Gorilla Grodd has not only been a longstanding staple of the Flash’s comic book mythology—he first appeared in THE FLASH #106 in May 1959—but is also an important staple of The Flash television show, having appeared once a year since the first season. In tonight’s episode, “Attack on Gorilla City,” we finally get to see where Grodd went at the end of last season—Gorilla City on Earth-2!
Gorilla City is something that has been around as long as Grodd himself, first appearing in the very same issue as him, in fact! During its inception, Gorilla City existed on Earth-1 in a secret, little-known part of Africa and is populated by hyper-intelligent apes whose powers were granted by a meteorite—those powers being the telepathy and telekinesis that you think of when you think about Gorilla Grodd.
#DCTV Secret: Gorilla City is actually mentioned before it appears. The meteor that granted the above mentioned super powers is described as coming from a “two-mooned world” that in universe characters and readers alike assume is Mars.
Could this be indicative of an upcoming crossover between The Flash and Supergirl? Maybe Grodd will be singing in the musical (David Sobolov already has such an iconic voice, it would be awesome to have him carry a tune), or maybe something coming up in future seasons? Either way, there is obvious precedent for Grodd, J’onn and M’gann to have something in common.
King Solovar (voiced by the amazing Keith David!), was the original King of Gorilla City and in the comics was actually a wise and benevolent leader, often teaming up with the Flash and other heroes to defeat Grodd. That said, it was so much fun to see him show up on The Flash as a real and credible threat to Flash, Vibe, Killer Frost and Julian (it just feels wrong to refer to him as Doctor Alchemy now, doesn’t it?). As far as super-sentient apes go, King Solovar was actually a pretty outstanding monarch. He developed technology that quickly outstripped that of their human contemporaries and is able to cloak Gorilla City to keep it from being discovered by anyone who may seek to do their society harm.
In contrast, the show's King Solovar is actually responsible for a lot of the trouble Grodd causes The Flash, making it extra interesting to get to see the pair interact on screen. Grodd used his own telepathy to probe King Solovar’s consciousness and learn how to control the minds of those weaker than him—a favorite move of Grodd’s at any available opportunity. In “Attack on Gorilla City” we got a chance to see Grodd take possession of Harry Welles for most of the episode—it’s so good to have Tom Cavanagh back in this part, isn’t it? —causing him to use a voice that seems almost Christian Bale-Batman inspired before later taking control of Cisco Ramon.
Sidebar: Who else loved the Harrison Welles-off that we got in this episode when Harry and H.R. finally met? I’m really hoping that we get to see more interactions between these two alternate Earth versions of each other in next week’s episode.
The second leader of Gorilla City was King Solovar’s son named King Nnamdi who is also a telepath and has very strong feelings about keeping the city secret from as many outside threats as possible. Of course, there is obvious potential here for a storyline to crop up in future seasons where Nnamdi poses a threat to Grodd’s control of Gorilla City, which might be an interesting way to bring back this story thread.
#DCTV Secret: There is a resident of Gorilla City named Doctor Zaius (this is an amazing Planet of the Apes joke—a different one than the Tom Felton joke from “Attack on Gorilla City”), who is the science advisor and lead biologist from the Human Defense Corps. It seems less likely that we will see Zaius transition onto The Flash, but funny to note that the Planet of the Apes Easter Eggs are strong in this particular corner of the DC Universe.
Of course, that’s not the only corner of the DCU to intersect with the world of Planet of the Apes. There’s currently a pretty amazing Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern crossover comic being published by DC and BOOM! Studios—you should check it out!
But getting back to the Flash, in the comic book event FLASHPOINT, which we have seen adapted on The Flash and referenced a lot this season, Grodd has seized control of Gorilla City and taken over all of Africa with it, which is a pretty impressive feat. During his takeover of the continent, he kills many humans and poses a very credible threat to the rest of the world around him. While this wasn’t one of the subplots that was highlighted in the Flashpoint episode on the show, it might be a cool obstacle for Barry and Team Flash to face down the line—especially if Barry is going to go changing the timeline again! There’s also the possibility that this takeover of Africa may be restricted to Earth-2, giving our heroes another reason to vibe over there and for Jesse to have to return to her home reality and save those she loves.
Next week the apes of Gorilla City come to our home base in Central City! What is going to happen? Leave your thoughts and predictions below in the comics and I’ll see you next week!
Ashley V. Robinson covers The Flash as a part of the #DCTV Couch Club. You can find her on Twitter at @AshleyVRobinson and on the Jawiin YouTube channel. The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW.