The metahuman of the week was a bit on the freaky side this time around, as Team Flash took on the Rag Doll — who felt like a mix of The Exorcist and The Ring thanks to that freaky little crab walk. But, the real story was all about the burgeoning Allen family.
Spoilers ahead for “All Doll’d Up,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash, which aired Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.
The story of Rag Doll (who looks fairly comic accurate, if also positively terrifying in live action) made for a visually distinct case of the week on its own, but most importantly served as a parallel for what Iris has been going through ever since her future daughter Nora burst onto the scene. After meeting his mother and realizing she gave her son every opportunity and he turned out bad anyway, Iris fears she might be doing the same with Iris.
This is a show that’s often dealt with the question of fate vs. free will, and the answers have been surprisingly varied along the way. We’ve seen Team Flash change the future plenty of time, but sometimes events play out regardless of how hard they try to stop them (though the details might not always be exactly what they first appeared). Iris is terrified she’ll grow into the mother that Nora resents, and Nora can’t see past that future version of her mother to see the woman she is today. Barry makes the case that, knowing what she knows now, she can make different decisions when she does become a mother. But, Iris still has her doubts.
Instead, it’s actually Cecille who ends up saving the day. After her fight with Barry and Iris, Nora sets up shop at Joe and Cecille’s house. Cecille agrees to tell her stories about Barry growing up, but it turns out she’s been telling Nora great stories about her mother instead — and it’s at that point the lightbulb goes off for Nora and she finally starts seeing her mother as the person she is now. The person Barry fell in love with. The person who would jump off a building with no superpowers to try and save the man she loves. It’s taken time, but Iris and Nora finally seem to have reached a point where they can start to build the relationship they somehow lack in the future.
It also begs the question: Can Iris really change the way her family turns out in the future? Obviously, figuring out how to prevent Barry from vanishing in the mysterious “Crisis” would be the most obvious way to solve all those problems. We seem to be working toward that with the introduction of Nora, and if the show runs a few years longer, we’ll actually catch up to that 2024 point in the timeline (Arrow’s on Season 7 already with no signs of slowing down, while Flash is on Year 5 itself). That would theoretically put that arc in Season 10, for those keeping score. It’s a fun story to play with, and great to see them mining it.
*It seems to happen every year, but I’ve got to admit, that new version of Wells is starting to grow on me. Pairing him up with Dibny via a friendly rivalry has made for a great, fresh dynamic. Tom Cavanagh only gets more versatile as the years go by, and there seems to be no limit to the amount of Wells he can successfully pull off and make us fall in love with along the way.
*Hey, a Dr. Stein reference! Turns out Caitlin’s father knew Stein back in the day. Nice to know he hasn’t been forgotten, following his sacrifice with the Legends.
*The mystery surrounding Caitlin’s missing father took a major step forward, and judging by the peek at next week, we’ll finally get to meet him. Cisco also puts himself in harm’s way to put the pieces together, and it turns out he actually has shards of Cicada’s dagger embedded in his hands, which react negatively when he tries to use his powers. Basically, at least for now, he’s sidelined. He has a bit of trouble dealing with the realization, but after hacking into Devoe’s old satellites to get the team a few eyes back in the sky, he’s finally found his mojo once again.
*Hey, another Gotham nod! The Arrowverse has been dropping Gotham nods this season, and now Flash is getting in on the action. The architect targeted by Rag Doll is on the phone with someone in Gotham about designing a building for the city’s skyline. We’ll finally get a peek at that skyline in the “Elseworlds” crossover.
*The line: “You’re not user friendly!” from Cisco was laugh out loud funny.
*With Barry temporarily de-powered and Nora off the grid, Ralph gets a chance to step in and let the Elongated Man save the day. He even channels some Spider-Man moves to get across town!
Next week: Caitlin’s father is found! But there’s something fishy, and icy, about his story.