The Flash: How Iris’ Time as a Superhero Changes Her

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for the latest episode of The Flash, “Run, Iris, Run,” which as of publication has not yet aired on the west coast.

Iris West (Candace Patton) got a taste of life on the other side of the S.T.A.R. Labs experience on tonight’s episode of The Flash, “Run, Iris, Run.” As had been heavily promoted in advance, due to a run-in with a metahuman named Matthew (guest star Leonardo Nam, whose character is later referred to in the episode as Melting Pot), Iris gains Barry’s (Grant Gustin) super-speed, and becomes a costumed crimefighter in her own right while Barry switches places to giving advice from afar.

Not surprisingly, it doesn’t last long — Barry regains his powers by the episode, making him once again The Flash and restoring Iris’ powerless status quo. But even her brief time as a metahuman had an effect on Iris — namely by pushing her to once again pursue journalism, as seen by her return to blogging at the end of the episode.

RELATED: Iris West Suits Up in New Flash TV Promo

“I think this episode clearly shows that she, having Barry’s powers for an episode, really made her realize what she’s passionate about,” Patton told press including CBR at a Q&A earlier his week at The CW’s Burbank headquarters. “She understands that Barry having speed is what gets him up in the morning, and what he’s passionate about. I think it reignited to her that she still has to find that, and that journalism is a thing that she kind of put to the side to kind of take up the mantle at S.T.A.R. Labs, but it’s still a part of her, and it’s still the reason that she wakes up.”

“It certainly was something that we knew we wanted to get back to, but in talking about it with this episode, it felt like the most organic time to have this reawakening,” The Flash executive produce Todd Helbing added.

Besides, as pointed out by Patton, Iris returning to journalism was inevitable — based on that fateful 2024 “Flash Missing, Vanishes in Crisis” article with her byline on it, as seen was back on DC-based The Flash‘s first season. “We’ve still got that article in 2024 we’ve got to deal with.”

Portraying Iris as a superhero — albeit fleetingly — was something of a bucket list moment for Patton, but she’s satisfied that it only lasted for an episode. As she sees it, Iris’ true heroism is what she can accomplish without superpowers.

“I always though it’d be cool, just for fans and just for the show, to see her suit up for an episode,” Patton said. “I never wanted it to be a thing where Iris became a superhero on The Flash. A), we’ve got enough superheroes. B), that’s just not who Iris is. I think the most important thing about Iris as a character is, she’s a hero in her own right, without any superpowers. She uses her heart and her intellect and her street smarts to help the team.”

This key part of the Iris West character — in a show filled with metahumans, including characters that didn’t start their run on the show that way — makes her aspirational in a different kind of way, Patton shared.

“It appeals to the audience that we, ourselves, as human beings every day, we can be heroes in our lives,” Patton told reporters. “We don’t need superpowers, we don’t need to get struck by lightning tomorrow, to do something important. I think Iris illuminates that on the show.”

And while Iris had fun and challenging stint putting on a costume and zipping around Central City at super-speed — even creating a tidal wave, something Barry hadn’t yet done — for Patton, it was a bit of a mixed experience being more heavily involved in the visual effects side of The Flash.

RELATED: The Flash: Fans Haven’t Figured Out Mystery Girl’s Identity

“For the character, [it was] really cool,” Patton said. “For me, [it was] like riding a bike for the first time. There’s no school for acting in front of a green screen… Your arms are moving, your legs are not. Grant, god bless him, he was giving me tips. ‘Don’t stand up straight and do it, because you’re going to look ridiculous.’”

“Run, Iris, Run” was directed by Harry Jierjian and written by Eric Wallace, who’s familiar to DC comic book fans as the writer of stints on Titans and Mister Terrific. The Flash continues with a new episode next week, “Subject 9,” at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, on The CW.

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