The Flash recap: Barry and Ralph go undercover as criminals
In almost every season on The Flash, there comes a point where Barry has to figure out how far he’s willing to go to defeat the season’s big bad. Tonight is that episode, or at least a low key version of it. In “Goldfaced,” — a.k.a. the Barry & Ralph Action Movie Hour — our favorite goody two shoes speedster finds himself in a moral quandary where he has to decide if the ends justify the means (Spoiler alert: They don’t).
When we pick up with Team Flash at the beginning of the episode, Caitlin is walking through her and a noticeably absent Cisco’s breakthroughs on the metahuman cure and how it can be used on Cicada — because Caitlin is apparently fine with forcing the cure on Cicada even though she and Cisco agreed that’s the one thing they wouldn’t do with it. Short story even shorter: The cure will take about a minute to shut down the part of the brain that gives metahumans their powers, so Team Flash needs to find something that can immobilize their foe long enough for the cure to do its job. Luckily, someone made a peaceful anti-riot device called a field generator that will freeze any living thing within a confined radius. Unfortunately, the few devices that were made have all been stolen; however, one of Ralph’s old contacts tells them that they can get the device from an elusive arms dealer named Goldface. This doesn’t sit well with Barry, but Ralph argues that the ends justify the means.
So cut to Barry and Ralph visiting the black market. And I mean that literally. Somewhere underneath Central City, there’s an actual illegal marketplace where people are dressed in all black as they sell and buy dangerous weapons. When Barry and Ralph get there, someone immediately snaps power dampening cuffs on them, which makes their job a lot harder. Before their meeting with Goldface, Barry comes across some super “CCPD killer” assault rifles and tries to buy the lot of them because he’s worried about them actually hitting the streets.
Barry’s boisterous offer catches Goldface’s eye, but for the wrong reasons. See Goldface doesn’t believe Barry is actually a criminal and threatens to kill him unless he reveals who he is. Thinking quickly on his feet, Barry lowers his voice and weaves a simple tale about how he’s the one responsible for some elaborate heist that has the cops fooled. He always cleans up his tracks, because he’s the Chemist. That’s enough to convince Goldface not to kill them; however, the gold-loving crime boss says he’ll only give them what they want if they help him steal a 3D printer for organs from Ivo labs before it gets shipped to the hospital. The idea of yanking a life-saving technology like this away from people who need it goes against Barry’s very core, but he ignores all that and decides that the Flash may need to get his hands dirty if he wants to defeat Cicada.
NEXT: Sherloque finds love, and Iris finds Cicada
The ensuing heist doesn’t go as planned. First, Ralph tries to save Barry’s soul by locking him in the van while he accompanies Goldface’s guys to steal the printer. However, once inside, Ralph has a change of heart, realizes this isn’t worth it, and turns on the men. From there, he regroups with Barry and they go into action-movie mode; they set their guns to stun and proceed to take out all of Goldface’s men. The Flash has never done an action movie shootout set piece like this before, so I appreciated them trying to stretch themselves even though the end-result was rather choppy. Of course, Goldface shows up once their done living out their S.W.A.T. fantasies and another fight ensues. Even though they don’t have their powers, they still manage to take him down.
In the end, Barry and Ralph don’t end up getting the field generator, but that’s okay because they learned there are some lines they shouldn’t cross even if it is for the right reason, right? Alas, if only Nora Allen had learned this lesson because she spent the entire episode trying to hide the fact that she made her own deal with the devil to defeat Cicada.
While spying on Sherloque, Nora discovers that he knows she’s working with someone. Of course, she freaks out and speeds off to the future for Eobard’s assistance. After making a few dramatic turns, Eobard tells her that she just needs to alter the timeline ever so slightly to create a distraction for Sherloque. So, she invites him out for coffee and moves a few things around to ensure that he runs into the Earth-1 version of Rene Adler, who is the woman he’s married seven different times already on multiple Earths. Their first encounter, though, doesn’t go well because Sherloque knows too much about her from other Earths and ends up scaring her off.
Looking to salvage this potential relationship/distraction, Nora contacts Sherloque’s other wives to find out why they fell in love with him. But that plan backfires because now they know which Earths he’s on and threaten to send Breacher after him if he doesn’t pay his alimony. Having all of Sherloque’s wives hologram à la Council of Wells was clever, but the show loses points for not even telling us which Earths they were from, how their personalities were different, or really anything. Before they all sign off, though, one of them suggests Sherloque stop looking for love because some people are just meant to be alone. That read sends Sherloque into sulking mode; however, Nora gives him a little pep talk, saying that love can’t be solved like an equation.
So, Sherloque returns to Jitters and tries to patch things up with Rene by explaining that he simply deduced all of those details he knew about her. After watching him use his “power” on someone else in the coffee shop, she gives him her number. However, as she leaves, Sherloque realizes that she might be a meta, rushes back to S.T.A.R. Labs, and hits pause on his Nora investigation in order to dig into the Cicada case so that he can protect her from the meta-killing baddie. Thus, Nora’s plan was successful.
While all of this was going on, Iris was busy doing some shoe-leather reporting and actually managed to find Cicada’s home. Obviously, Cicada comes home right as she breaks in, and she manages to trick him into believing that she’s just there to interview him about lead in the water. Things take a turn when he realizes that she did indeed break in and he tries to kill her, but Iris stabs him with a pen and escapes. If you’ve been reading these recaps, then you probably guessed that I loved this entire storyline because it was great to see Iris have some agency and use her reporting skills to help the team. Sure, she almost died, but stabbing Cicada with the pen helps her figure out his weakness.