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Recap / The Flash 2014 S 5 E 5 All Doll'd Up

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After learning the devastating truth behind Nora's issues with her mother, Barry suggests he and Iris team up in their latest case to forget their troubles with Nora. Unfortunately, things quickly turn south for the both of them during their investigation into a grotesque mask-wearing villain with a disturbing ability to dislocate their limbs.


  • Absentee Actor: Joe, due to Jesse L. Martin's prolonged leave of absence because of a back injury.
  • Act of True Love: Iris jumping off of a building, with no harness and without a moment's hesitation, after Peter Merkel shoves Barry, who is cuffed with meta-human dampener handcuffs, off of that same roof.
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    • Additionally, Cecile recounts to Nora of how when Barry and Iris were children, Iris would sit with Barry at lunch every day after his mother died, and how she then took out a page in the yearbook and dedicated it to Barry's science fair project. This made Barry smile again.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's implied that Cecile made up the story of Barry fighting giants in the past, but it's also just as likely, given the Arrowverse at large, that it actually did happen.
  • Antagonist Title: The Doll in the title refers to the Villain of the Week, Rag Doll.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Sherloque, again, who only needs a few descriptions from Cisco's vision to deduce where Thomas Snow was at that point.
  • Body Horror: Rag Doll's body bending and movement is extremely unsettling.
  • Broken Bird: Nora’s comments to Iris about their relationship in the future at the end of the episode would seem to imply that Iris never really recovered from losing her husband.
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  • Building Swing: Inspired by a comic book (implied to be Spider-Man), Ralph uses his Rubber Man abilities to do this for the first time to rescue Barry, with Iris riding on his back.
  • Chekhov's Gun: It's revealed that the Enlightenment satellites are still up in orbit, and now Team Flash decide to use them in place of the destroyed Sally.
  • Dances and Balls: The fundraiser for which Barry and Iris go undercover is a fancy party, with lots of slow-dancing, hosted by Theresa Merkel. Barry convinces Iris, who is struggling with her guilt about motherhood, to dance with him.
  • Death from Above: Peter is yet another victim of the Enlightenment event, and it.is all but stated that his entire body was actually crushed by debris from the satellite. A subversion, as it actually transformed him.
  • Epic Fail: Nora uses her powers to put a table together for Cecile...only for it to collapse because she forgot the screws.
  • Eureka Moment:
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    • Barry when he realizes that since Rag Doll can contort his body it would mean that his fingerprints would be contorted too which is the key to identifying him - a disgraced son of a Central City dynasty.
    • Iris figures out the pattern of Rag Doll's victims, namely that Rag Doll is causing turmoil to people by taking away that which is most precious to them. She is conveying this to Barry, right when Peter Merkel targets Barry, implying that Rag Doll figured out what, or rather who, was most important to Iris, and he sought to cause Iris maximum pain, therefore.
    • A multi-tiered one - Sherloque and Ralph realize that Caitlin's father is hiding in a Tannhauser black site, but finding that site without a satellite would be near impossible. This leads to Cisco remembering that DeVoe still had 4 satellites used for the Enlightenment, and with DeVoe dead, no one is stopping Cisco from hacking the remaining satellites.
      • Ralph quickly realizes that now that they have control of DeVoe’s satellites, they might be able to work out which one gave Cicada his powers, and subsequently might be able to find a weakness.
  • Fanservice: Barry & Iris dressed up as a Sharp-Dressed Man & Lady in Red for the fundraiser.
  • Foreshadowing: Before he's attacked the architect is talking on the phone about building a skyscraper in Gotham, setting up Batwoman's debut in Elseworlds (2018).
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Rag Doll can be seen in the background, watching Barry and Iris, after they interview his mother. This is just before it was revealed he's watching them and plans to target Barry.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Iris is obviously very afraid of her own actions in the future leading to the alienation of her daughter.
  • Future Slang: "Schrap", another term used by Nora, which seems to be a portmanteau of "shit" and "crap".
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Cisco's palms still have trace amounts of aluminum-beryllium alloy in them, remnants from Cicada's dagger. So every time he uses his powers, dark matter is affecting his central nervous system, causing him great pain.
