Barry and Ralph go undercover to explore the black market of Central City's metahuman criminal underworld. Unfortunately, the two heroes quickly find themselves in a position where they may have to commit a crime to get what they need to defeat Cicada. Meanwhile, Iris' investigation into Cicada's whereabouts gets her into a sticky situation.
Every cop movie where the straight-arrow cop goes undercover and immediately blows their cover because of a crime they can't ignore.
Granting that Team Flash is supposed to be all about not killing, that didn't stop Iris from killing Savitar. So why doesn't she finish the job when she has Cicada down and in pain? (Apart from ending the chief battle of the season about ten episodes early, of course...)
The sequence of Barry and Ralph going all Call of Duty on Goldface's men to Rob Zombie's Dragula is a perfect balance of music, lighting and stunt-work blending together into a glorious whole.
First appearing in Green Lantern #38 in July 1965, Goldface was originally designed as a foil for the Silver Age Green Lantern Hal Jordan, whose power ring could not affect anything that was yellow. A criminal scientist named Keith Kenyon, Goldface developed a serum based on gold that gave him super-strength, invulnerability and a golden glow. He also utilized a gold-gun that sprayed liquid gold and wore golden armor. In time,Goldface changed from a simple bank robber to a crime boss and tried to use his powers to muscle in on existing criminal empires. This brought him into conflict with The Flash. Eventually, his elixir turned his skin into organic metal.
Goldface's background was retconned significantly Post-Crisis. Now, Goldface was the son of a union leader in Central City, who turned to crime to rebel against his family. He also acquired his powers after being exposed to a sunken chest full of gold that had been altered by toxic waste. Otherwise his career as a criminal was largely the same, except that he moved to Keystone City after his release and followed in his father's footsteps to become the Commissioner of Union 242. He teamed up with The Flash to save the city after his ex-wife, the villain Blacksmith, attempted to form a new Rogues' Gallery to take over the city's underworld. Unfortunately, his reformation didn't stick and he later died in prison, killed by the Darkstar Tomar Tu, who was trying to avenge the death of his father (the Green Lantern Tomar Re) at Goldface's hands.
The Arrowverse version of Goldface is Blacksmith's ex-boyfriend. He's said to have stolen more weaponized technology than any criminal in Central City. He's been said to have been running a black market in Central City for years and is now running Blacksmith's territory as well. He has the metahuman power to change his skin to gold, much like how Citizen Steel becomes organic steel. This makes him stronger and more durable than an average person but does make him more conductive to electricity, as Barry is able to disable him by tricking him into using his gold chain whip on a power box.
The character of Renee Adler seems to be inspired by Irene Adler in the same way that Sherloque Wells is a tribute to Sherlock Holmes. In the classic Sherlock Holmes stories, Irene Adler was a career criminal in the story "A Scandal in Bohemia" who managed to get the better of Holmes. She is often presented as a romantic interest for Holmes in the stories inspired by the original tales of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but many Doyle purists believe that Sherlock only admired her for her wit and there was no romantic intention at all.
Barry goes by the name The Chemist while posing as a criminal in the black market. There was a criminal known as The Chemist in Batman: The Animated Series, who appeared in the episode "Batgirl Returns." An expert on acids, explosives and poisons, he claimed to be able to identify any chemical by appearance or scent.
The maker of the 3-D printer Goldface wants to steal is Ivo Labs. This is the same company that made the Amazo robot from Elseworlds, which was named in honor of Professor Anthony Ivo - a mad scientist who was a frequent enemy of the Justice League.
Unfortunately, the metagene cure that Cisco and Caitlin have developed is not as simply administered as loading a chemical into a tranquilizer dart and shoot someone with a sniper rifle.
Cisco developed his cure by analyzing identical twins - one of whom became a metahuman and the other didn't. The key difference in all cases was the pituitary gland.
It seems that the pituitary gland metabolizes dark matter through the body, which results in the development of metahuman powers. Turning a metahuman into a regular human requires that the the dark matter in the pituitary gland be neutralized.
The cure does not work instantaneously. The subject has to be immobilized for one minute for the cure to take effect.
Van Horn industries created a peaceful anti-riot device called a Neuro-Stasis Field Generator. Basically, it's a biological EMP that can immobilize any living organism within a confined radius.
Barry makes reference to a museum heist in Star City where atomized lorazepam was used to knock out the guards.
Goldface asks Barry and Ralph to help him steal a cutting-edge 3-D printer that can create artificial organs.
