The Flash Has Struck Gold With Iris West
Warning: Spoilers for Season 3 of The Flash
CW’s Iris West is pure gold.
“Untouchable” was the most emotional episode of The Flash to date. Iris battled for her life against a particularly toxic metahuman and against Savitar’s prophecy proclaiming her imminent death in the near future. Her plans for victory went awry but on the heels of this episode one thing was clear, Iris (portrayed by actress Candice Patton) is the most valuable character of Season 3.
Though the cast features seasoned actors like Grant Gustin (Barry Allen), Jesse L. Martin (Joe West), Carlos Valdez (Cisco Ramon) and newcomer Keiynan Lonsdale (Wally West), the evidence stands. Candice Patton (Iris West) is the true star of this season and her performances shines like no other.
Viewers have witnessed an entire range of emotions from Patton’s character before but nothing like the award-worthy scenes she has served up in s3. West is one of the few characters that consistently dismantles common TV stereotypes for Women of Color, earning her a coveted spot on my personal favorite list. In fact, I’d argue that she tops more favorite character lists than just my own. No one hates Iris West. Not even villains who pursue her because of her connection to superhero, The Flash. Villains only hate her symbolism as the most important person in his life.
It has always been this way. In past seasons, Flash and Company have collectively combined efforts for all things Iris. Season One was about keeping an earth-shattering secret from Iris. Two, revolved around West family bombshells that affected Iris directly. And Season Three’s ill-fated divination means the team must band together again to keep her alive. They will do whatever it takes to save her because she is the humanity in a superhuman world.
Iris West is the central point of Central City.
Let’s call this universal adoration for DC’s leading lady, the “Iris Effect.” The “Iris Effect” isn’t exclusive to Flash characters, it is a real life thing. Writers of the show listen when Iris fans speak. Before s3, fans suggested that Iris’ singular storyline receive more attention. They asked for simple changes like more family scenes as this tweet reads.
Or for her to be shown pursuing her passion for journalism at the local newspaper.
From the beginning, Patton has trail blazed as the first Black woman cast to play a previously Non-POC character and as an expert scene stealer in pivotal episodes like 1x21,1x23, 2x12 and 2x21. Untouchable (3x12), is bound to follow as some of her best work.
Patton’s chemistry with every actor on screen is palpable. Whether tension-filled or tender, moments with Wally (Lonsdale) and Joe West (Martin) are genuine and relatable. Her friendships with Cisco (Valdez) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) are both fun and functional. Iris’ whirlwind romance with Barry (Gustin) inspires hope that viewers can find the same in their own lives. Untouchable has all of these elements and more. Added bonus: memorable one-liners.
As the show continues, I can only imagine what buried treasure will surface in each new episode featuring Candice Patton. But I can guarantee that as long as The Flash lets Iris West shine like the gold she is, I will be tuning in.
Watch The Flash airing Tuesdays 8/9c on The CW.