“All Doll’d Up” Could Be The Flash’s Best Episode Thus Far
Did someone call for the best episode of The Flash?
After returning to our screens from a week-long hiatus, The Flash returned with “All Doll’d Up” which featured America’s Got Talent’s Troy James. And after watching the episode, which included scenes between Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) and Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy), Team Flash assisting Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) with her daddy issues and even Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) working together, we came to the conclusion that it has been The Flash‘s best episode yet!
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Iris returned to her journalistic roots to uncover Ragdoll’s motives and Barry saw this as the perfect opportunity to team up with his wife on the case. The two even attended a fancy gala to uncover truths and in the midst of it, Iris grew somber as she was reminded of her estranged relationship with Nora.
Meanwhile, with the help of Cisco (Carlos Valdes), Ralph (Hartley Sawyer), and Sherlock (Tom Cavanagh), Caitlin was able to make some progress as to her father’s whereabouts. Turns out, he’s hiding in one of her mother’s abadoned buildings.
Here to discuss contortionists, team-ups and more is our roundtable!
Tatiana (@myrcellasear)– Entertainment journalism wannabe and an avid pursuer of comics.
Muna (@candiceswest) – First lady of The Flash enthusiast.
Jessica (@newsflash52) – Lover of all things DC, especially The Flash and Iris WestAllen, and podcast host for Ladies w Gumption.
Alexis (@alexiswaverider)– Hope we are less screwed in 2018.
Will Polk (@willmpolk) – Blerd, Flash fan, and producer of @scenennerd podcast with host Sarah Belmont @sjbelmont.
1. Iris got to do it all this episode! How do you feel about the comparisons between Nora and Francine in terms of their relationship with Iris?
Jessica (@newsflash52): I’m so glad the writers even remembered Francine, first of all lol. I also love how they continue to explore Iris’s feelings about her fractured relationship with Francine and why she doesn’t want that with Nora. I have thought about how the two situations were similar in the sense that Joe lied to Iris about Francine out of protection/love compared to Iris lying to Nora about her powers. I think the villain’s issues with his emotionally distant mother also served to explore Iris’ POV and the complex relationship between moms and their children. Really well done.
Vanessa (@westallenallure): I think the comparison wasn’t warranted given the highly different foundations set, for example; Francine leaving Iris very young while Iris is a constant in Nora’s life. However, I did appreciate that they brought up Francine and highlighted how that still affects Iris because the audience figured that it would. I love that they remembered that and weaved it in a way that made sense.
Will (@willmpolk): This episode really explored Iris’ relationship and feelings about her mother that really were explored to this level of depth before. Iris has grown as a character in many ways since season one. I liked how they explored her feelings of being a failure and despair of knowing being shut out of Nora’s life. It also showed that in many ways Nora’s personality is a lot more like Iris’ than she initially thought.
Muna (@candicewest): I really loved the fact that they addressed that issue early on, and that it was Barry who reminded Iris who she is. At first, I thought they would make the Nora and Iris situation relate to Francine and Iris, and worried that they would make Iris believe she’s going down that same path with Nora. So it was really great that they decided to address it early on.
Tatiana (@myrcellasear): I am obsessed with Iris in this episode, although of course I’m obsessed with her every episode. But getting to hear her voice her fears and receive support from her husband – and indirectly from her stepmom as well – was really beautiful. As for the comparison between Nora and Francine, it was a really interesting angle from which to approach the situation. I would have thought Iris would compare herself to Joe and Nora’s anger to her own anger at her father, which caused them not to speak for a year in this timeline, but I in retrospect the way she framed it makes sense too. She didn’t want to get to know her own mother when she had the chance, and now she feels the weight of her daughter not wanting to know her.
2. What did you think of the metahuman of the week, Ragdoll?
Jessica: Ragdoll might be, visually, one of the best villains the Flash has ever had. His motives and backstory were a little weak, but his main purpose was to just be creepy and terrifying. Twisty Troy nailed it! Never accepting large heavy gift boxes ever again.
Vanessa: Ragdoll was amazing. He wasn’t the typical villain given he didn’t really have powers but wanted to use to mess with people for interpersonal reasons; many villains have done that but it’s never been so nonchalantly. I loved him. His powers were so eerie and disturbing but I liked the inflicted discomfort.
Will: *Pulls blanket over head.* Ragdoll was legit creepy a villain we’ve seen in the Arrowverse. Think after Devoe’s murdered corpse being there and Ragdoll showing up in their condo, Barry and Iris should find a new place to live.
Muna: He really creeped me out, but he was an interesting meta and I’m sure he’s going to return for revenge. He doesn’t seem like he’s quite yet done finishing what he had planned.
Tatiana: Troy James did a stellar job, definitely the first villain of the week to scare me for real. And I loved how his storyline connected thematically with Nora and Iris as well.