Thawne: A man does not wear another man's face unless he understands his mind. Not just through time, but across Infinite Earths. This Sherloque... yes, he's brilliant, but.. to redirect his gaze, one only has to nudge him towards his weakness. Love.
Ralph: I know what you're thinking.
Barry: We're supposed to pay Goldface and then just let him get away?
Ralph: Come on. You said we need to think outside the box.
Barry: This is making a deal with the devil.
Ralph: No, this is stopping Cicada. Look, I don't like this anymore than you do, but in some cases the ends justify the means. And stopping a psychotic meta-killer who we are literally powerless against? That's one of those cases.
Barry: Dude. if we make the wrong move in here, these cuffs are going to be the least of our worries.
Ralph: New game plan. The antihero of our dynamic duo will find the Field Generator. And you're just going to stay here and try not to look like a cop. Or a superhero.
Ralph: Or really anything you actually are.
Barry: (annoyed) Just go! I'm fine!
Goldface: I'm going to ask once more. Who. Are. You?
Barry: I'm nobody. No arrests. No convictions. Not for the Star City Museum heist where atomized lorazepam knocked the guards out. Or the acid bomb that blew open the Federal Reseve vault last month.
Goldface: That was you?
Barry: Not according to the police reports. Because the only evidence I leave behind are red herrings for idiot cops to chase down. You want to know who I am? You can call me The Chemist. But I really don't care what you call me. Just stop wasting my time.
(There is a long tense moment as Goldface's henchmen look to him. He nods and smiles.)
Goldface: (To Ralph) You should let him do the talking.
Ralph: Yeah. I get that a lot.
(Goldface explains that he wants Barry to steal a 3-D printer that prints artificial organs.)
Barry: You want us to rob a hospital?
Goldface: Of course not! I'm not a monster. I want you to rob the lab before it ever gets to the hospital.
(Four of Sherloque's ex-wives are talking over each other demanding money.)
Sherloque: Ladies -
Ex-Wife #3: We know you had Superman deliver your alimony to your ex on Earth-38.
Sherloque (laughs nervously) What?
Ex-Wife #3: You think we don't all talk?
Sherloque: (To Nora) I was hoping they don't all talk.
(Ralph is struggling on the groundwith one of Goldface's men. Barry is standing there, holding a brick.)
Barry (nodding) Ralph!
(Barry throws the brick and hits the henchman in the head. He is out instantly and Ralph gets up.)
Ralph: Well, thank you, but for the record I meant throw the brick to me.
Barry: I was trying to throw it to you.
(Ralph and Barry walk out to see Goldface with their hands up.)
Goldface: Good boys. I was hoping you wouldn't make daddy use his belt. Since you obeyed me, I'm not going to blow your arms off.
(Goldface begins to shrug out of his jacket and turns his back on Barry and Ralph.)
Goldface: I'm going to kill you in a more traditional way. And I promise-
(As he turns back around Barry and Ralph have drawn their stun guns and open fire.)
Ralph: He really should have frisked us first.
(Goldface groans and starts to pull himself up.His skin is cut, revealing gold metal underneath.)
Goldface: See, that's the thing. My gold? Don't just make me look pretty.
The whole of the Cicada vs. Iris fight.
As the episode opens, Sherloque is still trying to translate the Time Language and wondering who Nora is working with.
Thawne is working with Nora to stop Cicada, though why he's doing so is unclear.
According to Eobard Thawne, there's always a Wells helping Team Flash. He says that every version of Harrison Wells across the multiverse is weakened by love in some form or fashion.
After one week, the Central City Citizen is failing to pick up readers and Iris is feeling depressed after reading a review that says her news site is boring. Worse yet, it is compared unfavorably to Spyn's site from 504.
Caitlin says she and Cisco have almost finished their metagene cure but it requires the subject to be immobilized for one minute to start working.
Caitlin knows that a new technology by Van Horn industries might be able to stop Cicada for that long, but all the prototypes were stolen.
Ralph has a connection who knows something about the stolen technology black market in Central City. This contact, Earl Cox, previously appeared in 413.
Amunet Black (aka Blacksmith) is still said to be at large.
Earl Cox says that the way Goldface's black market works is that he teleports the goods to an abandoned warehouse a day after the sale is arranged. That way nobody knows where his operation is being run from. He tells Barry to tell Goldface's people that Big Raf sent them.
