After four long years, this is the Iris-centric episode we’ve been waiting for
In last week’s roundtable of The Flash, we enthusiastically granted “Enter Flashtime” the title as the best episode of the season so far. And while that may hold true to an extent, “Run, Iris, Run” sped its way to snag the title! This week’s episode put the one and only Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton) at the center, and it’s about time! This episode introduced a brand new bus meta, Matthew Kim (Leonardo Nam), who has the ability to absorb a metahuman’s DNA and powers and transfer them to someone else. And this is exactly what happens to Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris. Iris becomes a metahuman with his DNA, while Barry loses his speed. Earlier in the episode, Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) accuses Iris of being a team leader that confines herself within the walls of S.T.A.R. Labs, while everyone else puts themselves in danger. Iris then doubts her contributions to the team and on a quest to prove Ralph (and herself) wrong, Iris takes Barry’s powers for a spin all while staying true to herself in the face of difficult situations. Her first assignment: stopping a fire and saving people from a burning building.
Harry (Tom Cavanagh) has his own subplot in the episode, as he is still hellbent on trying to defeat Devoe (Miranda MacDougall). Pulling up old camera footage from the night Devoe created his Thinking Cap, Harry has the idea to create his own super-genius cap in order to improve his intelligence — which comes with a lot of risks. The team hesitantly agrees as they are running out of options, but Cisco (Carlos Valdes) quickly shuts down the idea to protect Harry’s state of mind.
Max Adler also guest stars as Pyro, who is granted fire powers after Matthew transfers a meta’s powers to him during an active robbery. And while the show is back to their regularly scheduled metas of the week, he proves to be a bit fun when paired against newly suited Iris.
Here to discuss purple lightning, thinking caps and more is our The Flash roundtable!
Vanessa (@westallenallure) – Rambling and Flash extraordinaire.
Jessica (@newsflash52) – Lover of all things DC, especially The Flash and Iris WestAllen, and podcast host for Ladies w Gumption.
Holly (@hollyanderson30) – Social Media Addict who runs two fan pages and loves everything CW, especially The Flash.
Chelsea (@flezrasbarry) – Ezra Miller and Barry Allen fangirl.
Will Polk (@willmpolk) – Blerd @SceneNNerd podcast producer with host @sjbelmont, Flash fan.
1. What a jam-packed episode! How did seeing Iris as a speedster make you feel?
Vanessa (@westallenallure): I absolutely adored seeing Iris as a speedster. It was a long time coming and although it didn’t happen how it did in the comics, it was more substantial in the show than what it was in the comics. I loved the reflection that Iris went through. The episode really brought forth feelings she’s had since last season, her self-value, and showcased that she’s a jack of all trades.
Jessica (@newsflash52): I loved seeing Iris as a speedster! I’ve been hoping she would get the chance to suit up since the show started, so Melting Point’s powers were a fun excuse to get Speedster Iris, even if only for one episode. Iris’s excitement at having super speed was so cute so it’s hard to pick one favorite moment. BUT if I had to choose, I think her saving the people from the burning building was definitely a highlight just because it was her first time at saving people and she jumped in without hesitation.
Holly (@hollyanderson30): I loved seeing Iris as a speedster — this episode was everything I hoped for. My favorite part was Iris creating the tidal wave but loved that Iris and Barry got to experience how it is to be the other for a bit.
Chelsea (@flezrasbarry): I absolutely loved seeing Iris as a speedster. I love that it wasn’t meant for comedic purposes like a lot of role reversals are. I love that they explored her vulnerabilities and insecurities about getting these powers, but also allowed her to revel in them and enjoy the first moments of using her powers. My favorite moment, unexpectedly, was her first time going to the building that was burning down, and saving all those people at once. She’s always been willing to put her life in danger to rescue other people and protect the city. Her first opportunity to do that on a grand scale using superpowers was heartwarming to watch. I also love that she was nervous and didn’t completely succeed, and there were stumbling blocks in her eventual journey to saving the day.
Will (@willmpolk): I absolutely loved seeing Iris as a speedster and what a smart way for the show to address the elephant in the room for many fans this season of Iris leading the team. I thought the way that she gained her powers was believable in the Arrowverse kind of way and great that as her moment as a speedster, she had her own special way of saving the city. But my favorite thing was seeing her get her groove back as a journalist!
