11.24.2014

Black Girls' Night Out: Iris West

As soon as I heard that The CW was moving forward with a Flash TV show last fall, the fangirl in me was super excited. When I found out that they were specifically casting a black woman to play the iconic Iris West, award-winning journalist and the matriarch of the Flash Family, that excitement multiplied tenfold.

So far, I'm loving what I'm seeing, although I really do hope they let Iris in on Barry's secret sooner rather than later.  In my experience dealing with fandoms, the person in the dark will get hell from the fans, not the people keeping the secret.  And being that Iris is a black woman and some are already calling her annoying, dumb, irritating, a weak link, a problem, and a whole host of other unflattering adjectives, time is definitely not on her side.

It's their loss however, because Iris West as played by Candice Patton is a gem and an absolute joy to watch.  She's smart, beautiful, supportive, inquisitive, stubborn, and feminine. She’s a one-time police academy recruit turned graduate student who’s currently working toward her Ph.D in Criminal Psychology. She’s recently found a love of journalism and started a blog about the mysterious red streak that’s been saving people around Central City. She’s in a happy, healthy relationship with her cop boyfriend, and has a happy, healthy relationship with her father Detective Joe West and her best friend Barry Allen. And according to Grant Gustin (The Flash himself), she’s also the love of Barry’s life.

After last week’s episode, we also learn that she’s a badass, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The episode starts out with a deviation from the previous five, with Iris providing the opening voice over instead of Barry.  It's a nice change of pace, and I wouldn't mind if she did it every week to be honest.

The very first scene is another Iris/Flash meeting, and I'm loving their dynamic.  In his alternate incarnation, Barry has the confidence and swagger to flirt with Iris the way he's always wanted to.  He half-heartedly tries to talk her out of writing her blog, but she's not having it.  Despite some people complaining that her stubbornness is stupid because she's putting herself in danger, I applaud her desire to make decisions for herself.  Everyone else has made a conscious decision to put themselves in danger by associating with The Flash, and in my opinion, Iris should have that right too.

Iris' blog does get her into trouble this week as the big bad of the week, a metahuman named Girder that can turn his skin into steel, kidnaps her because he wants her to write about him now that he thinks he's killed "The Streak."  When Barry finds out Iris has been kidnapped, he goes into full superhero mode to save her, even breaking the speed of sound to defeat him.  Iris was no damsel in distress however, because not only did she find a way to alert Barry to her position by pulling the fire alarm, but she delivered the final, knockout blow after The Flash's supersonic punch only dazed Girder.  It was truly the best thing ever and my favorite moment of the whole episode.

After all the excitement is over, Barry stops by Jitters to make up with Iris.  They sweetly tell each other that they miss each other and then he tells her that he doesn't know what he'll do if anything ever happens to her.  She tells him that her guardian angel is looking out for her, and Barry smiles knowingly.  I like that the show is not afraid to let us see how much Barry really does love her and how much they mean to each other. 

In a really neat turn, they go on to name The Flash together, and Iris takes us out with the ending voice over, bookending the beginning of the episode.  I wanted to fangirl when I realized that the narration that she did for the episode was the exact same narration that Barry did in the pilot.  I really loved the parallel here.

For his part, Barry is pushed to go faster than he's ever gone before.  I can't help but notice that he's been pushed to go faster and faster nearly every episode, and I think it's leading up to something.  The showrunners have already said that they're going to deal with time travel this winter (one of the hallmarks of Flash comics), so I think it's all leading up to that.

It should also be noted that the Reverse Flash paid Joe West a visit, right after Harrison Wells found out that he's not going to stop his investigation into Nora Allen's death.  The yellow and red blur took all of Joe's case files and left a warning for Joe to "stop or else" in the form of a knife jabbed into a picture of Iris.  Harrison is very mysterious, but I don't think he's the Reverse Flash.  It's too obvious to me.  And then you have Eddie Thawne still sitting out there with that name and only a little less mysterious than Wells.  I don't know what to think anymore, but we'll find out during the mid-season finale in two weeks when the Reverse Flash will finally be revealed.

What do you think of The Flash so far?  What about Iris' character?  Are you satisfied with the pace of her development or do you think it could use some work?

3 comments:

  1. OMG, you did it!!!! You did it!!!!

    GIRL...waiting for Tuesdays (in my case, Wednesday mornings) is like waiting on payday - it NEVER gets here fast enough. I...love...The Flash. I don't know what got into The CW this year but DAYUM...some of their stuff's been on point.

    I love Candice Patton as Iris West, but she's not the only reason (obviously). I LOVE the unbridled nerdfest on this show. I love the science talk, the giddiness over new tech or discoveries like Barry's insanely high tolerance for alcohol, and when Cisco melts down over Plastique blowing up the Flash's suit.

    *squee*

    The very first scene is another Iris/Flash meeting, and I'm loving their dynamic. In his alternate incarnation, Barry has the confidence and swagger to flirt with Iris the way he's always wanted to.

    I LOVE THIS. The wink, the "head start"...this is classic comic-book nerd romance, and I think it also helps builds up Barry's confidence with Iris. The scene on the rooftop is officially one of my favorite scenes in TV of all time. They didn't overdo the dialogue, and you could cut the sexual tension with a knife.

    And I like how in very next episode he just whisks her up to the roof and then back.

    In my experience dealing with fandoms, the person in the dark will get hell from the fans, not the people keeping the secret. And being that Iris is a black woman and some are already calling her annoying, dumb, irritating, a weak link, a problem, and a whole host of other unflattering adjectives, time is definitely not on her side.

    Here's hoping the CW doesn't cave and give into white fandom. By design, I don't see it happening to the character because Iris West is iconic and shares a back story with Barry, but I'm wary by nature.

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  2. I'm enjoying this show thus far. And I do hope Iris finds out The Flash's true identity sooner rather than later. We're already 6/7 episodes in and her father has known for quite a while. It would make more sense for her to know considering her publishing articles under her own name.

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    Replies
    1. What annoys me at this point is how she hasn't figured it out on her own. In "Plastique", she gets visits from both Barry and the Flash - who's the same height as Barry - asking her not keep up with blog. Um...hello?

      Then in "Power Outage", when the Flash promises to never be late again, Iris jokes that her best friend is always saying the same thing. Uh...seriously?

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