Thawne helps Nora figure out a way to plan a "meet-cute" between Sherloque and a woman named Renee Adler.
Sherloque determines at a glance that Renee Adler is a trained ballet dancer (she says she has studied since she was four), is from the East Coast of the United States, grew up in a small village by a bay, works as a librarian at a university, lives by a train station in a small, split-level pad and that she has an old Corgi dog as a pet. It's about the time that he gets to the train station that Renee becomes creeped out and calls him a stalker.
Nora offers to help Sherloque with wooing Renee.
The password to enter Goldface's market is "The streets are paved with gold,"
When Barry and Ralph enter Goldface's market, they are teleported to somewhere Caitlin's GPS cannot find them.
Everyone who enters Goldface's market is fitted with a power-dampening cuff. It is rigged to explode if a metahuman tries to use their powers anyway.
One of the weapon's dealers in the black market sells an energy weapon he calls a Toastmaster. It fires a bolt of energy that can burn through police-issue body armor in seconds.
Barry gets Goldface's attention after he asks about buying all the Toastmasters.
Brent Osmack is Orlin Dwyer's manager at the plant he used to work at. Iris arranges an interview, nominally about union reform, but starts asking questions about Dwyer. Sheis told that Dwyer had his checks sent to a P.O. Box but he once had to forward it to a cousin's house. The cousin's name was Robbie Byrne.
Barry takes credit for a museum heist in Star City and blowing a vault at the Federal Reserve with an acid bomb.
Goldface agrees to give Ralph and Barry the tech they need in exchange for helping him with a heist that night. Goldface wants to steal a new 3-D printer that is capable of printing artificial organs before it is delivered to the local hospital
Ralph gave Iris some sort of burglar's tool for a birthday persent, which she uses to break into Robbie Byrne's house and confirm that Cicada is there.
The sketch Nora made of Cicada's home in Grace Gibbon's mind looks just like the home Iris breaks into.
All of Sherloque's five ex-wives are revealed to be alternate Earth versions of the same woman - Renee Adler. Four of them answer Nora's request to help Sherloque figure out what attracted them to him... but only so they know what Earth he is on now so that they can demand their alimony.
The one ex-wife we don't see is the one from Earth-38, to whom Superman delivered an alimony check in S409.
All of Sherloque's ex-wives talk to each other on a regular basis.
One of Sherloque's ex-wives claims he released fruit bats at their wedding instead of doves because he thought it was romantic. (Sherloque knew she loved endangered animals and thought it would be a unique gesture.)
Another of Sherloque's ex-wives is allergic to dogs. He got her a puppy as an anniversary gift thinking she could slowly build up an immunity.
Sherloque attempted to fake his death to get away from one ex-wife. Twice. She fell for it both times.
Iris becomes stuck in Cicada's home while he is there. She is able to get to the front door and pretend that she was coming in when the door squeaks. She asks if he is Robbie Byrne and he says he is.
Iris claims she is writing a story about lead leaking into the water through old pipes in Cicada's neighborhood.
Iris asks if he has a daughter, looking at the dollhouse Nora saw in her time in Grace Gibbon's head. He says he used to.
Nora suggests that Sherloque's problem is he treats love like a mystery to be solved rather than something to be savored.
Ralph locks Barry up in one of Goldface's trucks so that he doesn't have to get his hands dirty with the robbery.
Barry is able to get out of the truck by using a slither of metal as a screwdriver to disassemble the grating on the window on the truck door.
Ralph decides to fight Goldface's men after finding a list of children approved for the donor organs the 3-D printer can me on top of the box containing the printer.
Goldface is beaten after Barry tricks him into whipping a power box with his gold chain.
Cicada notices Iris' purse that she left in his living room when she broke in. This leads to Iris desperately having to fight her way out of his house, stabbing him in the chest.
Barry says he and Ralph can be proud that they took down a metahuman with no powers.
Iris says she thinks she figured out Cicada's weakness.
Sherloque approaches Renee Adler and apologizes for creeping her out. He proves he is a detective and not a talker by observing that a random man at the coffee shop is lactose intolerant and predicting when he's about to react badly to his latte.
Sherloque realizes the Earth-One version of Renee Adler is a metahuman when a door opens for her as she is leaving the coffee shop.
With Sherloque realizing his new love is a metahuman, he throws himself back into the Cicada case instead of working on translating Nora's time language.
Iron Heights - 2049
The Bottom Line
An episode so that is so fun you won't mind that it's all a gigantic shaggy dog story.