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Most viewers will agree that The Flash hit the ground running in its first season – pun absolutely intended. The show found its footing early, but one area that continually lagged came in the form of characterization for Iris West (Candice Patton). Seemingly recognizing this flaw, the show has set about correcting that course for Season 2.
Given the dramatic events that transpired towards the end of The Flash’s first season – Barry Allen will have taken to working solo when we next see him. When the likes of Cisco and Caitlin cannot convince the Scarlett Speedster that he needs help, Iris will step up to fill the void left by Harrison Wells when it comes to inspiring Barry. The Flash executive producer Andrew Kreisberg spoke out to Entertainment Weekly about the evolution of Ms. West, noting:
Iris slides into [the role] very naturally. She’s a born leader. One of the best things in the premiere is Barry decides that he wants to work alone because he doesn’t want to risk anyone else’s lives, and Iris is really the one who gets the band back together again. She’s the only one who can stand up to Barry.
The show has considerably more room to maneuver now than they did last season. By the end of Season 1, the romantic tension, and knowledge that the two would someday end up together had all been put on the table. Now that Barry has opened up his world to Iris, their interplay will rely less on hiding his feelings – or his secret identity – from her, and allow for more open discussion of what is happening, and what needs to be done. While Cisco and Caitlin provide technical support, as well as comic relief, and Joe provides a father-figure for Barry, Iris can now provide a challenge for Barry – someone who can make him see both sides of an issue based off of their mutual respect (and possibly more) for one another.
It’s a solid direction to take the show, because much of the first half of Season 1 often felt like it was mimicking the first season of Arrow – complete with the hero even finding his own way of masking his voice and visage from the woman he loves.
Given our knowledge that The Flash will introduce Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) in the upcoming season, it opens up speculation as to what new elements of Iris we will see. Although likely coming from another universe or dimension, it does not discount the likelihood that Iris will likely mentor and care for the young Wally as well, given her status as his aunt in the comics.
Only time will tell how The Flash chooses to flesh out Iris West, but no matter what, giving her more to do is most certainly a good thing. The Flash returns to The CW on Tuesday, October 6 at 8 p.m. ET.