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Barry and Ralph go undercover in the criminal underworld, Iris vs. Cicada in the latest Flash

By Trent Moore
The Flash Goldfaced

With Cicada still on the loose, Team Flash tries to think outside the box to bring him down — and that line of thinking leads Barry and Ralph deep into the criminal underbelly of Star City. Long story short, don’t mess with the Chemist.

Spoilers ahead for “Goldfaced,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash, which aired Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.

The team believe they need a sci-fi McGuffin to hit Cicada with the metahuman cure Cisco and Caitlin have developed, so Ralph uses his shady contacts to track down a stolen tech dealer who has what they’re looking for. But to get it, they have to go undercover as criminal buyers. Sure, it’s a fish-out-of-water setup we’ve seen before, but it works to perfection here. Turns out the criminal Goldface takes a few precautions with his visitors and slaps a pair of power-dampening cuffs on the duo once they step through the door. That’s right — the Flash and Elongated Man were rendered powerless from the jump.

Putting the super-stretchiness and super-speed on the sideline allows the story to focus on Ralph and Barry simply working the case and using their wits to get out alive. They even wind up working a job for Goldface, tasked with stealing a high-tech 3D printer earmarked for a hospital. Barry has to dig deep with a fictional backstory when he’s put under scrutiny (inventing the criminal mastermind the Chemist in the process), while Ralph is forced to grapple with the collision of his life as a hero and the gray areas of his past. After finally convincing Barry that the ends can justify the means, Ralph himself has a change of heart and locks Barry in the truck when it comes time to actually do the dirty work.

It’s a noble move, as Ralph believes the Flash really is too good to lower himself to stealing from a hospital — so he decides to take it on himself and get back into the muck once again. What Ralph doesn’t see coming, though, is just how much he’s changed over the past year. After seeing the patients who will be left wanting without the device, Ralph goes rogue and tries to stop the heist. This gives de-powered Barry and Ralph a chance to take on a whole team of thieves with their high-tech stun guns, setting up a set piece shootout unlike anything we’ve ever really seen on The Flash to this point. it’s a ton of fun, and in addition to simply being a fresh action scene, it’s a reminder for Barry and Ralph that — even without their powers — they’re still heroes who can make a difference.

Assorted musings

The Flash Iris and Cicada

Iris’ efforts to get the Central City Citizen off the ground aren’t off to a great start, as the local media critic(?) gives her site a bad review. Sure, that all seems a bit random, but it pushes her to start investigating Cicada for her reporting. That shoe-leather work leads her to accidentally stumble upon Cicada’s hideout (oops), though she almost fools him into thinking she’s investigating lead in the neighborhood water. When that ruse runs out, though, she manages to stab Cicada and escape — though seemingly not before realizing he has that wound on his chest they might be able to exploit.

Sherloque’s investigation into Nora’s mysterious partner (remember, it’s Future Thawne) gets derailed this week by the machinations of said future baddie. He shows Nora how to manipulate events to distract Sherloque with a woman, and brings all his exes into the fold to get into his head just a bit more. Surprisingly, it actually works, and now Sherloque has turned his attention back toward Cicada. It begs the question of when the team will figure out Nora is actually working with Thawne, and more importantly, is Thawne actually trying to help? Also, did anyone else catch Thawne’s “across infinite earths” line?

Next week: The teaser is a bit of a question mark, simply showing a brief time loop that Nora seems to be trapped in. Best guess is she’s trying to save Iris from … something? This could be a fun one, as this series has typically thrived when it plays with timey-wimeyness. The episode is titled “Time and XS,” obviously a play on “Cause and Effect,” so what will Nora have to do to break the loop?