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THE FLASH “All Doll’d Up” Review

By on November 15, 2018

The Flash — “All Doll’d Up” Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, Candice Patton as Iris West – Allen and Jessica Parker Kennedy as XS– Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW

 

THE FLASH “ALL DOLL’D UP” REVIEW

 

BY JUSTIN CARTER

 

Credit where it’s due, this week’s Flash works because of its villain of the week. Even though it might have worked even better as a Halloween episode rather than just before Thanksgiving, Ragdoll instantly stands out because he is genuinely creepy in a way few Flash villains (or even Arrowverse villains) are. The mask is surprisingly the least scary thing about him when he’s moving like something out of a horror movie and snaps punctuate his body contortions.

Played by contortionist Troy James, Ragdoll was a thief who got crushed by satellite debris when the Enlightenment happened, so now he can fold his body to the point where he can slip into vents and put himself in gift boxes. His mother isolated him while he grew up, which naturally strikes a chord with Iris since Nora is avoiding her and Barry like the plague. And this is where the problem lies, though it’s admittedly the right kind of one, I think: Ragdoll may be too good at his job of being creepy that he sort of overshadows everything else going on.

What’s here with the West-Allen drama is certainly good; Cecile using Barry’s childhood tales as a way to help Nora understand how her parents were as kids definitely works and makes good use of Jessica Parker Kennedy and Danielle Nicolet’s respective strengths. Like all kids eventually do, Nora’s discovering her parents contain layers and that she can’t blame her mom now for something her mom will do later.

It doesn’t hurt that Barry and Iris are on point as a duo this week. Not only do they both look stunning in their evening wear, Barry gets to be the supportive husband who is just trying his hardest to make his wife forget about her problems, which is a good use of Grant Gustin’s charm. The MVP of the episode is certainly Candice Patton, she has to carry a lot of the emotional weight this week as Iris tries to keep herself together while realizing she’s not that far off from what her mom did to her back in season two. Her crowning moment comes from when she and Ralph go to save Barry and she jumps off a skyscraper to reach Barry before he hits the pavement, and it is that great combination of heartfelt and crazy that helps sell the “We’re the Flash” moments from last season.

The rest of Team Flash is dealing with their own set of family issues, both found and biological. Caitlin has enlisted Ralph, Sherloque, and Cisco to help her look around town for her dad, but Cisco’s Vibes are killing him thanks to injuries from Cicada’s dagger. Cisco’s bummed because he’s been Vibe for so long that not being able to use his powers has him feeling like an outcast, but he’s still useful to Team Flash when he hacks Devoe’s satellites. With Caitlin’s dad set to debut for real next week this story is more of a holding pattern than anything else, bolstered by the dynamic the four share. All of that makes for a fun Flash episode, just what’s needed as we get closer to the winter finale.

Additional Notes

  • Another Elseworlds promo, this one for Barry as the Green Arrow. Desperately hoping for some salmon ladder in this one.
  • Sherloque is now being called “Shirley,” and I approve of this.
  • Seriously, Barry and Iris look amazing when they’re dressed to the nines. If they had to be spies for an episode, I wouldn’t turn it down.
  • Small thing, but I’m very glad Cecile did not let Nora shit-talking her mother slide and corrected her on that.
  • I have to say, I almost wished Ragdoll didn’t say a word, because hearing him talk is even creepier.
  • Jesse L. Martin is taking a leave of absence due to a back injury, and I hope he recovers soon.

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