2. Ralph doubted Iris’ hero status this episode. What were your thoughts on that? Agree or Disagree?
Vanessa: Disagreed. Ralph was such a jerk and his various remarks targeting Iris were so out of pocket considering he doubts being a hero every episode and three times within an episode alone — something he’s apparently doing again when the show comes back in three weeks. I get it was for plot reasons but it was so over the top considering he’s new and his constant partial cowardice.
Jessica: I got so frustrated with Ralph this episode. Usually, I think I give him a lot of leeway to be emo, but it’s been 12 episodes since his first appearance, and he’s still having the same emotional crisis as when he first found out he had powers. It’s annoying, quite honestly, that Ralph, who has powers and chose to hibernate in his room stress eating his feelings, had the nerve to make Iris — who was gifted powers and wanted to help — feel as though she didn’t contribute as much to the team because she wasn’t risking herself on the front lines. I had zero tolerance for his bad attitude.
Holly: This bothered me quite a bit. Ralph was barely even coming upstairs and he was doubting how Iris could do it? Also, what happened to giving a person a chance to prove themselves?
Chelsea: I’m not going to lie, but Ralph doubting Iris’s hero status is hypocritical considering he doubts his hero status every episode. It was also odd that he had zero empathy for her when she kept reiterating that she almost died in the hands of Savitar. While Matthew Kim recklessly used his powers, he was sympathetic to his cause. Ralph accusing Iris of never risking her life also felt lacking in gratitude when she risked her life in Episode 13 to save him and Cisco when they were miniature versions of themselves.
Will: Everyone knows I am not a big Ralph fan, but tonight I was actually sympathetic to Ralph. I think he was feeling really fearful and down on himself so it manifested itself on him taking it out on Iris.
3. Do you think Harry is on the right path in defeating DeVoe or do you think he has ulterior motives?
Vanessa: I think he’s on the path to becoming DeVoe 2.0. It seems he’s going to become a madman by trying to expand his mind — like DeVoe. His tone at the end, which was a mix between Thawne and DeVoe, really foreshadows that he might very well be sinister in the future. Kind of reminds me of how Dawn (Mystery Girl) wanted to meet Harry and Caitlin in Jitters and her face dropped. She might know that those two are to be adversaries for the team eventually. It’d be an interesting concept, all the faces Cavanagh wears end up being people who are evil or can’t fully trust and has questionable motives. Similarly, we’ve only seen Caitlin be evil on another Earth and she’s working on that now but she’s still not completely “good.”
Jessica: I don’t think Harry has ulterior motives, per say. I just think he has a big ego. Cisco was right to be concerned. Harry’s ego will be his downfall. I don’t think this experiment with the Thinking Cap is a great idea. Anything that makes Harry more conceited than he already is, I think is going to have consequences for both him and the team. There’s a saying that says “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and, particularly for Harry “knowledge is power.” Therefore…
Holly: I think that this might work but I always question his motives. I guess I have leftover doubts from different versions of him.
Chelsea: I don’t think Harry has ulterior motives because he definitely wants to save those bus metas. I also think his ego is wounded because he can no longer outsmart the villain. However, I do think this is a slippery slope which will eventually lead him to become more of an evil than good. Like they say power corrupts, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The ability to out-think anyone is very dangerous.
Will: I think so and it is Harry Wells, so that ego is always up to something.
4. Though very supportive, Barry was having a hard time dealing with Iris having his powers. Did you understand his point of view?
Vanessa: I did understand it because that’s such a part of Barry that it would obviously bother him. It’s his destiny like Iris said, and to be stripped of that out of nowhere is a hard pill to swallow. Him not having his job doesn’t help either, something he has expressed to Iris.
Jessica: I think it’s a difficult period for Barry not to have his powers because he’s relied on them so long that, sometimes, I think he thinks being The Flash is the only way he can help people, which isn’t true. Just as Iris re-discovered she could help people through journalism, I kind of wish Barry could have rediscovered how much help he could do as “Barry Allen.” Also, I think Barry was just worried that he wouldn’t be able to save Iris if she needed it. It’s hard being on the sidelines when the person you love is in danger. Sure, Barry knows that Iris can handle herself; however, I think he’d rather just be able to save her himself. Not having powers made him feel helpless.
