REVIEW: The Flash, S5E13 – Goldfaced

The Flash followed its recent pattern of making slow progress towards defeating Cicada (Chris Klein) by working on a suspiciously simple metahuman cure that will render his dagger useless. With Cisco unfortunately benched once more, as if anyone on this show goes anywhere but STAR Labs, “Goldfaced” turned its attention to Barry (Grant Gustin) and Ralph’s (Hartley Sawyer) ingenious scheme infiltrate a dangerous group of criminals in order to obtain the magical Macguffin tech to inject Cicada with the cure. While the boys handled that business, Iris (Candice Patton) came face to face with Orlin Dwyer in the midst of livening up her own business and Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) brought Sherloque (Tom Cavanagh) face to face with his future eighth wife in the midst of throwing him off Eobard’s scent.

It’s CSI Right-All-The-Time and his partner, Detective Terrible Detective.

Even though it took up the majority of “Goldfaced,” Barry and Ralph’s excursion was the one that advanced the plot the least. Instead the two metas went on something of a wild goose chase, learning the limits of moral ambiguity and the power of cop-killing guns set to stun in the process. Between Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) informing them that they would need a new item to use the cure and the villain of the week sending them to steal another item (a 3D printer meant for organ donations no less) in order get the first one, the episode felt a little like a trip to the grocery store. The highlight of the hour was Barry’s gruff alter ego, “The Chemist,” who actually had Goldface believing the squeaky clean CSI could be a cold-blooded killer. And I find it imperative to give Ralph yet another shoutout for shouldering the burden of crime so that Barry wouldn’t have to, yet still turning around and blocking the heist when he thought of the children who might be hurt because of him. Sawyer makes the character so relatable when the story isn’t forcing him to suck all the oxygen out of the room, and the change this season has been most refreshing.

A few stun gun shootouts and slow-mo shots aside, the real meat of “Goldfaced” lay with Iris’ investigation into Orlin. Though her original goal was to write an article on the man that would inspire the public to read her newspaper – and come forward with information, much like they did during Thinker’s reign of terror – she ended up being the one to uncover his weakness. As it turns out, physical objects hurt Cicada far more than metahuman powers do, and he’s particularly susceptible to being stabbed in his open wound. The minute of immobility he underwent when she stabbed him with her pen was exactly what Barry and Ralph were searching for when they entered the lion’s den earlier in the episode. Of course, Iris had to do some role-playing of her own to achieve these results. Much like her husband, she fooled Orlin into believing she was merely dropping by his home to interview the residents about lead poisoning rather than breaking in to out his secrets on the front page. And she would have gotten away with it too if not for her pesky purse, but thankfully pepper spray and kitchen knives work on evil men no matter their enhanced skill sets.

Sherloque trying to beat Barry at his own “She’s Iris” game.

Since The Flash remains determined to give us more than our fill of Wells every week without fail, “Goldfaced” included the subplot of him and Nora continuing their cat and mouse game. There are a few issues with this, aside from my generally not caring how many versions of the same woman Sherloque married. First: considering that he is such a great detective, it’s sloppy writing for him not to immediately connect the dots to Eobard Thawne after seeing the Reverse Flash in Nora’s Inception-style dream. Second: if Eobard’s grand plan amounted to letting Sherloque meet his ex-wife again and work himself into a tizzy, then he really wasn’t much of a threat to him work with Nora. Third: what even is his work with Nora? Eobard and Nora have been meeting in secret since before the season started, yet they are no closer to stopping Cicada or to doing anything at all of note in the lives of Barry, Iris and the team. It’s hard to even gauge what Eobard’s intentions are because so far he hasn’t affected much of anything. That being said, no matter how tedious it was to meet another Council of Wells – this time made up of every Renee Adler who had the misfortune to fall in love with Sherloque – guest star Kimberly Williams Paisley left a great impression. Hopefully she’ll make Sherloque more bearable even if she’s only there to drag out Nora’s secret for longer.

“Goldfaced” hinted at weaknesses being the theme of the night, from Barry’s inability to get his hands dirty to Sherloque’s sore point being love to Orlin’s physical weak spot, but the connective tissue didn’t really tie the episode together. Nevertheless, it contained a few humorous beats and yet another epic one-on-one win for Iris, so it wasn’t a total wash. The Flash needs to pick up the pace in the next few weeks, though, or Cicada risks being even less memorable as a villain than the Thinker was.

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on the CW.