THE FLASH 5.13 Review “Goldfaced”

Do the ends justify the means?

This post contains spoilers for The Flash.
Check out the last review here.

This week’s episode of The Flash puts superpowers on the shelf, but manages to avoid the pitfalls that usually accompany that particular story trope.  “Goldfaced” sends Barry and Ralph deep into an underground crime syndicate to acquire a neuro stasis field generator. The device is needed to get Cicada to sit still long enough for the Meta cure to take effect because, apparently, Caitlin’s “only willing participants” only applies to Metas of the non serial killer variety.

While Barry and Ralph are undercover, Nora and Iris find themselves on deeply different missions. Nora is on a quest to get Sherloque off her trail. After a little help from Eobard, she helps nudge the detective in the direction of The Woman. Every Sherloque needs an Adler, after all. Their little side quest is fun and fluffy in comparison to the nonsense Iris finds herself in.

Iris West-Allen has gumption, and it’s taken her far in her career as a journalist and blogger. She fears that she may be losing that edge now that she’s started the Central City Citizen, so she decides to investigate Cicada the same way she with The Thinker. This seems like the opportune time to mention that gumption and stupidity are not the same thing, and strutting into a serial killer’s house without backup falls under the latter. To her credit, she thinks on her feet like a pro, but that’s not enough to stop Cicada from finding her out. A physical altercation ensues, and Iris miraculously manages to come out victorious, tossing in a “we’re going to beat you” for good measure.

As mentioned, the reporter wasn’t the only one to find herself in deep water this week. Ralph and Barry go undercover with Goldface’s team to acquire the device, but the crime lord wants their help with a job first. Barry almost outs them immediately when he discovers cop-killing guns capable of penetrating the CCPD’s armor in the underground market, but he manages to make a convincing criminal when there’s a gun to his head. The Flash starts out the mission hesitant to help out a crime lord, but he’s given in to the idea that the ends justify the means when it comes time to rob the hospital.

Ralph, on the other hand, isn’t about it.

The stretchy, morally ambiguous, anti-hero is allowed to rob a hospital. Central City’s golden boy, on the other hand, will keep his skinny ass in the truck and wait for it all to be over. As it happens, Dibney can’t go through with the theft, either. This is great, because it leads to what may have been one of the best scenes in The Flash’s five seasons: because they’re fitted with power-dampening cuffs immediately upon entering Goldface’s operation, Barry and Ralph can’t use their powers; what they can do is set phasers to stun and kick the hell out of a whole lot of bad guys while Rob Zombie’s “Dragula” plays in the background.

Ralph and Barry return to STAR Labs empty handed, but Iris didn’t. After discovering his weakness while fighting Cicada, Iris is confident that they won’t need the Van Horn Industries tech to stop him. This week was actually filled with wins for Team Flash. Barry and Ralph discover that they can kick some serious ass, even without their powers, and Sherloque is filled with new purpose. I’m still not 100% convinced that him no longer investigating Nora is a good thing, but finding out that The Woman is a Meta gave him drive to beat Cicada. So at least there’s that.

We’re going to close things out with a nod to one Ralph Dibney. After spending much of his premiere season being relatively insufferable, he’s evolved into a fully functioning and well-rounded character. He’s become the kind of doofus, ex screw-up with the heart of gold, and I hope we see more of him in the latter half of the season. “Goldfaced” was incredible all around, but he was the heart of it.

Next week, Nora’s about to learn the hard way why we don’t mess with the timeline. When she helped her dad stop the satellite, she pushed Cicada’s timeline forward. Now it appears that by pushing Sherloque and Rene together, she’s inadvertently pushed him closer to his family. Since it’s been Eobard pulling the strings the whole time, one has to wonder how long it’s going to take Nora to realize that he really is pulling her strings. But, we’ll have more insight on that next week! You know what to do if you had thoughts on this week’s episode!   

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