FLASH FANS, CAN YOU HEAR ME SCREAMING???
I don’t know how it manages to keep outdoing itself this season, but The Flash Season 5 Episode 5 proved exactly why it’s the most streamed show on The CW network.
Where. Do. I. Even. Begin?!
I don’t like to delve into the “shipping” culture of TV fandom too much, but I find it important networks who aim themselves at younger demographics present strong, healthy, loving relationships for their viewers.
West Allen is the shining star for The CW in regards to that sentiment.
The West Allen dynamic has always worked incredibly well, but this season the writers are paying extra attention to making it into a consistent theme. Now that they are parents, Barry and Iris’ relationship has become the undeniable heart of the series.
The reason WestAllen have become such an iconic pairing isn’t just because they’re married. It lies more in their unwaveringly support for one another in both the big and small obstacles. Those of the superhero and human variety.
“All Doll'd Up” may have featured Rag Doll and his desire to steal peoples most prized possessions, but the real center of this episode was the love Iris and Barry’s have for each other.
That’s IS what saved the day, after all.
Barry consoled Iris when she was worried about the mother she’d become to Nora; reminded her that who they become in the future will be their decision. His faith in her never unwavering, he gave her the strength to trust herself again.
In return, Iris saved Barry from a creepy, porcelain-faced, three-jointed Chucky doll.
Their love really is a two-way street.
Speaking of mother/daughter relationships, this episode was a perfect choice for wrapping up the Nora/Iris friction story arc. The drama was intriguing at the beginning of the season, and I enjoyed watching Nora bond with Barry, but it was time for Nora to realize what an icon her mother is.
To drag things out any longer would have begun to exhaust the storyline, and run the risk of making Nora unlikeable.
Cecile being the one to open Nora’s eyes about Iris was a flawless decision. I love sweet Cecile, but I think I might love sassy and mom mode Cecile even more.
The way she coyly told Iris and Barry’s history with decoy names was a great twist. It felt like an organic way for Nora to drink it in, and it allowed her a sincere opportunity to appreciate Iris for the badass she is.
The whole witnessing her mother jump off a building thing? That was just an added bonus.
Now that Nora sees both her parents as rightful heroes, I’m looking forward to witnessing them grow and function as a solid family unit.
A family unit, that wouldn’t work even half as well if it weren’t for the extraordinary on-screen chemistry between Kennedy, Patton, and Gustin.
Both Patton and Gustin have the ability to make everything they say hold just the tiniest bit of parental condescendence, while Kennedy’s impeccable ability to portray a quintessential bratty teenage girl improves with each scene.
The three of them together continuously knock their performances out of the park.
Well, they don’t actually knock it out of the park. We all know Barry sucks at baseball.
Of course, those weren’t the only stellar performances of the episode. The rest of Team Flash was busy with their own storyline, one just as captivating (and well delivered) as Team West Allens.
Watching Cisco slowly deteriorate in front of my eyes for 45 minutes was legitimately scarier than witnessing Rag Dolls ugly porcelain face do 360 turns in both directions.
I worried that “The Death of Vibe” wasn’t just an episode title or a fake out red herring. it killed me to learn I was right.
Cisco losing his meta ability was absolutely soul-crushing, but the heartbreaking delivery by Valdes is what made it a truly moving moment. It was a side of Cisco the audience doesn’t get much of, and it highlighted how multi-faceted this entire cast actually is.
Vibe may be dead, but the KillerVibe vibes were at their undeniably strongest.
Whether you’re rooting for them romantically or not, no one can deny the incredible relationship that’s been cultivated between these two characters over the years.
Cisco spends the entire episode potentially risking his life in order to give Caitlin some answers about her past. Caitlin reminds Cisco that even though his powers might be gone, he’s still a hero to her and everyone else around them.
There is nothing these two wouldn’t do for one another.
The friends to lovers trope can be a tricky one, and sometimes it’s best to leave things platonic. But they are so similar to Barry and Iris, and the parallels between the two leave me feeling like KillerVibe could be something special.
I know not everyone agrees, but I for one will be holding my breath.
Another duo, one with no romantic sparks but still no less entertaining, were Giraffe and Shirley.
Sherlock is such a fantastic foil for Ralph. Both investigators, but different in almost every other way. Every decision Sherlock makes, every question he answers, pushes Ralph to do better, to be better. To figure out his own, unique way of solving things.
What a clever way to provide a catalyst of growth for Ralph. Some may think that catalyst is Caitlin and her father’s mystery. But it’s not, it’s Sherlock. He pushes Ralph forward.
I wish I could end this article without having to mention the metahuman that will undoubtedly give me night terrors until I’m 80, but then I wouldn’t be doing my job.
Rag Doll was without a doubt the creepiest villain The Flash has ever tackled. To some degree, I’m actually disappointed we didn’t get to learn more about his backstory; who he was before The Enlightenment.
But then again, the episode wasn’t really about him, was it?
Rag Doll’s mission was to steal peoples most adored possessions. In Iris’ case, that meant most adored person. He was a jumping off point to emphasize the bond between West Allen. A bond that ultimately facilitated Nora’s acceptance of her mother.
But that’s what I love about this season! Everything connects, everyone has a motive, every story has a purpose!
The writers are taking the procedural element of their show and using it in a way that adds layers, even after five seasons.
Instead of just bringing in a weekly antagonist to drive the plot, they are driving their characters. And for a superhero show? That’s a huge investment.
An investment that is paying off, 10 fold.
Is it next Tuesday yet?
- Barry and Iris? Or Mr. and Mrs. Bond?!
- Sherlock and Watson have nothing on Giraffe and Shirley
- That dance between West Allen? After they were robbed of their dream wedding? I’m not crying YOU’RE CRYING
- I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Rag Doll. Just a hunch.
- Barry trying to turn solving a case into date night was so romantic! MARRIAGE GOALS.
- I wasn’t surprised to find out that Caitlin's dad is alive, or that he’s aware she became Killer Frost as a child. I am, however, interested in seeing how it all happened.
- There was something so brilliant about Barry’s unenthused reaction to Rag Dolls contortions. It was such an understated moment and Grants comedic timing is flawless.
- Ralph swinging through the streets of Central City like Spirderman with Iris on his back was everything
- My Dad watched The Flash for the first time ever tonight. Ralphs his favorite character. He thought eating Rag Doll was A+ storytelling.
Alright TV Fanatics, your turn! What did you think?! Let me know in the comments below! And if you missed the episode, you can watch The Flash online, right here at TV Fanatic!
Kat Pettibone is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.