The Flash 5.13

The Flash 5.13 Recap: “Scum Recognizes Scum”

I wonder what’s going on with actor Carlos Valdes this season. Cisco is absent from The Flash again this week, which means that the meta-humans get to name themselves. That turns out to be a problem.

“Goldface” sounds like the villain in a lame James Bond knockoff. If that’s what the show was going for, I wish it had gone all-in with a Shirley Bassey soundalike theme song and the works.

The Main Plot

Cisco may be away, but Caitlin announces that his meta-human cure is almost ready. The only problem is that it doesn’t have an instant reaction. If they’re going to force it on Cicada, they’ll need to hold him still for at least a minute. That seems unlikely, unless they can obtain a doodad called a Neuro Stasis Field Generator from Van Horn Industries (yet another tech lab in Central City!). Wouldn’t you know it, the generator was recently stolen.

The thief who took it was the aforementioned Goldface (Damion Poitier), a black marketeer of high-tech goods and weapons. Ralph tracks him down, and then he and Barry go undercover, posing as gangsters who want to buy the generator to use in their crimes. While searching for that, Barry is very troubled by a high-tech laser rifle that its seller describes as a “CCPD Killer” because it can blow right through body armor. When Barry attempts to buy the whole allotment to get them off the streets, the seller alerts Goldface about suspicious newcomers.

After Goldface slaps anti-meta-human cuffs on the both of them and demands to know who they are, Barry concocts a backstory about being a thief called “The Chemist,” who’s so skilled and so meticulous at his thievery that he’s never been arrested and never even come on the radar of any law enforcement. Goldface buys the story, but insists that he won’t sell the field generator to Barry or Ralph unless they first help him steal a very fancy medical 3D printer that can produce human organs. Barry has reservations about this, but Ralph talks him into the necessity of getting his hands a little dirty if he wants to beat Cicada.

The heist of course goes sideways, as these things always do in movies and TV, which leads to the powerless Barry and Ralph grabbing a pair of those laser rifles and doing a full-on John Woo shootout with the bad guys. (Conveniently, the rifles have a “Stun” setting so that our heroes don’t actually have to kill anybody.) When it comes down to a faceoff with the Big Boss, Goldface reveals himself to be a meta whose entire body can harden into gold, making him impervious to laser fire. Barry tricks him into flailing his golden whip into a power generator that electrocutes him.

Despite his eyes melting and his body lying in a giant pool of golden blood, Barry announces that Goldface is still alive. What a lucky break.

The Intrepid Reporter

Exactly how Iris’ new “newspaper” is different from her previous blog is a mystery to me. I don’t see any printing presses in her office, and she seems to be a one-woman show. After a critic calls the new venture boring, Iris decides that the only way to retain readers is to write about Cicada.

To that end, she goes hunting down leads like a real investigator until she makes her way right to Orlin Dwyer’s house. Like an idiot, she sneaks in with no backup just as he gets home and has to hide from him. While Iris tries to sneak out, Dwyer spots her, and she flubs a lie about his door being open. She introduces herself as a reporter doing a story about lead poisoning in the area and asks if she can interview him. Dwyer is dubious, but agrees if only so he can suss her out. He acts like a serial-killing creep the whole time, but Iris almost gets through the interview before tipping him off at the end.

Dwyer chases Iris through the house, trying to kill her. Even though he’s an experienced serial killer who’s defeated much stronger opponents, Iris manages to overcome Cicada by stabbing him in the chest with her pen, right in the center of his satellite shard wound. Cicada falls to the floor, writhing. Rather than try to subdue him further (which, admittedly, would probably just get her killed), Iris leaves and calls Barry. Unfortunately, by the time he gets there, Dwyer is gone.

When Barry laments that his mission to obtain the Neuro Stasis Field Generator was a failure, Iris tells him that they don’t need it. She knows Cicada’s weakness now.

Blinded by Love

Worried that Sherloque is on the verge of discovering her secret, Nora goes to Eobard Thawne for help. He advises her that the best way to get Sherloque off her trail is to redirect his gaze. Since Sherloque (who’s been married seven times) seems to have a weakness for the ladies, Thawne concocts an elaborate plan for Nora to take him out for coffee at Jitters and orchestrate a meet-cute moment between Sherloque and a woman he’s certain to fall for.

Sure enough, it works. As soon as Sherloque lays eyes on Renee Adler (Kimberly Williams-Paisley, perhaps best remembered as Steve Martin’s daughter in the Father of the Bride movies), he’s instantly smitten. Unfortunately, while trying to impress the woman with his keen deductive knowledge of her personality, Sherloque freaks her out. She storms away believing him to be a stalker.

In an unwise decision, Nora attempts to enlist the help of some of Sherloque’s ex-wives, hoping they can enlighten her as to how he won them over. She’s shocked to discover that all of Sherloque’s exes are actually the same woman (Williams-Paisley again) from different universes. The man has a very specific type. Far from helpful, they demand that Sherloque make good on overdue alimony payments. One tells him that he’s destined to be alone.

Undeterred, Sherloque meets with Renee again to apologize and wins her over. She agrees to go out with him. As she leaves the coffee shop, he notices that she’s a meta-human. Afraid that this will put her on Cicada’s hit-list, Sherloque focuses all his efforts on protecting her. Nora breathes a sigh of relief that Thawne’s plan worked and Sherloque is successfully distracted.

Episode Verdict

The big takeaway from this episode is that Barry and Ralph learned how to defeat some villains without using their powers. I have a feeling that will come up again later. Beyond that, the entire Goldface storyline is basically a bust that accomplishes nothing. Even Barry admits as much later.

The idea that Barry could successfully go undercover as a criminal without being recognized as a cop is kind-of ridiculous. Even if he’s not a detective who actively busts criminals himself, he must have been seen around town investigating crime scenes a bunch of times. Plus, he just looks like a do-gooder cop and is totally unconvincing as a gangster.

The Iris storyline is also pretty flimsy. If it were so easy for her to find Dwyer’s house, why hadn’t Ralph or Sherloque already done it? I can’t fathom what Iris was thinking sneaking into the place alone. That was a real dumbass move on her part.

Fortunately, she discovered Cicada’s vulnerability, which will undoubtedly be key to defeating him later. Of course, now that he knows that she knows about his big wound, you’d think he might wear some body armor over that part of his chest or something.

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