  • Good Parents: Or rather, Good Step-Grandparent - Cecile doesn't take Nora's dislike of Iris sitting down nor does she chew her out for it. Instead she tells her stories about Barry's childhood — ending with a story about a kid who lost his parents, became a pariah in the school so Barry sat with him every day of school until he smiled again; except it wasn't Barry in all those stories - it was Iris. All of them to get to show Nora how she's unfairly projecting her dislike of future Iris onto a remarkable good woman.
  • Handicapped Badass: Cisco is still feeling the effects of Cicada’s dagger, and is in incredible pain whenever he uses his powers.
  • Heroic Wannabe: Nora, who almost causes two civilians to get killed by an explosion and comes too late to save Barry from Rag Doll.
  • Hidden Depths: Sherloque is a pretty skilled speed painter, shown by his sketch of the greek goddess Khione.
  • I Can See My House from Here: Ralph during the Building Swing.
  • I Have No Son!: Peter Merkel's mother Theresa disowned him after his crimes.
  • Leitmotif: Rag Doll has his own creepy theme.
  • Life's Work Ruined: The architect whose building Rag Doll blew up says that he destroyed everything he had worked for.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Peter Merkel could easily pass as a killer from a horror movie.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Following the pain of being disowned by his family and being crushed by satellite shrapnel, Rag Doll went on a rampage of inflicting the biggest emotional pain possible on his victims. The sad thing is that these people weren't even related to what happened to him. They were just people he picked at random while spying on the galas his mother threw.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The architect's Gotham client is named Novick, after comic artist Irv Novick, who had one of the longest careers in the business including a couple decades on Batman stories.
    • Cecile's story about Barry traveling back to the past and fighting golden giants called Grodans is a reference to "The Flash (vol. 1) #120: Land of the Golden Giants!"
  • Noodle Incident: Cecile's story about Barry fighting the Grodans, listed under Mythology Gag above (though it's unclear if that was true).
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: After Rag Doll throws a cuffed Barry from the skyscraper, Iris jumps off the building to remove the cuffs and have Barry save both of them with his speed.
  • Not So Different: Iris thinks to see much of Theresa Merkel and her own mother Francine in her future self, which caused the rift between her and Nora. Barry encourages her and tells her that she is nothing like these women.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Ralph defeats and incapacitates Rag Doll (seemingly by swallowing him whole) entirely offscreen.
  • Old Friend: Turns out Thomas Snow and the late Martin Stein were friends.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: When Iris and Ralph arrive to save Barry, Rag Doll tells Iris to put down her gun or else he would throw Barry to his death. She leaves it in the floor, but Rag Doll throws Barry.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After Iris chews Nora out for skipping two weeks of training and turning off her comm, Nora explodes that she's spent a lifetime of putting up with her mom's condescending controlling attitude and she can't take it anymore.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: After she selflessly risks her life by jumping out of a building to save Barry, Nora is extremely impressed with Iris and the two take their first steps towards reconciliation.
  • Scary Black Man: Peter Merkel a.k.a. Rag Doll is black and extremely creepy.
  • Screw Destiny: Barry tells Iris not to become like how Nora got to know her.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": whenever Ragdoll uses his powers, there's a very audible crunching noise.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Villainous Underdog: Under normal circumstances, someone like Rag Doll would be absolutely no match for Team Flash, but due to both his stealth and a unique combination of circumstances (including that a number of their members are out of commission, and that Barry has the meta-dampeners lying around his apartment), he actually poses a threat.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Iris scolds Nora for turning her comm off, since she almost risked lives.
    • Cecile points out that Nora taking out her frustrations on Iris for things she hasn’t actually done yet is stopping her from seeing the good person she is now.
    • Cisco getting angry at Sherloque for destroying the extrapolator just when they needed it most.
  • Worf Had the Flu: with Barry kidnapped, Team Flash is severely understaffed with supers (Killer Frost still "missing", Vibe couldn't use his powers without risk to his health, and XS couldn't be contacted by phone) at least until Ralph makes himself known.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
    • Barry encourages Iris that she doesn't have to be like how Nora sees her in the future.
    • Caitlin tells Cisco that even without his powers, he is still a genius and a valuable friend. He ends up proving this when he realizes Team Flash can use DeVoe's satellites to make up for the loss of their own.
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