3. How do you think the relationship between Nora and Iris will be moving forward?
Jessica: The promotional stills from next week’s episode shows Nora and Iris team up and do some investigating together with Sherloque. I’m really excited to see them actually bond and work together. I feel like whenever Nora forgets she’s supposed to be mad at her mom, she really does want to feel close to her mom.
Vanessa: I think hearing so many stories of Iris’ altruism and Nora seeing firsthand how much she loves her family (Barry specifically in this episode); only warrants them to keep on growing closer. The wonder in Nora’s eyes (which, kudos to Jessica Parker Kennedy) while regarding Iris – surely changed the outlook on Iris forever. I’m truly excited for them to be soft with each other.
Will: There will still be bumps in the road, there is always in parenting. Parents want to do what is best for their children and the kids want to spread their wings and Iris has had all of this dumped on her at one time, so obviously, there will be growing pains and I hope the writers continue to mine that.
Muna: It’s going to be great from here on out, and I’m really excited to see them have more light and bonding scenes together in the upcoming episodes! We got thought the rough patch of their relationship, which was hard to watch and included a lot of tears, but I’m glad that’s over. Nora really heard so many great things about Iris and it helped her get to know the iris today that we all know and love, and now she’s eager to know more about her mom, and on behalf of the fandom we’re all really glad it finally happened.
Tatiana: It definitely seems like their dynamic in the present will be warmer, and that will help Nora see her mother in a different light when she returns. Not to mention that the timeline should be different when she arrives home, so she may find herself in the presence of a mother who is already
4. Poor Cisco! How do you feel about the episode shining light on his pain?
Jessica: Cisco rarely gets POV on his feelings, and this episode gave it to us in spades! He’s gone through so much losing Cynthia and now Vibe, and yet he always puts his friends above his personal feelings. So I’m glad it was finally someone else’s turn to put Cisco first. Loved how Caitlin expressed how much she was worried about him and made sure he knew that he was enough, powers or no powers. The whole scene really reminded me of their S1 friendship and how close they are. Caitlin knew exactly what Cisco needed to hear.
Vanessa: I always love when they give Cisco a proper arc, he’s my favorite characters outside the West-Allen family. Carlos always makes Cisco’s resilience justice and I really felt for Cisco when he felt like all he has to him is his character – which is incredibly false. We have to remember he’s probably still getting over Cynthia and he’s here helping Caitlin by pushing himself to possible severe injury.
Will: For the first time this season, I feel that Cisco managed to show some growth. I really enjoyed the conversation between him and Caitlin about coming around on his powers and also her being able to counsel him as he learns to adjust to the pain in using his at the moment. Plus I finally feel that he was fully Cisco again using his brain instead of the trap door vibing people out of trouble.
Muna: I felt bad for him. Cisco is usually the one who balls up his feelings and never really addresses it but this season has truly been rough for him. I’m glad the writers decided to shed some light on his pain and feelings this season and let him express what he’s going through rather than keep it all in.
Tatiana: I was really grateful that Cisco finally got some spotlight, and that he too received emotional support for his pain. Cisco is the epitome of self-sacrifice, and it’s about time that his worth was acknowledged and that his friends put his needs first too.
5. Caitlin made some strides this episode. What do you think of the way the writers are handling her origin story this time around?
Jessica: Caitlin’s story definitely seems more thought out that’s for sure. Killer Frost has gone through so many origin stories that have kind of diluted the impact of the character. However, I think introducing this new origin with Thomas Snow, could finally be the one that sticks and ties everything together.
Vanessa: I won’t lie and say that it’s uninteresting but because they’ve retconned her story so heavily various times; it’s uninteresting to me. I can’t help but say, “Really? We’re doing this now?” – and remembering how the previous retcons negate what the writers try to promote now. But the writers are evidently making an effort to “clean up” that arc, so I’ll give them that.
Will: Much better, but sadly too little too late for many in the fandom. I’m still keeping an open mind.
Muna: I’m going to be honest here, I never found interest in Caitlin’s origin story because it’s never been clear what the writers were doing with it. It first started as something that was unknown and we didn’t know where it came from. Then they hinted at it being something caused by the particle accelerator explosion. Now they’re saying it’s something she has had since a kid. At this point I really am not paying attention to her storyline because it doesn’t add up.
Tatiana: I like that they’ve incorporated some mythology into it and actually clarifying where Killer Frost came from, so I’m perfectly happy with this latest retcon.
6. If you were in Iris’ position, would you jump off a building to save your partner?
Jessica: Iris is definitely more brave than I am! Although, I will say you never know how you will react in a high-pressure situation. All her adrenaline was flowing, and she made a split second decision. Probably helps if your husband is a superhero though. Even Barry was surprised, but she had so much trust that once she freed him, he would save them. A love (one) superhero couple!
