All season on The Flash, Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton) had to deal with what may have been her greatest challenge to date. The mysterious time sickness that she developed interfered with every aspect of her life and as viewers saw in the penultimate episode of Season 8, lead to a worst-case scenario when she was killed thanks to the machinations of the Negative Forces to resurrect Thawne (Tom Cavanagh). But with Patton coming back to The Flash for Season 9, Iris' story is far from over. Now, showrunner Eric Wallace breaks down Iris' role in the season finale, "Negative, Part Two" and how it impacts everything going forward.
Warning: spoilers for the Season 8 finale of The Flash, "Negative, Part Two", below.
While Iris was "killed" in last week's episode, it turns out she's not actually dead. Iris ends up in Damien Darhk's time stone because her death wasn't supposed to happen — and she still has an important role to play. It turns out that Iris, even though she doesn't have superpowers, while Barry is finding his true power within his humanity, her humanity is just as important. She's a survivor and it's her role as very much the heart of the team that makes everyone stronger. When she comes back, she recognizes that Barry's battle with Thawne is literally making Armageddon come to pass, and it's her wisdom that helps him see that the real power is knowing your limits, giving him the clarity to make the right decision. In the end, when Thawne and the Negative Forces are defeated, she tells Barry that he is her lightning rod, not the other way around.
This is a huge moment for the character as, in a very real way, she saves the day and the world. Without her, Barry may not have been able to break through his own rage. And now, with Iris knowing just how powerful she is even without special abilities, Wallace told ComicBook.com that it's a big turning point for the character. It's her moment of leveling up.
"Moving forward if you notice, again, the theme was leveling up. Everybody this season has leveled up in some way, either powers or emotionally, for those who didn't have superpowers. And it was on purpose that Iris was the last one because we knew it would be such a big deal, and it would be so integral to saving the day," Wallace said. "She really is the reason that the world didn't end in this episode, quite clearly. Her leveling up means, 'Oh my goodness. I, in some ways, am the most powerful person here and I have no superpowers. How great is this? Because my humanity, my empathy, and my compassion gives me a clarity,' that clearly Barry Allen was lacking in his key moments because his kids couldn't even get through to it. The kids were saying, 'Dad, don't kill. She's still alive.' He still didn't buy it."
Wallace also said that he recognizes that fans were frustrated with seeing a bit less Iris during the season, but that there was always a goal they were heading to in terms of the character and how significant she was to the story.
"That's her greatest strength and it's a superpower that is greater than all of the speed force space powers that The Flash has. That's what's the greatest irony of the show. That's why we were never worried, because we knew where we were driving to as storytellers," he said. "I recognized the frustration of the audience, especially when there were episodes where Candice was not in for four in a row. I totally get that. But the point is, we never lost sight of the goal of the end zone, as it were, to use a football metaphor. And I'm incredibly proud of that now, Iris moving forward realizes, 'Wow, The Flash has more limitations than I do and he's a superhero admired by the entire planet. I'm actually cooler than he is."
And as for what's next? Wallace said that Barry and Iris can finally be back together full time in Season 9.
"One of the goals for next year is to have maximum fun and up the romance," he said. "That's something I'm looking forward to. Barry and Iris can be back together full time so bring on the sexy."
The Flash returns for Season 9 in 2023.