's more, it wasn't done nicely. Why is that significant? It's entirely possible - actually, likely - that Grodd will have developed a vendetta and hatred against those who experimented on him, and probably generalized it to the human race.
And, just when I thought they'd just namedropped it again, I was proven wrong. Enter five years ago - Arrow anyone? - we get a flashback scene. What's curious is we get almost immediately Eiling saying, "I will not have this project end before it even begins." So perhaps Wells wasn't being entirely truthful after all. Could he have been the one who began the mind-control experiments?
Wells enters the room with Grodd and everyone is basically freaking out (we won't actually see him, I'm quite certain) as Wells begins talking to him.
A future which will, it seems, inevitably lead to the creation of the Grodd we know. I expected the camera to cut off with Wells, but no.
First, we see:
I have to say, I was very impressed with Grodd's appearance. It's a question that sounds idiotic, but I'm genuinely curious how they did it. Was it robotic? Given what we see today and some rumours I heard a while back, it's possible, a costume (I've pretty much dismissed that), CGI, or an actual gorilla? Let me know below what I'm missing, because I honestly can't tell.
Which, in turn, begs the question:
How will he brought to life? When?
The latter half of that question is very hard to answer, but I'm quite certain it won't be the first half of this series. I'm tipping some time during the second half, though Grodd is the kind of villain which can be one of those overhanging series long villains leading to a final showdown (and, this season, I think that role is reserved for Professor Zoom/Reverse Flash).
The other half is just as hard to answer, though the options are of course more limited. The Flash's CGI has blown me away thus far and defies all of my expectations, but creating a realistic, talking, mind-controlling gorilla is an entirely different feat. Still, if pulled off, it's the best option. And one I'm maybe leaning towards, particularly with the work (multimillion dollar work, but the point stands) we saw in this year's [Dawn of the Planet of the Apes](movie:322904).
A costume instantly sounds tacky, but a very good one might be able to pull off the roll (emphasis on 'might'). One particularly plausible option includes the aforementioned animatronic style, which I believe could be excellent. If something like this could be done for Grodd, I would be over the moon! There are, of course, animatronic companies out there who do stuff like this, but it is (to the best of my knowledge, I'm hardly an expert) expensive, and we don't know what The Flash's budget is or what they're willing to pay. Here's an example of such an animatronic gorilla, made by the stuido Amalgamated (studioadi.com) emulating human behaviour for the 2011 movie Zookeeper. Something like this could be done for Grodd, and it would be fantastic. Enjoy.
That could actually be Grodd, with some more intelligence and some voice. Oh, fun fact! Clancy Brown, who played General Eiling tonight? He's voiced Grodd before (in Robot Chicken, but still) and more importantly you'd probably recognise his voice from many, many DC animated series and movies, where he voiced none other than Lex Luthor. And, if you're a Spongebob fan, Mr. Krabs, too.
(On a side note, and I hate to pollute my posts with this, but I've set up a Twitter to monitor news better, but will also use it to share my MP posts straight off and to interact with you guys more personally. Follow me if you want! The real reason, though? The actual Flash twitter account shared my article this morning. I geeked out. Massively.)
So, while we speculate, enjoy this trailer for the upcoming Flash episodes, sit back, and enjoy the show. Next Wednesday, episode six, The Flash is Born, we meet Girder, so there's another classic villain to look out for to.
(For next week's trailer alone, not the other episodes, click here. Also includes the Gotham, Arrow and Flash ones.
For the confirmation Professor Zoom WILL be on the show before long, and our first look at Black Canary, click here.)
EDIT: We know now that Grodd in the pictures was a guy in a costume, Simon Burnett, who often does work on Arrow's stunts. He seems to be hinting at reappearing which would indicate Grodd will be bought to life via costume, but we never know.