Vanessa: Westallen are goals and I’d love to replicate their love in real life but I draw the line at jumping off a bridge. But Iris is surely more badass than me so it makes sense for her. That moment, by the way, was insanity. The emotion I went through in that split second I thought she was going to stop at the edge but then actually through herself – were something else. I was laughing of how incredulous I was. I knew she was as loyal as they can be but she took it to another level.
Will: Without a second thought.
Muna: I would absolutely not, because one, my partner wouldn’t be a superhero, and two I’m afraid of heights, let alone jumping off a building. That scene really showed how brave and selfless Iris West-Allen is, and how she truly will do anything for Barry.
Tatiana: If my husband was The Flash and had previously rescued me from a similar situation? Then yes, I think I could manage to uncuff him in time! But if he doesn’t have speed powers? Sorry, babe, it was nice knowing you.
7. What was your favorite moment of the episode?
Jessica: I have a few. The WestAllen dance scene might be my top favorite. The dance was beautifully directed. Barry and Iris looked so elegant walking into that gala! All episode, Barry really went above and beyond to cheer Iris up, but it was especially sweet that he wanted to make time just to be romantic for his wife. My second favorite moment might be Cecile’s sharing “Barry” stories with Nora, that are actually stories about Iris. I stan Cecile so hard in this episode, from her not putting up with Nora bad mouthing Iris, to using the childhood stories, including how baby Iris sweetly comforted Barry, to show Nora another side of her mother. Ugh, the WestAllen family feels hit me hard this episode!
Vanessa: The dance at the gala was a favorite. Barry’s spent all episode tying to have a date with his wife and he didn’t want to pass up a dance which would be n unforgettable date staple. I loved how they mentioned that they never got to dance for their wedding because TRUE (we were robbed). As well as, how in love they looked the whole time they were dancing. The acting was sublime and hit all the feels. They also looked so good? Loved that scene so much.
Will: This whole episode stands out to me this season as it contained every single element of what makes the Flash great. For me, the moment that stands out is Barry and Iris’ dance. It really showed the depth of Barry’s optimism and for Iris while this should have been a fun moment, her conflicted feelings of Nora and their lives at the moment.
Muna: Well I did indeed adore and appreciate the numerous Westallen scenes we were given in this episode, but my favorite moment isn’t Westallen related surprisingly. My favorite moment was when Cecile told Nora she would tell her all about things regarding Barry that wouldn’t be found in the Flash Museum, but was actually talking about Iris the whole time. That scene really caused me to a be a bit emotional because it was so sweet and important. Nora was so amazed of all the stories Cecile told her, but never imagined that it was really her mother who had her so awestruck. We also found out a really sweet moment from Barry and Iris’s childhood and it really was the cherry on top for the scene. Cecile was the real MVP of the episode and is the main reason Nora finally decided to get to know her mother.
Tatiana: Way too many to count! Westallen slow dance, Iris jumping off the roof to grab her man… But I think Cecile telling the story of young Iris while disguising it as a Barry tale deserves a shoutout. That woman is a gem, let love for the West family and her ability to help others see reason is only matched by Joe West himself.
“All Doll’d Up” gave us all the feels and more!
As mentioned earlier, this episode shined in many ways that other Flash episodes have not! We have always been a fan of Iris getting the recognition she deserves, and this episode was essentially a love letter to her fans. It was refreshing to see Iris get some point of view, and her being able to talk about her mother was icing on the cake. And if you’re a fan of Westallen too, you won’t be disappointed!
Not only was Iris able to channel her inner hero, she also helped the best way she knows how: by investigating. We have always dreamed of a team up with Barry and Iris on a case, which they have done many times in the comics. This episode delivered on that front, and we adored just how much Barry wanted to spend time with his wife — trying to turn every work opportunity into a moment between the two.
Not to mention, the slow dance between Barry and Iris was one of our favorite moments of the two yet. The looks, combined with the background music and slow-mo made our hearts swoon! They really are the ship of dreams.
This episode’s MVP? Cecile Horton. After Nora decided she needed to rethink the meaning of “family,” she packed her bags and moved into the West home. While there, she and Cecile got to spend some quality time together — even if the quality time consisted of bribing! Over the course of the episode, Cecile share stories in which Nora thinks is about her father but plot twist! All the stories that Cecile shared were about selfless acts done by Iris. It was great to see Cecile stand her ground, forbidding Nora from disrespecting Iris in the West home. Because of this, combined with witnessing Iris jump off a building to save Barry, Nora realized that 2018 Iris isn’t similar to future Iris at all. At the end of the episode, Nora and Iris reconcile and we truly hope their relationship blooms moving forward.
Lastly, we have to get a huge shout out to Troy James. His performance as Ragdoll really made the hair on our arms stand up. His interpretation was haunting, creepy, and definitely a Flash metahuman favorite.
Next week, Team Flash assists Caitlin in searching for her father, and we are sticking around to see if her father is as shady as he already seems.
The Flash returns Tuesday, November 20th on The CW.