Holly: I can totally understand Barry’s point of view, he’s had his speed now for 4-5 years now, it’s a part of him, and he can’t really express anger or anything when the person who has his powers is the one he loves the most.
Chelsea: I don’t think Barry ever saw Iris as having his powers, he always kept referring to it as her speed. He was also willing to let her keep it permanently as long as that’s what she wanted. But it must be a blow after blow for him. First, he was wrongly imprisoned, then watched all those metas die in front of him, then he watched Izzy die, and nearly died in a nuclear explosion. I think losing his speed was the final straw in terms of how powerless he felt facing DeVoe. I think that’s where it largely stemmed from, and it wasn’t solely due to losing his ability.
Will: It had to be tough for Barry and Grant did a wonderful job of conveying that loss, but also trying to be the supportive spouse as Iris is trying to learn how to use this power. I do understand what he was feeling though and again this was a “we are the Flash” moment in the sense that relationships are the core of this show and it works best when not only Barry and Iris are on display but Caitlin, Cisco, Joe, Harry and even Ralph contribute in their ways that are true to their characters.
5. Cisco seemed really worried about Harry and disagreed with his plan. Did you agree with Cisco or Harry in how to defeat DeVoe?
Vanessa: I agreed with Cisco after the end credits, lol. But during the episode, I disagreed because it’s really the only thing they have going for them and Savitar did mention it as a means to defeat him so why not.
Jessica: I agree with Cisco, and I’m not sure why there wasn’t more resistance with the team. Just because Ralph and Harry were whining doesn’t mean they were in the right. Cisco is a good friend and rightly worried about what the effects of such an experiment could have on Harry’s mental health. And he has a point. Knowing what we know of Clifford’s deteriorating marriage and partnership with Marlize, his meta-thinking abilities came at a pretty high cost.
Holly: I agreed with Cisco on this one. Harry wanted to do the exact same thing that DeVoe had done, it didn’t work out good then, why would it work out good now? Or you could just call me pessimistic.
Chelsea: I’d have to say I agree with Cisco. Messing with your brain is a slippery slope, and DeVoe, like Harry, used to be a kind man and a loving husband. What started out as a benevolent mission, would now have him killing people and abusing his wife. This could be a potential outcome for Harry as well. They don’t have any other way right now, but I hope Cisco continues to keep in check.
Will: Cisco was correct to be concerned. Over the last 4 years, the team has seen what unchecked powers can do to a person and his conditions to Harry were perfectly reasonable.
6. In the end, Iris pulled through and realized her passion in the progress. Are you excited to hopefully see her as a journalist again, or do you love Team Leader Iris?
Vanessa: I was really emotional, truly. I had seen the interviews pre-episode and I was relatively prepared but how she came into it and the stages in which she did that throughout the episode was truly poignant. Iris is a comic character I grew up with and her heroism through journalism (and Lois’) was one of the things that really showed me growing up that women can be outspoken, heard, and brazen in their own right. It was phenomenal and Candice played that beautifully. Kudos to her for always being so subtly brilliant.
Jessica: I love! I’ve missed Reporter Iris so much! As much as I love seeing Iris in command of S.T.A.R. Labs, I still want to see her as the iconic Ace Reporter we know her to be. I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface of what that looks like on the show yet. Hopefully, Iris’ return to journalism means we can get more stories and plot development outside S.T.A.R. Labs. I want to see her reporting and chasing down stories that connect to the overall plot. I think Candice Patton and Todd Helbing’s press interviews hinted that Iris’ journalism would play a big part in episode 21 and into season 5, so I’m excited to see what that looks like.
Holly: As much as I love Iris as head of S.T.A.R. Labs, I am so hoping this journalism kicks off because I loved her in the field reporting! Iris West-Allen the Ace Reporter for the win!
Chelsea: I think there is room for both, and I don’t think I could ever choose in between them. She brings different aspects to both responsibilities. I love how level-headed she is, and that she doesn’t freeze up in a bind, making her a great leader. I also love her willingness to risk her life to pursue the truth and ensure the Central City citizens are less afraid of the world they live in. She’s a wonderful example to women doing it all, especially in a world filled with superheroes, that you can still accomplish great things without powers.
