Barry and Iris face the freakishly bendy metahuman Rag Doll
The Flash can do funny. It can do lighthearted, heartwarming, and even dark sometimes. But the one thing I don’t think it has ever truly done is creepy. Yet, somehow it pulled off in last night’s “All Doll’d Up,” which featured a truly creeptastic villain in Rag Doll. Watching actor Troy James contort his very bendy body while wearing a clown mask was unexpectedly unsettling. It was also entertaining, too, which helped a lot.
Beyond the creepy villain, though, “All Doll’d Up” was mainly concerned with family drama, as has been the case with most of this season’s episodes. Iris and Nora were still at odds, and Candice Patton and Jessica Parker Kennedy continued to turn in great performances that helped us come as close to empathizing with their very comic book-y situation. Meanwhile, Caitlin, Ralph, Sherloque, and an injured Cisco made some headway on finding her father. Somehow the family stuff never felt completely at odds with the Rag Doll of it all. Anyway, let’s dive in!
Picking up two weeks after the last episode, “All Doll’d Up” begins with Barry and Iris seeing their daughter for the first time since she moved in with Joe and Cecile. But it’s not a family reunion because Nora messed up in the field, which means Barry and Iris go into parent mode and scold her for it. Of course, Nora isn’t too jazzed about her parents being, well, parents and storms off. She particularly doesn’t appreciate Iris giving her advice since she thinks her mom just sits behind a desk and doesn’t do anything.
Barry pleads with Nora to at least try and understand who her mother is today instead of focusing on who she becomes, but Nora ignores her father’s advice and simply returns to the West household to complain about Iris’ “shrap” to Cecile. Our favorite D.A. has no patience for this kind of disrespect and uses her time with Nora as an opportunity to tell her stories about all of the times Iris has saved Barry. Thankfully, The Flash doesn’t forget the old cliché saying “show don’t tell,” and puts some effort into showing just how heroic Iris can be, too.
While Nora receives a history lesson, Barry and Iris team up to investigate Rag Doll, a metahuman thief who can contort his body and fit through tiny spaces. As I mentioned before, he’s a pretty creepy villain, especially since the actor is doing most of the body-twisting, crab-walking himself (Doug Jones is shaking!). That being said, the show never does too much with him beyond the physical and his motivations end up being underdeveloped and shallow. Barry and Iris discover Rag Doll is Peter Merkel, the son of a wealthy billionaire who had him arrested when he broke into their home. Apparently, Rag Doll got his powers on the night of the Enlightenment and wants to cause people the pain that he felt when his family abandoned him. The episode, however, never explains the journey that led him to want to take his pain out on the world.
Next: Watch as Iris dives in