‘The Flash’ Season 5, Episode 5 Recap: “All Doll’d Up”


“Ragdoll” Peter Merkel (played by Troy James) emerges from his hiding spot to commit a robbery. Image courtesy of The CW.

After a week off, The Flash returns with an episode they’d been promoting since the end of America’s Got Talent. Contortionist contestant Troy James didn’t win AGT, but he did land a gig on The Flash as villain Peter Merkel, also known as Ragdoll. He delivered a fantastic performance, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The episode starts off with Central City Police in pursuit of a motorcyclist who stole a Monet painting from the museum. While out of sight though, the person they were chasing hands off the painting to another guy on a motorcycle. This leads to Barry catching the wrong guy. Nora, still mad at her parents, catches the second man, but almost kills an elderly couple in the process. Thankfully, Barry made it there in time to save them. Yeah, I’m back to not liking Nora. Real heroes care about civilians first.

The rest of the team is busy focusing on the fact that they can’t find Cicada or Thomas Snow, Caitlin’s dad. Cisco’s powers are not fully back, but he vibes the periodic table that Caitlin and her dad made anyway. He sees enough that Sherloque can deduce that her dad must have been at Hudson University. Since Dr. Styne had worked there before his death on The Legends of Tomorrow, they head to his office to see if they might find another clue there.

Meanwhile, we get our first look at super-creepy Ragdoll as he unfolds from a box. He then smashes his fingers flat to pick a locked box containing a gorgeous diamond and platinum necklace. He gets caught as he’s going out a window, but his 180-degree head turn terrifies the woman who saw him and he gets away.

Nora makes the mistake of complaining about Iris to her grandma Cecile who immediately explains to her that she better show her mom some respect. (Good job, Cecile!) Then she puts her to work doing chores, but promises that for every completed chore, Cecile will tell Nora something about her dad that didn’t make it into The Flash museum.

At the university, Sherloque, Cisco, Caitlin, and Ralph find the chalkboard that Cisco saw in his vision. Despite the pain using his powers causes him, he vibes the board and manages to make out what he saw. It’s another message, one that read, “Khione.” Sherloque points out that Khione is the Greek goddess who ran the realm of ice and snow. Another vibe has them heading to an old abandoned chemical lab, but Cisco’s hands are once again bleeding.

Both the last episode of Arrow and this episode of The Flash have people mentioning Gotham. This is to help the lead-up to the crossover which is supposedly going to be taking place in Gotham City. The person who mentions it in this episode happens to be an architect looking to build a skyscraper there, but Ragdoll destroys the architect’s office building. The architect only managed to escape because a bomb threat was called in (by Ragdoll?) and Barry managed to get there in time, catching a glimpse of Ragdoll fitting through the slots of an air duct. Knowing he can stretch and contort, Barry and Iris are able to fix his fingerprints from the necklace robbery and get an ID, Peter Merkel. His mother is a billionaire hosting a gala, so they plan to attend.

Barry (Grant Gustin) watches as Ragdoll (Troy James) disappears through the slats of a vent. Image courtesy of The CW.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team ends up at the abandoned chemical lab to see almost everything had been destroyed by a fire. They do end up finding a box that has the logo on it of Tannhauser Industries, Caitlin’s mother’s company. When Cisco attempts to vibe it, he ends up with a nosebleed and passes out.

A gorgeous Iris and dapper Barry show up at the gala and introduce themselves to Ms. Merkel, finding out that she hasn’t seen Peter in two years and couldn’t care less. She gave him everything and he never appreciated it. Her cold demeanor has the couple feeling a bit of empathy for the criminal. After a slo-mo dance scene, we catch a glimpse of Peter outside right before Iris walks out to have a meltdown about being a horrible mother. She feels that Nora has every right to hate her. Nothing Barry says seems to help.

While Cisco is out, Caitlin and the others get him back to S.T.A.R. Labs where she runs tests and finds trace amounts of Cicada’s dagger in his wounds. I guess it can’t be removed, so every time Cisco vibes or breaches, it’s going to affect his central nervous system, causing him pain. His powers are a huge part of who he is and he’s not going to let Cicada win just because of a little (by which he means, a lot) of pain. Caitlin reminds me that he has values far beyond his powers, including being her friend.

At the lab, Iris is still carrying on about how she’s a bad mom. Thankfully, Barry finally gets through to her and tells her that she can choose a different path, raise Nora differently. She needs to stop worrying about who she might become and think about the now. When he finishes his speech, she spots a clue and says she’ll meet him at home.

Cecile has been telling Nora countless stories about her “dad” and how awesome he was, but Nora realizes that all the stories about her dad were actually about Iris. Cecile points out that Nora has been projecting her dislike for her future mom on present Iris instead of getting to know her now.

Barry didn’t end up at home alone. While on a video call with Iris, Merkel knocks him out and puts the meta cuffs on him, telling Iris to come and get him. Since she’s still at the lab, she tells the team, but they’re low on options. Cisco can’t breach, Nora isn’t by her phone, Killer Frost is still gone, and the extrapolator was broken by Sherloque. Ralph is their only hope.

With Iris hanging onto him, Ralph swings between buildings like a stretchy Spiderman until they make it to the building where Barry sits taped to a chair perilously resting on the ledge. He’s being taunted by Merkel who says he was crushed the night of the Enlightenment and wants to hear Iris’ pain. There doesn’t really seem to be a reason for this, but that’s beside the point. When Iris arrives, he shoves the chair over the edge. In a seriously badass move, Iris jumps over with him and manages to unlock the meta cuffs in time for Barry to save them before splatting on the ground. I’ve never been so impressed with Iris and I’m not the only one. With Nora having finally gotten the message, she shows up just in time to see how completely “schway” her mom is.

Ralph apparently eats Ragdoll and they’re able to get him locked up in Iron Heights.

Nora and Iris have a heart-to-heart and they bond over some of the silly things that Iris has successfully investigated since she was a kid. Her dad has kept all the awards and the newspaper clippings in a scrapbook that Cecile gave Nora, so they look through it together.

Iris (Candice Patton) and Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) finally have a bonding moment. Image courtesy of The CW.

Ralph and Sherloque use their combined knowledge to come up with an idea about where Caitlin’s father might be. If her mother was involved, there is a chance that her father could be at one of Tannhauser’s black ops sites. They just don’t know how to find them. Until Cisco realizes something, the kinda thing that should have been realized five episodes ago, but he was sad, so I guess he gets a pass. Devoe took down their satellite but launched four of his own. Cisco is able to take over all four and voila, they officially have their eyes and ears on the world again. They can now find Caitlin’s father more easily, but she’s not quite ready.

She gets ready by next episode though. They find her father and learn that he quarantined himself for everyone’s safety. Not sure exactly what that means. Perhaps he had been exposed to something. Cisco doesn’t trust a thing the guy is saying though. Is the distrust warranted? We’ll find out Tuesday, November 20th, 2018 at 8/7c.

Crystal joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2018. Three years earlier, she tripped into the Supernatural fandom and decided to stay. It's where her passion for writing was reborn. Her free time is largely centered around creative writing (okay, it's fanfic), providing editing for others, and binging makeover shows. The DC Universe is her other fandom of choice and she lives for the crossover extravaganzas. The main joy in her life is her young son whom she homeschools and takes to Disney World as often as possible.

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