The Flash: 5.13 Goldfaced
It was never going to be easy to follow up on last week’s thought provoking and plot progressive episode and, while Goldfaced wasn’t terrible, it disappointingly side-lined Cicada and the developments previously made with his niece. The story was split in several directions; Barry and Ralph in search of another doohickey to defeat Cicada, Iris once again embracing her inner reporter, and Nora attempting to move Sherloque’s focus away from her. While individually each segment worked to a degree, they failed to meld together to form a singular episode.
Regardless of any annoyances, Goldfaced was still entertaining, most notably whenever Ralph and Barry were together on screen. Their chemistry blossomed further and the storyline, while familiar, worked well, especially with the introduction of possibly the best villain of the week this season. Goldface brought a perfect balance of cheese and clichéd criminal kingpin, with the final battle providing superb visuals, like the gold chain whip and gold pouring from his eyes. Equally it’s always nice to see a hero save the day without the use of their powers, solidifying their heroic status.
Barry pretending to be a villain was hilarious and oddly believable. His on-the-spot manufactured backstory and bad guy name, ‘The Chemist’, was well written and had me pondering the possibilities of seeing this alter ego again as, yes, it was that good. The idea of a criminal car boot sale was intriguing, and while Barry and Ralph becoming undercover bad guys is hardly unique, it once again offered up some thought provoking story and a hilariously entertaining adult game of laser tag.
The question of the ends justifying the means and how far a hero is willing to go for the greater good, was touched upon, with Barry and Ralph having to work for Goldface and do some criminal and ethically challenging things in order to get what they wanted. Can bad be performed that is actually for the overall good? Unfortunately this was only brought up towards the end of their ordeal. I would have liked this subject to be tackled in more depth, as not only did this elevate their characters, but frankly, it’s a fascinating discussion.
Iris’ subplot certainly had the least amount of flare; it was underdeveloped and had little memorable about it. While the birth of her newspaper/blog, “The Central City Citizen”, which later reports the Flash missing, may have nicely brought the series full circle; seeing her again put herself in harm’s way without backup simply diminished her character’s intelligence. Chris Kline’s Cicada is becoming less and less ominous, his gravelly voice is more comical than threatening and his defeat to Iris by a can of pepper spray and a pen stab was laughable. The dialogue between Orlin and Iris at least produced some well executed tension.
Most shocking of all was the Sherloque and Nora subplot, as Nora fears that he will soon discover her secret of working with Eobard Thawne. The idea of her playing with the timeline to move his attention away from her was had me sceptical due to how much this has been done in the past, but the execution was subtle and blew me away. The incorporation of a romantic element, bringing Sherloque’s infamous wives into the fold was another strangely satisfying inclusion, showing a different side to the otherwise obnoxious character. I hope the Nora/Eobard arc won’t be ignored too much longer.
This instalment did very little to address the ever decreasing emphasis on Cicada and more importantly, his unconscious niece. What it did do was further character relationships, introduce a new and exciting villain and manage to make Sherloque more interesting. The lack of suits and powers actually amplified the excitement and injected some refreshing qualities. Most exciting of all was both the fact of the timeline being malleable, and Thawne knowing so much about it. This is certainly something I hope is elaborated on sooner rather than later.