Fans of “The Flash” already know Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) is the fastest man alive. Iris West (Candice Patton), however, only discovered his dual identity late in Season One after the two shared a literal spark — and it rocked her world. Since that bombshell, her fiance Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett) sacrificed himself to thwart his evil descendent, Eobard Thawne; she learned of a parallel Earth, appropriately dubbed Earth-2; and on the family front, Iris found out her mother secretly had another child, Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale). Those hard knocks continue to make her stronger — and there’s still more to come as Season Two returns to The CW tonight after a brief winter hiatus.
Ahead of “Potential Energy,” tonight’s all-new episode of “The Flash,” Candice Patton spoke to CBR News about Iris’ growth as a character, Earth-2 doppelgangers, what Wally West means for her family and becoming a key part of Team Flash.
CBR News: By the end of Season One, Iris became privy to Barry’s secret. Her fiance Eddie sacrificed himself to stop Wells. In what ways have those hardships and revelations shaped Iris?
Candice Patton: She was really put through the ringer in Season One. Iris was lied to by the two people she trusted the most and then finding out her best friend is the Flash, who she has been the biggest fan of. Then, also losing Eddie who she truly loved. It was difficult for her and definitely pushed her into being a stronger woman. She had to overcome a lot and I think we’ve seen that a little bit in Season Two.
What did it mean to you when Iris joined Team Flash?
It meant a lot. It was a relief to be quite honest. I feel like we gave that storyline its due diligence, but it was quite a relief to not be kept in the dark anymore. It meant that storylines were open to me and that interacting with other characters was open to me. There’s just more freedom for Iris now that she’s in the know and can move in and out of S.T.A.R. Labs.
Iris always crusaded for the truth. As a journalist, how can she effectively and impartially cover the Flash’s exploits knowing everything she does? Is that something Iris struggles with?
That is something she will definitely struggle with. There’s a new character coming in, my new editor Scott Evans, and he is not a fan of the Flash. He believes the Flash isn’t really the hero that everyone thinks that he is and possibly puts people in danger rather than helping them. That’s hard for Iris because she knows who the Flash is and she knows Barry’s heart. She knows that he is a hero. It puts her in a hard place of wanting to do well at her job and trying to write articles that her new editor will like. It’s difficult.
Are they grooming Scott to be a love interest? Has Iris finally moved on from Eddie?
I hear talk of that. There’s potential for romance between them. We haven’t really gotten there yet, so I don’t know what that looks like or how deep that is. For right now, they are co-workers. I think it’s safe to say Iris has spent enough time grieving Eddie and that she is ready to open herself up to meeting new people at the very least. We picked up Season Two six months after Eddie’s death and the particle accelerator incident. It’s been six months plus since she’s dealt with the loss of him. It’s time for her.
Even though Patty Spivot and Linda Park also serve as possible love interests for Barry, Iris seems fine with that. How refreshing is it to have Iris encourage Barry’s happiness as opposed to being catty with the competition?
It’s great. I don’t think the writers would be doing me any favors by making Iris the catty woman who was jealous and spiteful about Barry’s relationships. It’s nice. Even in the back half of Season Two, you’ll see this really great scene between Patty and Iris. Iris is helping Patty navigate the quirks that come with dating Barry. And, she’s an advocate for Barry really telling Patty the truth about who he is. She says to him that she knew what it felt like to be kept in the dark and it’s not the best idea to do the same thing to Patty. It’s really great to see a woman on television, and on our show, that is not a hater. She truly wants Barry to be happy.
Iris saw a future where she is married to Barry. Is that something you are rooting for?
It’s something that I root for only in the sense that I know it’s such a huge part of the comic book. There’s a huge fanbase that wants to see that happen. I’m somewhat included, but I’m definitely a fan of the slow burn. If, and when, we ever see Barry and Iris as a couple, I want it to be earned. I never wanted that to happen in Season One, or maybe even Season Two. If they are going to be together, I want it to be a substantial, real relationship.
In the winter finale, Wally West showed up on Joe and Iris’ doorstep. How does his presence shake up the West household?
We have a brother and a son that we never knew that we had. We’ve always had Barry in that sense. This is really our flesh-and-blood family. It’s going to be difficult for Joe and Iris to navigate how to create a relationship with Wally. Because Joe has this new son, he doesn’t want to lose him. He’s willing to be less of a parent in fear of losing Wally, so Joe picks the route of being more of a friend. When we pick up in the back half of Season Two, we find out Wally is a street racer, which is not safe. Iris is an advocate of trying to stop him and Joe wants to be more of the friend than the parent. There’s a lot of friction between everyone in how to deal with Wally.
It sounds like Iris is playing the protective older sister.
For sure. She’s definitely the protective sister. She has no qualms about getting in his face about it. Iris is very adamant and very persistent.
Iris has moxie to spare. She stood up to Captain Cold and didn’t take his crap.
Iris is tough. We didn’t see it in terms of fighting bad guys. There’s a toughness deep in her core that when faced with challenges, she’s not going to easily back down. That’s a nice quality to have and one of the things I probably love most about her.
What’s in store for Iris and Team Flash over the next couple of episodes?
We know there’s travel to Earth-2, so there’s a different version of Iris. I think the fans are really going to enjoy the Earth-2 stuff.
Earth-2 has been such a game-changer for the series. When you initially read they were incorporating this parallel Earth, did you realize how big it would be?
Absolutely. It’s the same feeling I had when I read episode 15 of Season One, which introduced time travel. It’s one of those things that is so iconic in the comic books and the fact that we are doing it, and so soon, it’s a geek-out moment, for us included. When we read these things, we’re like, “I can’t believe we’re doing that. I can’t believe we’re going to Earth-2.” You get to play a different version of yourself. It’s one of those things fans will be shocked and surprised by.
Does this Iris interact with the Earth-2 Caitlin and Ronnie?
She does not interact with Caitlin and Ronnie, but Killer Frost and Deathstorm.
Zoom is still on the loose and the meta-humans are running around. How much action does Iris experience?
A lot. Earth-2 Iris is involved in a lot of the action involving Zoom. She’s right in the thick of all the craziness. Those two episodes are by far my favorite that I’ve shot this season. It’s nice to be involved in the main plot and to see Iris deal with the big bad and being a part of solving the problems. There are a lot of guns and a lot of action all around.
You’ve referenced the Flash mythology more than once. According to comic book lore, Iris dies at the hands of Professor Zoom. How concerned are you about Iris’ safety and that fatal development?
I wasn’t until now. [Laughs] I’m not concerned. I don’t think Iris is going anywhere any time soon. I think it would be interesting at some point to see the dynamic between the Earth-1 Iris and Zoom and why he has an interest in attacking her. That would be a nice nod to those comics.
“The Flash” returns to The CW tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT.