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

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The Flash Season 5 Episode 5 Recap

Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, Candice Patton as Iris West-Allen and Jessica Parker Kennedy as XS in ‘The Flash’ season 5 episode 5 (Photo: Robert Falconer © 2018 The CW Network)

“You know, Nora, I wish you would try to understand who your mom is today. Stop seeing her as who she becomes in the future,” says Barry (Grant Gustin) to Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) after an intense fight between Nora and Iris (Candice Patton) in season five episode five of The CW’s The Flash.

As season five episode five begins, its 10am and Barry and Iris receive an alert about an art gallery robbery. Barry races off to catch the thieves and Nora joins in the chase. Iris tries to tell Nora to not handle one of the thieves on a motorbike alone, but she turns off her comm and races forward. Nora stops the criminal but almost ends up getting an elderly couple killed. Luckily, The Flash speeds in just in time to save them.

Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Iris yells at Nora for not listening. Nora fights back saying she’s fed up with Iris trying to control her and always saying no the way she has her whole life. Iris leaves hurt and discouraged.

Meanwhile, Ralph (Hartley Sawyer), Cisco (Carlos Valdes), Sherloque (Tom Cavanagh), and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) are all working together to try to find Caitlin’s missing dad. They put their heads together to try and decipher the clues and codes he left behind in the map. Getting nowhere fast, Cisco, whose hands are still healing from Cicada’s lightning blade, touches the map and vibes a vision. He sees Caitlin’s dad working on a chalkboard at a university. The gang brainstorms and realize it’s the university where Dr. Stein used to teach.

Somewhere in Central City a young, rich couple are getting ready for a gala when the man gives his girlfriend a rare diamond necklace. After they leave the room, a creepy figure wearing a mask climbs backwards out of a gift box and steals the necklace. Just as the thief is leaving, the woman returns to retrieve the necklace and screams as she sees the weird meta leave out the window.

The next day, Barry’s investigating the crime scene at the same time Iris is talking to the young couple about what she saw and what was stolen for her blog. Barry suggests they work the case together and Iris agrees.

Over at Joe’s house, Nora’s complaining to Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) about Iris. Cecile gets tough with Nora and tells her that in the West house, she will show all Wests respect. To get her off the couch she makes her a deal: the more chores Nora does around the house, the more stories Cecile will tell her about her dad that aren’t in The Flash museum. Nora accepts the deal.

Caitlin, Cisco, Ralph, and Sherloque head to the university and start looking for clues. Finding nothing, Cisco touches the chalkboard and vibes another vision of Caitlin’s dad with a sketch of a woman that looks like Killer Frost as well as a place called Vise Chemical. The gang now know that Caitlin’s dad knew about Killer Frost being a part of her. Next up is a stop at the old chemical building. Cisco checks his hands and they’re bleeding again. His hands are much more painful after his vibe but hides the pain from everyone.

Somewhere in an office building an architect is talking on the phone when the masked meta shows up and ties him up while he gets ready to bring down the building. Barry and Iris get an alert at S.T.A.R. Labs and The Flash races off. When The Flash arrives, he sees the masked meta twisting and moving in impossible ways to escape through the ventilation system. (A description doesn’t do this particular scene justice. The way the meta weaved his way through the vents was genuinely creepy.)

The Flash unties the architect and speeds him out of the building before it comes crashing down. The man tells Barry the masked meta just destroyed his life’s work.

Barry and Iris discuss the new meta and his powers, and Barry realizes he might be able to get a fingerprint off one of the gifts from the robbery since he knows now to look for a very stretched print. It works and they ID the meta as Peter Merkel, a once spoiled rich kid.

Caitlin, Ralph, Sherloque, and Cisco discover the old chemical building was destroyed by a fire years ago. Sherloque suggests that perhaps Caitlin’s mom had something to do with it because they find a piece of Tannhauser equipment. Sherloque and Ralph begin to argue over what the equipment means, and Cisco demands they hand it to him so can vibe it. Unfortunately, Cisco has a seizure trying to vibe it and passes out.

Barry and Iris figure out Peter Merkel’s mother is hosting a gala and they decide to dress up and attend. When asked about her son, Theresa Merkel reveals she had him arrested two years ago and hasn’t seen him since nor does she want to. Iris is deeply bothered by this and tells Barry she needs some air. Barry, of course, follows her outside and they talk about Nora.

Barry reminds her she’s not like Mrs. Merkel, but Iris can’t help fearing the same kind of relationship exists between she and Nora. Iris is concerned she’ll become cold and unfeeling, and Barry tries to comfort her. What neither one notices is the masked meta is up on the roof eavesdropping on them. (The gala gave The Flash fans a chance to see Barry and Iris in fancy attire sharing a special dance. The connection between the characters was evident in the gala scenes.)

Cisco wakes up in the medical bay of S.T.A.R. Labs with Caitlin watching over him. She informs him he’ll have a seizure every time he tries to vibe because of the dark matter from Cicada’s blade in his hands. Cisco gets upset, believing that means Cicada wins. He confesses that at first he thought his powers were a curse but now they’re part of him. He believes they’re what makes him a hero able to help the team.