Will: Glad to see her pursuing her life again as a journalist. S.T.A.R. Labs was causing her to become a stagnant character.
7. Barry told Iris she could have kept his powers if she truly wanted. How did you feel about this?
Vanessa: It was so sweet and brought me back to Barry taking a video of Eddie for Iris. It really showcases his selflessness and how the relationship is about both of them taking on their perspectives and feelings to move forward together. It was just everything and Barry then listening to her and her passion and being so happy for her – was the icing to this gradual making of an iconic couple for years to come.
Jessica: I will always love how selfless Barry and Iris are with each other. Barry knows what it’s like to lose powers after experiencing the rush of having them, so I thought it was sweet that he was willing to give that up for his wife. Low-key, I think he also knew that Iris would never want to take his powers away from him, but I like that he was willing to forego them for a little while longer if that was the confidence boost she thought she needed to feel like she was making a difference. That’s how much he loves her.
Holly: I thought it was a very selfless thing to do. but as much as I love seeing Iris suited up, I would love to see it with Barry still having powers. But it really just showed how much he loves her to give up what he feels is an important part of him.
Chelsea: I think it was beautiful that he was willing to give up such a large portion of his identity, in order to let Iris pursue what was her true calling. It’s a parallel to last season when Iris was willing to sacrifice her life to protect his humanity. I think the fact that they are always willing to place each other above themselves is why they make such a wonderful couple. I also love that Iris sees Barry as the light in the world when everything else is dark, just like she was his light after he lost everything because of Reverse Flash at the age of 11.
Will: That is totally Barry through and through.
Final Verdict: This week’s episode was reminiscent of season one, as the birth of a hero led to discovering a new path
This week, Barry and Iris have a conversation about Iris’ former role as a journalist, in which we learn she quit her job at Central City Picture News to take on the mantle as Team Flash’s leader in Barry’s absence. Barry also gets to voice his own grievances, admitting that losing his speed and job as a C.S.I. makes him feel helpless in the fight against Devoe. Fans appreciated their conversation, as it once again shows how important communication within a relationship is.
In her first experience as a speedster, Iris saves the day by creating a tidal wave to mask Pyro’s fiery tornado and gets Matthew to safety. Matthew eventually transfers Iris’ powers back to Barry and Team Flash recruits him to help disarm Devoe. And to much to Joe’s amusement, he mentions that Barry never created a tidal wave as The Flash while Iris has. A much-needed point of view from Iris was finally delivered this episode, as she was able to delve into the emotions she felt when her life was hanging in the air due to Savitar — which was sadly lacking in season three. Their conversation came full circle, and Ralph tells her she’s a hero in her own right, whether in a suit or not. The two fist bump and the scene really showcased Patton’s range in chemistry with literally everyone.
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In a beautiful scene between Barry and Iris, Iris’ passion for journalism re-ignited as she realizes her way of helping people is being the voice for the city as a journalist. She also re-vamps her old blog “Saved by The Flash” from season one, and it’s safe to say the Mrs. West-Allen will teeter back into journalism sometime in the future! The show did a wonderful job in reintroducing her true path, as it felt really organic that Iris rediscovered herself in the episode where she was able to step into her husband’s shoes.
Barry and Iris’ relationship is one for the ages, and time and time again, they prove how much their love is one we all aspire to have. By staying true to character, Barry was willing to let Iris have “her speed” even though it’s been such a huge part of him over the years. But in the wise words from Iris, what makes a good hero is not their speed, but the “light that everyone needs when the world goes dark.” Iris was happy to return the speed back to Barry, as she knows that it’s his way of helping people.
Lastly, we have to give a huge shout out to Candice Patton for adding her own flare and nuances as a speedster, all while showcasing her emotional and physical range as an actress. Eric Wallace is credited for the episode, and he did a great job in balancing the tone this episode, adding parallels that made us feel like we were watching season one again — in the best way!
When The Flash returns April 10th, Team Flash faces off with a metahuman that has the ability to fill people with helium, and we can’t wait to check it out!