Last night’s episode of The Flash was an introduction to Grodd, a giant gorilla with telepathic abilities that was being tested on to create super soldiers before the particle accelerator exploded and was now living in the sewer system of Central City terrorizing people. This is one of The Flash’s most iconic villains, and I would go into detail as to why the episode made a good job portraying Grodd as terrifying yet making us feel bad for him, but the truth is, all I want to talk about is Iris West finding out Barry is The Flash.
Last week’s episode ended with Eddie being taken hostage by the Reverse Flash and Iris finding out Barry was the Flash, by herself, due to a small electric shock she had only felt with Barry before, during his coma.
Now, whether you enjoyed the reveal or wanted Iris to find out differently (or not find out at all yet) the most important part of the reveal was always going to be the fallout.
And it was glorious.
I have spoken before about how much I love Iris West, the problems the show was having regarding her characterization, and how I think people who dislike her do so for the wrong reasons. But I’d be surprised if anyone still disliked her after this episode. Because Iris West was finally given a voice to speak out, and she spoke for a big part of the audience that was outraged on her behalf.
Now, you can misplace your anger on Iris for not buying the “we were trying to protect you” excuse, but the truth is, she was right.
There was nothing to be protected from– at least nothing different from what she is already at risk of. Iris is close to Barry and the Reverse Flash knows this. Had she known this was happening, she could have protected herself. She could have protected Eddie. There was never a minute where Iris West was in any less danger not knowing who the Flash was than she would have been if she knew. She had a right to be angry for an entire episode. She had a right to make it about her, when her boyfriend’s disappearance was caused directly by his involvement with the Flash. Who happens to be her best friend.
What I love the most about Iris is that she could have been hurtful. She could have been insulting. Those would have been two completely understandable reactions. Instead, she first gave Barry a leeway to tell her the truth (that he did not take) and then, when she confronted him, she was honest about the ways that it hurt her that her best friend would lie about such an important part of his life. They were supposed to tell each other everything. She could have helped him and he didn’t let her.
To make matters worse, she finds out Joe has been lying to her. Not just that, but he is the leader of the “let’s lie to Iris” movement. Joe didn’t trust Iris to be the smart, strong woman she is. He didn’t trust she would be able to take care of herself. So he took most of the heat, not just for not telling her about Barry being the Flash, but for not telling her about Barry being in love with her. Those were two huge things for her. Two things that could have totally changed the entire course of her life in the last– almost– two years.
Do you know when you make a big decision in your life and shortly after, you wonder how different things would be if you had chosen differently? Iris had that choice taken away from her, and it dawned on her how different things would be if she’d known Barry was in love with her before she started dating Eddie. If she’d known Barry was the Flash and needed her from the beginning.
So she was mad, justifiably so, and regardless of that, she presented herself as an incredible useful asset to S.T.A.R. Labs, not just by helping them find where Grodd was but eventually saving Barry’s life (and then Joe’s) by being his emotional anchor.
I think people took her confronting Caitlin about Ronnie badly, but I don’t think she was being aggressive toward Caitlin. And given Caitlin’s response, I don’t think she took what Iris said to her as anger, since she told Barry how important she had been for his survival and immediately welcomed her as part of Team Flash (Caitlin Snow, now part of the Iris West Defense Squad). It was actually nice for the two of them to have a moment, and considering the show has severely lacked in female friendships, I welcome the possibility of a friendship between the two ladies.
So Iris finally knows. She finally got a chance to say what many of us had been thinking and now she has a chance to help and get involved in the main plot.
She was also established as Barry’s emotional anchor and future wife (notice the byline in the article Eobard shows to Eddie hasn’t changed). She is the endgame, she is here to stay and the writers finally cemented her as the female lead she deserves to be and stood up for her. That’s all I ever wanted for Iris West, and the writers delivered.
One thing I didn’t like: Barry trying to compare her lying about her conflicted feelings for him to him lying about being the Flash. Iris has the right to take as long as she needs for her to realize her feelings without Barry nagging her about them, considering how long it took him to confess his. Not to mention he also has advantage over her, because he found out about those feelings in an alternate timeline. They’re not comparable things, and it lets Barry off the hook easily, but I guess the show didn’t want to place its hero completely in the wrong, even though he was.
Note: I don’t usually use gifs in my entries because they take a lot of WordPress space and because they’re hard to credit for, but Candice Patton’s acting was so great in this episode you just have to see these scenes somewhat. Just screencaps do not make them justice.