Caitlin assures Cisco she knows what he’s going through. She says that when she lost Killer Frost she was destroyed, but she’s still here helping the team and so is he. “You are Cisco Ramone, genius engineer, prodigy hacker, and the mechanic who built a cold gun that could stop a speedster. And you’re my friend, my friend who went out there and hurt himself today just to help me try and find my dad. That wasn’t Vibe…that was Cisco and that’s the guy I need,” says Caitlin, immediately raising Cisco’s spirits.

Iris is still pouting and going on about Nora, afraid it will be how it was with her mother. Barry points out that she doesn’t have to become the future self she is from Nora’s future.

Back at Joe’s house, Cecile tells Nora another story about Barry. However, when she’s finished with the tale, Nora realizes the story was really about Iris being there and supporting Barry when he was young. She did whatever she could to make him smile after his mother was murdered. Cecile encourages Nora to get to know the Iris from this time and stop focusing on the future Iris.

Barry’s at home waiting for Iris when she calls and tells him she did some digging and has figured out that Merkel’s attacks have been personal against those he wanted to see suffer a loss. Distracted while on the phone, Barry gets knocked out by the masked meta who tells Iris over the phone to come and get him. (Seriously, the look and sound of this meta is truly unnerving. He’s played wonderfully by contortionist Troy James).

Iris runs to S.T.A.R. Labs to inform #TeamFlash Merkel has taken Barry. With Cisco’s powers being benched and the breacher gun broken by Sherloque, Ralph steps up in his Elongated Man suit and says to Iris, “Let’s go save Barry.”

The Flash Season 5 Episode 5 Recap

Rag Doll in ‘The Flash’ season 5 episode 5 (Photo: Dean Buscher © 2018 The CW Network)

He uses his stretch ability to fly to swing through the streets and land on the roof where the masked meta is holding Barry hostage with power-reducing cuffs. Peter warns that if Iris shoots him with her gun, he’ll push Barry off the roof. Iris puts down the gun and Ralph demands Peter let Barry go. He does…right off the roof. Without giving a second thought to her own safety, Iris throws herself off the roof after Barry.

Iris catches up to Barry as they’re falling and unlocks his cuffs so he can speed them safely to the ground. (Does this sound familiar? That could be because it’s a near duplicate of the scene in the film The Dark Knight when Joker drops Rachel off the roof and Batman throws himself after her, saving her.) Ralph lands on the ground after falling from the roof and he’s got Peter trapped inside his inflated, flexible body. Cisco later nicknames the meta Rag Doll.

Everyone’s impressed by Iris’ heroics, including her daughter. Iris and Nora speak in private and Iris promises she’ll try not to be controlling and that no subject is off limits between them. Nora smiles and starts to ask her about some stories, and we see Barry eavesdropping in the background, smiling.

In the last scene of season five episode five, Caitlin, Ralph, Sherloque, and Cisco are talking about finding some shut-down old Tannhauser buildings. Cisco comes up with the idea of hacking into the four satellites DeVoe launched to create The Enlightenment. It works and now S.T.A.R. Labs has not one but four satellites they can use. Cisco nicknames them Hal, Robbie, Data and Colossus, names which Sherloque doesn’t like. Cisco tells Caitlin they can now locate her father and she replies, “Wait, wait.” She still isn’t ready to see the search to find her father through. “Okay, when you’re ready,” says Cisco. “Thanks,” whispers a nervous Caitlin.

The Flash Season 5 Episode 5 Review:

More in the style of a mystery/thriller, season five episode five titled “All Doll’d Up” hopefully puts an end to the annoying and uninteresting storyline of Iris and Nora not getting along. The episode served to introduce the creepiest meta Team Flash has ever gone up against. It also moved forward the best storyline this season which is the search for Caitlin’s father, Thomas, and how he was involved in her becoming Killer Frost.

The standout performance goes to not one but two cast members this time: Carlos Valdes and Danielle Panabaker. The scenes and chemistry between these two as Cisco and Caitlin have only gotten stronger over the last four years and, wow, does the chemistry show in this particular episode. The scene in the medical bay in which Cisco confesses to Caitlin he feels lost and useless to the team since he can’t use his vibe powers and Caitlin responding by telling him it’s his genius and his friendship that makes him so special is the best scene in the entire episode. It’s another reminder of what made the first season of The Flash such a great show.

With Caitlin about to finally find her father and the truth about where her alter-ego Killer Frost comes from, here’s hoping the brilliant and good-hearted Caitlin Snow is not in for more heartbreak and tragedy. She’s going to need her two best friends, Cisco and Barry, to help her deal with this.

GRADE: B

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Kevin Finnerty

Kevin Finnerty

Professional film critic since 2003 and a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society. Host of “The Movie Guys” radio film review show from 2007 through 2013. Film and television critic for Showbizjunkies.com and a movie buff since 1973.
Kevin Finnerty
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