Even though the new Team Flash lineup has to worry about the overall threat of Cicada, it’s not like Central City has suddenly become invulnerable to all other dangers. In “Doll’d Up”, Barry and Iris will actually face a blurrier face when comic book villain Rag Doll arrives. However, as usually goes with the flashEnemies of TV, we’ll get a pretty different version of Rag Doll for The CW drama.
CinemaBlend spoke with Rag Doll portrayer and jaw-dropping contortionist Troy James about what fans can expect from this bendable-as-hell new villain. James, who went viral after his America’s Got Talent essay, told me that his vicious rag doll would be a semi-combination of Golden Age Peter Merkel and Modern Age Peter Merkel Jr., in addition to other things. He revealed about the new-to-TV character:
Seems like a genius planner like The Thinker was responsible for setting up this scenario. The most effective way to the flash to tackle its lower-level multi-identity villains is to combine them into a single entity, of course. However, there can’t be THAT many actors who can bring Rag Doll’s contortionist tricks and tricks to life as successfully as Troy James. (Seriously, his work as the silent monster Pretzel Jack in Syfy’s Channel Zero: The Gate of Dreams is wonderful.)
Of course, Troy James’ rag doll would almost necessarily need to change things up from the Peter Merkel who was created in 1942. This version was a carnival worker who turned to crime using a costume of rag doll to trick people, and was later able to use hypnosis and brainwashing to aid him in his crimes. His son, Peter Jr., had a darker personality, no doubt partly due to the self-harm he suffered to artificially acquire his father’s abilities.
As Troy James hinted, Peter Jr.’s more mentally troublesome tendencies will be prevalent in the TV version. Here’s the actor’s broader assessment of what fans can expect from Rag Doll.
So while Cicada has some very specific reasons for going after Flash and Vibe and the rest, it looks like Rag Doll might have a different type of dog in this fight. He might be a bit more like a slasher movie antagonist who just wants to cause as much chaos as possible regardless of the casualties. (That mask helps that argument.) And who could say no to a victim like The Flash?
Since Troy James had mentioned an enhancement to Rag Doll’s metapowers, I had to ask if that meant the villain was indeed a metahuman, as opposed to a shine character whose powers came from other sources. In his words:
In my mind, this could possibly give Rag Doll some of the same weird abilities as Ralph’s elongated powers. In this, RD can possibly bend and mold his body into far more shapes than the average person, even though he literally cannot transform into another person. Maybe more like Plastic-Man than Elongated Man, then.
When Troy James was cast the flash, I wondered if that meant that Rag Doll wouldn’t need the use of CGI to show its quasi-elasticity. But you can’t really increase a character’s flexibility by 100 without adding some digital magic to the cauldron, can you? James says there is indeed “a bit” of CGI to help things along, but not too much. In his words:
Troy James is somewhat nervous about fans meeting Rag Doll for the first time, but he’s also extremely excited about getting another chance to scare audiences. (Seriously, go watch Channel Zero: The Gate of Dreams waiting for the flash to come back.) Few things are scarier than “the unpredictable”, so we hope the Arrow-The comic version of Rag Doll from Rag Doll Book shineis the scariest villain yet.
the flash will feature Rag Doll on the episode “Doll’d Up” on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET, with episodes airing every Tuesday on The CW at the same time. For anyone who needs more shows on the horizon that might bend to a viewer’s will, head over to our fall TV premiere schedule.